Audeze is quickly becoming much more than just a headphone company. What started as humble roots from within the personal audio community has turned into large production facilities in Southern California and a tendency for defining the curve, rather than following it.
Much has already been said about the new iSine planar magnetic IEMs the company just debuted at RMAF. But the idea clearly represents what is going on at the core of the growing company’s ideology. Distilled down its about pushing boundaries, not merely higher prices upon the market. That’s not to say that the company doesn’t make some premium prices gear, it certainly does, but tackling the BA and dynamic driver laden IEM market with a new tech isn’t really one of those moves that you see everyday either.
And so ideas run out in multiple directions from the minds at the helm of the headphone company. What’s currently on the mind besides headphones? Virtual reality and immersive audio. A slow start in the public’s consciousness has slowly made a path for products like Oculus Rift and now Playstation’s VR entertainment options. It certainly seems like the direction we are all traveling, but a few key items still need to fall into place before mainstream adoption will ever be a consideration. Aside from the always wanting need for more content, a new type of audio experience is also involved. Spatial and binaural audio are a few new slices of technology that perhaps excels more in the headphone space than loudspeaker can. Spatial/3D audio is also needed to complete the immersion experience in VR. Not unlike Dolby Atmos, spatial audio renders sonic queues along the XYZ axis rather than relying on specific channel delivery to handle locational information. Turn your head to the right and sounds move to the left, just as they would in the real world. To capture this at the source Audeze has developed a new microphone that outputs 4 channels of audio recorded via a set of a planar magnetic diaphragms in a 360 degree arrangement.
Another issue is studio mixing. Cost prohibitive setups triggered Audeze to develop and easy Bluetooth solution for spatial audio output that rests on the headband of nearly any headphone and provides head tracking information back to the computer interface.
No doubt much more is on its way from both the VR community and Audeze itself. We got a chance to catch up with CEO Sankar Thiagasamudram in 360 degrees at this year’s RMAF. Captured on a Samsung Gear 360 Degree Spherical Camera (model SM-C200) the video embedded below was filmed with two extreme wide angle fisheye lenses and the stitched together to form the movable, VR video. Feel free to give it a spin (literally). Uploaded to Facebook’s 360 video platform, you can “see” in any direction by swiping your mouse across the video window. In the case of viewing your cellphone, you need only move your phone around in the intended direction.
More info: https://www.audeze.com/
Samsung 360 camera: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01D9LVL3G/