The “i” as in iPhone/Pod/Pad has revolutionized many things, not least of which personal Hi-Fi. Sure, Sony had, with the Walkman series, a success on hand that spanned the better part of a decade and half; alas, they weren’t nearly as dominant and ubiquitous as the i-generation. Aided by iTunes, Apple essentially foresaw the fact that we are defacto moving into a new, mobile era, an era that could prove vital to not only Apple’s own future, but the future of business yet to be.
|From zero to hero in 3 years; now that's an accomplishment!|
Often described as the “ecosystem”, the i-generation of products have in fact single handedly created billions of dollars worth of new industries. None have become more obvious than the stuff you actually listen to whilst cruising with music, namely your second most prized possession, your headphones. While the lower price segment has boomed, so has the segment catering to the upper echelon, nay, dare one say, the 1%. Walk across any University campus, college park, bustling shopping mall or your local airport and I bet you a can of soda pop that you’ll spot dozens if not more teens, twens and thirty-something’s wearing the latest in headphone couture.
|A look at each of the speaker modules; not to worry, they are super comfortable even after prolonged use!|
The designs have become more hip, more cool and simply more acceptable than at any time throughout the history of portable Hi-Fi. Obviously, many, if not most of those solutions have been built to some sort of price point, in line with your typical portable Hi-Fi rolling rack investment. Thus, the $200-$500 price point has the highest density of Head-Fi, whereas the upper echelons obviously carry a bigger premium, for theoretically bigger, better sound. While traditional headphone brands, Sennheiser, AKG, Beyerdynamic, have seemingly somewhat struggled to get with the times – what’s more hip, a pair of Dr. Dre Beats or a pair of Sennheiser HD 800’s; you get my drift - they do populate that higher price point with aplomb.
Alas, as with so many other things in the history of audio (or any other product segment really), what is one man’s problem, becomes another man’s opportunity. Enter two young lads, Alex Rosson and Sankar Thiagasmudram who only a few short years ago, 2009, to be precise, launched their new company, Audeze to cater to exactly that crowd: the 1% seeking absolute sonic perfection. Their technology was different as it was ingenious: instead of using standard dynamic drivers, they went for something much more exclusive and better, planar magnetic driver technology.