From the moment you open the box on a pair of Audeara A-01 headphones, you get the feeling that it’s going to change everything. The promise of a tailored listening experience has been been around for some time in audio, in sound art, and in live performance, but arguably never executed on such a personal level.
The premise of this product is to create, via an in-headphone hearing test, a unique listening profile for each user. After the headphones ‘learn’ your ears (in my case, how damaged they are), the software will serve you a personalised EQ that – if the box is to be believed – will just sound better.
And what do you know? It does.
An ear test in a box and a powerful set of cans, the Audeara A-01 headphones deliver a personalised listening experience like no product has done before.
I opted for the quickest listening test, which took around three minutes. Practically, the test finds the volumes at which you can no longer hear beeps at a rising set of frequencies. For the three-minute test, this was eight points between 100Hz and 16kHz. The longer tests will check your hearing within the same frequency range, but at 16 or 32 different points for greater detail.
The headphones also independently test between left and right ears, which is obviously important. I learned, for instance, that my left ear is far more hardy when it comes to higher frequencies. To that pair of headphones I used for two years in high school with one dead ear… thanks.
Once a profile has been established, it’s time to actually get listening. The A-01 headphones will curate a personalised EQ for you, then give you the option to listen to that EQ at a zero, 25, 50, or 100 percent level (zero being the way your headphones normally sound, 100 being the full Audeara experience). Immediately a change can be heard, and for the better.
It feels like the difference between a mastered and unmastered track, or the first time you hear your favourite song on vinyl. I queued up a few bass-heavy and super toppy tracks to get a good feel for the cans, and couldn’t fault the personalised sound. Quieter percussion like shakers, bongos or low toms were especially more noticeable.
Where specs are concerned, this model offers everything you’d ever need in a pair of everyday use headphones. They’re packing twin 40mm Mylar drivers and a frequency response of 20Hz to 22kHz. They’re definitely aimed at Bluetooth use, but the pack includes a 3.5mm cable with an optional 1/4 inch jack if you want to go wired. There’s also an airplane adaptor for you, which is neat.
Unless your torso is over 10 metres long, you won’t have any problems with the Bluetooth range. A Micro USB charging cable will net you 35 hours of battery at full drain (playing music via Bluetooth with the Audeara effect enabled). The headphones boast all the wireless controls you need for calls and music navigation, and active noise cancelling is another plus.
A piece of tech like this sparks serious excitement for the audiophile experience of the near future. Imagine the day when every sound you heard, whether it be from your phone, headphones, record player or otherwise, was tailored to the way you hear the world… it would be something special. And not to mention, absolutely wonderful for the many of us suffering from hearing damage.
For everyday listening, it’s going to be tough reverting to the olden days after spending time with Audera.
Find out more about Audeara here.