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Even EarPrint Headphones Customize Sound for Your Hearing

by July 02, 2018
Even EarPrint Customized Headphones

Even EarPrint Customized Headphones

Danny Aronson, CEO and founder of the Brooklyn-based startup Even, has a bit of a bone to pick with the personal audio industry as a whole. "We all hear differently,” he says.

“And we hear differently in our left and right ears. Yet, this issue has never been addressed by any of the leaders in the commercial personal audio industry.”

He goes on to say that while other companies “boast that they have high quality audio products, they do not address the most critical factor in a person's listening experience — how he or she actually hears.” It was this inaction on the part of the audio industry that led Aronson, who is a commercial sound designer and classically trained musician and composer, to found his own company composed of experienced sound designers, acoustic engineers, mastering technicians, and audiologists. This eclectic group has come together with a singular mission: to provide listeners with custom-tailored sound that automatically adapts to their individual hearing needs.

The human ear and brain work closely together, forming an incredibly complex mechanism for hearing. Each person has unique physical characteristics that can affect the way he or she perceives sound. Just as some individuals are nearsighted and others farsighted, we all hear different audio frequencies at different volumes — even people with “normal” hearing. And these differences also exist between your left ear and your right. In order to address these differences, Even has created a headphone technology called EarPrint, which the company describes as being like “glasses for your ears.” The technology maps the way you hear by testing eight frequencies, ranging from 125hz to 14Khz, in each ear. Using this information, a personal hearing profile, or “EarPrint,” is created. The tech then uses a patented compensation algorithm to adjust the frequency response of your music so that what you actually hear is what your music is supposed to sound like.

Even currently offers three headphones that incorporate EarPrint technology. The E1 Earphones are in-ear monitors that sell for $99. The step-up H1 Headphones are over-ear models that feature genuine walnut ear cups, and sell for $149. Even’s flagship product is the $229 H2 Wireless bluetooth headphone, which works in conjunction with a custom-built app. Perhaps more exciting than the headphones themselves is the potential for Even’s EarPrint technology to eventually become a universally compatible software product allowing users to improve the listening experience of their own gear. "Since we are a technology company, not specifically a headphone or hardware company, we are able to, and are in the process of, securing licensing contracts in several audio verticals in the personal audio space” said Aronson. “This will continue to allow us to lead the charge in personal audio through hardware products and software solutions.” Even has already partnered with Napster to embed a version of the EarPrint technology within their music streaming service.

Although none of the major players in the personal audio industry has taken this approach to individualizing headphone sound, Even does face some competition from another new brand. At CES 2018, an Australian company called Nura introduced a headphone called the Nuraphone, which also tests the user’s hearing and adapts the sound accordingly. The Nuraphone has a unique design that makes it simultaneously an in-ear and over-ear headphone, and received a CES “Best Of Innovation” award in the headphone category for most impressive technology.

To try a demo of Even’s EarPrint technology using your own headphones, visit www.weareeven.com. To check out the fascinating Nuraphone, go to www.nuraphone.com. How does this hearing-based customization sound to you? Share your thoughts in the related forum thread below.


About the author:
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Jacob is a music-lover and audiophile who enjoys convincing his friends to buy audio gear that they can't afford. He's also a freelance writer and editor based in Los Angeles.

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