The way we listen to music has evolved. This year alone, a record number of wireless headphones launched, Apple eliminated the audio jack with the iPhone 7, and other earpieces — like Doppler Labs’ Here One, which lets listeners amplify and attenuate ambient sounds — are letting us customize the way we hear the world. Human Inc., a Seattle-based audio company, is now bringing the next progression in headphone evolution. They’re calling it, simply, Sound.
Sound aren’t traditional headphones. They have no wires, no headband, no buttons. Each earpiece cups around your ear, so they feel organic and don’t apply pressure like your bruiser studio headphones. This total encapsulation also acts as a natural noise isolator, just as much as your cushioned QC35s — or maybe more. And since Sound’s ears are larger than your average earbuds, they can accommodate the multiple transducers, mics and beefed-up battery (12+ hours) you want in wireless headphones.
Sound’s ears are controlled entirely by touch gestures. Swipe up, down and across to adjust the volume or switch tracks. Tap to pause, play and answer incoming calls. These controls can also be used to adjust how you hear the sounds around you, similar to the Here One system. Unique to Sound, however, is that multiple Sound users can to listen to the same track together (think Silent Disco). And when a pair of Sound earpieces is magnetically joined together, they amplify your music just like a portable Bluetooth speaker would.
The current Sound earphones — available now for pre-order — have a lot going for them. And Human Inc. is also coming out with three other, more specialized Sounds earpieces: Speak will be able to translate different language conversations instantaneously; Active will track your workouts like many sport headphones; and Sleep will track your sleep and help you wake up gently in the morning, sans alarm. Judging from the fact that the product hit its goal on Indiegogo in just a matter of hours, there are many people who want to join the Sound revolution.
Sound retails at $200, but Human is offering Gear Patrol readers a $30 discount ($170). Sound is compatible with Android and iOS devices. You can also sign up to be a Beta tester for Speak, Active and Sleep, all of which are expected to be released Fall 2017.