Though a very few mobile music lovers will be lucky enough to own some perfect fit off-the-shelf earphones, for the rest of us, fallout is a frustratingly frequent problem. If you've got lots of time and patience, and a rather large budget, you could take a trip to an audiologist, get your ears scanned and then order a pair of in-ear headphones molded to precisely fit your ear canals. A startup running a Kickstarter campaign says that it's come up with a quicker, cheaper and simpler way. You just stick a Revols earpiece in each ear, wiggle it about and push it around until it feels snug and then hit "start" on a companion app running on a Bluetooth-paired smartphone ... and a minute later you've got yourself some custom-fit earphones.
The Revols earphones have been designed to suit active users as well as music-loving commuters. A small coin-sized plastic body houses the, as yet unspecified, driver, with a brushed metal badge to the outer edge and a gel-filled molding tip to the other. They also feature rotating bezels that allow for drop-down or over-the-ear placement flexibility.
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Though the project creators don't go into a great deal of detail on the actual customization processes, they do say that pressing the onscreen button sends a signal to the earphones that causes a specially-formulated nano-composite gel to harden. Users will know that the customization process is active when they feel a slightly warm sensation in their ear canals.
Unlike the Decibullz Wireless earphones we covered last week, this is a one-time molding deal as the gel hardening is permanent. If for any reason a user needs to restart the process, it will need to be undertaken with a fresh set of molding tips (the Revols box will include two sets of tips in two different sizes). The earpiece housing caters for attaching and detaching tips and additional molding tips will be made available for purchase at the close of the campaign.
Like the NuForce earphones we reviewed recently, the Revols have a cable running between the two earpieces with an inline microphone for taking calls while on the move, but pair with a music source device over Bluetooth 4.1 (with aptX high quality streaming support). The cable is also home to a slim 8 hour battery pack positioned mid-wire, and users are promised an extra 6 hours of continuous play by attaching a small Revive battery pack.
The battery is charged by clipping the supplied cable to the earphone wire and plugging the other end into a spare USB port or charging plug. A full top up is reported to take about 2 hours, during which music can still flow through the Revols.
Offering affordable and super quick custom-fit wireless earphones is pretty pointless if the audio quality of the Revols is lacking, so crowdfund backers may be reassured to learn that the acoustic design side of the equation is being overseen of by much-respected Japanese consumer audio house Onkyo – which isn't about to risk losing its reputation by delivering sub-par sound. Additionally, the customized molding process affords improved passive isolation from ambient noise compared to naked buds, with users able to control how much of the outside world is allowed through via the app.
The project's Kickstarter campaign runs until January 8 2016, but has already flown past its funding goal in a matter of hours. Early bird levels have been snapped up, which means that pledges at the time of writing start at US$199. The Revols come in either black or white, but sports skins in various colors will be made available for those who want to add a splash of color for workouts.
If all goes according to plan, shipping is expected to start in June 2016. Have a look at the pitch video below for more information on the project.