Back in April, Denmark's AIAIAI announced a new headphone line that allowed buyers to customize their preferred sound and look by swapping out components. Los Angeles-based Torque Audio has a similarly modular outlook to headphone design and has hit Kickstarter to try and bring its new flagship headphones to release. The t402v models feature a proprietary bio-cell diaphragm and will come with supra-aural and circumaurul ear pads that can be tuned for bass response.
The t402v headphones sport 40 mm Neodymium drivers with something Torque is calling a bio-cell membrane diaphragm. This is fashioned from a kind of cellulose produced using bacteria and has found uses in dressing wounds, as food thickeners and stabilizers, and in some headphones from Sony and Creative. The latter explains that the grown-not-fabricated material delivers "sound velocity comparable to an aluminum or titanium diaphragm, while giving warm and delicate sound of paper ones." As such, Torque is promising crisp, high quality sound out of the box, but there's more.
Listeners can choose between on-ear or over-ear memory foam pads (both will be included), which are secured to the driver housing by magnets. Each pad has patent-pending Mod:Fi technology built in, which allows users to adjust the signature by changing the orientation of the pads. Eight different sonic options are available, with color coding to indicate the kind of bass response listeners can expect – yellow being the lightest bass setting and black bringing on the thunder.
Elsewhere, the t402v headphones have a steel-reinforced headband, a 1.4 m (55 in) mylar-reinforced detachable cable that ends in a right-angle 3.5 mm jack and includes an inline remote with mic for iOS source devices, and a design that sees them fold flat for storage or against the wearer's body during travel.
The audio specs are given as 112 dB SPL, 16 ohms impedance and an overall frequency response of 20 Hz to 20 kHz. Upon release, they'll carry a suggested retail price tag of US$400, but crowdfunders are being tempted by the draw of significant savings for early adoption.
Before getting to the Kickstarter need-to-knows, it's worth mentioning that Torque is throwing its bio-cell diaphragm technology into a pair of earphones, too. The t096z earphones feature machined brass housing, with 9 mm drivers inside, and will come supplied with five different types of silicone buds and one pair of memory foam buds, with a silicone stabilizing ring for active or sporty types.
There will also be six interchangeable TorqueValves in the box. The job of these tuning tips is to massage the audio frequency to deliver tweaked signatures to preference, in much the same way as the T10s we reviewed in April, but with twice as many filters on offer. These will run at a suggested retail price of $330 upon release.
All of the early bird specials in the already-funded crowdfunding campaign have gone so Kickstarter backers will now need to pledge at least $300 for the headphones and $225 for the earphones. If all goes to plan, shipping is estimated to start in October.
You can see what's on offer in the pitch video below.