Headphones are, by their very nature, a solo experience. They enclose the user with his or her music, and block out the world around them. Wearhaus aims to change that with its new Arc headphones, that promise to allow users to connect with each other by streaming music to other Arc wearers.
With services like Spotify, it's easier than ever to share the music you love with friends, but sharing like this is quite impersonal, and that's what the team at Warehaus is aiming to fix.
Sharing the music is done through Bluetooth and a mesh networking protocol developed by the team. If a friend with an Arc headset comes around, they can tap a few buttons in the app or double-tap the touch panel on the right earphone to join you. The host is able to use the application to adjust privacy settings, so one can set it to allow only friends to jump in and listen.
A key thing to mention about the headset is that is supports music sharing from all applications. That means users will be able to share music from Spotify, Pandora, iTunes, and others. This feature applies across both iOS and Android.
Each earphone features a light-up ring with changing colors. Users can set this color in the app, and it will automatically change when one connects to another user to match his or her lights.
The touch panel on the right ear is also used to control playback and volume through a series of gestures. Swiping left or right changes songs, and swiping up and down adjusts the volume. Since this is a Bluetooth headset, that means inline controls aren't an option, so this feature could be quite useful.
As far as the sound quality goes, Warehaus included 40-mm drivers with a 20HZ to 20kHz frequency range. The team is promising a full range of quality sound from lows to highs, but of course, time will tell if it actually delivers in that regard.
There's no active isolation, instead the team is using memory foam to passively block out the outside noise while also offering comfortable pads for extended use.
As this is a Bluetooth headset, battery life is an issue users need to think about. Warehaus is promising 16 hours of playback time individually, and 10 hours while sharing music with others.
Warehaus is seeking funding for its social headset on Kickstarter. It's seeking US$50,000, and is rapidly approaching that goal. Backers interesting in pre-ordering a headset can do so for a pledge of $159 while the early special lasts. From there, the price jumps to $179. The team plans to ship the headphones to backers in January of 2015.
The Kickstarter pitch video below provides some back story and more information on the Warehaus Arc.