Audiogram-administering earphones deliver tunes with prescription-like customization
Human anatomy varies so much, that our own two ears can hear as differently from each other as they might to anyone else's. But one company has taken a more scientific approach towards delivering the kind of sonic experience so many individuals spend endless hours seeking. Even's earphones are designed to analyze, adjust, and adapt audio to ears by using a built-in audiogram, or hearing test.
Given the human ears' varying sensitivities to all audible frequencies, it's no wonder why music is by and large considered to be subjective. The Even earphones aim to deliver quality sound by measuring one's ability to hear. Software embedded into the controller provides a self-administered test, similar to the kind of audiograms that have been used clinically to diagnose hearing loss.
A double press of the "Even" button on the in-line controller initiates the test, which takes approximately 90 seconds to conduct. A virtual assistant guides users through the process of responding to each audible sound with a single button click. Once complete, the results – how each ear is tuned to the range of 16 frequencies at different volume levels – are stored on the device, yet can be reset at any time.
Like a corrective-vision prescription, the Even earphones are designed to apply the saved information to automatically adjust for deficiencies. Frequencies that a user has trouble perceiving are appropriately boosted, while the better-detected ones are maintained at safe listening levels with respect to volume. The intended result is having sound that matches the listener, with every musical note able to be heard perfectly.
This type of personalized calibration is similar to that of the Nura headphones, which employs microphones for otoacoustic emission tracking — a system by which sounds made by the ear in response to different tones are played back to the headphones and monitored. Recently, some of us at the Gizmag office had the opportunity to experience a Nura prototype and were blown away by the diversity of each other's sonic profiles.
But one major difference between Nura and Even is that Even's "EarPrint" hearing test is based on a proven industry standard that takes a non-passive approach, meaning that the user actively indicates what he can and can not hear.
Even's earphones are also styled as an in-ear only design (versus the Nura's in- and over-ear design), packing a 10 mm dynamic driver in each bud. By using a 3.5 mm cable to plug into devices, Even's earphones bypass potential connectivity and latency issues often common with wireless listening devices. Although cabled, these earphones require power to operate. The built-in battery is designed to last up to nine hours before needing a recharge.
The Even earphones are available now for a US$99 sale price (MSRP $129) and ship immediately. Each unit comes with interchangeable silicone ear tips in three sizes, a USB charging cable, and a nylon case.