Premium gaming headphones promise improved spatial awareness
A new audio gear manufacturer made up of acoustics engineers and designers from the video game and audio industries – most notably a former lead acoustics engineer at Apple – has announced its first product. The VZR Model One gaming headphones feature a proprietary technology designed to deliver accurate, realistic positional audio.
VZR was founded in 2014 by folks who used to work for THX, SRS Labs, Samsung Design Lab, THQ and Apple – the latter being the mobile technology giant's former lead acoustics engineer, Vic Tiscareno.
Its first product, the Model One audiophile gaming headset, is aimed at meeting the sonic demands of gamers, music lovers and creative professionals. Indeed, VZR has tapped experts like sound designer Ed Lima, musician and producer Anthony Ray (Sir Mix-a-Lot) and others to help over several years of development.
"We meticulously designed everything about the VZR Model One, using years of research, decades of experience, and feedback from audio experts to refine the headset to maximize its performance," said Tiscareno. "From the drivers to the cable and earpads, we’re not cutting any corners to make the perfect headphones for gamers, audiophiles, and anyone who demands great audio."
The closed-back over-ear headphones are home to custom 40-mm dynamic drivers with a frequency response of 10 Hz to 30 kHz, 100-dB sensitivity and a rated impedance of 32 ohms. There's no active noise cancellation here but the memory foam ear cushions should ensure a secure fit, which will help to seal off the wearer from some of the noise distractions of the outside world.
Making its commercial debut in the new headphones is a proprietary technology called CrossWave, which is described as a "passive acoustic lens technology that selectively and strategically reshapes audio waves to emulate the way one would perceive the sound in real life without headphones, resulting in improved separation, openness and accurate 3D spatial positioning – all without digitally altering the audio source."
Users will reportedly benefit from more accurate positional audio for the potential of improved spatial awareness with enhanced detail. The company says that in-house testing in VR environments was found to allow wearers to locate positional sounds quicker than when using other gaming or audiophile headphones, which could be important factors in securing a win.
To keep latency low and ensure "maximum connection compatibility," VZR has elected to go with standard 3.5-mm cabled connectivity. And there's a detachable noise-canceling microphone boom to facilitate in-game comms, though the audio cable does feature an inline mic (which automatically switches on when the boom is removed).
For music pros or audiophiles, VZR promises delivery of audio with the "fidelity and detail of a studio reference speaker system alongside the warmth and openness of open-backed audiophile headphones."
The premium VZR Model One headphones are due for release in Q2 for US$349, the video below has more.
Product page: Model One