Aug 20, 2016 | By Benedict

Chinese sound technology company helloear has unveiled the world’s first mass-producible, customized, 3D printed, full-metal earphones, which are suitable for live stage monitoring. A platinum helloear ‘Monet’ headset costs ¥16,999 ($2,500).

Back in the 1990s, sound engineer Jerry Harvey altered the course of live music forever when he invented a customized in-ear monitoring headset while touring with rock band Van Halen. Harvey was approached by Alex Van Halen, the band’s drummer, who complained that the sheer volume of the high-power on-stage monitors was damaging his ears. In response, Harvey found some tiny Japanese electrical components and created a tiny in-ear headset which could receive wireless signals from Harvey’s mixing desk via a small receiver. The device worked perfectly for Alex, and other musicians soon wanted headsets of their own. Two decades later, and the in-ear monitoring system is now commonplace in many genres of live performance.

Despite the widespread use of customized headsets, some users complain that the plastic casing of such devices provides insufficient sound quality. However, to create a metal headset that is tailor-made for a user’s ear is no mean feat. The necessary process involves 3D scanning, model reconstruction, metal 3D printing, and post-processing. The difficulty of the model reconstruction phase has even caused some industry professionals to doubt whether a full-metal customized headset could be feasible for mass production.

Alex Van Halen / Image: Ludwig Drums

Flying in the face of the cautious words of the industry is Chinese sound technology company helloear, which has now launched an all-metal custom headset suitable for mass production. Its ‘Wonderland’ series of products uses an all-metal 3D printing process, with the main body made from an antioxidant silver alloy containing 92.5% pure silver, coated with either allergy-safe platinum or rose gold. The metal shell not only adds a smooth texture to the customized headphones, but also eliminates potential sound distortion caused by lower frequencies—something plastic earphones are vulnerable to. The company claims that its 3D printed earphones produce a more accurate sound than any plastic alternative.

After several rounds of testing, the 3D printed metal 'Wonderland' earphones are now ready for consumer use. Although the new earphones use similar sound technology to helloear’s existing plastic models, the 3D printing process used to create each metal headset gives an accuracy of up to 0.016 mm (16 microns), much finer than the standard 0.2 mm (200 micron) precision of consumer-level plastic 3D printers. Better still, the 3D modeling process reduces the weight of each metal earpiece to just 15 grams.

Since 2014, helloear has accumulated exclusive patents for its custom headset design, as well as over 30 domestic and international patents for various technological innovations. The company received ¥10 million ($1.5 million) in seed funding in early 2016, which enabled it to complete R&D of its new products.

The platinum ‘Monet’ headset costs ¥16,999 ($2,500) and the rose gold ‘Gaugin’ ¥24,999 ($3,750).



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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Jackie wrote at 8/29/2016 7:13:27 PM:

Got these earphones I got these earphones...

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