Other than squeezing in multiple drivers and cutting the cord once Bluetooth took off, earphones haven’t really changed all that much since the heady days of the original Sony Walkman. Flare Audio is looking to change that, by treating audio waves a bit more like light. The Flare Ears aim to strip out distortion by sending sound straight to your eardrums, rather than reverberating around your ear canals.
Every ear is different, with all sorts of bends and curves getting between your bangin’ tunes and your ear drums. UK-based Flare Audio has come up with a periscope-style design that skips those shapes, using reflections to deliver sound without any of the natural distortion you’ll get from rival earphones.
The firm demoed the tech with the proof-of-concept E-Prototype earphones, claiming sound quality superior to pro-grade in-ear monitors costing thousands of pounds. Now it’s heading to the mainstream with a range of wallet-friendly models that’ll start from £50.
The range starts with the wired Everyday, stepping up to the Bluetooth-equipped Active. They’re a neckband-style pair with in-line remote good for 13 hours of playback and detachable MMCX connectors, should you want to hook the earphones up to a different cable.
There’s also a Recording edition, which the firm says provides “a reliable reference for producers and engineers”, and a top-tier Superior edition. Both have driver housings machined from aerospace-grade metal (aluminium for the R, titanium for the S), 10mm beryllium drivers and MMXC quick connect fittings. They each come with interchangeable 3.5mm and Bluetooth neckband cables, and include a silicone headband for wearing like a traditional pair of over-ear headphones. The latter also includes a balanced 2.5mm cable, and should set you back around £300.
Customisation options are extensive, with a range of removable bumpers and wraps to colour-code for up to 23,000 possible combinations.
Having smashed its crowdfunding goal in four hours, the Ears range is set to go into production soon. It’s available on Flare Audio’s Indiegogo page now, with an estimated delivery date of June 2023 to initial backers. Those not willing to wait can get a 20% discount on the E-Prototype, which is ready to ship right now.