The end of headphones?

Just read this article and this seems very cool!
Not practical for portable use just yet but an intriguing development in personal sound.


"New Device puts music in your - no headphones required"

From the website:

"SoundBeaming works using ultrasonic waves and beamforming to place sound just outside the ears. The waves are generated using Noveto-developed proprietary DSP algorithms and pushed into the air via a custom-designed transducer array. From the inside it may look like a small speaker, but you won’t hear anything coming out.

A 3D sensing module built into the hardware locates and tracks the position of your ears in real time, at which point the ultrasonic waves converge into small pockets of sound just outside the ears. Here the sound can be heard again as normal acoustic waves without disturbing others.

Move your head in any direction and the two sound pockets will magically follow. Spatial 3D capability makes it possible to experience sounds placed anywhere in space regardless of head movement."

This may provide a similar sensation to that which I get from the Bose Frames sunglasses, or to the Raal Requisite SR1a “earfield monitors”, both of which I like a lot.

Noveto has been saying they will bring this to market in 12 months at least since 2016. Makes me wonder whether it will ever be more than vaporware.

Lots of Chinese money behind it though.

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No thanks. Welcome to the Matrix.


Would you like the Blue DAC Tablet or the Red DAC Tablet?


I think that in each generation of humans there is a select group of people who refuse the new technology - at least to some extent. Some are more stubborn than others, so that depends on the person. The rest follows the trends and technologies, “adapts” essentially.

I mean, some people even refuse using planar magnetic headphones because they believe it affects the brain… just like some refuse those Mag-lev turntables that elevate - they believe it’s dangerous for health.

I don’t like the sound of this… Just as @generic said: No thanks.

Oh and btw, I think headphones are here to stay for quite some time. Unless the next generations moves onto a technology like this, who knows… everybody is using AirPods now, so… everything is possible

Is it a balanced pill?

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There is only one pill in differing colors.

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It might not be “sound” but the cell phone already does the “bubble” bit for the majority of the population.


I foresee massive implementation problems. Imagine getting any kind of reliability and performance consistency from this. It’s conceptually interesting if the idea is creating a personal sound bubble but thats about it for me.

I enjoy pissing off my neighbors too much to invest in something like this.


These kinds of Soundbeam plays pop up every now and then . I’ve seen them at CES before and it’s still going to be a while before they can really get implemented properly.

I see it as a bit like a 3D TV. It will be prohibitively expensive and only applicable for certain situations.

It’s a neat concept though and I am sure there will be some early adopters that absolutely love it but I don’t see it being mainstream with its current implementation. Still a ways to go!


Yes, I’d be curious to give this a go, but headphones have the advantages of simplicity, portability, miniaturizability (with IEMs), decades of engineering experience, plus the option of active or passive isolation. This new tech will not play the same role, and will probably take time to catch up sonically. I see it as a niche technology. It’d be great for things like museum exhibits or marketing displays at trade shows.


New innovative tech is always cool, but in the end we will always hold on to simplicity and familiarity. Like VR, which is super cool and has some great potential for certain things, but unlikely to ever take over as our primary type of display to visualize digital content with in our daily lives.

With audio, hardware technology has already matured so much that there aren’t many more “problems” to solve that would require an entirely new approach from top to bottom. Assuming this tech will eventually mature to the point where it works as good as it can be, it will still not replace headphones. It won’t be able to deliver the physical sensation that you can get from circumaural headphones, IEMs and loudspeakers, unless they somehow manage to defy the laws of physics.

I’m sure that this can have its place, but it will have its own shortcomings as well as its own benefits.


I’d never heard it, but it sounds absolutely ludicrous to me that people don’t put planars on because of some obscure effect on health. It’s not like dynamic headphones work any differently, it’s just the shape of drivers and magnets that’s different.

This tech appears interesting, but I guess it won’t be viable for quite some time, and it won’t be widespread for even more time. Especially with pet owners wanting to have some peace of mind. But this kind of things makes me think of the famous quote from Arthur C. Clarke: “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”.


I happily use my planars - but there are some older people that I have spoken with that don’t quite like the idea of having strong magnet on their head. I mean it’s their opinion, I respect it, and at the end of the day - they can continue their healthy lifestyle =) As long as they are happy and aren’t affecting others, it’s fine.

A manager of an audio distribution chain has told me that people don’t buy MAG-LEV levitating turntables because they don’t think it will harm their kid’s health. Also can’t really blame them, they are just being skeptical and trying to protect their kids. Again, it’s a personal choice that is fine as long as they aren’t running some type of protest campaign and trying to stop people from buying them without any proof that it is harmful.

At the end of the day I am just trying to be understanding.

Personal sound bubble…heh…heh…

Back in the CD era I visited a store with about two dozen ‘domes of silence’ for demoing music before buying. They were placed about 7’ or 8’ (2 meters) above the floor and didn’t move. However, they were extremely effective and one couldn’t hear a thing more than 3’ away from the dome.


And perhaps the opposite of the Cone of Silence, the National Statuary Hall in the US Capitol. If you haven’t experienced it, you should watch the video through.

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The one that mother gives you, don’t do anything at all.


I only manage to see this now, sorry about that. I get what you mean and I generally agree. I can’t help but wonder, though, how this mindset affects society. The problem is that some people appear to put their beliefs ahead of reality and science; in this case it is planar headphones, in other cases it’s other things (the list is endless and includes vaccines and whatnot). The main issue I take with this kind of thought process is that it is not based on proof and experimentation, but on belief and fear: two tools that are not really the best way to navigate reality.

Case in point, the magnets on planar headphones are not any different from those found on dynamic headphones, except for shape. I can name a few dynamics that have stronger magnets than the average planars (e.g. Beyerdynamic Tesla which, as the name implies, have a magnetic flux density > 1 T). We are building quantum computers, basically hacking reality itself to bend it to our will, and we still have people who fear some specific kind of magnets without any proof that they do any harm.

So I do take issue with this kind of reasoning, because it is not based on any fact and is not consistent. It’s not a rational approach, and as such I think it shouldn’t still permeate our present. The point being that it may seem fine when it comes to headphones and turntables, but it is applied to everything else as well and this prevents people from advancing society if you look at the broader picture. Having said that, I have nothing against the people, just against the way they think: it’s not those people’s direct fault, it’s more of a systemic issue that I’m not sure we will ever overcome.

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