June 03, 2016

This article first appeared in Taalk here.
Journey into Designing World class Headphones

Sankar Thiagasamudram – CEO of Audeze,the award winning headphone company based in California. Audeze is known for some of the worlds best headphones.  It has brought an amazing amount of new technologies to the market in 2015: a completely new type of magnet, new diaphragm materials, and Lightning connector equipped headphones.

CES 2016

Audeze began this year taking the Crown as the Best Headphones of CES 2016, the new Sine headphones  has brought the audiophile sound to the masses with nothing more than the phone in your pocket.

Very excited to taalk to Sankar on his entrepreneurial Journey driven by design.

What ignited the spark in you to startup Audeze ?
I have always been interested in Entrepreneurship. While volunteering for a charity (Sankara Eye Foundation – www.giftofvision.org) I met one of the other founders. We quickly realized there is a potential for our new technology in speakers. Having been a big A.R. Rahman fan helped.

What is so unique about Audeze that makes it a Professional Choice ?
Unlike conventional headphones, we use Planar Magnetic technology. This is a dramatic departure from traditional dynamic driver designs. Most headphones use traditional cone drivers to create the sound you hear. Audeze headphones feature proprietary planar magnetic technology that employs extremely thin-film driver materials and powerful custom magnets. Planars overcome many limitations inherent in typical cone drivers. Audeze’s lightweight diaphragms are, for example, faster and more responsive than heavier moving-coil or dome drivers.  The accuracy that Audeze headphones are capable of delivering made us the choice of headphones for Professionals. However, our market is not just limited to Audiophiles or Professionals. Many mainstream customers who care about good sound quality use our headphones.

Design Challenges when making it for Audiophiles ?
Design challenges are not just limited to Audiophile market. When we design any product, the sound quality is our north star. Everything else follows it. We want our customers to feel as if they are in the studio listening to music.  Making our headphones light weight without losing the sound signature and efficiency is the most challenging. We have invented new type of magnets and working with BMW DesignWorks to streamline our design language has helped overcome most of these.

Your Audio-tech Predictions for 2016 ?
Speakers will get smarter. We will see more speakers / devices connected to internet (IOT) and leverage voice, gesture controls etc. A good example of this is the Amazon Echo. For headphones, we will see more digital connections. USB-C and Lightning allow headphones to have bi-directional communication. Sensors in the headphone can communicate with smart phones.  Audeze just introduced a headphone with fully integrated lighting connection. I expect more vendors to follow suit.

What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful design-entrepreneur(Designpreneur)?
Audeze

 

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