Your $500 Headphones Give You HD Audio? Without This Device, You Won’t Be Hearing All Of It
$500, $1000, $5000. We don't hesitate to invest in the latest and greatest when it comes to our favorite hobby and our listening experience.
But no matter how much money you throw at it, there’s something missing.
Ever asked yourself:
- Why do people rave about certain headphones, even though they may sound underwhelming or “off” to others?
- Why does it feel like one of your ears—maybe your right one—isn’t getting as much sound as your left ear?
- Why do certain details in your music always seem out of reach?
- Why do you get headaches or ear pain after a listening session?
The answer is simple: your ears’ uniqueness has been missing from your audio experience.
Every Ear Hears Differently
It sounds so obvious.
Like most biological sensing organs (e.g. eyes, nose, tongue), there are differences in each individual’s sensitivity.
And it’s no different for ears. Some people need more bass while others need more treble. Even your left ear is different from your right…and they’re both on your head!
It’s obvious. But sometimes the most obvious problem is the most ignored.
Headphones companies out there don’t make headphones with your specific ears in mind. They make them for this imaginary guy, who has the supposed ideal “standard” hearing range and sensitivity that is nothing like yours.
Why? Because making one set of headphones with one sound signature is a lot easier (and more cost-effective) than making one for every set of ears out there.
Which means that while this imaginary guy is getting all the sound tailored to his supposedly standard ears, it’s doing nothing for you.
Everyday millions of headphones consumers “make do” with sound signatures and audio performances that don’t take their own unique hearing into account.
At the same time they throw hundreds and even thousands of dollars at the problem, seeking those missing sounds that keep eluding them.
But this is doing more harm than most music lovers realize.
If You Settle For "Untailored" Audio, You Could Lose Your Ability To Enjoy Music Faster Than You Think
Sounds over the top? Unfortunately it’s true.
On February 27 2015, the World Health Organization came out with this warning:
At the time of this writing we have around 7.5 billion people on the entire planet. So that means around 1 in 7 people on earth are at risk of hearing loss.
There’s more from the same release:
"Data from studies in middle- and high-income countries analysed by WHO indicate that among teenagers and young adults aged 12-35 years, nearly 50% are exposed to unsafe levels of sound from the use of personal audio devices"
We’re not talking people who have spent years in construction or war veterans who stood a little too close to a grenade. These are ordinary teenagers and young adults who are just going about their day listening to music.
And even they are at risk of hearing loss.
Imagine what kind of risk your own ears are facing.
So what does that have to do with the fact that every ear hears differently?
When your ears’ unique hearing sensitivity isn’t taken into account, two things can happen:
1. You miss out on sounds, resulting in a muddy, unclear listening expeirence and listening fatigue due to your ears’ perception of distorted audio.
2. You turn up the volume (deliberately or subconsciously) in order to capture all the details in your music, resulting in hearing damage.
Neither of these choices are good for you or you ears—your most irreplacable audio gear.
Besides, why should you be punished with the threat of hearing loss for enjoying what you love?
The Professor Who Works With Thousands Of Ears (And How The Public Adapts To Terrible Sound)
Professor Charles Andrew van Hasselt is a world-renowned otologist (i.e. ear specialist) who works with ears all around the world—from those who wear headphones 24/7 in first world countries to those in the developing world.
One thing is apparent: everyone’s hearing is different. No matter the age, gender, culture, socio-economic class—every ear is unique in its perception of the world.
Yet somehow it’s never been discussed. Or spoken of by the people who make headphones and audio equipment.
Maybe it’s because us humans have this amazing ability to adapt and settle for less.
- Can’t hear your coworker when she speaks? Ask her to repeat herself and speak a little louder.
- Can’t hear the guys in the TV when they mumble in their deep voices? Turn up the volume (and curse when the sirens in the next car chase scene startle the living daylights out of you).
- Can’t get all the sound out of your headphones? Make things louder while you spend more money, time and effort into looking for the next best thing.
But people are only putting up with this because there wasn’t a solution then.
Professor van Hasselt decided to come up with the solution. In 2009, he reached out to Paul Lee, silicon valley veteran and entrepreneur.
Together they came up with an app that measures the user’s unique hearing and personalize sound on the phone to fit their ears.
This app was called ACE Hearing and it had received numerous awards, including:
- The Wall Street Journal Asian Innovation Awards, 2011
- The Talent Unleashed Awards 2014
- The Geneva World Innovation Day Awards, 2014
The technology behind the app had been tested in clinical trials and published in multiple peer-reviewed studies, with results seeing:
- 97% accuracy
- 95% reliability
- and an improvement in almost all participants’ audio experiences
But it’s still not good enough!
While the audio-tailoring technology is great, the app itself was not quite there yet for the true music lover.
For one thing, the app only works with music stored on your phone.
For another, most smartphones don’t have sound chips good enough to handle the level of audio tailoring needed by this technology, which limits the tailoring range and the quality of the output.
So Prof. van Hasselt, Paul and a team of engineers and audiologists put their heads together again.
After a lot of research and development, the result is a gadget that took music lovers by storm.
The Crowdfunded Gadget That Takes Audio Personalization To A Whole New Level
In June 2015, The Professor and Paul introduced Aumeo—the world’s first tailored audio device—to the world in a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.
Only 3000 were made for pre-orders.
They were promptly SOLD OUT.
The campaign itself raised over US$300,000 and was covered in a number of media outlets.
It was a proud day when we showed two judges (Richard Branson and Steve Wozniak) on the Talent Unleashed Awards panel what we achieved since winning the award:
The response was even more tremendous after the backers received the gadget.
The Tailored Sound That Made Grown Men Cry (And Let A 25-Year-Old Ex-Military DJ Enjoy Music Again)
Ever since the beginning of the campaign we have been receiving feedback from people who have tried our technology.
They range from scientists, DJs, sound engineers, audiophiles and music lovers.
More than once grown men have told us they have cried after hearing Aumeo’s effect.
They never imagined they could hear as if with new ears.
In one case we received an email from a 25-year-old ex-military DJ:
Many others have left happy comments on our social media channels after receiving Aumeo:
@aumeoaudio I just set up my Aumeo and it is awesome! How something so small can add to the sound experience is beyond me. Well done!— Chris Backous (@ChrisBackous) June 12, 2016
@aumeoaudio Got my Aumeo! Using it to overcome non-ideal listening environs since my hearing is good. Thanks for the great product!— Rich Reed (@celendis) June 7, 2016
These are real people who have bought Aumeo, astonished by what it can do for their listening experience.
Now This Astonishing Listening Experience Can Be Yours
Since delivering our first batch of Aumeos to our Indiegogo backers, we have made a few improvements and smoothed out some kinks based on their feedback.
The result is a better Aumeo headphones personalizer, all ready for your use and enjoyment.
Now we have to admit: it’s not perfect.
For one thing it doesn’t work with Bluetooth headphones. You HAVE to use wired headphones with a 3.5mm headphone jack for the output.
For another thing, the setup process requires an iPhone or Android phone. (Sorry Windows phone users, but Windows apps aren’t our expertise and we don’t want to risk Aumeo’s accuracy by making an app we have no business making.)
HOWEVER, for all the things Aumeo is meant to do, it does so spectacularly.
- Measuring your ears and creating your audio profile so you can see your ears’ unique performance
- Personalizing audio to your ears’ hearing so you can enjoy sound as if you are standing right in front of the concert
- Giving you a more comfortable listening experience as you no longer have to strain to hear the details
- Protect your ears from unnecessary volume damage as you can hear all the music at just the right volume, so you can enjoy sound clarity for a lifetime
There are also a number of things that aren’t really Aumeo’s main features, but you may enjoy nonetheless:
- Powering up your audio experience with Aumeo’s built-in headphone amplifier
- Using your favorite wired headphones with your iPhone 7 (even when it has no headphone jack!), as Aumeo can act as a wireless dongle
- Using Aumeo to take phone calls (this requires headphones with an inline mic) so you can hear the other side speak clearly
It’ll be one of the best things you can do for your ears.
Like the crowdfunding campaign, we only have a small batch of these made for quality assurance purposes. So you’d want to place your order now before we’re all out!