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Leonardo Drummond

Discussions of headphone design, and their designers

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This is probably not the appropriate topic as it's not a picture of my rig, but I didn't want to create a separate thread for this... and it's a picture of a headphone after all. What is you guys' opinion on this, aesthetics alone?

 

QEuyHwD.jpg

 

I'm a (soon to be) designer and this is my graduation project – the first prototype is going to be built soon. It's more of a mass market product rather than an audiophile oriented thing though, so take that as you will. 

Edited by Leonardo Drummond

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Aesthetics alone, I'd say it' a hit. Elegant and modern, yet tastefully restrained.

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I hope you don't fail because your design is too much like these (and others)

 

Marley%20Exodus%20Harvest%20(HEAD%20P%20

 

exodus3.png

 

 

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The arc shape had better magically match your head (width wise) or they could be horribly uncomfortable.  That's why most, including the very similar Marley shown above, tend to have a sub-band below the main arch.  Stax does this too.  Anyway, that's my 2¢.

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But designers don't really care if something works well, do they?

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Thanks a lot, swt61 :)

 

crappyjones, you have a point, having in mind how things are going nowadays ;D

 

Voltron, I might fail, but not for this reason :angel:  Professors are seriously liking it, my worry is not being able to finish the prototype on time. But this is a funny thing actually, because while I knew those headphones, at no point did they ever come to me as an inspiration. It's one of those things that make you realize you're not as original as you thought you would – they are indeed similar, and I probably thought about it subconsciously. The finished prototype should be more different though, as the proportions are very different. The cups on my design are about the size as those on a K550, so much much larger than the House of Marley headphones, and the headband shape might also be more dissimilar than similar. There's also the fact that some design clues on my idea steer much more towards an elegant and sophisticated product, while the HoM aim for a cool-raggae vibe. Add to that the different proportions and the end result probably won't be that similar – well, not much more than so many headphones resemble others anyway (SA5000-HD800 kind of thing).

 

Nate, it was modeled on a HD800 headband, and they should be quite flexible as well because of the wood. That said, I would much prefer a sub-assembly indeed, but unfortunately that wasn't possible. The thing is that my idea is actually a headphone-minispeakers hybrid. This is it on speaker mode (it's an oldish rendering though, so it doesn't show various small modifications that were done to it afterwards):

 

dNxaCA2.jpg

 

So the problem is that the headband acts as support in speaker mode, and this is a big restriction. First, I can't have a sub-assembly, and second, I had to think of a complex disassembly "system" – there are magnets on top that are responsible for a primary positioning of the two sides together and a metal band that sits beneath the left earpad and slides to the right on headphone mode to structure the whole thing. It has to be able to withstand outward pressure as this is what it will face on headphone mode, but it also has to be divisible easily enough. This is why it had to be a perfect arch – otherwise the sliding system wouldn't work with a strong band (and it needs to be strong otherwise it won't provided proper structuring. But then I guess quite a few headphones use a simple arch like headband (such as most Sennheisers, Audez'es and others), I guess the trick is that there needs to be enough padding and it has to be flexible.

 

mophsci, actually it's quite the opposite in proper design schools. On many of those, the subject is treated as a Human Science because our main job is to design things for people – solutions for issues that they face. So the focus are the people and their needs. Since the beginning of my course, I've had a lot of subjects about anthropology and the philosophy of design because of this. Looking good is, if not just a consequence (and we can go on and on about the philosophy of aesthetics here), not far from last in the list of priorities. This illustrates what I'm on about, it's the IDEO methodology for design, and what I've been using for quite a while. This is also a good reference. Design purely for looks is a very sad perversion of what it's really about, or what it can be about – one used by the industry to just push things to us endlessly, trying to convince us that we need new things. Victor Papanek is also a really prominent thinker on this, and says interesting stuff on Design for the Real World.

Edited by Leonardo Drummond

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Any wood that would be flexible enough for comfort in that application would definitely not last long.

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Well, it's a laminate, so it's incredibly strong as well as flexible :)

 

The comfort is also very dependent on the main mold used for the lamination process – whether it's too wide or too short on the lower portion.

Edited by Leonardo Drummond

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Best of luck on your future endeavors Leonardo! I like the design minus the wideness of the headband. Wide headbands remind me of helmets and helmets remind me of... but, I understand it also being used as a speaker stand so maybe necessary.

 

I really like the design itself, somewhat understated and elegant. 

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That really doesn't look like it will be very comfortable, and I cannot imagine the drivers that sound good as both headphones and speakers.

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Oh, a proper topic! Deeper scrutiny, though, I imagine.

 

And thank you very very much, Rob!

 

cetoole, it absolutely won't sound as good as a proper headphone driver neither as a proper portable speaker driver – it will always be a compromise. For my prototype I bought a Flips Audio headphone (which is crap BTW) to use its components, and it's all that I need for such an early prototype – especially since I'm not an engineer. But if I were to try and develop this project further, I'd probably try to go for a better compromise than what I found on the Flips. Still, this is the main reason why it's a mass market product rather than something targeted at the audiophile crowd. The necessity that many people have of having both a headphone and a portable speaker was the main motivation for this project – to many, the convenience of having one thing that can be used as both might well be more valuable than really good sound quality (unfortunately), so...

 

Oh, and what is it that makes you think it won't be comfortable? This is the type of feedback that really helps! :)

Edited by Leonardo Drummond

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It's been a long time, but since I posted this here (since then I've graduated and created a "startup", Kuba), I figured I'd share this with you guys - just for the sake of sharing, since it's specific for the Brazilian market for now. These are the Disco headphones, our first product! It's not related to my graduation project, but the design was inspired by it.

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