September 3, 2023

These Earbuds Could Change the Way We Listen to Live Music

What if you could control the way you listen to live music? The technology to do that is apparently nearly here. Doppler Labs has created a pair of wireless Bluetooth earbuds called Here Active Listening that, when paired up with a smartphone app, allows you manipulate the sound around you. It includes volume control, EQ, stylized effects, and music filters.

The idea is the minimalize some frequencies while amplifying others, and while Meghan Neal at Vice Motherboard admits that “the technology isn’t quite sophisticated enough yet to cherry-pick what sounds you want to block”, she said “the personalized volume control and EQ were so handy”.

However, Neal and Motherboard’s former deputy editor Sean Yeaton point out a slight set back with the idea of the technology. It’s aimed at live music and while the volume control would be handy at a crowded festival, stuck far from the stage, and want to hear the band better, but that giving the sound different effects takes away from the authenticity of the experience. Especially when many bands go to the trouble of making sure their sound is exactly the way they want it at concerts.

Noah Kraft, CEO of Doppler Labs disagrees and said that many musicians like the idea of the ear buds. On the other hand, the company is avoiding adding technology to manipulate music out of respect to producers’ hard work. Their end goal, however, is to make a product for daily life and to continue adding additional features, such as real-time voice translation. The technology isn’t quite there yet, but Kraft believes it isn’t too far off in the future.

The current model aimed at enhancing live music, set to be commercially available this year, sold around 1000 preview units to people attending Coachella to test out the buds. The product has gained a fair amount of traction and the waitlist has about 80,000 people wanting to buy the Here buds.

The technology sounds cool and Meghan Neal pointed out some definite benefits, even if there are some concerns about the authenticity of experiencing live music while using the Here buds. With tech advancing at such a quick pace right now, who knows how soon Doppler Labs will reach their end goal.

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