In 2007, Klipsch introduced the X10s, the smallest in-ear monitors ever created. They are amazingly slight. The working end is about the size of a grain of rice, and with the silicone ear tip removed, you’d be forgiven for only looking at a wire.
But here in 2022, the wires are over and the amazing X10s continues to evolve. Klipsch and Ear Micro, a wearable technology company, used the X10s as the basis for their smallest ever pair of wireless earbuds, the T10 Bespoke, from Ear Micro that proudly features Klipsch sound. And at a very high price of $2,500 a pair (at least), they’re also some of the most expensive.
The Wired Original X10s are designed to fit deep inside your ears, and sit very close to your eardrums, so they can achieve maximum fidelity in part by being relatively quiet, which limits distortion. Nearly 15 years later, the T10s operate on the same basic sonic principles.
“If you put the T10 and X10 next to each other, you’ll discover that they’re exactly the same,” says Bear Clark, Ear Micro’s principal innovation instigator. They have the same acoustic package: sound tube, mouthpiece, precision balanced iron and acoustic gasket system. “But instead of the wire sticking out on its end, our computer was stuck on its side,” he says.
The result is sonic excellence plus first-class wireless earphone intelligence. T10 Ear computers support up to 24-bit/96kHz HD stream (if it’s coming from a device that can do without it). They have hybrid active noise cancellation. And despite their small size, each earbud has an impressive 9 hours of battery life. But as its name hints, the T10 has set its sights much higher in terms of computational capabilities.
Each earbud works like its own computer — minus the screen, of course. It is equipped with a dedicated processor, onboard memory and storage, as well as gyroscopes and accelerometers to detect head and even mouth gestures. It’s the set of capabilities that put the T10s further into the realm of augmented reality devices than your average pair of cans, Clark says. “The basic difference between Google Glass, which is a computer, and the T10, which is a computer, is Google Glass or Apple Glass for your eyes and this one for your ears,” says Clark.
To that end, the T10s are fully upgradeable and customizable, designed with internal components that can be replaced by anyone with standard tools and moderate electronics experience. “You can think of us as creating this structure,” says Clark. “Want more memory? Put a new memory card here. Do you want to put 5G here? Put the new circuit board in with 5G.” But perhaps most importantly, it means you’ll eventually be able to replace the battery—assuming Klipsch, Ear Micro, or anyone else still sells new batteries when you need them.
You can buy a pair of T10s for $2,500, but that price can double if you choose to customize your pair at checkout. “Part of the reason these things are $2,500 is because they’re made like a Swiss watch,” Clark explains. “One by one with foreign matter, under microscopes by a human being.”
And with prices like that, the T10s are squarely aimed at a very small, specific market. “We made this product for people who care a lot and whose affinity for a dollar bill is significantly reduced,” says Clark. “What they really care about is something excellent, one that gives them a sense of goosebumps and a pride of ownership, and a chance to be the first in the world to own something.”
You probably won’t see many T10s in the wild – they’re just too expensive. But Ear Micro and its software partner Bragi have designs on making “ear computing” an essential aspect of the next wave of augmented reality wearables. With ownership of a number of key patents, they’re poised to rule the space, popular or not.
Clark is unsurprisingly optimistic. “When I tell you that computing by ear is the way we’re all going to interact with the world, it’s not far fetched—jerks like me are leading that wave,” he says. “And so what you’re really talking about with a Klipsch product, or a T10 product, is a proof of concept. This is a product designed to teach the world that you can go beyond Apple AirPods.”
#mini #HiFi #earphones #future #wearables