The blue-sky lab at Sonneteer, hidden in the darkest suburbs of Guildford has once again taken high end audio research in an unexpected and curious direction. The audio pioneers who recently came up with The Bard’s Headspace, a £15 gadget, that makes headphones sound like loudspeakers, are better known for their high-end audio separates (Stereo amplifiers, CD players and what not). Recently though they have been waxing lyrical about something quite eary! It has always been assumed that audiophiles have a special ear akin to perfect pitch that some musicians have. Well now they have found a way of measuring what they are calling your sound DNA. By simply taking a small sample of earwax, placing it in a sterile container and posting it off, in a matter of days we can identify our own, unique, Sound DNA.
As much as we know that walls can record the sounds they hear and often feedback sounds they have ‘witnessed’ over the centuries as well we now know (according to the very clever scientists at Sonneteer- they have lots of letter by their names) that the wax in your ears adapts to your listening habits over time. Cerumen or ear wax as it is commonly known is there to protect the ear. It also acts as an acoustic cushion. As we listen to sounds over our lifetime our brain learns how to best produce a wax that allows us to interpret sounds best. This tends to settle when we are in our mid-thirties.
Sonneteer, known by their slightly bent, shadow of a tuning fork logo, depicting their, slightly off the expected beat, approach to audio research and development have cheekily named their discovery the ‘Fork off waxy Helixonator’. Yes, it doesn’t sound like even they are taking it too seriously, but who knows? Maybe those in search of audio nirvana have been approaching things in the wrong way all along?
Sonneteer have been known for a number of off the beaten track approaches to audio product over the last 25 or so years. Directions of travel seemingly odd at the time were soon paved motorways full of traffic. Their approach was different from the start. It was subtle, but even the very first Campion amplifier with its full dial volume control didn’t just play the game differently but took it to a different pitch. In this case High quality audio at its highest quality no longer had to be loud. Over the years since they trail blazed the digital high-end audio amplifier, uncompressed wireless audio (who remembers the Bard Wireless system from the early noughties?) audio streaming and of course the aforementioned Bard’s Headspace. All product ‘genre’ that seem quite normal now, but were virtually unknown at the time. By that token we expect a time when everyone will know their Sound DNA and product will adapt to them giving them their own, personal sound experience.
Reporting from Sonneteer Sound laboratory, deep in the Surrey Hills.
Sonneteer was founded in Kingston upon Thames in 1994 by Remo Casadei and Haider Bahrani, who met as students of Electronics Systems Design Engineering in the late 1980’s. Haider played guitar and Remo played Vinyl (mostly ZZ-Top) and both lovers of everything sound. Follow @Sonneteerhifi on twitter and www.sonneteer.com