Before I was ever designing audio amplifiers or any form of electronics for that matter, I was playing and recording music, guitar mainly. I have been writing song since I was about 16 years old. I’m not what I would call great at it, but it’s what keeps me sane and has been my main hobby ever since. It’s the hobby that brought me to stumble into audio electronics. It’s also brought me to try to solve a very simple problem that affects recording musicians and music listeners alike.
Back then, as I often do now, I did a lot of my recording and playing late in the evening and so headphones were a necessity. In the early years it was so I didn’t disturb my parents and brother as they got on with their own evenings. Today it’s so I don’t wake the children. Though recording equipment has come a long way since the late 1980s , monitoring through headphones, particularly when mixing down a track, had exactly the same problems as it does today. Simply put, they do not sound like monitoring through loudspeakers. Also any track mixed when monitored through headphones will not be accurately represented when playing back through a stereo loudspeaker set up. The opposite is also true. If a piece of music is recorded, monitored through a pair of speakers then playing it back through headphones simply does not represent the recording as intended. There have been technical solutions to this issue tried over the years. Some expensive and not quite satisfactory and others seem to just take away as much from the sound as they add. This is what brought me ultimately to what have called, The Bard’s Headspace.
It was one of those afternoons when I was actually trying to finish something else completely different, and as ever, I got a little distracted. I keep a guitar next to my desk which I pick up every now and then . It helps clear the mind (well that’s my excuse). I started playing with some stereo effects while strumming, I had my headphones on, I got distracted again and started looking up stereo and headphones online. It was bugging me. Well actually I just really didn’t want to do the other thing I was doing and no way was I hoovering my office. Anyway the long and the short of it is I got my calculator out and started playing with some calculations based on lots of ‘failed’ solutions I found on the internet and realising that in no way could any of them work. I know I said the long and the short. Well this is getting quite long so I will cut to the short. I came up with something after reading on the original stereo invention. I made 6 or 7 different version mainly based on components I already had handy. Conceptually very simple, but it took a lot of graph plotting and listening tests, including handing out hand made potted versions to a lot of friends to try out and feedback, to come up with the final original version. The Bard’s Headspace version 1 was launched in November 2018.
The Bard’s Headspace makes your headphones sound like real loudspeakers. The main difference between using headphones and listening to loudspeakers is the physical space or air that is between you and the music coming from them. The Bard’s Headspace adds back most of what is lost in this space to give a more real, natural sound.
Most, if not all recorded sound is produced to be heard through stereo loudspeakers. The use of headphones is rarely considered in the recording process as the main way of listening and hence listening through them doesn’t give you the optimal experience. The Bard’s Headspace fixes that.
The real, natural sound that it produces also helps reduce listener fatigue. A common symptom of excessive headphone use.
Haider Bahrani is a Sonneteer founder.
The Bard’s Headspace£14.95