CES 2011: Sonomax Sculpted Eers Headphones Review

by Reads (7,523)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Software & Support
    • 7
    • Upgrade Capabilities
    • 7
    • Usability
    • 10
    • Design
    • 10
    • Performance
    • 7
    • Features
    • 8
    • Total Score:
    • 8.17
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Overview

  • Pros

    • Comfortable
    • Long cord (but not too long)
    • Convenient (4 minutes!)

     

  • Cons

    • Large packaging
    • Cord tangles into ear supports

     

Quick Take

Custom-fit headphones in four minutes flat that are hard to beat.


CES is often touted as the place to find the latest and greatest tech, whether it’s computers, cell phones, televisions or…headphones.  Headphones? Headphones. In fact, after experiencing Sonomax/Soundcage’s new “sculpted eers” earphones, we’re ready to say it was the coolest product at the entire show. Read on to find out why.

Specifications:

  • Weight: 0.53 oz (can vary depending on how much silicone is used to make the IEMs)
  • Length: 50-inch kink-resistant cable
  • Connector: ?? in (3.5mm)
  • Impedance: 30 ohms
  • Max output: ~105 dB SPL

Sonomax Soundcage Sculpted Eers

The sculpted eers will be available in two different configurations: the first is a one-driver configuration like the pair covered in this review, the second uses a two-driver configuration to boost audio quality. One-driver eers will be available for $199 while the audiophile-oriented two-driver option will retail for $299.

Custom fit – without the custom price
At the heart of Soundcage’s sculpted eers experience is Sonomax’s custom fit technology.  Sonomax (d.b.a. Soundcage), located in Montreal, is marketing the sculpted eers directly to consumers as a stopgap measure – ultimately they hope to license the IP behind the technology to more traditional headphone manufacturers.

Sonomax Soundcage Sculpted Eers Sonomax Soundcage Sculpted Eers

What that means is that one day Bose or Shure could produce a line of headphones that combine the custom nature of the sculpted eers with the audio quality behind their own proprietary drivers.

Using an inflatable skin and a couple of tanks of silicone gel, an earpiece is snugly inserted into each ear. When a switch is flipped, silicone is pushed into the mold, expanding it and pressing it into the ear canal. The Sonomax folks love to tell people that it sounds like someone opened a beer right next to your ears.  That’s not quite true, but it gives a reasonable approximation of the experience. 

Sonomax Soundcage Sculpted Eers Sonomax Soundcage Sculpted Eers

Since it’s still soft, the silicone conforms to the shape of the ear – meaning that the earphones will be individually-shaped for each customer.

The molds are left in for four minutes; as sound is damped out, customers are advised to refrain from speaking to make sure the fit is correct.

Once the four minute time limit is reached, the modules can be pulled out and wiped off.  A backing is then applied to each earpiece – the phones are pre-attached to ear mounts and requisite wiring.

Sonomax Soundcage Sculpted Eers
Nick Laperle, President/CEO of Sonomax, discusses the
technology behind sculpted eers.

When a consumer buys the sculpted eers, they get an elegant grey box that unfolds to reveal the earphones – pre-connected to a chunky black headset. Don’t fear; the headset is just a temporary artifact of the custom-fit technology.


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