Music is a very personal thing — from your choice of genres, artists and even equipment. Cost permitting, one would usually want the best audio equipment possible. Not everyone is an audiophile, however, and some would settle for just the stock earphones or headphones that come with their music player or smartphone. But for those who are more discerning, a good quality pair of earphones is necessary for quality listening while on the go.
Most earphones and headphones are mass-produced, however. Some would come with a variety of rubber plugs or foams, which can come in different sizes to at least approximate a good fit. But a new product by a startup called Normal goes beyond trial-and-error. The company is marketing custom headphones built through 3D printing. “Your Normals work only for you,” the company says. Normal actually measures the shape and size of a user’s ear through an iOS or Android app before printing out the accessory via 3D.
Measuring your ear is fairly straightforward. Once you have downloaded and installed the Normal app (Play Store link below), you will need to take an “ear capture” from within the app. You will need to set a quarter (a normal U.S. 25 cent denomination) against your sideburns for size reference.
Normal says each ear is different, so users will need to take an ear capture for both ears so that the company can print out perfectly-sized earphones for each side. “Ears are weird. Really weird,” says the FAQ.
Normals cost $199, which includes shipping and handling within the U.S. Users have the option of choosing a short cable (44.5 inches) or a long one (64 inches). Plugs and wires are gold-plated for best audio signal transmission, says the company. Earphones are printed and delivered within a 48-hour period, and the company says users can exchange or return these if unsatisfied.
As for the specs:
- Type: 14mm Neodymium Dynamic
- Sensitivity: 109 dB /mW
- Impedance: 32 Ohms
- Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 20 KHz
- Harmonic Distortion: <1%
- Earpiece to Remote: 340mm
- Total Length (standard): 1130mm
- Total Length (long): 1605mm
Size: L: 119 x W: 84 x H: 27mm
Is 3D printing the future of ultra-personal devices such as earphones? Tell us what you think at the comment section below.