There are plenty of options in audio these days, built with any number of applications and preferences in mind. An interesting product in the works right now seeks to expand the possibilities, offering a customizable and modular set of headphones, rather than a fixed configuration. Accomplished using additive manufacturing technologies and materials previously absent from the industry, this open hardware framework for high-end headphones could spell something new for audiophiles.
Coming soon to Crowd Supply, the LTA headphones project intends to produce two different models: a more compact version, LTA V1, and the full-sized LTA-V2. Both will be available as either fully-built custom products or as DIY kits. Fully-built headphones will be constructed to each individual customer’s specifications, and the owners will still be able to further personalize them after purchase. The DIY kits enable users to build their own headphones from the ground up, a first for the market, with only basic tools and skills. All the materials are intended to be durable enough to withstand being disassembled and reassembled multiple times, and documentation on recommended configurations is publicly available.
The customizable components include drivers, driver spacers, ear pads, grills, acoustic filters, printable inserts, filter frame components, and removable components that allow for aesthetic personalization, although exactly what is modifiable varies by the model. For the most part, any of the parts that you wish to replace will need to be purchased, but the headphones are compatible with a large variety of OEM or aftermarket options. The V2, in particular, is designed for compatibility with the full scope of 40-50 mm drivers on the market and allows owners to tune and modify the sound to their liking as a feature of the base design.
The LTA-V1 is a simpler model, functioning like other wired sets on the market with the added modularity and potential for aesthetic customization. They can be used without needing a headphone amplifier and should work well even plugged directly into a phone. The V2 model has a broader variety of customization options than the V1, being designed explicitly with DIY and modding in mind, although the base design elements still work to achieve a high-level product. In a product that accomplishes this without sacrificing durability, comfort, or audio quality, it opens the door in this sector for a more consumer-designed experience