Kevin Oh has announced the debut of Axel’s stylishly designed, premium modular headphones, which will be available for pre-order via Kickstarter donation starting April 28, and begin shipping this summer.
“As of today, music lovers no longer have to compromise their unique identities as listeners in order to enjoy the transformative experience of their favorite music through premium analog headphones,” says Oh.
Axel’s headphones have fully interchangeable modular components (speaker units, headband, headband inserts and cable.) Axel aims to simplify the normally daunting headphone-buying process by offering a menu of components from which the customer selects to create their ideal headphones. The menu includes a choice of 3 specifically engineered speaker units, dubbed Soundscapes (Core, Pure, and Deep) and 3 styles of headband inserts (“Classic “Waves” or “Spikes”). Backers can either select an on-ear headphone set (the “ID” line), priced at $150 or an over-ear headphone set (the “FX” line), priced at $180. The FX line will initially be available in black only, while the ID models will be available in either black or white.
The Soundscapes are the main attraction, especially since they target every kind of listener, as Oh explains “Oh elaborates: “As a very general overview, Soundscape Pure was designed with the ‘audio purist’ in mind, to create an intimate and detailed listening experience. Soundscape Deep is for the ‘bass heads’ with reverberating lows and full yet controlled power. Soundscape Core may be the most versatile, with smooth textures and a sweet mid-range. It’s great for rock.” He summarizes: “Our top priority is ensuring our customers end up with the Soundscape that makes their music sound best to them, and we’ll always be available to help guide the decision. Our message to users, which we express via our product, is: ‘Only you know for yourself how to listen, look, and feel.’”
To deepen the customized experience, Axel’s developers have created an app that analyze a user’s listening behaviors on Spotify and use music algorithms at The Echo Nest in order to create the ideal match between Soundscape and listener. The app with Spotify further simplifies the selection process.
“The Soundscapes are like mirrors – reflections of real user preferences, not ours,” elaborates Oh. “As music fanatics ourselves, we’re tired of audio hardware that seems to be telling or implying to us how we ‘should’ want the music to sound. With Axel Headphones we want to forgo our sense of control as manufacturers, and return that control back to our users. We want them to define the experience. ”
With this initial product, Axel intends to bridge the gap between flashy “style-over-sound” headphone newcomers and long-running pro audio brands—whose massive selections, lack of customizability, and technical jargon can make the selection process confusing and ultimately disappointing for non-professionals.
Backers can select headphones with on-ear headsets (the “ID” line), priced at $150 USD or headphones with over-ear headsets (the “FX” line), priced at $180 USD. The FX line will initially be available in black only, while the ID models will be available in either black or white. Backers can choose from a menu of 3 speaker units dubbed “Soundscapes” according to their listening preferences (Soundscape “Pure” “Deep” or “Core). The headphones come with a classic headband insert, a red “Spikes” headband insert and an exclusive limited edition glow-in-the-dark green headband insert just for Kickstarter backers.
Axel seeks to raise $180,000 on Kickstarter. The primary use of the funds will be to obtain the headphones’ “tooling”, which refers to the intricate, one-of-a-kind molds and other equipment required to precisely manufacture the technological components. Kickstarter backers will receive a standard “Classic” headset, a “Spikes” headset and an additional “Waves” headband for free with their donation/pre-order.
More information: Axel Audio