Tech startup Soundsight will unveil a limited run of its video-recording headphones this month, well in advance of the pre-order run set for a pre-Christmas release, Twice reports. The Bluetooth-enabled headphones are able to simultaneously record audio and video with the help of a rotating, 5-megapixel camera that sits on one of the ear cups. The company describes them as a Beats-meets-Instagram-meets-GoPro, and they aren’t far off.
The Android- and iOS-compatible Soundsight headphones can record 1080p video at 30 FPS and 720p at 60 FPS . The cans handle audio with six on-board microphones. Either program your pair to respond to your voice, or simply tap the respective ear cup to begin recording. Users can also capture both normal and HDR still images, and are capable of holding roughly 30 minutes of video thanks to 16GB of onboard storage, though video is automatically transferred via Bluetooth to the corresponding smartphone (if paired) for storage immediately after recording. The cans ship with two 3.5-mm audio cables – one coiled, one straight – a USB audio cable, an AC adapter (MicroUSB), and travel case.
Users will be able to record video for four hours via the built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery – after this battery dies, the headphones revert to the usual wired listening mode for non-battery use. Tunes are pumped through 52-mm (read: huge) drivers with a frequency response range of 16Hz-20kHz. Along with the headphones comes free access to an app called “Clip&Mix” that lets users cut a section from a song and pair it with video. The app can also match video color to music notes through a “ColorTune” feature. Extra video/audio editing features will be available via a premium version of the app for $5 per year, according to Twice’s coverage.
Soundsight’s idea isn’t particularly earthshaking – after all, the Google Glass project has taken off to both boos and cheers, the beloved cam for your dome – GoPro – has gone public and doubled up for 3D recordings with the Dual Hero, and Oculus’ entry onto the scene has spurred all sorts of applications both predictable and bizarre (one Poland-based group came up with a rig for recording from a video game-esque third-person angle). All of these moves are undeniably part of the ongoing urge to emulate, simulate, and/or recreate the human sensory experience. But, with its simple fusion of sight and sound, the aptly named Soundsight is on to something here.
Increasing amounts of unorthodox features are cropping up on headphone spec lists across the board. Take the Wearhaus Arc ‘phones, for example – any two people wearing the cans, even if they’re complete strangers, can tune into what the other party is currently listening to, creating a kind of impromptu “silent disco”-style experience. Throwing a camera in, however, is something we haven’t seen yet. And while we admittedly find the prospect of crafting first-person, off-the-cuff music videos to be intriguing, being able to capture a series of moments seems much more compelling. And perhaps the coolest potential implementation for these guys? Soundsight claims users will be able to allow friends to connect and tune in to their headsets for a live stream that includes whatever the user is seeing, along with audio from a pre-chosen song or recording.
But check back in a few years – that’s when you’re likely to see the real fruits of these innovative labors of perspective. For now, you can pre-order a pair of the Soundsight cans in Onyx or Titanium designs for $350 and still get it before Christmas – significantly less than the $500 price point set for its fall 2015 release.
Soundsight encourages third-party developers to use its contact form to sign up for the software development kit.