Nakamichi's new Edge wireless headphones claim to use AI for better, safer sound

Artificial intelligence seems to be just about everywhere these days, from your kitchen to your baby’s nursery. Now, audio company Nakamichi wants to bring AI to your headphones. Meet the Edge Wireless Headphones, a new Indiegogo project that claims to use artificial intelligence to create a new kind of headphone experience.

If the notion of AI in headphones seems a bit foreign, don’t worry — you’re not the only one to think so. But according to Nakamichi, AI elevates sound content in a series of steps. First, the headphones are said to examine audio input for its frequencies, volume levels, and timbre. Then, the technology aggregates audio elements to enhance clarity, depth, and spaciousness of sound. Finally, the Edge outputs this so-called elevated version of your content, with the company promising “new and unheard-of details in your music.”

Basically, this sounds less like artificial intelligence and more like a form of DSP, or digital signal processing, which is used in plenty of audio devices, including headphones, Bluetooth speakers, and soundbars to enhance audio performance. While you might be skeptical about the effectiveness of Nakamichi’s aggregating technology — or whether or not the sound will be overly processed — Nakamichi also claims the Edge headphones include patented “distortion-free” drivers. According to the company’s own research, the drivers have displayed up to three times less total harmonic distortion when compared to market-leading high performance drivers, though the brand does not disclose which drivers its product was measured against.

But perhaps the most impressive aspect of the Edge headphones, should it actually work, is the Smart Listening Guardian. This feature claims to be the first of its kind, and will tell users when their music is at a dangerous volume, potentially preventing hearing loss. The team says that the Edge headphones can use either a decibel warning alert or an automatic volume adjustment, as customized by the user.

As always, we caution users about any crowdfunding project, though the fact that this is from a known brand makes it a much safer bet. Tech companies often use crowdfunding sites like Indiegogo less to raise revenue than to raise awareness about their latest project.

As it stands, the plethora of impressive features Nakamichi claims its Edge headphones will boast has garnered the product quite an impressive Indiegogo following. With a week left in its campaign, the Edge headphones have already raised over $140,000, or more than 700 percent the original goal. Available in three colors (black, red, or blue), the headphones come with a protective hard carrying case, audio, and power cables. The first 2700 units  are slated to begin shipping in August, and can be preordered for $189.


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