How the EarPods enable richer bass and crisper highs

By , Sep 13, 2012

Apple yesterday alongside the iPhone 5, new iPods and several other announcements also took the wraps off the EarPods, a new headset. Cupertino has finally refreshed its crappy in-ear headset with higher sound quality. Hopefully, the headphone is now shaped to prevent it from falling out of your ear.

The company spent three years designing the new headset and tested a total of 124 different prototypes of the EarPods on over six hundred people. You may have noticed three little holes poked in the EarPods, here’s what these do to improve sound quality…

Apple says the design of the EarPods is defined by the geometry of the ear. UK-born design head Jony Ive says in the EarPods promo clip that the new headset doesn’t create a seal the way in-ear headphones do.

“It’s part of a design to intentionally direct sound right into the ear canal”, Ive explains.

Evolver.fm writes that “the holes should obviate the need for the wraparound-the-outer-ear technique” due to ugly issues with “a thumping sound to your music every time the headphone cord slaps against your chest as you walk”.

Cult of Mac sheds even more light on the matter:

For most earphones, that seal creates a vacuum that impends the speaker diaphragms from making outward progress when they move back and forth.

Apple poked holes in the EarPods so that the vacuum is no longer there, giving the speaker diaphragms more mobility and better acoustic performance.

To optimize the acoustics, Apple has built in a series of ports on the EarPods, each with its own purpose, Ive explains.


“A port in the back tunes mid-range frequencies and provides a consistent listening experience from one person to the next.”


“To provide rich, powerful bass we’ve built ports into the stand that actually work in sympathy with the speaker”.


“By letting air flow in and out of the acoustic chamber they relieve pressure in and out of the speaker to move more freely, producing greater low-frequency sound”.

Summing up, the acoustic vents enable richer bass sound by getting rid of the vacuum which impends the tiny speaker diaphragms’ outward progress, they solve the thumping sound problem every time the headphone cord slaps against your chest and enable better Siri experience.

Apple acousticians, the company says, “re-engineered an earbud speaker diaphragm with both rigid and flexible materials to minimize sound loss and maximize sound output”.

Finally, because the EarPods don’t form an airtight seal (thereby preventing you to hear your own voice), making phone calls is more natural compared to most other in-ear buds that suffer from the vacuum problem.

As a side-note, Apple writes on the iPhone 5 page that 600 testers were asked to “run on treadmills in extreme heat and extreme cold”. They also “performed various cardio workouts” and were even “asked to shake their heads side to side, up and down”.

Summing up, here’s to hoping that the new headset finally – and once for all – solves concerns people have with Apple’s standard in-ear headphones.

Do you think the EarPods headphone is the right answer?

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  • http://www.facebook.com/paulfevo Paul Featherstone

    Now that’s wot I call headphones the other ones were poor :-/

  • http://twitter.com/lambo_man_r2 Ryan R.

    I ordered a pair, we’ll see how it goes.

  • Shadowlink

    I still dont think that would be enough bass for me :D

    • http://twitter.com/iPHONESandiPADS iPhone iPad

      Try Them first – you’ll see with out blowing out your ear drums!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jesse.matherly Jesse Matherly

    I love how apple acts like those “holes” are really revolutionary. Open back headphones are not new in any way shape or form. There are plenty of (yes, even in-ear headphones) that have holes in them to allow the diaphragm to move freely. Also, true in ear headphones that create a seal as they put it blocks out a lot more noise, which I like when I’m listening to music. That’s the same reason they make sound canceling headphones. These earbuds really aren’t new technology at all. Im glad they’ll be better than the last though. The last ones killed me to wear haha

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1342020151 Rohan BluJay Prabhu

      Yeah when I saw the unveiling I could’ve sworn bowers and wilkinson had a pair that do the same thing. (they do – the C5, albeit with one big hole instead of three vents)

  • http://twitter.com/lgasparjnr laszlo gaspar

    Finally they make the earphones right! The old ones are so rubbish in sound auality and bass. These will be like a breath of fresh air.

  • http://twitter.com/iFunked 0×01110010 

    They look good, I just hope they don’t break after a few weeks like regular apple earphones…

    • http://twitter.com/melovestoast Jared Floyd

      Ive had the same apple headphones as the ones i got with my iPhone 4 the first week the verizon one came out. and they still work. Ive washed, and dried them several times.. I was actually surprised. I went through 2 or 3 pair with my iPods..

  • smtp25

    Come on fanboi’s fess up!! All those he said when these were leaked last week “theres no ways theses are real”, people mentioned where the L & R were place on them and might rub off, fake and junk. Where are all those people now lol

    Lol and those that said there is no way the leaked iPhone 5 was real ?? And those he said TRUST ME the iphone 5 won’t be called the 5

    • Kok Hean

      Tim Cook: “We’re going to ‘double down’ on secrecy.”
      Me: Yeah, right…

  • ali_plus

    My question: are they sweat proof?

    • http://twitter.com/JayshonTweaks Jason Duong

      Do you sweat out of your ears or something?

      • Kok Hean

        Sweat that drips out from your head onto the ears. Yes, it’s possible to even sweat from the ears, but only the outside, I believe.

      • ali_plus

        @kok: Agree. Also went through Apple website and this is written in earpod description:
        “Greater protection from sweat and water”. So that explains most normal people do sweat their headphones durind workout.

      • ali_plus

        Have you ever worked out?

      • http://twitter.com/JayshonTweaks Jason Duong

        You didn’t specifically state that you were planning to workout with The headphones, so I assumed you meant sweat from a normal day-to-day basis.

    • http://twitter.com/iPHONESandiPADS iPhone iPad

      Yes

  • Steven Spray

    Nope. I suffer from tinnitus like symptoms when I use in-ear headphones or even Apples old standard ones. I prefer a headset which covers my whole ear, bluetooth ones!

  • http://twitter.com/iPHONESandiPADS iPhone iPad

    I bought these and they are INCREDIBLE and the FIT is perfect!
    You must at least try these before you knock them – I dare you to Compare them to other Brands and you’ll see whta i’m talking about!!