We began designing the HeadRoom Cosmic headphone over three years ago naively thinking we could simply do everything ourselves. After purchasing an Afinia 3D printer, we immediately got to work on our first prototypes using dynamic driver transducers.
It's always critical to have an objective outside evaluation. During a trip to the RMAF event in Denver, we had our first prototypes measured by the expert folks at Audio Precision. Results showed our headphone was functioning but we had a lot of work to do. It quickly became apparent a dynamic driver design was not going to meet our needs.
As we researched various sources for super high-quality planar magnetic drivers, we knew we also had to work on our Industrial Design as well as the sound. These are the very first sketches we generated from our initial round of cosmetic concept & design.
After numerous revisions we settled on the general design conception below and began building a whole bunch of prototypes. Next, we traveled to our selected planar driver manufacturer to begin work validating the audio design and solidity of the preliminary mechanical engineering. We also started the initial acoustic tuning process.
We made several different sets of HeadRoom Audio Cosmic headphone prototypes. In the process of tuning the acoustics, we realized we had a bit too much air volume in the ear cup since our original prototypes were conceived for a dynamic driver installation. So we carefully lined the cups with a putty material to take up volume and ended up with a great sounding headphone. The downside was it was bulky and heavy.
We were able to pull all the big home run hitters from our vast collection of high-end headphones to put the HeadRoom Cosmic prototype to the audio comparison test. We were very pleasantly surprised at the acoustic performance but we decided it still had a little room for improvement. Yes, the sound was extremely promising but we all felt far from finished.
Once we determined we could physically make the headphone much slimmer, we cut off the back of the earcup, covered it with an acrylic material for the time being, and dove right back into tuning iterations. After evaluating and vouching our new earpiece cup dimensions, we printed up yet another new prototype and continued with more tuning.
Our second fully functional '3D' Cosmic headphone prototype offered a significant improvement in sound quality but now we needed to go back to the drawing board for additional rounds of fresh Industrial Design. In any event, we were really curious to see how it scientifically measured up to the competition.
Mr.Tyll Hertsens, the Grandaddy of the Headphone Hobby, and our original company founder listens to our Cosmic headphone prototype. Tyll says they've got a really good overall tonal balance, perhaps a little splashy sounding in parts, but other than that, the Cosmic is already better than many others. Obviously, we were elated to hear his expert feedback.
We choose this from eight different options for our second round of Industrial Design. It's definitely getting closer but we still have many refinements left to do. But we're pretty happy with our progress thus far. Now, back to work on lots more tuning and mechanical engineering updates.
After finalizing our next round of Industrial Design, we resumed prototyping. This time, we machined our ear cups out of acrylic. The 3D printed cups just weren't solid enough to allows us to move further along in the design process. The acrylic prototype proved to be a worthy effort as the sound became something that was vaguely close to what we heard in our heads. However, we still believed we had a bit of room for improvement. It was obvious we'd have to make our next proto out of real metal and tonewood before we could continue with serious acoustic tuning.
We decided on yet another round of independent third party evaluation just to make sure we're not completely fooling ourselves. Our team wound up pretty darn happy with the initial audio performance specs but we looked forward to producing 'real ' working prototypes made of our actual materials in order to further improve and refine the Cosmic headphone sound.
The metal headband prototypes are coming along quite nicely. Soon we'll have all the many various little bits and pieces to assemble our first fully functional HeadRoom Cosmic planar magnetic headphone. Hooray!
Using a locally-built desktop 5-axis CNC machine from the awesome folks over at Pocket NC, we were finally able to build our first real metal and wood prototypes. This was a very exciting moment for us but we actually only had one ear cup at this point.
And finally, our first full pair of real wood and aluminum ear cups. If you look closely, you can see the first coat of sealant still drying. We just couldn't wait to see what they would look like. The second coat is being applied as we write this!
Rest assured, it's been your amazingly steadfast and fervent support that got us this far. We are humbled and grateful beyond words. Thank You, Friends!
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