Boombotix Launches HYBRID Audio Headphones on Kickstarter


After two years in the making and about five years doodling on napkins, we’re finally dropping a headphone line. Even though Boombotix has always been about speakers, I still find myself using headphones frequently. There are some key limitations in headphones that I wanted to address. The problem with headphones is they inherently isolate users from their surroundings. It wasn’t until I was on a heli-ski trip in the Selkirk Mountains when I realized in-flight headsets pose the perfect solution. I thought: “what if we could hear the world around us without sacrificing our ability to communicate?”

This led us to the foundation of HybridAudio technology, a patent pending method to tune frequencies of the outside world, embedded into the hardware. With just a click of a button, Boombotix headphone listeners can immerse themselves in the sound of the world around them. And with another click, the user is again fully immersed in their source audio.

“The headphones provide studio level sound, and I can listen with them outside and move through the city without any worries” -Chris McKleroy, Boombotix.

The acoustics of the  headphone line has been studio tuned by leading audio experts, providing a robust sound across the frequency spectrum. The tuning of the head- phones is very flat, offering a balanced sound without overwhelming bass. Built for the active user, these Bluetooth headphones are drop-tested, water resistant, and foldable.

The Boombotix headphone line is broken down into three wireless models, the over-ear Master headphone, the on-ear Midi headphone, and the Micro wireless earbud. All three models are available through our Kickstarter campaign.

Apple supposedly working on self-adjusting, noise-cancelling ear buds

Technology would be a little more discrete than some of the other noise-cancelling headphones on the market nowadays

As much as we love the fact that our ultraportable speakers can be taken anywhere, there are some instances where you can’t fill a room with your favorite song. The library for instance. On a plane also. These places unfortunately require the use of headphones.


One of the industry standards is Apple’s earbud set. Small, clean, and simple, they don’t cost much nor do they require any sort of maintenance. Their only downfall, when compared to other popular sets like, say, Beats by Dre, is the fact that because they’re so tiny, they do allow some side noise in.


Apple is aware of this product’s shortcoming and is apparently getting ready to do something about it, having recently filed a patent application for a pair of headphones that adjust their output based on how they fit in a person’s ears.

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Turn an old SNES controller into headphones

YouTube user posts video of modifying SNES controller into cool looking headphones

Forget Beats by Dre – here’s a gnarly new set of headphones that’ll definitely get you noticed.

SNES headphones

Constructed by YouTube user lyberty5, these headphones actually come from an old SNES controller. He or she posted a pretty cool video on YouTube of the whole modification—check it out after the jump.

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Batteries not required – headphones draw power from ear cells

Breakthrough technology able to draw power from human tissue alone

Funny looking hearing aid

When it comes to breakthroughs, this is a big one — Harvard researchers have successfully powered an electrical hearing device that uses a natural electromechanical gradient in inner ear cells.

Translation — you may one day be able to listen to music from your smartphone device via battery-less, Bluetooth earbuds.

Mind blown burt from sesame street

Thinking beyond the entertainment factor, the group hopes that the technology will also be able to power technologies like brain implants or hearing aids.

The obvious question here is — how? Without getting too Bill Nye on you, the way it works is like this: nerve cells use the movement of positively charged sodium and potassium ions across a membrane to create a chemical gradient that drives neural signals. Hair cells in the cochlea use this gradient to convert the mechanical force of the vibrating eardrum into electrical signals that the brain can understand.

The researchers powered a device by tapping into this resource by attaching electrodes attached to both sides of a guinea pig’s cochlear hair cell membranes. Attached to the chip was a radio transmitter — after kick-starting the chip with radio waves, the device sustained the low-power transmitter for 5 hours.

The challenge they found was the fact that the amount of voltage they were able to get was, obviously, pretty tiny — just a fraction of what gets generated in a single AA battery. The next step is to develop an electronic chip that contains within it low-resistance electrodes capable of harnessing a small amount of electrical activity—oh, and to do it without damaging hearing.

In the meantime, we recommend everyone continue wearing their Bluetooth, Lithium-ion-powered portable speakers.

Jaybird versus Outdoor Technologies

Is there a better one or are they the same effing thing?

Jaybird and Outdoor Technologies bluetooth headphones

Lately I’ve spent a little time just checking out Bluetooth headphones.  The space is certainly interesting because obviously going wireless seems to be a natural progression from our traditional wired headphones.  Many audiophiles still prefer to use a wire just because it produces the most minimal loss.  However, Bluetooth has come a long way in bandwidth, cost, and signal stability since the Bluetooth 1.0 first came out.  The bit-rate has evolved in 2.0 and 2.1 to allow for pretty darn good audio transmission.  Some of the new standards allow for splitting of right and left channels as well so now you can have some pretty thumping stereo headphones while also having direct phone interfacing.  There is still some work to be done as most of these Bluetooth headphones are still just a tad bit lower in fidelity than a line-in connection, but no doubt there are hoards of engineers working on it.

Jaybird bluetooth headphones

So that catches us up on Bluetooth so lets look at a couple products that I recently came across.  Jaybird makes a sleek over-ear headphone with a sleek control interface on the earpiece and a flexible sport band over the top.  At $99, these come in a plethora of colors and according to Engadget:

these also ship with apt-X onboard, which is said to “clean up” your jams while adding depth, bass and treble, and if your BT device has apt-X (or if you use an apt-X enabling BT adapter), these guys can kick it up a notch further with “CD quality output.”


Outdoor technologies  bluetooth headphones

While that sounds all good and dandy, why don’t we take a look at Outdoor Technologies DJ Slim headphone retailing at $69.95.  I’d seen these headphones at a glance but after closer inspection, I realized that they are EXACTLY the same model as the Jaybird SB1s.  The only visible difference is that the buttons are SLIGHTLY different with a bit of a subtle diamond shape on them and the ear pads are a little bigger with sharper edges.  The Outdoor Technology model does not boast the apt-X CSR technology which may be a factor in the lower cost, but not confirmed.  We are going to look into this tech a little bit deeper to figure out which modules have it and which do not.  CSR makes a variety of bluetooth modules with varying costs, but Chinese manufacturers can easily swap out for cheaper modules with poor audio compression capabilities, shorter range, and buggy firmware.

Looking at this a bit deeper

OK so these headphones are basically the same thing… no big deal.  It is what it is.  When the X-Mini speakers came out, it was not long before a number of companies came out with Tweakerz, Rockerz, Chill Pills, Bass Balls and a bunch of other speakers that were pretty much the same.  iHome audio even copied the same design.  X-Mini still KILLS it because they have been recognized for being pretty consistent with quality while their copycats have mostly fallen into a price war.  They’re not the coolest brand in the game but they do sell a metric fuck-ton of speakers.

My next move…I look at some of the other products in the Jaybird and Outdoor Technologies portfolio.  They both have some Bluetooth earbuds called the Freedom and the Tag.  Low and behold, THOSE are the same too!!  WHAT?!

bluetooth earbuds Jaybird Freedom and Outdoor Technology Tag

Outdoor Technology Tag (left) and Jaybird Freedom (right)

I kind of felt betrayed because at first glance, I saw Outdoor Technologies doing something very similar to what Boombotix is doing as far as engineering products for active lifestyles and really tapping into the alternative community.  Their “about” section says:


Well let’s be real here… they did not really develop anything.  They slapped their brand name on an OEM design.

Why not rebrand oem products?

I’m not sure who was first to market or who was behind the design, but it raised a couple of questions in my mind.  My first thought was that these are just some OEM headphone that both companies slapped their brand on OR one company designed them and the other bought the same design through the backdoor of a Chinese factory and rebranded them.  This stuff happens all the time and many brands are guilty of doing it.  Why not?  It is an easy way to take a product to market with minimal effort in design.  New CE products can take well over a year to develop which is a lot of engineering and R&D expense.

Now let’s address the moral dilemma.  Every brand has different value propositions and this tends to drive the product portfolio.  The strongest brands typically offer a product or service that addresses a specific market need.  This is where brands showcase innovation to differentiate their product/service on the market.  When you pick up an iPhone or Macbook Air, you appreciate the attention to detail in engineering and design (well most of us do).  This drives a number of us to invest in Apple products at a premium price because we support WHY Apple does what they do; Engineer/design beautiful products with an intuitive interface.  As Simon Sinek says, “people don’t by WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.”  Inherently, you want Apple to keep delivery amazing products, so you continually upgrade to the next model over time.  You build a relationship with the brand and establish authentic brand loyalty that lasts.

Every time that you invest in a product that is a copied product, you are taking valuable dollars away from companies that are innovating and breaking new ground.

As the founder of a speaker company, I take a great deal of pride in the innovation my team brings to the table.  Sure, we slap our logo on dog tags and make stickers for swag, but we will NEVER just slap our logo on an OEM product and call it our own.  If we didn’t do something to improve what mankind has already laid out before us, then we probably shouldn’t bother trying to sell it.  If we had to sell toothpicks, you better believe we would find a way to innovate that toothpick for increased strength, more eco-friendly material selection, or some euphoric flavor that makes your toes curl.  Boombotix designs and engineers every one of our products from the ground up to adapt audio to life in motion.  That is our WHY.