These new wireless earbuds not only let you play music, but also customize how the world sounds around you

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doppler female hero
Doppler

Doppler Labs has announced its
first mass-market product, called Here One, which combines Doppler’s
sound-morphing technology with wireless bluetooth earbuds.

Last summer,

Doppler Labs made
noise


in the tech
world by introducing earbuds that didn’t play music, but instead
customized the sounds that were coming from the world around you.
The pitch was that “Here” earbuds would let you turn the bass up
during a concert, or tune out the screeching of cars on the
street.

Doppler racked up a
100,000-person waitlist, a resoundingly successful Kickstarter
campaign, and $17 million in venture capital money. The company
then followed up with a product that
actually delivered
on the bulk of its promises, especially
the music functionality (though the automatic filters were still
a bit raw).

But there was still one main
problem: the buds felt more like a cool gadget you would use
occasionally rather than something you’d put on every day. Though
music lovers were the people initially blown away by the product,
the top things people actually used the Here buds for were the
following, according to CEO Noah Craft:

  1. Dealing with an open
    office.
  2. Commuting.
  3. Amplifying hearing.

These everyday uses weren’t the
buds’ strength when I tested them out, and Doppler seems to have
recognized this. Now the company is aiming at the everyday with
its Here One buds, which will cost $299 when they are released in
November.

The idea is to create a “1-stop”
product, Doppler CEO Noah Kraft tells Business Insider. Doppler
wants you to be able to listen to music, make calls, and so on,
all while being able to take in the sounds you want from the
outside world.


here one dopper
Doppler

Kraft touts a few key features
Here One will have that sets it apart from Doppler’s first
product and traditional bluetooth headphones.

The first is “adaptive
filtering,” meaning in plain English, the filters will be a lot
better and more specific, Kraft promises. They will be able to
target particular sounds “such as human speech, sirens, a crying
baby, a jet engine,” and so on, the company says. I haven’t yet
got a chance to test that element myself.

The second is “layered
listening,” which will let you blend whatever you are listening
to with the outside world. The example Kraft gives is being at a
baseball game and having commentary layered over the sounds of
the ball game. When the product initially ships, you won’t be
able to combine the adaptive filters with the sound blending, but
this is actually the prospect I’m most excited about. Imagine
walking around the city with filters set to zap out the sounds of
cars and clanging, while your earbuds blend some pleasant music
with the other sounds of the city. That would be a sublime
product – but we won’t be there yet at launch.

While the bluetooth earbuds
aspect is the biggest new feature for Doppler, Kraft says the
focus of Here One will still be on Doppler’s sound-changing
technology.

“Headphones are such a piece of
commodity tech,” Kraft says, though he adds that Doppler will not
skimp on the quality. They aren’t trying to reinvent the
bluetooth earbud, but rather, create an entirely new type of
device. Think of it more like Amazon’s Echo rather than a
bluetooth speaker.

That said, Doppler will still
have to deliver on the music quality, especially given the type
of early backers the company has attracted. And other companies
have had problems with wireless bluetooth earbuds. One common
issue is battery life. Kraft says the Here Ones will get five
hours (three to four when streaming audio), along with two
additional full charges in the carrying case. Again, we’ll have
to test them to confirm that.

If you’ve tried Doppler’s first
buds, the form factor of the Here Ones will not significantly
change, and will add just one millimeter to its size. Doppler
purposefully left extra room in the initial product, Kraft
says.

We’ll have to hold off judgment
until we get our hands on the prototype, but as of now, it seems
that Doppler is working to address many of our practical concerns
with its first product, while retaining the technology that
allowed the original Here buds to capture the imagination of
music lovers, including big-time backers like Hans Zimmer and
Tiesto.

You can preorder Here Ones
here.

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