Hefio Joins Forces with Genelec and IDA Audio to Advance Individual Calibration for Demanding Headphone Applications

November 28 2017, 04:00
Following the recent joint-venture announcement between Finnish HRTF modeling specialists IDA Audio and Genelec, another company from Finland now joins the effort to provide personal calibration on headphones. Finnish startup Hefio Oy, announced a strategic partnership with Genelec and IDA Audio to develop personal optimization for headphones.

Genelec, the world leader in professional audio monitors is exploring headphone applications for reference monitoring and supporting the efforts of other Finnish companies currently on the cutting edge of personal hearing technologies. With IDA Audio contributing with its ground-breaking HRTF technology and advanced hearing-scanning technique, the cooperation with Hefio, a pioneer in headphone calibration makes complete sense. 

The announcement was confirmed at Slush Music (http://music.slush.org), an event that brings music, technology, and entrepreneurship together, taking place in Helsinki, Finland, and attended by more than 2,500 international music industry professionals, and artists. This year’s theme for Slush Music derives from imagining the next steps for the music industry, and actually pushing things forward, and both Hefio and IDA Audio are participating companies pitching its technologies to the industry.

Hefio's foundation lies in the work around self-calibrating headphones, the focus of Marko Hiipakka's doctoral thesis, and the company CEO, together with Juha Backman, an industry veteran from Nokia and Microsoft. Since the company's foundation in 2014, Hefio launched the “Hefio Play” in-ear headphones, designed as a complete solution to address the fact that everyone’s ears are different, not only in shape but also acoustically, and knowing that headphones fail to take this into account.

The sound coloration caused by individual differences can be significant, and conventional headphone design cannot ensure that every user hears the sound exactly as intended. This problem is especially significant in Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality applications where sound must be individually optimized to create a truly immersive listening experience.

Despite significant efforts, reliable methods for automatic individualized calibration of headphones have not been found because there has been no way of knowing precisely the sound spectrum that is reproduced for a specific user. With Hefio's standalone self-calibrating headphones, the sound can be individually optimized for each user's unique ears.

Hefio has developed technology that solves this problem by equalizing the sound spectrum at the eardrum. Hefio’s standalone digital headphones, Hefio Play, measures the actual frequency response directly using microphones built into the headphones and calibrates the frequency response. Then it optimizes the sound by removing unwanted sound coloration and compensating for personal anatomic differences and, finally, by adding a desired pre-set, or “target response”. The measurement and compensation are entirely done in the signal processing unit of the headphone itself.

This is a great improvement for any music enthusiast, but the guaranteed frequency balance is especially important for audio professionals, who can rely on having the same listening experience every time they use the Hefio headphones. Hefio also claims its approach is the only one that produces a spectrum at the eardrum similar to when listening to a live sound source without headphones.

When Genelec and IDA Audio announced its pioneering cooperation in personal measurement of the head-related transfer function (HRTF), it was clear that Hefio could also offer an important contribution to a complete solution. Together, these three Finnish companies now form a world-class research alliance, with the ambition to discover and deliver the most realistic immersive audio experience for headphone users.
www.hefio.com | www.idaaudio.com | www.genelec.com
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