Interesting blurb … thoughts more innovation for the sake of innovation or will we see (well hear) a better sound?
While wireless earbuds have transformed in terms of feature-set and designs over the last five years, what hasn’t fundamentally changed is the audio drivers they use. Whether it’s budget options that go for under $30 or the best wireless earbuds in the market today, they use the same moving coil drivers with magnets. Of course, the size of the driver and tuning makes a lot of the difference, but the underlying tech is broadly the same across the industry.
That’s set to change over the coming months with the introduction of solid-state silicon drivers. When you think of solid-state tech, what immediately that comes to mind is SSDs; these use silicon-based flash storage modules instead of mechanical drive platters, and are faster than regular HDDs by several magnitudes and much more reliable.
We’re about to see a similar transformation in the audio segment, thanks to xMEMS. The outfit just created a driver that does away with the coil and magnet system that’s been used for over a century, instead relying on a monolithic piezo drive that converts signals into sound. This design sees a silicon diaphragm being used for the speaker, with the piezo layer distributed evenly under the diaphragm surface.
Using a silicon diaphragm means much better stiffness, and because the design uses a voltage-driven system instead of the usual current-based mechanism used by coil and magnet drivers, you get a much faster impulse response. But the biggest differentiator for the true wireless category is that xMEMS’s silicon-based driver is considerably smaller than existing coil drivers, and that allows manufacturers to roll out sleeker designs or offer much better battery life.
Creative will be one of the first brands to use xMEMS’s solid-state silicon driver tech, with the brand set to roll out wireless earbuds featuring the driver sometime later in the year. Creative hasn’t shared much in the way of details, only stating that the upcoming earbuds will “deliver crystal-clear sound that reproduces every nuance of music and audio content with astounding accuracy. Users will get to enjoy a truly immersive and lifelike audio experience.”
As with any new paradigm shift, the upcoming wireless earbuds will likely be aimed at the enthusiast category. I’ll have more to share once the product is closer to launch, but if you’re interested in wireless earbuds, know that things are about to get very exciting.