PlayStation bought elite hi-fi maestro Audeze, but its CEO says audiophiles needn’t worry
If you’ve been following the news about the new PlayStation earbuds and headset coming soon, you may have noticed that they feature some surprisingly audiophile sound technology, in the form of high-quality planar magnetic drivers.
We soon got a hint as to where this elite technology might come from, as it was announced that Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) – which is mainly made up of PlayStation and the in-house game developers who create the exclusive games – was in the process of acquiring the audio company Audeze.
Audeze is a specialist in planar magnetic technology and has used it to great effect in a range of over-ear and in-ear headphones, including the phenomenal Audeze Euclid. The company also makes gaming headsets, which are much cheaper than the music-focused ones but still use planar drivers.
This clearly caught SIE’s attention – because planar drivers have very little distortion and are very responsive, they are perfect for spatial audio, which is a key feature of the new PlayStation earbuds and headset.
But what does this mean for Audeze audiophile fans? Will a company that has received a ton of rave reviews for amazing wired headphones just disappear into the world of gaming? The original announcement was a bit vague about this, but Audeze CEO Sankar Thiagasamudram provided the following statement to TechRadar:
“Our company name will remain Audeze, and even under SIE ownership this will not impact our plans for products that support multiple platforms and technologies, including PC, Xbox or Dolby Atmos. In fact, SIE encourages us to expand this product offering, and you can expect us to continue to release new products for the audiophile, pro-audio and gaming markets in the future. This acquisition will only enhance our efforts and provide us with more opportunities in our target markets. Audeze will continue to operate independently as a separate business from SIE.
“It will be ‘business as usual’ for the press and our customers – sales, marketing, production and customer service will continue as normal. On the manufacturing and engineering side, you’ll see greater growth here. Current Audeze senior management will continue (co-founders Sankar and Drag will remain as will Mark), as will our existing sales and customer service staff.”
Can it get any better for audiophiles?
It certainly sounds like good news for hi-fi-loving Audeze fans hoping for more high-end launches from the company, although the really interesting outcome would be if Audeze can use SIE’s extra financial muscle to produce products at the same time. quality level, but at a lower price.
If planar drivers can make the $199 PlayStation Earbuds or the $149 PlayStation Headphones, maybe they can find their way into $299 earbuds to compete with the best wireless earbuds like the Sony WF-1000XM5 – or $299 wireless headphones to compete with like the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 4. Or even at the same prices but with wires, would still have a huge lead in affordability, and would without a doubt shake up the world of best wired headphones.
Or maybe it will just be business as usual, with $1,000+ headphones for the hardcore, $349 gaming headsets for serious gamers, and $199 PlayStation gear for the console loyalists. That would be fine too. It’s just good news that Audeze is here to stay.