AirDrives: a revolution in headphone technology?

Clutching at thin air or air tight?
Clutching at thin air or air tight?

Mad Catz Interactive recently released its unique AirDrives in the UK. The headphones, which use patented InAir Technology developed by Ken Wright to transmit sound via the bone and tissue in the front of the ear, have been available in the US for over a year.

The AirDrives loop around the back of the ear for a secure fit, in case you want to dance around, with the sound being generated by Neodymium rare earth magnets that lie against the front part of the ear called the tragus. The advantage of all this is that the ear canal is left open to ambient sounds, which could help reduce the damage associated with traditional ear bud designs, may stop you getting run over at busy junctions and allow you to hear your ringing phone before everyone on the bus is staring at you.

The AirDrives are available in three designs at present, in a variety of colours. The standard AirDrives are acoustically housed in magnesium and retail at £49.99. The AirDrives for Kids (£39.99) drop the magnesium for cheaper materials and are specifically calibrated for more sensitive ears, while the AirDrives for iPhone (£59.99) include a microphone and one-touch music-to-phone capability.

All three designs offer a frequency range of 20-20,000 Hz, a sensitivity of 80 dB SPL at the inner ear and connect via a 3.5mm gold-plated stereo jack.

MusicRadar wonders if the headphones would be any good for recording or live work? The technology might help stop the ridiculous one headphone on, one headphone off, that plagues recording artists.