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The flagship Flare Audio Ears are in the laser

Other than squeezing through multiple drivers and cutting the cord once you take off the Bluetooth, the earbuds haven’t changed much since the rough days of the original Sony Walkman. Flare Audio is looking to change that, by treating sound waves somewhat like light. Flare Ears aim to eliminate distortion by sending sound directly to your eardrum, rather than reverberating around your ear canals.

Each ear is different, with all sorts of bends and curves between Bangin’ Tones and eardrums. UK-based Flare Audio has created a periscope-style design that goes above and beyond, using reflections to deliver sound without any of the natural distortion you get from competing earphones.

The company has demoed the technology with proof-of-concept E-Prototype earphones, claiming the sound quality is superior to professional in-ear monitors that cost thousands of pounds. Now it’s heading into the mainstream with a range of wallet-friendly models that will start at £50.

The range starts with the wired Ears Everyday, progressing to the Bluetooth-enabled Ears Active system. They’re a neckband-style pair with an inline remote that’s good for 13 hours of playback and detachable MMCX connectors, should you want to connect the earphones with a different cable.

There’s also a recording edition, which the company says provides “a reliable reference for producers and engineers,” and a top-notch superior version. Both have machined aircraft-grade aluminum driver enclosures, 10mm beryllium drivers, and MMXC quick-connect fittings. Each comes with interchangeable 3.5mm and neckband Bluetooth cables, and includes a silicone headband to wear like a traditional pair of over-the-ear headphones. The latter also includes a 2.5mm balanced cable, and should set you back around £300.

The customization options are extensive, with a range of removable and wrap-around bumpers to color-code up to 23,000 possible combinations.

Having smashed its crowdfunding goal within four hours, Collection Ears is slated to go into production soon. It’s available on Flare Audio’s Indiegogo page now, with an estimated delivery date of June 2023 for early backers. Those who don’t want to wait can get a 20% discount on an E-Prototype that’s ready to ship now.