Cleer Audio has been selling its products in the UK for just under a year, and its upcoming product is quite unlike any we’ve seen from the audio brand thus far. Called The Arc, it is a pair of headphones with an open-ear design. Yes, these are headphones that don’t cover or burrow inside your ear at all. Instead, these rather odd-looking pair of “open-ears” offer a personal audio experience, so whoever is wearing it can hear both the noises around them and what they’re listening to.
It’s an interesting take on the ambient pass-through that we’re seeing (and hearing) a lot of headphones do in recent years. This one is perhaps one of the more interesting designs yet, with the drivers directionally firing audio back into the ear, apparently able to offer “full-range sound without enclosure”.
“As a company of music lovers, audio quality is always a top concern. While we wanted to have an offering for the growing market of consumers seeking an open ear option, we felt strongly that we did not want to go with a bone-conduction option, knowing the lower quality that’s achievable. Instead, we worked to perfect our beamforming directional sound technology, keeping a wide frequency range and proper staging for the best possible audio experience for the wearer,” says Patrick Huang, CEO of Cleer Audio.
This, Cleer claims, ensures that you can listen to your favorite music while also taking in the sounds around you, and according to Cleer would be favorable for those who wear hearing aids and those who dislike the feel in-ears generate or the discomfort of some over/on-ears.
With Bluetooth 5.0, Google Assistant and Google Fast Pair 2.0, the Arc features the latest in wireless technology. Cleer’s decision on the design was intended as a move away from the bone conduction approach other brands have pursued, with Cleer finding bone conduction offered poorer audio quality. Instead, with the beamforming directional tech, they hope The Arc will retain a wider frequency range and proper staging for a better audio experience.
Pricing and Availability
The Arc will be available for $129.99 (UK around £129.99, TBC) in April 2020 at cleeraudio.com, authorized retailers as well as Amazon.com. You may also find Goal at CES, January 7-10 at booth 16720, Central Hall.