ORA GrapheneQ - The world's first Graphene driver headphone
Jul 12, 2017 at 11:51 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 1,261

AlwaysForward

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Might as well start a thread since I imagine we'll be talking about these when they launch. I did quite a bit of reading on them and am an early tech adopter type so these are a project that really piqued my interest.

Relevant Links
Official website:
https://www.ora-sound.com/

Kickstarter Page:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/413314819/ora-the-worlds-first-graphene-headphones/description


They're doing a listen event at a hifi audio retailer in Canada and hopefully if any head-fiers are local, they can post impressions. Here's the event:
https://www.facebook.com/events/104067066919036/?acontext={"ref":"3","ref_newsfeed_story_type":"regular","feed_story_type":"117","action_history":"null"}

A few non-obvious things that I learned from their Facebook Live Q&A and the comments section in their Kickstarter that make me quite excited:
- The response curve they're tuning is based on Sean Olive's research, he invented the Harmon Curve.
- The GrapheneQ material isn't PURE graphene but is 95% graphene in a laminate structure, bonded by oxegen and a few other elements, which helps with lightweight speaker membrane design in terms of shape/tuning while retaining graphene's properties of being light/strong.
- They're designing everything to be user fixable/replaceable with standard parts. All screws. No epoxy/glue. No proprietary battery. When the battery dies, just need a screwdriver and off the shelf battery.
- The USB-C port has Audio Passthrough and uses the onboard DAC/AMP for future proofing mobile high fidelity. It's compatible with lightning to usb-c cable.
- The amp is 320mw! For context, the Blue MoFi is 270mw which powers a larger and less efficient driver.
- They reached their funding goal and are now going to include BT5.0 and Aptx-HD in the final product


Anyway, it could be fun to talk about something new!
 
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Jul 13, 2017 at 12:31 AM Post #3 of 1,261

gr8soundz

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These look intriguing. Always good to see new drivers/materials. Not a fan of touch controls but at least it's reached enough funding to add apt-x HD. Should be interesting if/when the headphones are available next year.
 
Jul 13, 2017 at 12:50 AM Post #4 of 1,261

AlwaysForward

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These look intriguing. Always good to see new drivers/materials. Not a fan of touch controls but at least it's reached enough funding to add apt-x HD. Should be interesting if/when the headphones are available next year.

Yeah it's definitely interesting new tech. I can imagine some prefer buttons but I feel like we're all pretty used to capacitive touch these days. Tap, double tap and spin seem like pretty easy/reasonable options. That said, they could end up implementing it in a way that winds up like the MDR-1000X where sometimes you have to try a few times before you get the hang of it.
 
Jul 13, 2017 at 2:10 AM Post #5 of 1,261

ahmadfaizadnan

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new technology is always welcome but not sure if it suits our taste in music. So, I am gonna wait for the ORA's review before thinking of buying.
 
Jul 15, 2017 at 11:28 PM Post #10 of 1,261

AlwaysForward

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Interesting. So I get the feeling this headphone is mostly a large scale proof of concept to them. Based on everything I've read/heard, I get the feeling they could wind up being the best wireless headphones on the market when they hit and likely punch well above their price for SQ when wired. I would think that if they're scaling up a manufacturing process for several thousand headphones that they'll wind up with a process streamlined enough that it would make sense to keep selling them while focusing on their OEM business. Based on that interview, if the OEM thing takes off, they might just drop the headphone line of business and focus on that. The speed of scaling their business with large scale licensing across many product verticals just makes way more sense to invest their time in, if it's successful. There's also practically no overhead in that model of business.
 
Jul 16, 2017 at 2:58 AM Post #11 of 1,261

Midgetguy

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Interesting. So I get the feeling this headphone is mostly a large scale proof of concept to them. Based on everything I've read/heard, I get the feeling they could wind up being the best wireless headphones on the market when they hit and likely punch well above their price for SQ when wired. I would think that if they're scaling up a manufacturing process for several thousand headphones that they'll wind up with a process streamlined enough that it would make sense to keep selling them while focusing on their OEM business. Based on that interview, if the OEM thing takes off, they might just drop the headphone line of business and focus on that. The speed of scaling their business with large scale licensing across many product verticals just makes way more sense to invest their time in, if it's successful. There's also practically no overhead in that model of business.
Yeah, I get the idea of using this as a proof of concept for their materials manufacturing of their centerpiece, which is actually GrapheneQ, not the headphone. But at the same time, I feel like it would be a good idea to actually continue down the headphone/audio line if this headphone ends up as good as we all hope it does. There are some really high profit margins in the headphone business when you do it right.
 
Jul 16, 2017 at 3:56 AM Post #12 of 1,261

AlwaysForward

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Yeah, I get the idea of using this as a proof of concept for their materials manufacturing of their centerpiece, which is actually GrapheneQ, not the headphone. But at the same time, I feel like it would be a good idea to actually continue down the headphone/audio line if this headphone ends up as good as we all hope it does. There are some really high profit margins in the headphone business when you do it right.

Compared to OEM licenses across phones, speakers, headphones, TV's, computers etc?

Imagine getting a few bucks off of every Sennheiser, Shure and AKG that adopted the tech. They already have the consumer base. Heck, what if Beats was included in that? That's still small compared to what he's talking about in this interview. Imagine multiplying those few bucks across BIGGER product verticals and diverse ones at that. Like Hearing Aids and Cars, which he mentions have expressed interest. But I think just landing a deal to include it in Apple or Samsung alone would dwarf most headphone businesses.

If I were them, that would be my core business goal. Any first party audio products will be a passion/example play at that point. Like Microsoft Surface is with Windows or Google Pixel is with Android.

He mentioned the time scale being a critical factor. If they don't solve that, they may very well keep things in house and license to boutique partners. Either way I'm expecting this driver to be available in other headphone brands we know and love at some point assuming they succeed.
 
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Jul 16, 2017 at 5:23 AM Post #13 of 1,261

Sordel

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I was pledged to this headphone for about three days and I can still see a lot of reasons to go for it. The technical measurements on these drivers are just sensationally good, and if they can translate that to the listening experience then these will be some of the best headphones on the market (at any price point.)

The problem for me is that I'm pledged to a couple of delayed Kickstarters and I just don't want to spend time in my week worrying about a third. After all, these guys seem to have no experience at all in headphone manufacturing and yet we're expecting them to hit it out of the park with their first swing.

But if these things deliver then they'll be high on my purchasing list, even at the higher, non-Kickstarter price.
 

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