The story behind Grasp & Dynamic's mixture of sound and design

Grasp & Dynamic’s newest headphones, the wi-fi over-ear MW60s, might have been introduced forward of CES, however that did not cease me from getting the story behind the wonderful aesthetics. I sat down with CEO Jonathan Levine to seek out out why design is so essential to him and what the outcomes are like whenever you aren’t prepared to compromise on supplies and sound high quality. By the top of our speak, I even received a touch of what we’ll see from the corporate in 2016.

For people who is probably not accustomed to Grasp & Dynamic, are you able to give a fast rundown of what you guys are all about?

We’re a New York-metropolis based mostly design-pushed premium audio firm that is new to the market, however making nice strides. We actually give attention to that mixture of nice design, luxurious supplies, superb craftsmanship and, in fact, we do not compromise with regards to the sound. Every thing is of equal significance, however we consider the mixture of three — supplies, consolation and efficiency — is absolutely what’s serving to the model differentiate itself in a considerably crowded market.

The corporate boasts that its headphones are designed for many years of use, might you clarify what meaning?

One of many movies we created for the MH40 exhibits individuals the manufacturing course of. We begin with cast aluminum. Individuals thought I used to be loopy to do and persevere, however I actually needed a sure weight and really feel, and, in fact, sturdiness. In a world the place every thing is designed to be out of date in a yr and changed, that is not how we need to strategy it and work together with our shopper. We would like one thing that lasts. They will exchange the earpads as they could put on or the cables as they could fray. These aren’t points that we now have, however they’re simply widespread put on and tear on merchandise. We would like shoppers to be ok with what they’re utilizing and get worth out of it.

In fact, we love having them displayed on our stand. We’re very pleased with it. I am all the time amazed once I acquired into an workplace of somebody who has my headphones they usually’re all the time proudly displayed Typically they’re on a shelf as an object of artwork and never truly getting used. In that case, I encourage them to get a second pair.

Let’s return to the replaceable elements, which isn’t one thing that is generally out there from different corporations. How does that improve the general expertise?

We do not cheat on something. If you take a look at our packaging, how every thing is laid out and the spherical leather-based field for the cables, individuals actually reply to that. The whole lot has a really tactile nature and it’s actually thought out. For my part, it needs to be seamless. In in the present day’s world, no matter enterprise you are in, you must ship one of the best expertise and one of the best answer you’ll be able to. That is essential to us, and I feel it is undoubtedly been resonating with our shoppers who actually recognize what we’re doing.

The story behind Master & Dynamic's mix of sound and design

Along with design, the mixture of supplies that Grasp & Dynamic makes use of undoubtedly contributes to that have.

There are different individuals utilizing leather-based, however we use a specific reminiscence foam for our earpads and that is why they’re so snug. Notably with the MH40 over-ear, I get requested on a regular basis: are these noise canceling? They’ve used them they usually’re superb, however they’re truly passive noise isolating. We do not do something with noise cancellation as a result of we do not need to dampen the sound high quality. If you fly with this stuff particularly, which is the place noise cancellation comes into play, individuals all the time say that the headphones have been so snug. Even after a six-hour flight throughout the Atlantic, they speak about how they watched a number of films and by no means felt any strain.

These headphones are a bit bit heavier than your common headphones. That was actually essential as a result of heft conveys high quality and sturdiness, but we have been capable of synthesize the mix of weight, heft and supplies and never compromise consolation. You must persevere. You are able to do it, however you need to need that excellence with out compromising.

The Grasp & Dynamic headphones are extra that simply good design, they sound actually good, too. Was sound high quality one thing that, together with design, you were not prepared to compromise on from the start?

To supply a premium headphone and never have it sound nice, that might be a miss. Often when headphones are good wanting, they do not sound nice. And often when one thing sounds actually nice, it isn’t good wanting. Nothing you actually need to put on outdoors your property or workplace. We’re capable of thread that needle.

We needed to have the appropriate sound high quality. We’re not within the sound manufacturing enterprise, we’re within the sound copy enterprise. We would like that music to sound the identical as that artist meant it to be. We do not need to to tweak and alter issues. I feel that is why individuals seek advice from our sound profile as style impartial, which is strictly what we would like it to be.

The story behind Master & Dynamic's mix of sound and design

This yr, your first wi-fi headphones have been launched. What are the challenges in going from a wired headphone to a wi-fi set?

The null speculation within the business is that you would be able to by no means create wirelessly what you’ll be able to wired. There are nonetheless individuals who have an aversion to wi-fi. For us, identical to we did not need to do the noise cancellation as a result of we did not need to degrade the music high quality, once we went to wi-fi, we did not need to do something to compromise our coveted sound profile.

The opposite factor is we did not need to compromise our supplies and design aesthetic. The product groups within the US and Asia labored collectively to provide you with the perfect answer. We do not take a look at what different individuals are doing, which I feel is essential. We do what is true for us. I feel that is why we’re shocking individuals. As a brand new firm, we provide you with our personal distinctive options.

For somebody who’s unfamiliar with Grasp & Dynamic, what product would you recommend they begin with as an introduction to what you are all about?

That is robust. I might have to return to the MH40. It isn’t our least costly product, however it’s what individuals would name our flagship. It is iconic when it comes to design and it is nice when it comes to consolation and sound high quality, in order that’s the place I might direct individuals.

Our in-ears are nice for individuals who do not have some huge cash to spend. These are fairly spectacular, and once more, will final a very very long time. That is most essential. You do not have to exchange this stuff each six months, however it’s one thing you need to use for years. However all the time get a stand. Ensure you get a stand.

Lastly, are there any huge plans for 2016 that you simply’re prepared to share?

I feel individuals assume that wi-fi is the longer term, however for a product like ours, there’s nonetheless a proportion of people who need wired due to the best way we do it. We will certainly be introducing extra wi-fi merchandise — on-ears, in-ears, issues like that — in 2016. And we’ll see the place we go from there.

This interview has been condensed and edited.

Tech blogger by day and a graphic designer by night time. He was ushered in to the gadget world by an Atari and its vices: Frogger and Grand Prix. Little did he know that this was coaching for the undefeated seasons he would string collectively in Tremendous Tecmo Bowl as a younger lad. He presently lives within the balmy southeast together with his spouse, new child son and their cocker spaniel. Oh yeah: he is additionally a Cheez-It skilled.

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