VILNIUS, LITHUANIA – For several years, consumers have had the benefit of noise cancelling headphones. They filter out ambient sound to provide the user a quieter experience in loud environments such as air travel or industrial workplaces. Some people use them to help focus on the music or programming they’re listening to, and others just want the reduced noise.
Now an innovative company has a contrasting option: the exact opposite.
Cakkophones pick up every nearby conversation, cough, laptop fan, buzzing phone, sniffling passenger, crying baby, motorcycle or sliding chair and funnel it directly into your ears. Beta testers universally described their experience as “excruciating”.
Industry observers are stumped as to what target demographic might buy these headphones. “Perhaps people in the torture business, or masochists?” said Lindy Tyler, an audiophile consultant. “For real, the only possible application I can imagine is someone who wants to listen to something while testing worst-case scenario distractions.”
High fidelity audio equipment reviewers have yet to issue any recommendations, as not a single one of them has been able to complete an evaluation.
“The audio quality could be top notch, it could be on-hold music bad,” said Tyler. “At $650, I don’t think many customers are going to find out.”