INTERVIEW & DISCOUNT ► Audiofly teams up with WAM & Kosmic for 20% off
Audiofly headphones and in-ear monitors are created from the inspiration of a nostalgic love of music and gear that are made to please musicians and music listeners alike. Based in Perth, they have deep roots in the local music scene including supporting the likes of Slumberjack, Crooked Colours and Lilt. AudioFly are Major Partners of this year’s WAM Song Of The Year Awards Party happening at Fremantle’s B-Shed happening this Saturday 9 April (tickets still available here), but have also major partnered with WAM to offer you 20% off instore discounts on their in-ear monitors and headphones at Kosmic. To get the lowdown of this local music technological leader,
WAM’s Dean Gavin interviewed Audiofly’s CEO and Founder Dave Thompson, discussing the future of high quality wireless audio, how a locally run brand is effectively changing the global market, using local artists to endorse products and more.
Take us through the start of Audiofly and how it’s become an earphone company distributed in various countries now?
Audiofly was started around the idea of creating headphones built off a nostalgic love of music and gear that kind of inspired me as a musician, but also – generally everyone in their musical exploration. Most people can remember their first CD, or LP or even the day they got their first guitar. So it’s those sorts of things that remain at the center of our brand, and we try to design our products to get that same response when people interface with their own music. Ultimately that’s the desired outcome – to help people experience music in a better way.
Headphones.. well becoming a headphone company was more happenstance . I’d done a lot of development out of china in the ten years prior to Audiofly, so I had good factory relationships in place where I could rely on the manufacturing quality that was in place.
In-ear monitors are a focus for Audiofly. Please break down for the unaware what in-ear monitors are and why serious musicians use them?
In-Ear Monitors or “IEM’s” came about in the mid ‘90s when performing musicians were overwhelmed with stage noise, and not really able to distinguish their instrument in the traditional floor wedge style monitors. IEM’s took the idea of putting the artists stage mix directly into their ears, where the isolating nature of an IEM meant that the overall volume levels could be controlled also. The other benefit to using an in-ear monitoring system is that in small venues the front of house sound engineer removes the extra stage noise of floor wedges and can usually get a better front of house mix, and usually at a lower volume.
You guys have local artists such as Crooked Colours, Slumberjack and Lilt endorsing your products. What do you look for in artists when selecting them to help promote your brand?
I guess it’s about finding artists that are genuine in their approach and motivation to making music, and have an interest in what we’re doing and the values of Audiofly. If there’s a general appreciation of what we’re all doing, then it’s usually an enjoyable and mutually beneficial relationship.
You’ve also been very supportive of WAM – with both our WAM Festival and Song Of The Year programs – what is it that’s drawn you to supporting such events?
It’s local, we’re local.. it works. It’s really nice to keep our brand relevant in Perth, and nice to keep that feeling of community with what we’re doing. WAM’s got a long legacy of promoting good local music and from our point of view – it’s just great to be part of that community.
How do you balance between making products for musicians and products for people such as myself, who’ll use earphones whilst commuting to and from destinations?
Our philosophy with product is that we always try to create gear that would stand up well in a stage environment, and that thinking would ultimately lead us to making a product that would work well for everybody. Obviously for our consumer products there are certain features that we would design so a product feels more “consumer” than pro… but ultimately that thinking has helped us create features like our Audioflex cables.. which uses a high tenacity nylon braide on the cable. This fabric has superior flex and abrasion properties to a lot of other yarns available, and it ultimately creates a stronger and more durable cable. This cable is available on every product we sell from about $50.
I ask this because as a now 4-month user of the AF33 ear buds – which all WAM Conference punters received as apart of their Conference package – I wonder what is it that makes your earphones literally 100x better than the previous in-ear headphones I have bought?
Yeah – the AF33 is a special product. It was basically designed as our entry consumer product, “but with great sound” which I think was pretty much he brief we gave ourselves. It’s a very simple headphone, but we spent a little more time tweaking the sound of the speaker, and then the internal shape of the housing basically works with the speaker to ensure it’s all ported properly, and nothing is lost internally by way of bad housing design. It’s a great sound for it’s price, and is often compared with $100 Sennheiser earphones on sound.
I’ve never been to your store in Perth… sorry, it’s now on the list! BUT what will I experience / benefit by visiting your store instead of relying on purchasing online?
“The immersive brand experience”!! Haha… it’s our homebase I guess, so it feels like Audiofly to me. We have half our space dedicated as a showroom/retail space, and the other half is our messy office. We do all our development here, domestic and international sales and marketing. We’re still a small team, so we’re all quite involved in most things that happen.
What music do you recommend to listen to when testing in ear buds/monitors? Is there a track that you know of that covers all frequencies?
I have a lot of different music that I listen to test our products, and no – there isn’t one track that I refer to solely. I have a playlist with tracks from most genres, including classical, jazz, funk, soul/R&B, through to pop and all types of rock. Usually I pick tracks that I know really well, and have hit me musically – so I enjoy them and can relate to the song. When I’m referencing headphones – I know those tracks intimately, so I tend to focus on the quality of the sound and can be more critical of that rather than the music.
So we have in-ear earphones, in-ear monitors and headphones that fit on the users’ heads. What’s the future entail; the next big technological advancement to hit our personal ears, and how Audiofly will be tacking these evolutions?
I think the next big killer thing for headphones is true high quality wireless audio and better digital conversion. People have been saying that for years, but having worked with Bluetooth products since the first BT accessories came out in the late 90’s, the quality of audio has finally come to the point in some of the latest Bluetooth spec where it’s usable for decent listening. I’m not sure how well this will translate into the pro market just yet, Audio quality on Bluetooth is something quite different to just a function based application.
Audiofly has partnered with WAM to offer you 20% off Audiofly headphones and in-ear monitors in store at Kosmic all April: