AfterShokz…the brand or the name won’t ring a bell to most people. Not yet… because the brand’s popularity is increasing day after day. Especially in the US, Canada and Australia AfterShokz is gradually conquering the world of headphones. And that’s indeed what it is all about; bone conduction and bone conduction headphones. With its bone conduction masterpieces, the AfterShokz Trekz Air and the AfterShokz Trekz Titanium. The Trekz Air and the Trekz Titanium are indeed perfect examples of bone conduction headphones…but let’s talk about the technology itself later on. Since this article is about AfterShokz as a company and a brand, let’s start to put that aspect in the spotlights first.
AfterShokz from the past to the present
It all started a few years ago with their Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign for the AfterShokz Trekz Titanium. By starting this campaign AfterShokz managed to raise 1007% of their set target. Expressed in numbers we are talking about almost 700.000 Dollar or about 600.000 euro. AfterShokz used the collected money very wisely and developed a product which has become a true gamechanger. They gave birth to the first high-quality bone conduction headphones; the AfterShokz Trekz Titanium. Although the incredible success of the Titianium, AfterShokz wanted to keep on improving. They listen to their customers and take away their feedback to enhance their products release after release. No wonder a whole AfterShokz community has come to life, a community whose main objective is to increase bone conduction technology visibility. Thanks to their feedback the successor of the AfterShokz Trekz Titanium, the AfterShokz Trekz Air instantly hit the bull’s eye. Because we are continuously into contact with AfterShokz we have been ensured exciting times are awaiting us. They confirmed they will soon communicate new enhancements and new innovative product releases.
What is bone conduction?
We can imagine that bone conduction will sound odd and futuristic to most people. Classic headphones make use of so-called air conduction to send sound to your ear drums and inner ear. Bone conduction nevertheless skips the outer ear and ear drum part. The sound is transmitted through your skull or your bones to the inner ear. When wearing AfterShokz headphones you will notice the transducer is located in front of the ear opening. The transducer will send vibrations through your jaw bones to the cochlea. So your ears remain free and you can hear ambient noises. That’s what bone conduction is all about!
It might sound like an odd technology, but theoretically we use bone conduction on a daily basis without noticing. Talking, laughing, coughing,… all these human sounds reach our brains by means of both air conduction and bone conduction. No wonder our voice sounds so strange when we listen to a recorded version. Part of the sound going via our bones is the underlying cause.
The bone conduction headphones benefits
- Your ears remain free allowing you to listen to music and at the same time hearing your surroundings, hearing the traffic, chitchatting with your friends,…
- No in ear or over ear headphones means no irritation or no mess with earplugs during extreme sports like bouldering, running, mountain biking, skiing, snowboarding and so on.
- Bluetooth and wireless means no mess with cables
- Light as a feather but so stable and flexible. It feels like you are not wearing headphones at all. And although being light as a feather the headphones remain stable on the head at all times.
- The AfterShokz headphones allow 6 hours of continuous music and the Trekz Air has a 20 hour standby functionality.
- You can also make calls with these headphones. A noise filter filters away ambient noise making you sound crystal clear.
Bone conduction history
Bone conduction… that’s what it is all about at AfterShokz. Bone conduction might sound innovative and new but in fact this technology has existed for many centuries. It was Girolamo Cardano, a philosopher, scientist and mathematics genius who discovered it. The intelligent man found out it was possible to hear a sound by putting a rod or a spear in your mouth. Although he wrote down his findings in his essay De Subtilitate, he didn’t further develop the technology.
A few hundred years later the bone conduction technology was taken out of the dark again and was used to support hearing impaired and deaf persons. During the days of composer Beethoven, end 18th/beginning 19th century, various bone conduction devices were developed. The main objective of these devices was to help hearing impaired and deaf persons. It’s no coincidence we are referring to Beethoven of course. The poor man became completely deaf at the end of his musical career. Beethoven also had his own rod. One side of the rod he put in his mouth and the other side on his piano. Bone conduction allowed him to still hear the sound of his piano and to continue composing.
The technology was never further developed though until the 1940’s. During the 40’s audiology became a recognized science. It didn’t take long for bone conduction to become a crucial element in many hearing aids. The first bone conduction headphones or bone conduction headsets were developed in the 80’s of last century. It was the military who realized the various benefits of these headphones. Being able to instruct a soldier who can still hear ambient sounds on the battlefield… A true value add! Thanks to the military success, the next logic step was the commercial and public one. With tens of patents AfterShokz has become the dominant player on this bone conduction market.
AfterShokz bone conduction headphones
So far AfterShokz has released various bone conduction headphones. Their quest to continuously improve has resulted into two top headphones versions: the AfterShokz Trekz Air and the AfterShokz Trekz Titanium.
The AfterShokz Trekz Titanium was the first real AfterShokz flag bearer. Being high-quality wireless headphones equipped with bone conduction technology this was the first headset which could and still can compete with classic headphones. AfterShokz developed two Titanium versions, with the AfterShokz Trekz Titanium Mini as little brother, to also suit adults with smaller heads and kids and teenagers. If you consider buying an AfterShokz Trekz Titanium, but you are not sure which one to buy (a Titanium or a Titanium Mini) please check our AfterShokz Trekz Titanium vs AfterShokz Trekz Titanium Mini article.
The latest and most innovative AfterShokz headphones are the AfterShokz Trekz Air. These bone conduction headphones maintained the positive features and functionalities of the Titanium and added an enhanced wearing comfort and a better Bluetooth version. Quality and sound wise there is a slight improvement thanks to even more titanium used in the frame. The Trekz Air is even more stable and wearing these headphones it feels like they are weightlessly floating. The weight has decreased by a few grams/ounces while the Titanium was already as light as a feather. It feels like you are not wearing Bluetooth headphones at all. A unique, overwhelming and incredible feeling! To our humble opinion these headphones are the perfect headphones for running, cycling, trail running, skiing, snowboarding, hiking and various other outdoor and indoor activities.
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Both the Titanium and the Air are sweat, rain and dust resistant and both headphones can be used to pick up and make calls. We have also taken this last feature to the test and we were happily surprised.
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|AfterShokz Trekz Titanium||+/- 99,95$ / 85 Euro||Buy now with free shipping|
|AfterShokz Trekz Air||+/- 149,95$ / 128 Euro||Buy now with free shipping|
AfterShokz: the future
AfterShokz has built up a rich history with a wide range of innovative technologies and devices, but what about the future? At the IFA technology fair in Berlin we visited the AfterShokz stand and we saw a first prototype of their bone conduction sunglasses (named OptiShokz). According to us these sunglasses have the capacity to become a real gamechanger in the sunglasses domain. Out of experience we know that if something is presented on an IFA fair, there is a big chance it will also be released sooner than later. Moreover, we have heard through the grapevine the company is developing their first waterproof bone conduction headphones. A device which will sound literally like music to the ears of swimmers, surfers and other water sports fanatics. Up until now so called waterproof headphones have always been a big disappointment. Sometimes the sound quality is disastrous while other times we have no idea why they are called waterproof because rust gets the best of the headphones after a single use. Fingers crossed that AfterShokz can finally develop the first real waterproof headset. We are looking forward to 2019!
Wim Styleman is a content writer, translator, reviewer and bone conduction fanatic. Interested in the wonderful world of bone conduction since 2016. Driven by a desire to get everyone submerged into this wonderful technology, but critical and honest when he has to be as a reviewer. Only the best is good enough. He has traveled around the globe and visited various CES events. When he isn’t busy testing bone conduction devices or writing freelance translations, he is at his bike somewhere on the Belgian roads or on his touring skis somewhere in the Austrian or French Alps.