Sound, in its essence, is vibration… and the more you think about it, the stranger that idea sounds. This means that everything you have ever heard in your life, started as a moving wave. Something gets hit or scratches something else and causes a movement of the surrounding air. The movement in the air forms a sound wave, a pattern of high and low air pressure, which hits buildings, trees, your loved ones,… until they reach your ears and trigger a threesome of bones in your head. These vibrations are transformed into electric pulses which on their turn are transmitted to the brain.. and surprise surprise: you hear sound. This all sounds complicated and it actually is… but isn’t there a better and easier way? Bone conduction and bone conduction headphones perhaps?
Bone conduction designed for military use and communication
Well, actually there is a ‘better’ way… and this better way is known as bone conduction, a futuristic sound technology with roots in the past, even Beethoven made use of bone conduction (see the history of bone conduction). The past weeks, we of bone-conduction.com, decided to extensively test various bone conduction headphones. The specific product that I tested and got the best reviews from my side is, without doubt, the Trekz Air made by the Chinese company AfterShokz. The company once started the development of bone conduction headsets for the army, but the past few years they have decided to increasingly switch their focus to the consumer market, with clear success.
Vibrations through the jawbones
Instead of sending vibrations through the air like a mad clown, bone conduction headphones choose a simpler and more direct way, by sending the vibrations to the top of your jawbones to directly transmit them to the inner and from there straight on to the brain. It is a strange and crazy idea, but also a fascinating one which we somehow started to love. A few years ago it was only fascinating technology, but at that time we were not really convinced yet by the quality, especially by the sound quality. 5 years later we are really interested in what bone conduction is able to offer us now. Is it worth the money to buy one, or is it only an emerging technology which will vanish in the blink of an eye?
Let’s get straight to the point…. Bone conduction headphones are sill unable to match the sound quality of classic headphones, but is that really necessary with all the other benefits of this type of headphone? The past few years the sound quality of bone conduction headphones significantly improved whereby it currently almost matches that of the classic models, which will never have the benefits of bone conduction headphones.
We believe it might be useful to first explain why it is so hard to get the same sound quality as a classic headphone, before we start listing all the benefits of bone conduction headphones for you. There are many factors that might influence this quality, but in this case; looking at the technology itself, it is all about vibration. Transmitting vibrations through a stiff material like the jawbone costs a lot more energy, compared to sending the same vibrations through the air. Just try to remember the physics lessons from school. Molecules have a stronger bonding in a hard material such as bone, that’s why it takes more energy to get them moving. Practically this means that a bone conduction headphone needs more volume to get the sound through the jawbowe or your skull and this causes vibration of the skin. It causes a new kind of sound sensation, a sensation which you have to get used to. It’s not irritating though and some even describe is as being a pleasant feeling. Moreover, the vibration does add an extra dimension to certain songs and it is responsible for a unique music-experience.
But hey, like we said, the sound quality really isn’t that bad. The Trekz Air and Trekz Titanium sound almost as good as a classic headphone I’ve been using the Trekz Titanium for one year and the Trekz Air for one month now. The volume isn’t that incredibly loud, but in a time of frequent hearing-damages, we don’t want that loud sound. The only disadvantage I can think of sound-wise was a small lack of deep bass and a decreased sound quality in very crowded places like airports or busy streets. I have received the AfterShokz Trekz Air as a Christmas gift and put it to the test. You can read my detailed findings here.
The biggest benefit of bone conduction technology: safety
The low volume is clearly a crucial item on the list of benefits of bone conduction technology: keeping your ears free. You are free to hear the rest of the world because nothing is blocking your ears. Singing birds, honking cars, people calling your name, chatting with your friends,… everything is loud and clear. We believe bone conduction headphones are the ideal sports headphones, which is also the reason why Aftershokz offers their Trekz Titanium and Trekz Air as the ideal bone conduction sports headphones. They have made them splash proof as a sports headphone should be (resistant to sweat, rain and dirt) and they are very flexible thanks to their innovative frame. When you go out for a run, a walk or biking you don’t need to choose between your favorite music or awareness of your ambient sounds…you can have both now.
Our extensive tests and reviews show that the Aftershokz headsets completely fulfill their promises. It really makes a huge difference when you go biking through the city and you are afraid you will not hear the sounds of a car for example. Even when you are simply walking down the street, a whole new world will open up to you. Buying a bone conduction headphone is certainly worth an investment!
Buying a bone conduction headphone
Planning to buy a bone conduction headphone? At the moment we have the best experiences with AfterShokz. For years we have been using their service for different products and have never been disappointed so far. Via the below link you get to the page of the AfterShokz Trekz Air and AfterShokz Trekz Titanium, to our opinion the best bone conduction headphones on tyhe market, straight away and you will profit from our exclusive free shipping offer. Have fun with these bone conduction headphones!
|Picture||Model||Price||Our webshop (free shipping)|
|AfterShokz Trekz Titanium||+/- 99,95$ / 85 Euro||Buy now with free shipping|
|AfterShokz Trekz Air||+/- 149,95$ / 128 Euro||Buy now with free shipping|
Wim Styleman is a content writer, translator 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.