For many, a wireless world is the Holy Grail of technology. It’s a direction we’ve been heading in for a while, even if it’s at a slow pace. What started with Bluetooth and WIFI, has spread to national communications networks and device charging.
When it comes to audio, though, most of the tech we use has a major drawback: latency. If you want to witness for yourself, try DJing through a Bluetooth speaker, or use a wireless microphone. Any successful solution to this issue would undoubtably help spearhead a movement for truly wireless headphone monitoring, which I’m sure we can all see the benefit of.
Startup Natus Labs hopes to be that solution with the Natus One Wireless Headphone Link, a discrete, portable, and battery powered wireless bridge between your music source and your headphones. Basically, you have two boxes, about the size of a large tic tac pack, one as transmitter, the other as receiver. Since they’re paired, you should get an easy-to-set-up link with low latency. And by ‘low latency’, Natus Labs are saying 16ms on completely uncompressed audio, which is well below what you’d get from all but the pro-level tech.
Both units are also meant have a stated 24 hours of battery life for play time, which is more than enough for even the most hardcore of mixing sessions. Oh, and you can also have up to three receivers streaming from one transmitter.
While the Natus One Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign is asking for $125,000, I’ve been assured this is a real crowdfund, and not just a means to market preorders. I take this to mean it’s a passion project that needs help to get off the ground.
My (our) take
When this press release got sent around the Slack channel, everyone perked up, displaying interest in the potential of the technology. To be clear, there’s nothing technically ‘new’, or ‘ground breaking’ with the tech that drives the wireless connection, but it looks to be the first time its implemented in this way in such a practical setup, aimed specifically at DJs.
Personally, if the crowdfunding does pan out, I’d love to see it built into mixers, or maybe a means to provide a way to modify the mixer yourself. Needless to say, on paper we’ve been impressed with the product and idea, but a real world test drive would see how practical it is. For that, we need to get hold of a set, which we will try our best to do!
Would the Natus One Wireless Headphone Link be useful to you? Do you think 16ms is perfectly manageable latency for DJs?
Hit up the Natus One Kickstarter page to support the project, if it looks like your bag.