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Audeze Player One: HQ Tour 2023

An afternoon at Audeze revealed some intriguing insights about their most popular headphone, the gaming market, and their next products.

Audeze HQ Exterior

We arrived a day early this year in Orange County for a myriad of reasons. The eCoustics team is heavily involved in T.H.E Show on a number of levels including the headphone space and running the podcast booth. Mitch Anderson will be recording at least 10 new interviews at T.H.E. Show for broadcast on the website in June and July. My purpose was slightly different.

Audeze is based in Southern California and we had such a great time visiting them last year, that we were couldn’t wait to spend some time with Sankar and the team who have been working away on some new products.

Sankar Audeze Founder & CEO
Sankar Thiagasamudram, Founder & CEO of Audeze

What was glaringly obvious as we walked through the factory and shipping department were the cases of Maxwell headphones stacked almost 8 feet off the ground awaiting shipment to vendors.

The Maxwell has become their best selling product; and by a rather considerable margin. Sankar confirmed that they can’t make these gaming headphones quickly enough to satisfy demand; which has come at the expense somewhat of other products.

Audeze drivers are assembled by hand

Drivers for the Maxwell are hand assembled at the California headquarters, and then shipped to China for final product assembly. The finished products are shipped back to California where they are sent to North American vendors. Europe and Asia have their own distribution arrangements.

Why is the Maxwell outselling everything else in the Audeze lineup?

The most surprising thing for Audeze has been the reception of the Maxwell by both gamers and traditional high-end audio enthusiasts.

The gaming market is enormous and growing at an exponential rate that the high-end audio market only wishes it could replicate.

Just how big?

Audeze Maxwell Gaming Headphones with Boom Mic
Audeze Maxwell Gaming Headphones with Boom Mic

In 2021, gaming generated over $178 billion globally. The pandemic played a huge part in that with hundreds of millions of people stuck at home, but there is no question that the market has not cooled off.

Industry estimates have the gaming market hitting $270 billion by Q4 2025.

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Compare that to the audiophile audio headphone category that is forecast to reach $4 billion by 2030.

Why does that matter to you?

The revenue created by Audeze’s growing lineup of gaming products helps fund their other R&D activity; products like the LCD-5 and CRBN would not exist without that revenue.

Audeze spends R&D funds on designing more advanced magnets that produce more flux on the side toward the driver while reducing distortion; not to mention the CRBN headphone with no metallic parts for use in MRI applications.

Carbon nanotube
This is carbon nanotube technology.

I had the chance today to handle a piece of the film used to produce drivers for that MRI headphone and the CRBN electrostatic headphone; the vanishing film which is astonishingly light and thin, suspended itself momentarily when dropped and then gently drifted downward.

The film is a patented design with carbon nano-tubes embedded rather than coated on the surface like other makers. This creates a more uniform distribution of conductive material throughout the film while lowering weight and eliminating the possibility of delamination; which is something that has been observed in competing designs.

We spent the rest of the afternoon discussing what’s next for the company; which includes catching up on the backlog of Maxwell orders and getting the MM-100 to market which has been delayed because of supply chain issues.

We did get to experience a number of new products that are in “beta” mode; the plan is for them to materialize later this summer. One in particular, is incredibly enticing because it will utilize a different style of connection compared to the rest of the lineup and will include some very interesting new features and functionality.

We are already on the list for some of the first review samples and we will share more information when we are allowed.

Audeze Planar Magnetic Driver in-hand
This planar magnetic driver is ready for the next stage of assembly.

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Related: See more stories from T.H.E. Show 2023

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