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Crutchfield: The Podcast Ep. 15

Dan from Bose® reveals the history of noise-cancelling headphones

In this episode:

Co-hosts J.R. and Eric (safely) reunite in person to present a very cool Crutchfield exclusive — an interview with Bose Distinguished Engineer Dan Gauger. Our headphone expert Jeff chats with Dan about the origins of noise-cancelling headphones, his involvement in 1986's Rutan Voyager flight, what Bose fans can look forward to next, and more. For video extras and photos, check out Jeff's full article.

Dan Gauger interview

Also, J.R. shares his experience as the proud owner of Bose QuietComfort® Earbuds. And for more on the headphone comfort ratings test Eric references in the episode, check out our Top 5 most comfortable over-ear headphones.

Explore more episodes

Read episode transcript

Hello and welcome everybody. This is Crutchfield, the podcast. We are we are doing a bonus episode eric. That's right. You know, this is a lot different than our last episode to Jr because you know, we're in the same space and you can see me and this feels awkward at this point. Normally you are way more two dimensional than you are right now. That's right as you appear on my my my computer screen. Thanks to the magic of the internet. However, having you actually in the room is way cooler. I think I think our banter will reflect how much more fun it is to be. We are a good 15 ft apart, I would say we're definitely socially distanced but it's it's good to be here in person doing this. It's been a while. Yeah. So far enough apart, we don't need to be wearing masks. Thanks to the magic of long mic cords. Um That's what, that's what we've got going on here. We're we aren't at crutchfield though. We are at my house. Yeah, it's my first time here. Yeah. Uh And so welcome to the house. Welcome to the humble abode. We're out here in the country were on a big horse farm, We've got you've got a view of the barn and everything out there. Using great. It's beautiful out here. Yeah, we're in a pretty cool time at work right now because we have pretty much finished training a whole huge handful of new sales advisers who are now on the phones taking chats working with our customers and basically getting ready for the continued rush of 2020. Uh, and hopefully an enhanced busy season right here as we move into thanksgiving and christmas, typically the feeling this time of year is that it's the calm before the storm and the storm just meaning we, we get really busy. That's what happens in the holidays. Super busy. And uh, with everything, with how everything has been going here in 2020 so far, inventory could be an issue. So, uh, if you're listening to this and you're thinking about something you might want to get, go get it. If it's in stock, take advantage of that because there are so many ups and downs in the supply chain of just about everything, whether you're looking at home theater receivers, car stereos, drones, cameras, microphones, for recording, podcast, everything. It's been really tough to keep it all in stock. And, and there's also some killer deals coming. So that's some great advice. Even if it's not a crutchfield thing right now, You know, just seeing what we see. Hey, if you want a frying pan and it's in stock and it's a good price. Don't hesitate. Go get your frying pan. Yeah. Don't assume it's going to be in stock next week. No, not at all. And we made that mistake with toilet paper. That's right. That's right. It might be a run on frying pans next, you never know. Yeah, Yeah. So, so that's our advice right now folks, if you're looking to get stuff. Um one of our guys here at Crutchfield Jeff, he works in our creative department. He does a lot of writing, He writes about our products, specifically his specialty. His passion is headphones, kind of our headphone expert and a very popular category these days as we, I mean everybody needs headphones, 100 different pairs. Right? I mean I personally, if we don't count all the ones I've got in a drawer over here that came with my iPhones, which I don't ever use if we count only the ones I actually kind of use. It's about seven that are in regular rotation and about another 15 that I don't really use anymore. I'm probably about the same. And plus I have little ones in the house doing schoolwork remotely and my wife's doing work remotely. So we're all going through different sets of headphones right now. So yeah, very, very popular category. Jeff had an awesome opportunity to interview dan gauger from Bose. He got hired to bo's right out of M. I. T. Which you know, bows is up there in Framingham mass right near M. I. T. It's dr Bose worked at M. I. T. Uh so nice loving relationship bows and M. I. T. Has and they got dan gauger directly from M. I. T. And uh and he sort of took on the concept of noise canceling headphones. Yeah, this was a doctor boz is kind of a big breakthrough project of His. Um and you know, we'll let him tell the story, won't need to go too deep into it, but I still want to be so excited about it. It's good stuff. I'm excited for you to hear what we have heard in this interview, which is Jeff and dan talking about dan's history at bo's, how the noise canceling headphones came to be a thing, Dr Bose's original concept. Oh, I'm so struggling not to tell the story, dan tells it so much better than either eric or I could. Uh and it's pretty fantastic listening to the to talk. It's a great interview. I am so jealous that Jeff got to talk to dan, but I can't think of anybody better to have done this at Crutchfield than Jeff. You know, there's a, there's a reason we're talking about him right now, Bose has a new set of quiet comfort. True wireless in ear buds. I am the proud owner of a pair of these Headphones have to get me some of those, they're pretty great. I just tell you my quick story. I have headphones specifically for grass mowing that normally my quiet comfort. 35s are hanging on my lawn mower and I have switched it up. I now am using these new quiet comfort earbuds in ear buds that through about 2.5 hours of mowing stay put in my ear. They don't ever fall out and I cannot hear my lawnmower while I'm mowing the grass. They are highly effective noise canceling headphones uh and way better than you would expect an in ear bud to be. So we're kind of celebrating the release of these because it's a pretty good breakthrough. You're gonna hear dan talk about the electronics and you know, the first several generations and iterations of of this technology, that is now something you can basically fit in your ear. It didn't used to be that way. Uh and dan's gonna talk to you about that. So the interview, we're just going to kind of jump right into the interview, Jeff and dan, it took them like a few minutes to get rolling with the internet and all of that. Uh and that's where you're gonna pick it up, which is uh what dan's gonna be talking about something called measured perception and I just wanted to address that a little bit. He does go into it. He explains what they did, how they did it, why they did it. And it all kind of speaks to the whole reason bows exists as a speaker headphone company to begin with. I think dr Bose really have, has always felt that what looks good on paper is not necessarily what sounds good to your ears really concentrates on the end results. That's, that's where it's at with them. The end result. The final product, the interaction between you and that final product and that's where Bose products really Excel. Yeah, absolutely. They study this. They have even figured out a way to measure the perception what you hear as the human with your ears inside those headphones or those headphones inside your ears. What is the measured perception? And that certainly affects all of the intricate details of the electronics and the equalization and how they do what they do is based on not achieving a certain number but achieving a certain end result. And so that's kind of where we're gonna pick up the interview here. Dr Bose in his acoustics course at MIT for years would have a lecture or two on psycho acoustics which is a branch of psycho physics which is the study of how human beings and our brains and our our senses perceive things. And um you know it's it's easy to say well perception now that's just subjective and I don't like that that word because it leads you to think it's all about how do you feel about something? But you know, perception is as objective as the physical world of frequency is measured in hertz and sound levels. And db spl just the instrument is different. The instrument is our brain and our sensory system. It's not the silla scopes and spectrum analyzers. So that makes it harder to measure but it is it is objective, it's not subjective versus objective. It's the difference between physical and perceptual. I'll give you an example. Probably the simplest perceptual tests that most people have ever experienced. The most common one is you ever been to the doctor and audiologists, have your ears checked your hearing checked? That's an objective measure. Perceptual test. You're measuring the threshold of the quietest sounds that your ears can just detect. So that's a psycho physical measurement of your hearing. Let me tie this back to what dr Bose would talk about in his lectures. You know, the challenge is figuring out to measure what matters and what matters is what people hear, not what you can measure with a spectrum analyzer. And so the challenge is how do you take human beings and ask them the right questions and design experiments so that they can so that you can measure their perception of some experience whether it be how the device feels on your head or uh how much all the noise reduction aspects balance out to deliver quiet to you. You know, I'll give you an example um, when we were developing Q C 15 and so this was one of the major steps in our products where we started adding microphones, not just on the inside to sense what you're hearing, but also on the outside of the ear cups to sense when the noise reached the headphone and combining that information to do more performance. Um the engineer is working on that. The first prototypes of that product um, and they carry this design very far along. Um fell into the trap that happens all the time when you, when you pick a physical measure of something and focus on that as being what's important. And they drove up the active cancelation a lot at some frequencies. And they didn't pay attention to what was going on at other frequencies. And they were very proud of it because they were focused on doing better and better at the one thing they were measuring when we had a wider range of people, um, try these prototypes, we had some people who say, wait a minute. I don't actually like that better than the product we had before because something stands out and it took some very well designed psycho acoustic experiments to help us understand again how to balance the noise reduction, the cancelation and attenuation of different frequencies. So, it's it's about how people way different aspects of the experience, not just whether they can hear it or not. Engineers focus on objective measures of physical phenomena because that's easy to measure. And what you do is you focus on that and you progress and you progress and you progress and then you reach a point where you have to back up and say, well, am I improving something that really matters, then you have to do some perceptual work and you may readjust what you're aiming at, You may change what your physical measure of the system is. So, most of the time when we're testing our headphones to work on the noise canceling what we're doing is we're bringing in people and we're putting microphones halfway down their ear canal and we're measuring what, you know, and they're sitting in some sound booth and we're measuring what the microphone picks up and we haven't put on the headphones are putting the earbuds and we measure what the microphone picks up and you compare that and you can do all sorts of measurements like that. That's all physical. Every every now and then you have to back up and say, now how do I take all of these physical measurements and turn it into something that relates more closely to what people, how people judge things, how people perceive things. So you're constantly bouncing back and forth between the physical, which is easy and the perceptual, which is hard. You go to the perception to recalibrate yourself in the physical world, You mentioned the QC 15 and Dr I kind of want to go back a little bit if you don't mind to some of the history of the Bose noise cancelation. I know that the story is Dr Bose was on an airplane. He was listening to a portable cassette player, couldn't hear his music or couldn't hear very well and Kind of sketched out was like on a napkin or probably not a napkin but sketch something out like became the basic principles of what you guys took the ball and run with that original story, it was, it was spring of 1978. And you know, for those of us who are old enough, you know, way back in the sixties and seventies, the in flight entertainment systems and airplanes had the speakers down in the arm rest of the, of the seat. And you, you use these hollow plastic tubes, you know, flexible tubes and these phone tips that would press into your ear canals to get the sound from the speaker up to your ear. And the sound quality wasn't very good. You got these resonances from that tube and all of this. And um, so you know, this is 78, this is about the time that, you know, the original walkman was introduced and walkman style headphones. And so some airlines were starting to use electro dynamic headphones like that Walkman style headphones on airplanes and dr Bose is excited. He got on the plane and he saw that these different headphones are going to be used and he thought he'd be able to enjoy the music from the in flight entertainment system. But the old foam tubes used to block out some of the noise because they were sealed into your canal. These didn't block out any noise. So by the time you turn it loud, turn the music up loud enough to hear it, it was all distorted. And so he started thinking about how to solve this problem and probably pulled out one of those yellow 8.5 by 11 inch pads and started scribbling equations. And that's where he came up with the first idea that was 78 you started in 80 he came back to Bose, he got one engineer working on it and that engineer concluded after a few months that it wouldn't work. So we got another engineer working on it. Somebody we just hired who is primarily acoustics and background. And then by spring of 1980 they wanted to hire an electrical engineer to work with that acoustics guy, the acoustics engineer. His name was roman Czapiewski. And so I was hired to do electronics. Working with him. Fresh out of school, actually hadn't quite finished my master's degree when I when I came here from M. I. T. And my background was not in acoustics or music or anything like that. My background was in the technical term is feedback control systems and that was an analog circuit design and that was the skill they needed. So they hired me to work with with Roman on these early prototypes. By 1981, we had prototypes that were doing very well from an active noise cancelation perspective. And you know, Dr. Bose had this original vision of doing a headphone for use on airlines working with airline partners as we did, you know, decades later. And when we estimated how much it would cost for us to make these headphones and the price we have to sell them for understand Bose is a much smaller company then we never made a headphone. We were still fairly new to making electronics, very new to making electronics and um our marketing folks said have a nice day, we don't know how to sell this product, it's going to be too expensive and you know roman and I were both passionate, we had about it, we knew we had something here dr Bose knew we had something, he was supportive. There were a couple other people who were encouraged us. So we started thinking about other things we could do with the technology and um using active noise reduction to help people communicate in challenging, noisy environments where communication is critical seemed like an obvious other application at the time. You know Ronald Reagan was in the White House, there was a lot of spending on military so we thought oh great. You know we'll talk to the air force, the navy, the army and that will be our first customer. So the focus for you know from like 82 through 85 or 80 early 86 was on trying to make that happen. Um and we're learning a lot and all that work. There's a big contract we got, it got canceled in early 86 because of other things on the program. Then we started thinking what do we do now? Well we've been thinking about private pilots and general aviation and just by chance that summer we heard about the Voyager project and we got introduced to them, We introduced ourselves to them and that led to some public acknowledgement of what we were doing and the rest is history. Alright. Eric how old were you when the Voyager flight happened? Elementary school, okay definitely. I was a young guy about about the age of my boys now, so around seven or eight years old, so I was a little bit older, I was about 13 when it happened. I have zero recollection of it. It was not remember it not on my radar at all. It was, I've always been a little bit of an aviation geek though so I remember it's kind of a big deal it's covered by news agencies and these folks were trying to do something that had never been done before in aviation and that is circumnavigate the globe without stopping and without refueling and without. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I can't imagine all the challenges they had to overcome to be able to pull that off. But let's just say some of them were probably very uncomfortable. Yeah, you're Yeah, yeah, they're they're in what they describe as a small phone booth right with little room to move around for nine days, nine days straight in the air. I can't imagine how physically uncomfortable that must have been. I also can't imagine doing it with wearing headphones on your ears uh that are tight and are blocking out noise like without the Bose noise canceling technology to achieve something that wouldn't kill their hearing right? Would have taken headphones that are so tight they cause bruises. Right, right. I spent about six weeks out there in mojave, working on trying to improve some things in the headphone for that flight. Oh yeah, yeah. And how did the pitch? It was interesting. So, you know, we found out about the flight in because of an article that was in, in the magazine in early june of that year and they've done a four day test flight up and down the coast of California. And the article talked about how noise was a problem because they were using traditional passive only aviation headsets, which clamp really hard around your ear. And I remember the article mentioning that the co pilot Jeannie, Yeager had visible bruises around both hears from wearing a headset for four days straight. And as I said earlier, you know, we just recently lost this contract, we were trying to figure out what to do next. So, um, you know, somebody who was like advising us from a marketing perspective, he tried calling them and trying to get, you know, asking if we could talk to them and they were getting so much press attention at the time, we just could not get any time today with them. So my colleague roman and I, we packed up um, two generations of prototypes, the ones that we had test flown with the military and a new improved one that was more comfortable and we flew to lax. We drove to mojave, we got there, um, you know, midday. Um, actually we stayed overnight. We drove up in the morning, got there mid morning and we had no point. We basically paid a salesman's cold call on them and we sat around the waiting room in their hangar for like three or four hours until we could get some time with them. And you know, we were ushered into a room. Dick Rutan, um, you know, the retired, very experienced Air Force fighter pilot and test pilot Gina, his partner. Um, they basically say, okay, tell us what you got, you got five minutes, you got to get back to working on the airplane. We describe it to them and Dick says, I've heard about these sorts of things. They never work. You gotta try it can you, can we go out onto the tarmac and you fire up an airplane can create some noise. So we walked out of the hangar and got one up two Cessna 1 72. I think it was belong to probably Dick. And he climbed in, you know, Gina climbed into the right seat. He climbed in the pilot seat, left seat. I was standing there with the open door holding the electronics, um, which, you know, we're not, you know, in the headset at the time and he fires up the airplane and then I pointed the switch and he's wearing the headset he flips the switch, he does a double, turns it off, turns it back on. Um, shuts down the airplane, utters a few expletives and says we have to have um, and you know, they decided it was mission critical and he had to fight his brother Bert, the designer of the airplane, to take this extra weight because every pound counted on that airplane. And he said, no, we have to have this, just that one demonstration. Okay, so we got to stop this for a second. How cool was that? I mean it took him a few minutes in an airplane to know he had to have these on this nine day trip. That is absolutely amazing. And he went into a totally doubting. I like that part. Yes, I think we've all been there at some point in the demo where we're like, yeah, no, this isn't gonna be the thing. And then it ends up being the thing, it's like when you let the vacuum cleaner person alright, clean the carpets. Oh wait, oh gosh, I guess I have to buy this vacuum cleaner now because that it's amazing. Like that's kind of what happened. And just like that. And listening to that, it reminds me of all of the demos that we have heard bows do. I mean bows, comes to crutchfield once or twice a year, Every year for the, I've been here 25 years, I've seen them 25 to 50 times. Think about how many products we've seen in that that time span. And uh constantly knocking our socks off with demos. They do one of the best demonstrations of their products than any that anybody any company could do because they really think it out, they plan it out and they're noise canceling. Headphone demos have always been some of the best. Uh the first one I remember was with their first generation of noise canceling headphones. We came into our two training room and every desk was loaded up with a pair of the original Bose quiet comfort headphones. These are the ones with a separate battery pack you wore on your belt. They were wired, this is well before Bluetooth. So the whole system was wired up to this big headphone switcher. So the demo is this, you, you put the headphones on and they played a cut from a movie on the big screen in our training room. And normally when we do like demos of movies in our training room, it's to show off how loud things can be, how explosive subwoofers are dinosaur explosion, dinosaur explosions. Exactly. And this was not that at all. In fact, they picked a very quiet passage from a movie. It was Apollo 13 tom Hanks talking with his son with legos on the table. Just sort of telling him about what he's gonna go do in space. Right? And there's just so many little subtle noises and they come out just crystal clear in these headphones that you're wearing and then all of a sudden it says on the screen, take one of the ear cups off and you take it off and what's happening in the room, unbeknownst to everybody with the headphones on is that it sounds like there's a jet airplane in the room. Yeah, I remember a demonstration very similar to that where I actually, I was listening to the headphones and I actually thought, you know, we're dog friendly workspace right at Crutchfield and I thought someone's dog was moving around my legs and kind of bumping up against my pants. And so I kept on, you know, kind of looking down like what is going on. And I took off the headphones and it was literally a subwoofer that was moving so much air that it was tickling my legs uh, and, and I couldn't hear, it cannot hear with the headphones on. You're listening to a quiet thing on your headphones and there is deafeningly loud sound going on around you and you have no idea. That was one of the most impressive demonstrations we've ever seen for any of our products. Certainly Bose sort of set the tone moving forward for noise canceling. They have been leading that charge. Thanks to dr Bose's idea dan gauges work on the project we should shut up now because there's a cool interview. We need to get back to if I remember that airplane. Um, dry nobody in it. Just the airplane structure, the engines, everything, no fuel weighed £2000. A whole airplane with a wingspan as big as like a, You know, I forget seven almost 747 loaded with fuel. It was it was £12,000 so every pound counted. I think I think a figure I remember hearing from Bert, was that adding £1 cost them 100 mile of range. They wanted the comfort prototype, which is a whole brand new design. We'd only ever built two of them at that point and we didn't have any to give them. So we come back to boston, this is mid august when we paid a visit, we come back to boston in, Make two more copies, ship them out there by mid to late september at that point they were supposed to fly in october and they have all sorts of problems with them because this, this is prototype hardware. This is a production of hardware and they have, they have radios in every frequency you can imagine in this airplane. And so their radios jammed our electronics end of september, I fly out there with a good R. F. Engineer who worked for bows and a footlocker full of equipment and we started opening up the headphones, changing things trying to fix the fix this and that. I spent the next three or four weeks out there. Um just trying to get the headphones to work until they finally worked well enough with all those radios and then we're good to go. Nice. So they ultimately credited those for saving their hearing. Remember near the end of the book, thank goodness for the Bose headsets. There was a point, I think that you said the electronics on the outside that shut down some during the flight because of like sweat or something weird like that. Okay, okay. You have been doing your reading. So the story that I told you really feeds into it, I'm an engineer. I am a lousy electronics technician. You know, my soldering skills are not good. So the problem was not the electronics that were, you know, in a very, very lightweight metal case that provided some shielding. The problem was there was a little bit of a electronics up here in the ear cup is a re amped for the microphones and wires, long wires which are antennas. So I've spent, you know, a month ripping, opening up these ear cups, ripping apart, rebuilding that circuit and rebuilding that circuit, adding parts and changing things up here in an ear cup. And when we finally got it working, I pleaded with Dick and Gina to let me take the headphones that I just worked on for a month back to boston who have a proper technician cleanup and duplicate what I had done and then we'd send them back and by this time their flight had slipped later in the fall and he wouldn't let me do it. He said they work, they're not leaving my office. They got on the flight, they started wearing them, you're wearing an ear cup 24 7, it gets humid in there, gets sweaty in there. And so after about two or three days they started hearing this crackling sound and it's because of the humidity and the sweat affecting the circuitry that I worked on so much and you know, forming a little, you know, high impedance shorts and so on. And um, so they actually used the electronics intermittently. They didn't get the full benefit of the noise cancelation on that flight after their news conference. I go up to the airplane. You know, there's one of the people who worked on it was in the plane cleaning it out. He gives me the headphones Because these were on loan from, we haven't given them to Voyager. They were protocol on experimental loan from us because we were doing this to learn and um, I want to know what had happened because I'd heard there'd been a problem. I come back to my hotel room. I put them on. I turn them on, you know, power them up. They work fine and wondering what was going on. We bring them back to Boston. We put him in a humidity test chamber, humidity up to like 99%, wait 10 minutes. They started acting up again. Take him out, put him in a dry condition, they're fine I guess Bill Crutchfield a couple of years later, our founder Ceo, he got a prototype unit for his personal plan. These are the H. T. S. Does that ring a bell? What year? That might be like 90 something. So so looking at the back of the head set, so that's that's an aviation headset series to that. So we started making that version in 1993 or 94. We're gonna reveal our secrets a little bit here. I don't know whether you can see that inside the ear cup. The inner ear cup is clearer. There's the microphone um the microphone had a little resistor on it to heat it up to drive humidity away after our experience on the, on the blade and the circuit board is along the backside of the ear cup. These windows back here, these three services were clear. You can see the tree from the outside and we made that go away after with the second generation. Do you still have that prototype headset? You guys still have that? If I walked out of here and probably walk to the other side of this floor, I could probably pick up the Voyager headset. That's cool. So I guess there's a long period of time between That and the first version of the quiet comfort. Was that the first bows, consumer headphone or did you guys have headphones before that? It was the first bows consumer headphone. So you know in that period. So what Voyager flight in 86 We get a lot of attention early 87 decide that we're going to develop an aviation headset which we introduced in 89. It was the world's first commercially available noise canceling headphone making that headphone. Those had never made a headset before in its life occupied us for a while. And the fact that we were now selling this technology commercially was the thing that finally got things going in the military. By the early nineties we had a contract that had to sell a different version force, some Air Force applications and we want a large contract that has led us to be the the primary supplier of headsets for armored vehicle use in the U. S. Military and a number of other militaries. So that occupied us until like the mid mid nineties all the time. We wanted to get back to doing a headphone for consumers and for what dr Bose originally imagined. But we didn't have the right balance for consumer applications are ear cups were a little too big. They were two optimist around lots of noise reduction and it took a breakthrough. Um what we called tri port give you just a moment of technical background, you know, a noise canceling headphone has to make as much sound as it's trying to cancel. You have to match every peak in the noise a peak that's as loud but in the opposite direction, positive phase, negative phase. And you know, airplanes can be very loud and low frequencies, helicopters are even more brutal at low frequencies. And so we needed a way to have small ear cups, lightweight ear cups, make lots of low frequency sound. And that's what tri port technology does. And so it was an invention that roman came up with. Initially for I did dig this out of a drawer. This product, which was, this doesn't have a boom mic on it, but this is our, our aviation headset 10 and this headset because of tri port technology was, you know, close to half the weight, half the clamping force on your head and more performance than anything else out there and more performance than what we've done before. And it was that invention which enabled us to do, um, the first quiet comfort. So as soon as we had this in market, we figured out a way to actually get headsets made at headphones made at a low enough cost applied, try poor technology and just optimized it around the, the frequent flyer consumer application. So it took that breakthrough of figuring out how to balance active passive and comfort to uh, to enable quiet comfort. Hey, so let's talk about that real quick headphone comfort is a big deal. Yeah, I found that part really fascinating because of one of the projects that we both participated in recently where we had a chance to go through and try on, you know, over 100 pair of headphones and rate them on a couple different criteria. And the big takeaway from that process to me was, you know, hands down bows. Really, they set the bar for comfort to this day to know that they've been working on the comfort of their headphones for this many years. It makes sense that they would continue to set the bar and they have a heck of reputation and that's not just them saying That they're comfortable headphones, you know, the science behind what we did really backed that up. Yeah, if you look at the Bose quiet comfort, 35 series, two headphones on our website, they were part of that test that we did. Uh, the headphone comfort sort of, you know, trials that we did, we took somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 or 60 pairs of headphones. Uh, and we had a bunch of people put them on our heads uh, and shake our heads move all around, just sort of just, you know, basically fill out a survey, intricately describing how they feel on our heads, not even listening to music, how tight they are, how snug they feel, how well they, how, how, how secure they are, how, how much pressure there is on the top of your head on your ears around your ears and uh, if you look at the bows, you'll see that we rated them as ultra light with a relaxed fit and that they're good for flight or travel, which kind of exactly what bows designed them to do. Uh, and so it rings true and there's, there's not there on every headphone on, both on crutchfield dot com, but it is there on a lot of them and if you see them just know that that's not us, just thinking that those are headphones that are good for travel. We, we tested that and that wasn't us just taking a manufacturer's word for it. We actually, like you said, we tested that and uh, you know, and once again, boz ranked at the top for just about everybody that went through that process. They performed really, really well. How closely did you work with dr, it went in stages, you know, when the aviation business was new? Um, I actually was in a, a marketing and business management role for a time and I would meet with him very weakly and get his advice and all sorts of things and, and argue with him about different things and learn from him, you know, I think, I think I won one argument and he won most of them. Um, uh, and uh, then as time passed, um, you know, he all throughout his life stayed very, very engaged technically with the company and he had some, some visions for how we could do ever more performance with our head funds. And so we would go to I would go talk to him, you know, sometimes every couple of months to hear what he was thinking about and interact with other engineers who are trying to prototype what he was imagining and and sketching out. Um so it it went on throughout his life and as a matter of fact, some of the things that we're trying to do with our headphones now that I'm passionate about and I'm not going to say anything more than that. Cool things we can do with software and noise canceling headphones. Um these are ideas that go back, you know, 10 or 11 years, remember the last time I ever spoke before him um did a presentation to him, we talked about some of these things we're working on now and he was thrilled remember him winking at me and giving me a thumbs up as I walked out of the room. But he really valued people who expressed their opinion. He did, you know, he was he won awards, the M. I. T. For, you know, for years as a fantastic teacher. So he was trying to tap into your capabilities. You know, he would he would express his opinion and tell you go this direction, not that direction at times, but he really wanted to tap into your capabilities. And so he had a very good way of putting people at ease, You mentioned the software, this kind of stuff, you could do a software, has that been like kind of the biggest breakthrough? The biggest difference I guess from back in the day. So it's evolved you know there are people and I know it seems like every few years I hear about some startup company that thinks they've got you know the latest signal processing algorithm or the latest ship that's going to completely change noise canceling at the core. It's a physics problem. It's an acoustics problem. It's how well can we since what the sound that's going down your ear and influence it and control it. Um So for years it was the work was dominated actually by acoustics and mechanical. The circuitry was all analog because it has to be super fast. You know we can't tolerate much time delay from when the microphone says this is what's going on and processing it and putting out a signal into the speaker into the driver to do the cancelation. Um And digital systems just weren't fast enough for us. High quality, high audio quality digital systems weren't so it was analog circuitry for years. And you can't you can't get very fancy with analog circuitry. Um it wasn't until we went digital with QC. 20 in 2013. You know we found a way to um to do all the processing we need with you know, time delay from microphone signal to speaker signal, measured in a few microseconds that um we could start doing things in the software world and since then it's been a question of what's worth doing, what's important to do, what's meaningful to do what matters. Um You know uh in QC 30 QC. 20 we had the ability to flip a switch and you go from aware what we called aware mode near transparency to lots of cancelation And Q. c. 30 that became controllable noise canceling where you can cancel, where you can essentially have a volume control in the world. And that carried over into our headphones 700 into the new QC earbuds but there's more to come you know it's about giving you control over how you hear the world. I'll tell you one thing I love about my my QC thirties and I'm looking forward to doing with my QC earbuds. I stopped going to concerts because the concerts were too loud. I could put in earplugs to make the concerts less loud but the earplugs distorted the sound. I got too much of this and not enough of that you know I started going to concerts much more often um when QC 30 came out because I can use the control on on the cable or I can use the app on my phone and I can turn the concert down to the level that I like. Um Still allowed still enjoy it um And nice neutral balance and hear the concert the way it's supposed to be. Um So that's you know that's the first taste of, you know, kind of unusual. A lot of people don't want to wear headphones and concerts, but I'm there to enjoy the music. You know, things like here phones, um sleep buds, the work in those goes back years, you know, the idea of combining noise reduction masking signals, um you know, masking sound um is something I started playing within, you know, the mid two thousands, because I started playing with, because I, you know, would take home are quiet comfort, headphones or even are aviation headsets? I lived in a big loft and my wife wanted to watch tv and I wanted to work and I didn't want to be bothered by the sound of the tv. Uh and that led to just an understanding of how noise reduction and the masking sound play against each other. I didn't want to listen to music because that would distract me when I was working. You know, it's been a desire, It was a question of those for decades as to whether there's something we can do in the, in the space of like hearing aids or personal sound amplifiers. And we've explored how do you bring noise cancelation with other technologies and um hadn't figured out kind of the right mix of things, the right benefits until we met some folks who figured out how to give people the ability to tune amplification to match their own hearing and that's when the hair phones came together. So the combination of directional microphones, noise canceling and self tuning is what makes the earphones what they are. So this idea of giving people control over their hearing has been a deep, deep thought for us for decades and you know, with those products, you're starting to um see, see the benefits of it and there's more to come. So that was Jeff from Crutchfield talking to dan from Bose about some pretty cool stuff how noise canceling headphones, how the quiet comfort series of headphones came to be a thing. And man, that was fun. That started a category in, in an industry, it did not exist until bows, made it exist until dr Bose had an idea dan made it happen along with his other cohorts there uh in a pretty cool way on the Voyager flight there. So a bunch of fun stuff, if you want more information than what you just heard, you should definitely check out Jeff's article, There will be a link to it in the show notes for this episode. So you can get to it, you can read more about the interview, more about dan and Jeff, what they were talking about and you can see clips from the interview, It was all recorded audio video kind of like a zoom call. Uh and so you get to actually see some stuff dan holds some cool things up to the camera, right? Like some headphones that doctor boz actually has worn before in the past like his original headphones, you get to see like the inside guts of them. I bet you if we're talking about this 30 years ago, there's no way they would have shown us those bows. Isn't one to reveal secrets that we get to see the inside of these headphones, even just for a second on a zoom call, it's pretty sweet. So definitely check out Jeff's interview. There's a link again in the show notes for this episode. Uh and speaking of this episode, we're about to wrap it up here. We've got more plans though for Crutchfield, the podcast again, this is a bonus episode. Uh we're gonna do another bonus episode. We've already recorded most of it. Uh It is an interview I did with paltry Truman from Sirius XM eric has no idea what's going on. What is this and where was I? He's not heard the interview in my basement. Well, I know where I was. I was in my basement. I'll send you, I'll send you a link because paul Trueman is an executive at Sirius XM and we get to talk to him about what he listens to what he listens to it on and his very interesting history in the music business. Uh he's had from from, well before he turned 18, he was very involved with live performances and knows a lot of musicians really well and it was a really, really fun interview plus he's got a cool accent, so you're just gonna want to listen for that. Yeah, it's great. I had a really great time talking with paul. So that's coming up in our december bonus episode. We are hard at work on season two of Crutchfield the podcast. So you'll be seeing more episodes, you'll be seeing a whole whole bunch of them one every couple of weeks coming out in a good part of 2021 there. So yeah, I look forward to bringing you more of these episodes. Uh and until then it's kind of basically let's get into these holidays, let's try to wrap up this crew crazy year with some goodness, right, with some cheers, some fun. So eric how are your holiday is gonna be different from normal? I mean what are you doing? You know, we're gonna hunker down uh and and spend time as a family, listen to some cool tunes, maybe spend some vinyl uh listen to some old classic christmas albums and just just have some good quality family time I won't be doing, No, actually, probably not too, not too dissimilar from what I'll be doing for christmas as well. Uh and uh so that's kind of it, let's let's wrap this thing up, Thank you so much for listening to Crutchfield the podcast. If you're listening to this on a podcast app of some sort uh there's probably some way to rate the podcast or review the podcast or follow the podcast. Certainly you can tell friends about the podcast. We uh you know, we're just kind of in the beginning stages of doing this podcast for about about a year now. We're pretty excited that we get to do it and we really would, we're hoping everybody gets a chance to listen. If you're enjoying this, tell others about it. Help us, help us spread that. Let us know what you want to hear about two. We would love it to interact with you. We do in most of the normal episodes, we'll have like a mailbag thing where we actually try to answer real customer questions, so feel free to put, you can do that right on crutchfield dot com slash podcast. You can put post your questions there and maybe we'll get to one of your questions if it's a good one on a future episode. Alright, so that about does it for this episode. Eric any parting words? I hope everyone out there has a safe but fun holiday season and uh yeah, I can't wait to get in the studio and do this again next year. Right on eric, thank you so much for being here. This is J. R. For crutchfield, the podcast. We are over and out. We'll see you in december.

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