Headphone design and manufacturing company Audiofly launched in Perth in 2011. From the outset, Audiofly aimed to distinguish itself by virtue of the excellent sonic detail, clarity and warmth of its products. Audiofly CEO Dave Thompson has been engaged with music since a young age, and his founding principle was simple: to create products that would help musicians do better things.
“I’ve been a musician all my life, played violin since I was five and then took on electric guitar in high school,” he says. “Then I got into making guitars, and that was probably the thing that got me dialled into three-dimensional products.”
The Audiofly product range includes in-ear headphones, in-ear monitors, and premium over-ear headphones, catering for the consumer and professional markets. “The first core range of products was more consumer based products, but we had one product within that, which at was a hybrid,” Thompson says. “We were using a dynamic speaker as well as an armature speaker in the same headphones. So it was a dual driver, but a hybrid dual driver. The idea with that was that you’d have more of a natural bottom-end because of your dynamic driver that, which typically has a better bass response, and then a tweeter effectively in the form of an armature driver.”
The product in question is the AF78 premium in-ear headphone. Thanks to its unique composition, Audiofly won an innovation award at the 2013 Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in the USA. “It was kind of the first time anyone had done it,” Thompson says. “There was a few products like that on the market, but when we released ours we marketed it right, we told the story about the sound benefits. That product is what helped us stick around as a new headphone company.”
Earlier this year the Audiofiy team was back at CES to premiere a trio of new products, one of which is the second instalment in their over-ear headphone line. “The AF250, that’ll be out probably in the spring time,” Thompson says. “That’s a Bluetooth set of cans. So we recently launched our first set of overhead headphones [AF240], which is just a 40mm driver, passive headphones, good sound. We started shipping the product late November.” Also unveiled was the AF100 entry-level in-ear monitor and the high-end AF1120 in-ear monitor. “[So it’s] one at the absolute low-end and one at the top, high-end. We already had four on the market, and the monitor range has become our flagship. It’s helped us as a new brand to further differentiate. It’s actually opened up the doors to the pro audio industry, which is a lot closer to my heart as a musician, but also where I think Audiofly wants to go as a brand.”
With the rise in densely produced home recordings and technology-assisted live shows, an increasing number of amateur musicians are looking to utilise in-ear monitors. The AF100 was designed to service this outbreak of curiosity, appealing to musicians who mightn’t want to fork out large sums of money just yet. The AF1120, meanwhile, is at the other end of the spectrum. “It’s a six driver monitor, so it’s got a dual low, dual mid and a dual high speaker configuration. It sounds really good – really amazing bass response out of an armature speaker.”
Now, Audiofly’s achievements in the professional arena shouldn’t draw attention away from its consumer product range. Along with award-winning AF78s, Audiofly produce three other premium in-ear headphone varieties. These are more affordable than the AF78s, but they still deliver exceptional sonic detail. “Our two lowest end products are the AF33 and the 45. The 33 is a $40 headphone with a 9mm dynamic driver in it, so it’s effectively the same kind of thing you’d walk into JB Hi-Fi and see on the shelves. But it is ported a bit differently – the internal structure of the shell has more of a trumpet like shape to it, which ultimately eliminated any dead spots of sound within the headphone. A lot of headphones at that price, they’re not dialled, the drivers aren’t really tweaked. So that’s the extra value we did bring to that lower end stuff.”
In a time when music gets listened to while walking down the street, sitting on the bus, moving through a shopping centre or cooking a meal, Audiofly’s products allow you to circumvent the background clutter. “Everything’s gone through a fairly detailed sound assessment and tweaked the way we want it. Our sound curve generally has more of a mid-range presence than a heavy bass. It’s easy to have a bassy headphone, but we try to mix a bit more mids in there to get that detail.”