How the sound-industry transformed from using high-quality cables into being wireless, without sacrificing sound quality.
Sound by Sweden, Zound Industries, Urbanista, Defunc, Happy Plugs and Sudio. The list is long for Swedish brands within in the headphone segment. One by one, they have captured the ravages of time and emerged in the elongated country and then further out into the world.
The brand that is extra special in this matter is Sound by Sweden. It is a sister company to the renowned tech company Jenving Technology AB, which has developed and manufactured premium audio equipment under the brand SUPRA Cables, since 1976. This has gathered experience from joint co-operations with clients like the Swedish and American Air Force, Koenigsegg Automotive and several worldwide recording studios. Throughout their journey, they have invented and manufactured cables of the absolute highest quality and performance on the market, developed military communication systems and created consumer electronic products such as cable-powered headphones. Today, their development process continues and the sister company, Sound by Sweden, now leads the Nordic market in True Wireless bluetooth headphones.
We had a short chat with Anders Svensson, COO at Sound by Sweden about how it all started, how they succeed and why they build their headphones in military-class aircraft composite.
Anders, how would you describe the concept "good sound"?
- Good sound depends on the perspective of who is listening, but there are some benchmarks that work for most people. When creating a good sound experience, you must also factor in the human factor - by refining the levels in all sound-registers and finding what people really like. In the case of Sound by Sweden, we have put our sound very close to the golden mean, but have invited a large pool of sound-engineers to also check it against the truly enthusiastic human factor. The result was a sound-experience that appealed to everyone in hi-fi circuits as the Sound by Sweden-experience is something more heavy and dynamic, while still being a well-balanced sound between all registers - which is a sound-experience that is pleasurable for most listeners.
When asked how hard it is to develop a product that provides a good sound experience, Anders explained:
- It is the development of the sound experience that is among the most complex and important parts in the whole process of developing a new product. Unfortunately, the sound elements are something that is directly related to which components you choose for your product.
Within the large pool of sound engineers available at Jenving, the idea of Sound by Sweden was born out of passion. They imagined a truly wireless experience of tremendous sound:
- "There were numerous reasons why we started a true wireless earphone brand, but frankly it was because we found frustration with the current price vs. performance available in headphone products at the time", says Anders Svensson, COO at Sound by Sweden. “We were confident we could develop, produce and supply top notch products.”
On a technology-level, what are the engineering differences between a cable-driven earphone vs a wireless-driven earphone?
- The main difference is how you transport and process information between the sending and receiving units. When you choose to send information via Bluetooth codec instead of using electric signals via a copper wire, you´ll have a lot more surrounding factors to consider. RF-disturbance, weather conditions, network coverage, building materials and other signal barriers all inflicts on the signal transmission. The transmission via Bluetooth is clearly more advanced so products with this type of technology simply require more development time and expertise.
What are the challenges in engineering true wireless earphones?
- Size, size and size. If you would not have to relate to the parameter size, I would like to say that it is not particularly difficult to make a true wireless headphone. It is when you want to make it really, really small that the challenges begin. Space for components, ground etc. is put to a minimum and you´ll have to find solutions to get all technology working together in this limited space. It is at this stage in the development process that deep tech know-how is required.
The company received their true breakthrough in 2014, when Sound by Sweden launched their blockbuster wireless earphone called NiTRO. Back then, the widely recognized Nordic magazine “Ljud & Bild” awarded the product with” Earphone of the Year”. The awards kept raining on the Sound by Sweden-brand: a tech-site caleld “M3” awarded it as ” Best Buy” in the Premium category. After the NiTRO's ground-breaking launch, Sound by Sweden have worked on extending their product portfolio by launching additional, also highly awarded headphones and earbuds.
According to Anders, Sound by Sweden’s product lines using only proprietary technology and explains the reasons as to why Sound by Sweden choose to engineer their own chips instead of using traditional Qualcomm-chips:
- Many of the components we tried from manufacturers really affected the sound experience negatively. Early in the innovation-process, we realized that in order to create the ultimate experience, we also had to create our own mapping of chipsets. With proprietary electronic solutions and software, we were able to tune the performance to reach our very high demands on sound-fidelity and clarity. It also meant that we had to design our own drivers as well, in order to protect our vision “New Generation of Sound”.
Sound by Sweden have seemingly perfected upon existing technology, and have reently designed the world’s smallest True Wireless headset - the NERO TX. The product has been awarded with the highest awards possible in the Nordic Media-landscape, awarded the “Product of the Year” for 2020/2021 by Ljud&Bild - outperforming Apple Airpods Pro, Sennheiser Momentum and Sony WF1000X2 in both performance and price. The product is made using Sound by Sweden’s proprietary chipset and driver. Anders describes the product as tough - it is made to last, and comes with a variety of features not included in the competition’s offerings.
Watch the review by Ljud&Bild here (Mandarin subtitles):
Why does Sound by Sweden use aircraft composite for these headphones?
- It is actually for the same reason why we wanted to start Sound by Sweden: to build sustainable and high-quality products where everything from headphones to charging cable is of amazing quality. We believe that everything we develop must be slim and durable. We must go down to the material level and hand-pick specific materials that allow us to develop user-friendly products that can withstand beatings. Of course, it costs more to produce and sure, our headphones should cost more in store – but we chose to offer it at a very competitive price. It is a balancing act. We manufacture products we want ourselves and therefore we have chosen to use military-grade aircraft composite. Then the headphones hold and everybody wins in the long run.
Their product lines have until now only been distributed in the Nordics-region and it’s immediately neighboring markets. In April, the Brand announced their move into the international market-place, and the brand sees huge potential for their global operations. Sound by Sweden have now announced that they will bring their products to the Pacific Asia-market, with the help of their sales-partner Sure Sun. The expansion is scheduled to start with the market of Taiwan this summer. At the same time, Anders hints to a new product launch by Sound by Sweden, scheduled around the same time.
You can follow the progress of the launch via their local social media accounts:
- With this product, we feel like we can finally move outside of our home market in the Nordics and start providing amazing personal sound experiences, to all corners of the world.” says Anders Svensson.
Designed and developed in Sweden, the Nero-TX is the world's lightest true wireless headset.
NERO-TX is one of the smallest true wireless earphones on the market. Despite its extremely compact format, the earphones still have unrivaled sound quality and a battery time of up to 80 hours. Sound By Sweden have been able to generate this technological breakthrough through combining their exclusive chipset’-technology, “SBSC_T1v.2” and their self-developed original driver “SBS8Dv1”, in combination with high-efficiency batteries.
“The Nero-TX has the most amazing sound-picture within its price range. An insanely good buy”
- Geir Gråben, Editor,Picture & Sound Nordic
Regarding the Sound By Sweden Nero-TX
Read more about Sound by Sweden here: www.soundbysweden.com
About Sound By Sweden:
Sound by Sweden is a Swedish company focused on cutting edge technology in the premium segment of headphones and earphones. Innovative materials, technical know-how and military grade quality guarantees products of absolute world class.
Sound By Sweden’s mother-company, Jenving Technology, is world-renowned for its high quality HiFi cables under the brand SUPRA Cables. With experience from joint co-operations with clients like the Swedish and American Air Force, Koenigsegg Automotive and several worldwide recording studios. Within the large pool of sound engineers, the idea of Sound By Sweden was born out of passion. They imagined a truly wireless experience of tremendous sound:
“There were numerous reasons why we started a true wireless earphone brand, but frankly it was because we found frustration with the current price vs. performance available in headphone products at the time.” says Anders Svensson, COO at Sound By Sweden.
“We were confident we could develop, produce and supply top notch products.”
The company received their true breakthrough in 2014, when Sound by Sweden launched our blockbuster wireless earphone called NiTRO. The widely recognized Nordic magazine “Ljud & Bild” awarded the product with” Earphone of the Year”. The awards kept raining on the Sound By Sweden brand: gizmo site “M3” awarded it as ” Best Buy” in the Premium category. After this ground-breaking launch, Sound By Sweden have extended the product portfolio by launching additional, similarly awarded earphones.
Today, Sound By Sweden have seemingly perfected upon existing technology, and have designed the world’s smallest True Wireless headset - the NERO TX. The product has been awarded with the highest awards possible in the Nordic Media-landscape, awarded the “Product of the Year” for 2020/2021 by Ljud&Bild - outperforming Apple Airpods Pro, Sennheiser Momentum and Sony WF1000X2 in both performance and price. The product is made using Sound by Sweden’s proprietary chipset and driver. It is made to last, and comes with a variety of features not included in the competition’s offerings.
“With this product, we feel like we can finally move outside of our home market in the Nordics and start providing amazing personal sound experiences, to all corners of the world.” says Anders Svensson.