American xMEMS introduced the first engineering model of headphones with solid-state silicon emitters. The company claims that even in a primitive case printed on a 3D printer, the test sample was able to surpass the “professional headphones for $ 900” in harmonic distortion (THD).
Microelectromechanical circuits (MEMS) are a relatively new technology that is not yet used in audio equipment. Such emitters are closer to processors than to existing speakers. XMEMS emitters consist of six silicon cells on a textolite substrate smaller than a nail on a little finger of 6.05 × 8.4 × 0.985 mm. Each of the diffusers reproduces sound in its own frequency range, and the total claimed coverage is 10-20 000 Hz.
MEMS emitters require little energy (42 μW), are not afraid of dust and moisture (assumed rating IP57). The creators believe that their technology will find application in the production of all types of headphones, including fully wireless.
According to the xMEMS plan, the first test batches of silicon speakers will be ready in early 2021, and full-scale production will start by April. When the first headphones appear on the shelves depends only on xMEMS clients, but it is unlikely to have to wait long.
Regarding the price, xMEMS does not disclose the purchase price of solid-state speakers, but hints that headphones with them may not be more expensive than modern “reinforcing” earbuds with a balanced anchor, that is, in the range from 30 to a thousand dollars.