The quest for high-quality sound systems on equally auspicious transport ships often results in mouth-watering partnerships – see Maserati and Sonus Faber or Mercedes and Burmester for starters.
But as ambitious as they are, the sound systems of these vehicles shouldn’t leave the ground en masse (not yet) and they don’t need to neutralize the powerful jet engines that all passenger planes are equipped with.
Luxury French audio specialist Devialet seems relentless, however. The manufacturer Devialet Dione has partnered with Safran, an international high-tech group that operates in the aviation sector (propulsion, equipment and interiors), to take to the skies – and straight to our airplane seats.
The result of the collaboration is Euphony, a headphone-free sound solution for luxury aircraft seats that promises a “high-quality individual sound experience”.
Safran explains that Devialet’s team of world-class engineers used patented acoustic technologies for the two speakers built into the anatomy of the seat itself, enabling first and business class passengers (you never fly on buses, right?) experience without the hassle of headphones and cables.
Seats will begin appearing in 2023 across Safran’s entire portfolio of business and first class seats – and as one of the world’s leading manufacturers of crew and passenger aircraft seats (1 million aircraft seats manufactured by Safran Seats are currently in service around the world) chances are you might at least see it on a flight soon, even if you can’t actually sit there.
Analysis: Can in-seat speakers combat jet engine noise?
Bose, as you probably know, is credited with creating active noise-canceling headphones to help pilots land planes, in the late ’70s. And nowhere is a set of noise-canceling cans more useful. and effective than on a flight, or anywhere with constant low-level external noise.
I struggle to see how the best noise-canceling headphones can be beaten by an in-seat speaker solution, even if it’s from a formidable brand like Devialet.
As much as I’d love to try it out (and the bubble cup on arrival too, thanks), I’ll still keep my Sony WH-1000XM5 close by for takeoff and movies.
No more communication barriers between fellow travelers and cabin crew (and without quickly removing the free wired headphones to avoid awkward tangles when placing the tray table or getting out of your seat), Euphony promises a seamless and sociable onboard experience for passengers. And all this should be encouraged.
But the crucial claim is that Euphony can “adjust in real-time to audio content and cabin ambient noise to deliver an optimal listening experience without affecting other passengers on board”, a serious request for any high-end system. -speakers who cannot benefit from passive natural isolation, ie. being strapped to its head, over or inside each of its ears.
The best noise-canceling headphones do an excellent job of eliminating noise and come in a tiny pocket-sized case that’s perfect for carry-on bags. Can a pair of speakers built into an airplane seat melt that constant low-level engine roar? I doubt it. But I’d love to be proven wrong…