Even though the current headphone market is saturated with product—both innovative and me-too stuff—cable maker AudioQuest has decided they can do even better with their first headphone, the NightHawk. The NightHawk was designed by Skylar Gray and takes advantage of AudioQuest’s experience as a maker of audio/video cables and the wonderful DragonFly DAC (digital-to-analog converter).
The NightHawk combines advanced manufacturing techniques, innovative driver technologies with sensitive ergonomics and sustainable materials in a way that exudes quality. Much of its engineering is borrowed from sophisticated loudspeaker designs. The NightHawk is also the first headphone to use a 3D-printed part—a biomimetic grille that uses latticework to diffuse sound and help eliminate resonances. NightHawk’s 50mm drivers have a biocellulose diaphragm designed to take advantage of the material’s outstanding rigidity and high-frequency control.
One of the NightHawk’s coolest innovations are ear cups made from a material known as “Liquid Wood”—actual wood that has been combined with reclaimed plant fiber and processed in such a way that it can be injection molded, much like plastic. However, Liquid Wood retains the outstanding acoustic properties of real wood.
The NightHawk utilizes a retro-like design that minimizes waste, removing all unnecessary parts and leaving behind only parts that are vital to the product. “When we decided to build NightHawk, we knew it had to be something special—it had to have a real reason to exist because no one needs another ordinary headphone,” states designer Gray.
The AudioQuest NightHawk will be available in 2015. Pricing hasn’t yet been announced.
2 thoughts on “AudioQuest NightHawk headphones are as cool as their name”
Gadgeteer Comment Policy - Please read before commenting
Mr Speakers has been using 3D printed components in their headphones for years.
Thank you for your comment, Majik. We are aware of the Mr. Speakers Alpha Prime and Alpha Dog headphones, both of which indeed use 3D-printed earcup enclosures.
There are significant differences in how AudioQuest and Mr. Speakers employ 3D-printing technology: Mr. Speakers’ products begin as Fostex T50RP headphones and are modified to include the 3D-printed earcup enclosures. This fact takes nothing away from Mr. Speakers’ intelligent use of an exciting technology.
NightHawk, however, is built entirely from the ground up, making it the first _completely original, mass-produced_ headphone to use a 3D-printed part, an intricate biomimetic grille. Further, NightHawk’s grille was specifically designed to take advantage of the geometric complexity afforded by 3D-printing technology. It can be made through no other current means of manufacturing; the technology is _inherent_ to the design.
To mass-produce NightHawk’s grille, AudioQuest has partnered with Sculpteo, a leader in the 3D-printing industry. As Sculpteo’s Zach Correa recently explained to Sarah Anderson of 3DPrint.com, “I can tell you that [NightHawk] is one of the largest orders we have processed through our services and we see it as a shifting moment as the viability of 3D printing, as a means of mass production, becomes a reality.”