A few months ago, a company called xMEMS Labs unveiled the world's first solid-state speaker technology. While the tech may not sound fancy, they are not like regular drivers. Instead of traditional voice calls, diaphragms, and magnets, solid-state drivers come with an all-silicon driver design.
What's more interesting is that the solid-state drivers are printed like computer chips. Thanks to that, audio devices with these drivers need a less strenuous manufacturing process. Another thing that makes them unique is that they need very little power.
But the most important thing about solid-state drivers is that they offer greater accuracy and clarity than regular speaker drivers. This results in an enhanced listening experience. Well, the same technology is now coming to wireless earbuds. And these Bluetooth earphones could be the next big thing.
What Exactly Are Solid-state Drivers
Like traditional speakers, the solid-state drivers vibrate to make sounds. But the main difference is that the drivers are the results of the MEMS manufacturing process. For those wondering, MEMS stands for micro-electromechanical systems. This process combines moving parts with semiconductor technology.
MEMS is basically the main highlight of solid-state drivers. It's responsible for all the advancements this new audio solution offers. But MEMS itself is not new. It's already present in the accelerometers of your smartphone. Also, you will find it inside the micromirrors of the DLP projectors.
Also, as mentioned earlier, the solid-state drivers from xMEMS are not that different from computer chips. And thanks to utilizing the same manufacturing process, the new drivers are small in size.
On that note, xMEMS is not the first to develop MEMS drivers. Other companies played with it too. But xMEMS is the first to come up with an all-silicon solid-state driver design.
Comparing xMEMS Solid-state Drivers with Traditional Drivers
So, Creative, a well-known audio brand, is gearing up to launch the first pair of wireless earbuds with solid-state drivers. By incorporating cutting-edge technology, the brand aims to offer a brand-new experience to audiophiles. And considering how small the solid-state drivers are, the buds will be much smaller than regular earbuds.
But can Creative and xMEMS actually offer a revolutionary product? The solid-state drivers might be tiny, but they have a lot of potential. Let's take a deeper look:
What's Wrong with Traditional Drivers
To understand what the solid-state drivers of xMEMS could offer, you need to understand the working mechanism. But before that, you need to understand traditional drivers.
In traditional audio drivers, you will find copper voice coils. These coils press against a small part of the diaphragm to produce sound.
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While the setup might work well, traditional driver architecture is prone to distortion in higher volumes. Additionally, the traditional driver setups have somewhat uneven phase response. In other words, the audio frequencies can hit your ears at the wrong time, which eventually leads to muddiness.
Besides that, traditional drivers are current-driven. For that reason, they are not that great in terms of accurately reproducing fast transients. Wondering why? They need to ramp up to a high volume, and the drivers may not stop vibrating when they should.
What Makes Solid-state Drivers Different
The primary highlight of the solid-state drivers from xMEMS is the piezoelectric layer. It acts as the driver. And it handles making contact with almost 100% of the surface area of the silicon diaphragm.
For a higher surface contact area, the solid-state drivers are more distortion-resistant, even in higher volumes. And the greater contact area also makes the drivers offer a superior and accurate phase response. Each of the frequencies of the sound is produced at the right time.
Moreover, instead of relying on current, the solid-state drivers are voltage driven. Thanks to this, they achieve a much faster transient response compared to regular speakers. In other words, a snappy sound will appear at the time and diminish fast. On the other hand, traditional speakers ramp up and tit goes down with time.
So, in short, the solid-state drivers are geared to offer you a better overall music experience. And if executed right, earbuds with these drivers will be a treat for audiophiles.
When Will Creative Launch the Brand-new Earbuds
There are not much details about the Creative earbuds with solid-state drivers. But Creative plans to roll out the earbuds sometime later this year. And after Creative, more brands should chip in and release their own offering with the new drivers.
Now, even though the earbuds will be the first of its kind, Creative and xMEMs appears to be quite confident about the product. According to the CEO and CO-Founder at xMEMS Labs, “By integrating our advanced solid-state MEMS speakers into Creative's TWS products. We are confident that users will enjoy an unprecedented level of audio quality and efficiency.”
Considering how different the tech is compared to traditional speakers, the duo could indeed deliver their promises. And if that happens, high-end wireless earbuds such as the apple AirPods Pro lineup and Sony WF series could have tough competition. But again, it will depend on how costly the tech actually is at the initial state.
And before Creative launches its first pair of earbuds with solid-state drivers, I would recommend not getting high-end buds now. After all, the Creative earbuds are not really that far from now. And, of course, if more details about the buds come up, we will get you updated.