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Electrostatic speaker developer, Warwick Audio, brings ultra-high quality portable audio to CES, Las Vegas

A Midlands UK based developer and producer of a revolutionary new audio transducer is showcasing the world’s first portable, over-ear electrostatic headphone at CES 2017, the global consumer electronics and technology tradeshow, in Las Vegas today.

Warwick Audio Technology (WAT) has developed its High-Precision Electrostatic Laminate (HPEL) transducers with the objective of making Hi-Res Audio more widely available. To this end WAT is in discussions with established brands globally to bring this ground-breaking technology to market. The prototypes displayed at CES represent the first battery-powered electrostatic over-ear headphones that mobilise the Hi-Res Audio experience. WAT is offering Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) a Hi-Res audio solution with the potential to disrupt the premium portable headphone market, a multi-billion dollar segment with healthy year-on-year growth.

Martin Roberts, CEO of Warwick Audio Technologies, said:

“Having last year promised the market that we would deliver this new prototype at CES 2017, we are absolutely delighted to not only have achieved that goal but to have exceeded our expectations with the initial performance of this unit.

"We are excited by the potential of this technology to deliver a step change in the quality of audio reproduction to those who are passionate about music and who want the best possible experience in a set of portable headphones. Our goal now is to work with our industry partners to bring this technology to market as quickly as possible.”

Electrostatic speakers are capable of delivering the most natural, high fidelity audio reproduction possible. However, up until now, their use has been restricted to high-end, mains-powered audiophile headphones due to the technology’s cost, size and high power consumption.

The efficiency of WAT’s new portable electronics modules has allowed the company to incorporate a range of capabilities into the prototype, including: 64-bit fixed point processing within on-board DSP, aptX™ HD Bluetooth for wireless operation, and a 24-bit/192kHz ADC for analogue inputs. The unit is also capable of operating for over eight hours between charges using a standard LiPo battery.

Throughout 2016 WAT increased operations in preparation for its first commercial applications. In October, the company appointed Gary Waters, a former Vice President and General Manager of BOSE™ as non-executive director. Its HPEL transducer was also used in Sonoma Acoustics’ Model One Headphone System (the M1).

Warwick Audio Technologies is one of the “Emerging Stars” which has been supported and grown through Mercia’s Complete Capital Solution.

Dr Mark Volanthen, Investment Director and Head of Electronics, Materials & Manufacturing / Engineering at Mercia, said:

“2016 was a great year for Warwick Audio Technologies, with the appointment of former VP of BOSE™ and the first commercial applications of its technology. This demonstration at CES 2017 marks the next step in exposing the market to its electrostatic headphone technology, providing consumers with a much clearer and purer sound experience than they would hear with products using existing transducer technologies.”