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Get In The Zone

The flow-state of Dyson’s new air purifying headphones is revealed.

By

8 December 2022

Dyson has announced the full specification of the Dyson Zone purifying headphones, which go on-sale in early 2023. Announced earlier this year, the Dyson Zone headphones provide a pure, immersive listening experience — and on-the-go air purification when you need it. Following five years of research and development, the headphones deliver up to 50 hours of ultra-low distortion, advanced noise cancellation, and faithful, full-spectrum audio reproduction, while filters remove pollutants as small as 0.1 microns.

The Urban Pollution Problem

More than half of the global population lives in cities. This is expected to reach 7 in 10 by 2050. As urban populations grow, so does associated infrastructure such as transport, construction, traffic — all of which impact the environment by generating both noise and air pollution.

  • An estimated 90 per cent of New York City mass transit users are exposed to levels exceeding the recommended decibel limit4. In the EU, noise pollution affects 1 in 5 citizens
  • Air pollution is also a global problem. 99% of the world’s population live in areas that exceed the World Health Organisation (WHO) safe levels for pollution
  • In many geographies, local man-made pollution isn’t the biggest threat. In Europe, West Asia and Africa, the primary source of air pollution according to the United Nations Environment Programme is wind-borne dust

The Dyson Zone Solution

The Dyson Zone headphones are engineered to tackle the dual challenges of city noise and air pollution. Powered by advanced lithium-ion batteries and USB-C charging, the headphones offer 50 hours of audio-only run-time, or 4 hours of combined purification and audio run-time, charging to 100% in 3 hours.

The Dyson Zone air-purifying headphones are borne of Dyson’s 30 years of expertise in airflow, filtration and motors technologies and deep understanding of indoor and outdoor air quality. The compressors in each earcup draw air through the dual-layer filters and project two streams of purified air to the wearer’s nose and mouth, channeled through the non-contact detachable visor. Filters remove pollutants as small as 0.1 microns, whilst K-Carbon, potassium-enriched carbon filters target prevalent acidic gases most associated with city pollution, including NO2 and SO2.

The product has also been engineered to deliver high fidelity, immersive audio with ultra-low distortion and a broad frequency range for clarity across bass, mids and highs. The Dyson Zone incorporates an additional microphone for telephony, allowing phone calls, voice recording and voice control. The telephony microphone combines with the feed forward ANC microphone to provide dual microphone beamforming. Beamforming creates greater clarity of voice transmission by combining the signals from each microphone in a way that allows the system to reject noise from behind and to the sides of the wearer.

Dyson Approach To Audio Engineering

The Dyson Zone headphones deliver an exceptional immersive listening experience. Many audio developers rely on a golden listener; this has become common practice across the audio industry, where a trained individual determines what ‘good’ sounds like. Dyson engineers opted to take a more scientific approach, led by audio research and validating the resulting specification targets with extensive user trialling.

Engineered for ultra-low distortion, the speaker driver and electronics, mechanical system, materials, and acoustics have been carefully designed to minimise distortion. The driver output is further equalised by intelligent signal processing 48,000 times a second which combines with the noise cancellation to neutralise harmonic distortion to inaudible levels across the full frequency range (0.08% @ 94dB @1 kHz). Advanced noise cancelling through 11 microphones feature within the product. The Dyson Zone ANC system uses eight microphones which monitor surrounding noise 384,000 times a second. The Dyson Zone offers up to 38dB of noise cancellation from 20Hz to 20kHz.

The Dyson Zone goes beyond the audible to reproduce faithful, full-spectrum audio, with frequencies from 6Hz to 21kHz, ensuring every note or word is heard. It is more difficult for audio reproduction to be accurate at the extremes of the speaker’s frequency range, so by going beyond human hearing, the Dyson Zone achieves greater clarity across the audible portion of the spectrum. Such a broad frequency range is down to the electroacoustic engineering system engineering and base components, with 40mm, 16ohm, neodymium speaker drivers sitting at the heart of the audio system.

Driven by scientific metrics and validated by broad user trialling, Dyson engineers tuned the product to hear more detail by identifying the specification that gives the most clarity and detail across the full audio spectrum. Dyson has created a unique EQ setting that optimises the frequency curve for clear, pure audio across the full audible frequency range, to deliver a high-fidelity audio experience.

No two heads are the same and this variation impacts many elements of comfort as well as audio performance — including the clamp force of the headband, the geometry and materials of the detachable visor, the adjustability of the product and much more. The ear cushions are purposefully flatter than conventional ear cushions for both passive attenuation and comfort, and the cushions are angled to align with the ear for optimal comfort.

High-Level Filtration In Real-World Conditions

Across the world, an average of 190 million people travel on the subway — exposing passengers to a mixture of pollutants such as particulate matter (PM2.5 & PM10). In some cities this can reach higher levels than those at street level. Tackling city air pollution is a specific job, be that when you commute to work, travel abroad or traverse the city in which you live. The filtration system and air delivery mechanism in the Dyson Zone are engineered specifically to tackle such tasks.

Precision-engineered compressors, spinning at up to 9,750 rpm, draw air through the dual-layer filters. The negatively charged electrostatic filter media captures ultrafine particles such as allergens, and particles from other sources — such as brake dust, industry combustion, and construction — to an efficiency of 99% for particles as small as 0.1 microns. These particles are of most concern to health bodies, and investment in researching their long-term impact on health continues.

A second layer, K-Carbon, is a potassium-enriched carbon layer which specifically captures city gas pollutants like NO2, SO2 and O3, as well as nasty city odours, like construction fumes, sewage, or stale air in metro systems, for example. Filters will last up to 12 months, depending on geographical location. 

Sensing, Connectivity & App Development

NO2 is one of the most prevalent gaseous pollutants in cities, a byproduct of combustion, with sources including traffic and construction. Alongside other acidic gases like SO2, the potassium-enriched carbon filters within the Dyson Zone target these acidic gases specifically to meet the challenges of city air. An on-board sensor monitors the air for NO2 levels, tracking these live via the MyDyson app, alongside real-time environmental noise levels.

Like Dyson in-home purifiers, The Dyson Zone provides actionable, understandable information about the user’s environment at their fingertips to inform healthier habits. An on-board accelerometer monitors the user’s activity, adjusting the purified airflow appropriately when in auto mode with the visor attached. Head detection enters the product into standby mode when not being worn, and dipping the detachable visor activates conversation mode, stopping purification and pausing music, intelligently optimising battery life.

The MyDyson app can also be used to control the Dyson Zone, adjust airflow speed and noise-cancellation mode, as well as adapt the audio equalisation to preference, choosing from three modes: Dyson EQ (enhanced), Bass Boost (bassy), and Neutral (flatter response curve). In the MyDyson app you can opt-in to loudness limit in line with aural health guidance. The Dyson Zone air-purifying headphones have been engineered by teams across the UK, Singapore, Malaysia, and China — with a particular focus on software on South-East Asia campuses. The app development and integration was a critical project to ensure a smooth connection journey and provide intelligent, meaningful air and noise pollution tracking features.

As with all Dyson machines, the Dyson Zone noise-cancelling headphones with air purification have been tested to the extremes — in temperature-controlled chambers, drop-testing, material and fabric wear testing, button robustness, and much more. Our expert test engineers in the Dyson Malaysia Development Centre are integral to this, as is the geography — putting it through its paces in warmer climates and higher humidity in addition to UK-based testing. User trials have been conducted in the US, UK, China and Singapore.

Key Features:

  • Pure Dyson Audio. Engineered for ultra-low distortion, ensuring absolute clarity in bass, mids and highs at any given volume
  • Advanced Noise Cancelling. 11 microphones feature within the product. The ANC system uses eight to reduce the sound of the city up to 38dB; these microphones monitor surrounding sounds 384,000 times a second
  • Pure Air. Magnetic visor delivers purified air, comfortably and hygienically – without touching your face
  • Captures Ultrafine Particulates & Fumes. Electrostatic filter removes pollutants as small as 0.1 microns

TECH SPECS

Audio

  • Frequency Response: 6Hz – 21kHz
  • Distortion: 0.08% @ 94dB 1kHz
  • Codecs: SBC, AAC, LHDC
  • ANC: Up to 38 dB Total attenuation up to 40dB
  • Speaker Size: 40mm
  • Speaker Magnet: Neodymium
  • Microphones: 8 ANC, 2 Noise reduction, 1 Telephony

Filter Efficiency

  • Filter Efficiency (PM0.1): 99%
  • Gaseous Capture: NO2, SO2, O3
  • Filter Life: Up to 12 months

Power

  • Battery Type: 2x Lithium Ion Units
  • Battery Capacity: 2,600mAh
  • Min Charge Power: 0.5A, 5V
  • Runtime Whilst Charging: (2.4A+) Infinite
  • Charge Port: USB-C
  • Charge Time: 100% 3hrs
  • Runtime: Audio – up to 50hrs, Low flow – up to 4hrs, Mid flow – up to 2.5hrs, High flow – up to 1.5hrs

Connectivity

  • Bluetooth 5.0: Enabled
  • Bluetooth Low Energy (MyDyson App): Enabled
  • Bluetooth Profiles: A2DP, AVRCP, HFP
  • MyDyson App: Enabled
  • 3.5mm – USB-C In (Audio): Enabled
  • Telephony (via BT): Enabled

On-Product Sensing

  • AQ Sensing: NO2
  • Head Detection: Enabled
  • Transparency Mode: Enabled
  • Auto Mode (user activity detect): Accelerometer

Model Colours & Accessories

Retail:

Satin Silver/Ultra Blue or Ultra Blue/Prussian Blue

  • 1x pair of electrostatic carbon filters
  • Visor cleaning brush
  • USB-C charging cable
  • Visor sleeve
  • ‘Quarter Turn’ hard case

Dyson Direct:

Prussian Blue/ Bright Copper

  • 2x pair of electrostatic carbon filters
  • Visor cleaning brush
  • USB-C charging cable
  • Visor sleeve
  • Explorer case
  • In-Flight adaptor kit
  • Soft pouch

Weight

  • 595g (no visor)
  • 670g (with visor)

CONTACT

Dyson: dyson.com
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READ ONLINE NOW
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Issue 93

REVIEWED

Ableton Live 12
What’s in. What’s out. What to expect.