We’re kicking off our post Aircraft Interiors Expo content, well with where we started, with Safran Seating announcing its Euphony headset product. Economy Class and Beyond managed to get a hands-on preview of it.
The idea seems a little mad – why?
Part of the rationale is “trying something different”. We’ve seen nearly every manufacturer and their friends add seats with doors, hidden cubby holes and so on.
For those who think it’s a matter of popping some speakers behind the fabric of a seat and off you rock, there’s a lot more than that – that’s where Safran worked with Devialet to develop the appropriate speaker drivers to integrate it into the headrest.
Where can you hear it?
I tested the speakers both seated as well as while walking around the cabin. This was tested with an accelerated flight background noise, with simulated takeoff, cruise and landing phases. Audio output was a mixture of music, film and spoken word.
Sitting in the seat, when the head-wings were close, it was easy to understand the content. Naturally, when moving the head-wings away, the volume lowered slightly.
It was interesting to note the speakers were listening and auto-levelling to the exterior noise, so it raised the volume during the take-off/landing phases, whilst turning the volume down during cruise.
The noise was at a level, where it was possible to have a discussion with someone in the aisle, and they did not have to speak loudly to be heard, which is important from the safety factor to allow crew instructions to be heard
Similarly, if I was sitting “across” from the seat, the volume of the in-seat speakers was barely perceptible unless I was listening closely. Walking through the simulated aisle, there was near enough none of the output that was able to be perceived (again, unless you have a rather keen ear).
It’s a different experience
if you prefer noise-cancelling technologies to help you along (and we’ve all been reaching for them), you’ll be happy to know you can pop your headphones in, and it will turn off the speaker system.
But I can see this having some traction – it disposes of the need for headphones for an experience that is more than acceptable, without having to sleep with headphones or earbuds in.
Targetting will be important
Euphony is targeted as a solution for Business and First class seats. Don’t expect these to turn up in the economy cabin. They also add weight to the seat – something that airlines will be wary of during these times.
An entry into service has been confirmed for next year, with a launch customer selected.
I’ve got more than a passing interest in this to see who’s brought it and is taking this into the sky. Considering this can be fitted new to Safran’s business seating line, there are lots of possibilities who is the first customer.
Economy Class and Beyond was a guest of Safran Seating at Aircraft Interiors Expo.
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