During CES Unveiled last month, I came across a company that was touting a product so unique and so expensively priced that I found myself both overwhelmed, and in complete awe. That’s a similar reaction to what I noticed from other people who walked over to the Debussy booth throughout the night. The French startup was showcasing three newly launched headphones at the tradeshow, which ranged in price from $590 all the way up to nearly $5,000.
Founder and CEO Arnaud Perret, who was on hand at CES, described the headphones as “smart listening objects” that provide a Hi-Fi listening experience that also happens to be fully autonomous and intelligent. The headphones, for example, don’t need to be tethered to a smartphone in any capacity in order to stream music from the listeners favorite services—like Spotify or Pandora. Everything—from music to apps—will be integrated into the headphones, which have a touch interface on the outside of the ear cups.
Perret explained that the headphones will be able to connect to the internet via WiFi integration as well as 4G integration. I asked on site and in follow up emails if that meant the headphones would require a data plan in order to access telecom networks, but that information wasn’t readily available. Perret and company spokespeople both said they’re still “fine tuning exactly how we want to connect the headsets to the internet.”