Grado Labs, Singapore's FreeSystems Announce Wireless Headphones

As almost all audiophiles have discovered, headphone cables just don't reach far enough. You want to lie on the sofa for a late night listen, but you find out the cable is about two feet short. You can rearrange your room, buy a cable extender—or go wireless. That's what Grado is inviting you to do with the FreeSystems Grado Digital Headphone System.

Designed in collaboration with Singapore-based FreeSystems, a technology company specializing in audio processing and wireless communications, Grado has incorporated its RA-1 headphone amplifier into a wireless receiver designed by FreeSystems. The result is said to be "full-bandwidth, low-noise, zero compression transmission technology . . . to provide a crystal clear digital wireless link between the audio source and the user."

The task wasn't easy. As John Grado explained, "A cable or interconnect stretched across the room is not an optimum solution. The challenge was to find a link that is as good as, or better than, wire, yet without its physical presence." Engineers from the partnering companies succeeded by using FreeSystems' 1901/1902 digital audio transmission chipset, which offers 2Mbps transfer rates with no compression, 96dB signal/noise ratio, and "perfect channel separation." The 1902 receiver chip interfaces directly with most DACs, has very low jitter, and supports 48kHz sample rates.

Grado will demonstrate its wireless headphone receiver at CES in Las Vegas next weekend. The product is expected to ship in quantity to dealers by fall 2001.