Our interview with MIdori Takada.
Our interview with MIdori Takada.
Inside phonon, the boutique Japanese headphone workshop (excerpts)
by Anton Spice, Vinyl Factory
"Isao Kumano: Originally, I had been running my own music studio, maintaining and re-modelling it myself as well as making all the equipment I needed. phonon’s products are an extension of this, and of what we’ve been doing for years in the studio."
Today we launch the official e-commerce store for Phonon-inc for the US market.
Through Phononstore.com we aim to bring Phonon's high-end quality audio equipment to the US audio professional consumer and audio enthusiast.
Since Phonon is a Japanese company, we've created this separate site that caters specifically to the US market. This is the only official Phonon store online in the US, where you are receiving the products direct from Phonon with all the included warranty and customer satisfaction guarantees.
As we continue to evolve and add new products, please reach out to us with any comments/questions in order to help us continue improving and providing the best quality audio products possible.
We are opening the store with what we think are a revolutionary pair of headphones. The SMB-02 are unequivocally one of the best sounding headphones today. Quite simply, the sound is just so pure - like it was meant to be. This is achieved thanks to the amazing tuning capability of Isao Kumano who set out to create the most authentic listening experience.
Isao (Phonon's CEO and Lead Engineer - also one half of Tokyo Black Star) is an incredible talented and highly respected sound engineer in Japan. Since the early 90s he's been working and tuning an amazing variety of analog equipment with his unique and eclectic style. His achievements range from making sound systems for clubs/underground house/techno parties to recording, producing music (anything from underground dance music to Japanese pop), to running his own mastering studio. Today, lots of studios in Japan have adopted his style and appreciate the quality and purity of sound that Phonon products produce.
The SMB-02 Headphone proposition is quite simple; if you want a pair of headphones that are fashionable and trendy, there are many options for you. Or if you are looking for noise canceling for your plane travels, also plenty of these out there. Or whatever other hundreds of crazy features that are available nowadays in headphones - there are tons of options for you out there. HOWEVER - IF YOU WANT THE ABSOLUTE BEST, clearest and unpolluted sound - at a consumer price - our SMB-02's are right for you. Pro audio at consumer pricing.
We don't compromise sound quality with anything. No noise canceling, no crazy features. Just plain, understated design, with full focus on comfort and the best quality sound you can buy south of $1,000.
But don't take our word for it; see the professional reviews (linked from the homepage), or try them on yourself! take advantage of our 15 day return policy. If you don't like them - send them back.We felt it is very important for you to experience the incredible sound yourself. That's why we created this policy so that you have no risk in purchasing your own pair of SMB-02.
Let us know what you think once you try them (firstname.lastname@example.org). You might even want to do our Sound Challenge - more about that soon.
For now, we trust you will reach out with any questions and feel confident enough with what you see to try these headphones out. we are confident you won't regret it.
Thank you for your support.
Check out the specs her SMB-02
The New Phonon 4000 : the mobile version of the SMB-02
The philosophy behind the Phonon & SMB-02 by Isao Kumano (Phonon CEO and engineer)
Music and Sound quality are essential to me. I have been listening to music everyday for more than 20 years, spent long hours building sound systems in clubs and even longer hours working in the studio. When the sound is not right it bothers me and I can’t listen to it for a long time. I need to fix it.
Music tuned correctly makes you enjoy music so much more. You really enjoy music when your monitoring set up is right. In the studio, as a sound engineer it is important to have correctly tuned studio monitor speakers.
It is the same for headphones. I have always corrected, adjusted and modified my sound environment. After long hours of using headphones your ears fatigue. One of the things that bothered me when I used headphones in the studio was that there was a difference between the sound of the headphones and the sound coming from the speakers.
I like to use headphones to check very carefully for noise, distortion and how the low frequencies sound, so when I compared headphones to speakers, I always heard a difference in the sound and that was always a problem, and it always bothered me.
It takes some time until the brain corrects this issue, it is a very big burden for sound engineers.
I made the SMB-02 with this purpose, to eliminate this essential problem, to correct the difference between monitoring speakers and monitoring headphones.
Using all my experience as a professional sound engineer experimenting and tuning headphones I finally came up with the phonon SMB-02 for studio use and for pure enjoyment of music.
When Japan’s top legendary sound engineer Mr.Shinichi Akagawa listened to the SMB-02 for the first time, he immediately understood this development and philosophy and gave us some very good feedback and comments: http://phonon-inc.com/portfolio/smb-02-ds-dac/?lang=en
According to him, when you give the SMB-02 to a musician or a singer who is not on form and not performing well during a recording session, their performance surprisingly improves so much!
For me most of the headphones in general are muffled or clogged, or they have aggressive high frequencies so I have a fear of using them. And the ones that have a good sound I know cost a few thousand dollars. But they are big, heavy and have a strong pressure on your ears, so you get tired.
Also, I find it important to have a good long length cable so that you can keep your headphones on when you move around in the studio and to grab your coffee.
For all those reasons above, I was able to come up with a pair of headphones that you can use for long hours and seamlessly with monitor speakers.
We continuously get great feedback from audio professionals. One great point they made was that “adjusting studio monitors can be difficult as it depends on the tuning of the room, so when you can’t come up with a good set up, the SMB-02 are the perfect reference headphones for your music!”
Another point we hear is that the Phonon SMB-02 are comparable to headphones that cost a few thousand dollars. I am very pleased to hear this as I have had a similar feeling when i am mastering songs. I feel I came up with the same sound quality required by today’s top studios, engineers and producers.
The SMB-02 started from a pro audio perspective, it’s a perfect combination of art and science, we engineered them but most importantly we tuned them as best as we could. This is where we feel we create the magic. Today its sound is what hi end audio users all around the world are looking for. It is the right natural sound as it was originally produced.
Please enjoy music in a stress-free playback environment and you will probably re-discover music!
Phonon CEO and Mastering Engineer
(phonon studio, February 2015)
Read the Blog for reviews and testimonials
Buy here: SMB 02
Check out the New Phonon 4000
More info here http://phononstore.com/
PRODUCER / SOUND DESIGNER / DJ
LOST HEROES ARTS & MEDIA
When like me, you spend countless of hours producing / editing / arranging musical projects you need various references & headphones are one of the best way to reset your sonic point of view on the music or sound you're working on . I sometimes turn off my monitoring & work only with headphones for entire session.
The Phonon SMB 02 are my "go to" headphone reference when it comes to mixing down a project. Why, What's the difference ? Its quite unique way to reproduce the sonic image: the precision of the high frequencies, the imaging of the mids & the depth of the bass frequencies. I also like the fact that the SMB 02 creates very little "ear fatigue" therefore i can work longer & better sessions .
PHONON SMB 02 are, so far, the best studio headphones i've used .
Check out the specs here http://phononstore.com/products/smb-02-headphones
The Story behind the Phonon SMB-02, by Isao Kumano, CEO & Master Engineer
More info here SMB-02
Here is the story behind the SMB-02
Check out our blog with reviews and testimonials
Check out the New Phonon 4000, they are the mobile version of th
Laurent Garnier (DJ/producer)
“I have never used headphones before to finalise any of my studio productions, just because i feel that I’ve never found the right pair. Since I got my pair of Phonon SMB-02 headphones , they have become an essential element when it comes to checking my studio mixes. From the very crisp highs to the low fat basses, these headphones simply never lie. The Phonon headphones have become now an essential part of my studio work, as they are the best studio headphones I have ever come across”
More info on the Phonon SMB-02
More info on Phonon 4000
"The SMB-02 is the best pair of studio headphones i've experienced. the sound is absolutely true and not colored in any way. they're comfortable to the point that, with the sound being so natural, sometimes i've forgotten i was wearing them! i'll definitely be getting a lot of use out of these."
Mark De Clive-Lowe
Father, Husband, Pianist, Composer, Live Remixer, Producer. Japanese-Kiwi, Coffee lover