Feedback cancels noise

Developer of audio technologies offers consumer headphones and ear buds with noise cancellation

Auckland-based Phitek Systems, developer of analogue and digital signal processing technologies, launched its new consumer brand Blackbox last week.

Since 2003, Phitek has developed a range of audio enhancement solutions based on its Active Noise Rejection, Virtual Surround Sound and psycho-acoustic Low Frequency Extension technologies.

Now the company is offering consumer headphones and ear buds with noise cancellation technology under its own brand.

A microphone built into the earpiece picks up what comes out of the speaker, says Graeme Fuller, senior design electronics engineer at Phitek. The system processes that signal and provides “an appropriate anti-signal” to the speaker, he says.

“We are moving towards developing our own integrated circuit, or chip, which combines the functionality [of the many different components used] in one device. That makes it a much more elegant solution than having a large number of stock-standard components combined together,” he says. The locally developed chip will be rolled out early next year, he says.

Phitek’s CEO Mark Donaldson claims that the Blackbox headphones cancel up to 92% of background noise.

Blackbox noise cancellation headphones are already available and noise cancellation ear buds will be available early next year, says Phitek spokeswoman Christelle Pelloux.

Donaldson started Phitek in 2003. The company has 90 staff worldwide, of which 50 are in New Zealand.

All design and engineering is done locally, while manufacturing is done in China, where the company has 25 staff.

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