LTA headphones are non-traditional in many aspects, offering more possibilities than most headphones since they are designed on a high-quality customizable and fully modular headphone platform, rather than a single fixed configuration. This novel and unique concept is possible because it utilizes state-of-the-art additive manufacturing technologies, futuristic materials previously unused in the headphone industry, and unique design solutions.
As a result, all LTA headphone components can be easily replaced, customized, or upgraded. In addition, all LTA headphones can use various drivers and have multiple ways to tune the sound to each listener’s personal preferences, while remaining affordable and entirely reversible. This has been previously unavailable on the headphone market, and not only allows for DIY and modding freedom, but also prolongs the lifetime of products by making them future-proof and cost-effective long-term. A core LTA philosophy is that no owner should ever be forced to replace headphones in their entirety just because they want to change a subset of their components.
Two different models will be available in this campaign: the smaller LTA V1 and the larger, full-sized LTA V2. For either model, you can get your headphones fully assembled or as a DIY kit.
LTA Headphones will be available as fully custom-built products, based on specifications of each individual buyer. Owners will then be free to decide whether they’ll keep their headphones in their initial configuration, or whether they’ll work on them and customize them further down the line.
LTA headphones will also be available as DIY kits, another first on the headphone market, for those who’d rather build their own headphones from ground up, exactly to their liking, requiring nothing but basic tools and skills. A lot of effort has been put into making the headphones very easy to work on, but at the same time durable and tough enough to handle multiple assembling and disassembling cycles.
The LTA V1 and the LTA V2 have different specific customization options, but both models offer a number of upgradable components, including:
Replaceable drivers with multiple high-quality options available on the market.
Removable ear pads with a large selection of OEM and aftermarket options available for sound and fit/comfort customization.
Acoustic treatment materials will be provided for the rear acoustic chambers.
Acoustic mesh filters by SAATI will be provided with various transparency specs, enabling precise sound customization options.
Upgradable components produced out of different materials and using different manufacturing options available down the line, e.g. CNC-machined headband sliders and grills.
Along with several recommended configurations, our documentation will describe, in detail, how you use the customization options above when tuning your headphones to your liking.
Once again, the exact features of your headphones will vary between the LTA V1 and the LTA V2, but you can look forward to the following regardless:
For Uncompromising Connoisseurs of Vocal & Instrumental Music
The LTA V1 is an open-back headphone inspired by a headphone style popular for decades. However, its design is a modern and improved take, featuring a unique and fully modular design, an elegant appearance, highly advanced modern materials, exceptional build quality, and remarkable audiophile-grade sound. It’s a headphone for those who value a traditional hi-fi sound, since—in the standard configuration—it’s tuned for neutral sound balance. It features extremely high-quality drivers, with highly detailed sound that extracts as much information as possible from recordings without masking anything. In that sense, the V1 can be considered a reference headphone. It excels with vocal and instrumental music, so it’s best suited for people who mostly listen to classical, orchestral, jazz, vocal or old rock music. That doesn’t mean it won’t sound great with other genres, but those are the genres that really highlight the capabilities of the V1, because they’re generally well recorded.
The V1 is simple to use and live with, as it functions just like any other wired headphone but with the added benefits of modularity and potential for customization. It’s relatively easy to power and has a low impedance rating of 32 Ohms with high sensitivity, so it doesn’t necessarily require a headphone amplifier and can be used plugged straight into a smartphone. That said, it will benefit from a high quality headphone amplifier and a good DAC, as all high resolution headphones do. Nothing overly exotic is required, a good DAC/amplifier combo can be bought for as low as \$200, which will provide excellent performance when combined with uncompressed music files.
With a fully modular construction that is easy to upgrade, the V1 is a fresh take on a classic headphone design. This completely new approach allows it to be upgraded, customized, and repaired, unlike the majority of similar headphones which are notoriously difficult to modify. In addition, the V1 design is more comfortable and performs better thanks to the state-of-the-art materials from which it is made. The core design philosophy behind the V1 model has been to make the passive parts as inert and rigid as possible. For that reason, the baffles and the cups have strategically placed radial ribs, plenty of bracing, and multiple elements designed to make the individual V1 parts fit together extremely tightly, leading to a completely monolithic assembly that is acoustically dead, thereby allowing the drivers to shine and to be the only source of sound. The rear acoustic chamber of the V1 can be treated in multiple ways too, in order to fine tune the sound. Various 3D printed inserts for the chamber with irregular patterns will be available as well to help with acoustics. A common alternative, cheaper and technically easier approach, is making cups out of relatively thin wood or plastic, which results in cups that aren’t entirely inert, instead they resonate to a certain degree, adding their own flavor to the sound. Both approaches have pro’s and con’s, it comes down to personal preference. However, because the V1 is designed for an extremely clean sound, the approach of achieving extreme rigidity through clever design and advanced materials has been chosen. Using wood would introduce massive design limitations and would make the creation of a modular headphone virtually impossible, while achieving high rigidity the traditional way, by using very heavy metal cups, would lead to poor comfort as well. Utilizing additive manufacturing and state-of-the-art materials, far superior to those used on any similar headphone, has helped a lot in the development process, and made it possible to hit the performance goals, while keeping the weight of the headphone low and offering better fit and comfort compared to similar headphones.
|Baffle V1||SLS Carbon Fiber reinforced PA||The central part of the V1 ear cup assembly, with attachment points for the rest of the components. Features an angled 46 mm driver socket that accepts multiple drivers designed for this type of headphone. Designed to be as rigid, inert, and acoustically neutral as possible while remaining lightweight.|
|Baffle Frame V1||Multi-Jet Fusion PA12||Outer decorative and protective frame for the V1 baffle, permanently attached to the baffle using industrial adhesive. It improves the appearance of the baffle without the need for post-processing.|
|Ear Cup V1||SLS Graphite reinforced PA||Inner part of the ear cup that attaches to the baffle, forming the rear acoustic chamber which is crucial for the sound character.|
|Ear Cup Outer Shell V1||SLS Graphite reinforced PA||An outer, removable part of the ear cup, allows for simple and reversible headphone appearance changes.|
|Ear Cup Grill V1||Multi-Jet Fusion PA12||Outer grill covering the ear cup opening, with an attractive design and a convex shape, with more designs coming in the future. Very transparent to keep the ear cup as opened up as possible, holds the acoustic mesh filters in place underneath.|
|Hinge Yoke V1||SLS Carbon Fiber reinforced PA||Hinge yoke, designed to be as light as possible, while being able to sustain forces exerted during headphone use. Headband slider attachment point placed at a specific angle to maintain proper ergonomics. Dampens the transfer of vibrations from the ear cups to the headband assembly.|
|Headband slider V1||Multi-Jet Fusion PA12||Sliders used for headband size adjustment via 10 holes and a ball spring plunger on each side for plenty of range. Designed with a specific curvature for the V1 model to ensure proper ergonomics, equal clamping force, and great comfort at any size setting.|
|Headband Piece – Front||SLS Carbon Fiber reinforced PA||Front part of the two-part headband assembly, houses the attachment points for the headband spring steel and padding, as well as a receptacle for the headband slider. Carefully designed geometry ensures great fit and comfort, while its aesthetics ensure seamless visual integration with the hinge yoke design.|
|Headband Piece – Rear||Multi-Jet Fusion PA12||Rear part of the two-part headband assembly, stabilizes the headband slider in one of the 10 positions via the integrated ball spring plunger. Attached to the front part with four fasteners for ultimate solidity.|
When it comes to the performance of the V1, much depends directly on the drivers and ear pads used, since the passive components are designed to be acoustically inert and don’t add much to the sound. This is good because it allows the drivers to shine, so it doesn’t take much effort to create a great sounding headphone using the V1 platform. This is because there are multiple companies out there producing specialized drivers designed and meant for exactly this type of headphone, all of which fit the V1 due to the standardized driver diameter, making the V1 platform perfect for those owners who would like to reversibly swap between drivers from time to time while keeping the rest of the headphone untouched.
The models offered in the campaign will be equipped with P1 or R1 drivers from Elleven Acoustica, which are objectively some of the best dynamic drivers available for headphones at any price and lead to the type of sound signature planned for the V1 from the start, namely a highly detailed, highly resolving, transparent, flat sound which extracts as much information from music as possible and presents it in the most honest way possible. As seen on the frequency response graph below, the response of the V1 is very flat, smooth, and even, without either a warm or bright tilt and without the sharp mid-bass, upper-mid and high frequency peaks typical for a headphone of this type. The V1 is simply neutral and doesn’t exaggerate or hide anything. What the FR graph doesn’t show are the subjective qualities, such as the great sense of speed and clarity and a vivid, lively character that isn’t sharp or aggressive. This will surely make the V1 appeal to traditional audiophiles, especially those who have previous experience with high-end headphones and know what to expect, and who have access to high-quality "audiophile-grade" recordings. The mid frequencies and the way the V1 reproduces natural sounds, vocals and instruments in particular, are especially impressive and without a doubt the highlight of its sound character. The V1 will sound good with any genre, as long as the recording quality is good, but it’s important to keep in mind that it will truly shine and show its full potential with specific types of music, at least in this configuration.
On top of being able to use the V1 model as is, in it’s standard configuration, the owners will have an ability to reversibly modify the headphones to their liking through several customization options:
Replaceable 46 mm diameter drivers with multiple high-quality options available on the market, all from well known and respected manufacturers, specifically developed for this type of headphone. With this simple and reversible modding capability, it’s like having multiple headphones in one.
Adapters for drivers under 46 mm which will fit into the original driver sockets just like the 46 mm drivers do, meaning the process will be entirely reversible and risk-free.
Driver spacers allowing for fine tuning of driver-to-ear distance. How far from the ears the drivers sit has a subtle effect on the sound, making the sound slightly more aggressive by shortening that distance, so it’s useful to have a simple and reversible method of finding a personal favorite configuration.
Removable ear pads with a large selection of OEM and aftermarket options available for sound and fit/comfort customization. The default ear pads attached to the V1 are original L-cushions. Depending on the drivers used, the optimal ear pad can change, which is not a problem, since swapping them is extremely easy.
Acoustic treatment materials for the rear acoustic chamber provided with the headphones, with several damping and/or sound-absorbing materials that can be used to line the internal walls and/or fill the space of the chamber. They can also be used to reduce or increase the volume of the chamber. All of the effects of these procedures are reversible, subtle, but noticeable, and give owners options for their favorite configuration.
Acoustic mesh filters for the rear grills will be provided, enabling additional sound customization by damping the ear cup grill to a specific degree based on how transparent or dense the acoustic mesh is. Several meshes with a useful range of acoustic impedance specs will be provided with each V1 headphone.
Replaceable grills with various designs will be available in the future for affordable and reversible aesthetic and functional modifications. Owners will even be able to create their own designs.
Removable outer ear cup shells enable simple future aesthetic personalization without having to replace the rest of the cup.
For Superior Comfort, Balanced Sound, and Limitless Modding Potential
The LTA V2 has been designed and developed as a full-sized, open-back headphone, but with an entirely unique design approach. It’s a completely modular headphone platform, rather than a single product, giving potential owners a wide range of possibilities for future functional and aesthetic customization. It’s been specifically designed with DIY and/or modding in mind, without sacrificing any aspect of a high quality product, yet at a very competitive price point considering the sound, design, materials, and build quality, as well as the future-proof nature of the platform. The V2 will accept virtually every driver unit on the market between 40 and 50 mm in diameter while also allowing owners to easily and reversibly tune and modify the sound to their liking through various means designed into the headphone from the very start.
The fully built V2 model available in the campaign is a very well balanced headphone in all aspects, featuring high-quality 50mm drivers with already proven worth on the market in several well-regarded headphones, some even above the \$1000 price point. Combined with the superior design and materials of the V2, the results are even better. It’s tuned for a neutral sound balance with a flat frequency response, with excellent extension on both ends of the spectrum, with a lot of detail, and with a large and airy soundstage. It’s designed to not be as picky as the V1 when it comes to source material, and will work equally well with all genres and types of music. In addition, it differs to the V1 model in terms of comfort, being superior in that regard because it’s an around-ear design. It’s a perfect choice for anyone who wants a headphone with a very competitive sound quality up to the \$1000 price point, with added benefits of superior materials, craftsmanship, and potential for future customization.
Performance wise, the design of the passive components is one of the V2’s crucial aspects and is what gives this platform its main advantages. The design of the baffle and the driver holders is at the center of this. It’s a system of four separate, extremely complex components: the two-part driver holder, the filter frame, and the main baffle body. Every detail on each of those components is intentional, and done with the purpose of not only making the headphone entirely modular, but also creating the most rigid, inert, and acoustically neutral baffle possible. The baffle overall is irregular and asymmetrical because the drivers are at an angle. This combines with strategically placed and designed ribs, which are radially spread around the driver itself in order to provide the highest rigidity exactly where it’s required. These ribs continuously flow from the baffle onto the driver holders, with an extremely tight fit between them. The whole "sandwich" of ear cup components is held together by more than 20 fasteners, so the assembly is rock solid. Combined with the stiffest and strongest material in the additive manufacturing world, the V2 baffle ends up being one of the most rigid in the headphone industry, allowing any dynamic driver to be used with it to its full potential. In addition to rigidity, the very irregular shapes also help eliminate resonance modes inside of the ear cup. On top of that, acoustically absorbent material line the inside walls of the cup, while special acoustic foam fills the entirety of the internal cup volume. All of this ensures a very clean acoustic environment, resulting in a very even and smooth sound, illustrated by the lack of sudden peaks or dips in the frequency response and an extremely clean CSD waterfall plot. Starting from this solid foundation, it’s easy to use the modular aspects of the V2 to tailor the sound to one’s own liking, regardless of the drivers or ear pads used.
|Baffle V2||SLS Carbon Fiber reinforced PA||The central and most complex component, features attachment points for all other components of the ear cup. Designed to be as rigid, inert, and acoustically neutral as possible, while allowing the headphone to be entirely modular. Stays the same regardless of which versions of other components are attached to it. Will be available in several driver angle versions in the future.|
|Driver Holder V2 – Front||SLS Carbon Fiber reinforced PA||Holds 40 to 50 mm diameter drivers in place, at a specific distance from the ear, with an integrated protective grill and mesh. Enables reversible fitment of a wide range of OEM and aftermarket drivers, while keeping the rest of the headphone untouched. Available in custom designs.|
|Driver Holder V2 – Rear||SLS Carbon Fiber reinforced PA||Firmly presses and holds the driver in place by attaching to the baffle via six fasteners and brass threaded inserts. Creates an extremely rigid system with the baffle, additionally stabilizes the driver from behind by supporting the entire driver body, instead of just the edges. Available in custom designs.|
|Filter Frame V2||SLS Graphite reinforced PA||A unique, removable upper layer of the baffle containing the tuning ports which are covered with specific acoustic mesh filters. Allows owners to reversibly, predictably, and accurately control the sound signature. Available with a wide range of acoustic mesh filters, each with a specific acoustic impedance rating.|
|Ear Cup Shell V2||Multi-Jet Fusion PA12||This component encloses the ear cup when attached to the baffle. Features a unique design with internally hollow and braced walls so it's light and rigid. Angled and asymmetrical design for the purpose of acoustics. Completely opened rear design, holds the grill and acoustic mesh filters firmly in place.|
|Ear Cup Grill V2||Multi-Jet Fusion PA12 / CNC Aluminum||Outer grill covering the ear cup opening, with an attractive design and a convex shape, with more designs coming in the future. Very transparent to keep the ear cup as opened up as possible, holds the acoustic mesh filters in place underneath it.|
|Hinge Yoke V2/V3||SLS Carbon Fiber reinforced PA / CNC Aluminum||Hinge yoke, designed to be as light as possible, while being able to sustain forces exerted on it during use. Headband slider attachment point placed at a specific angle to maintain proper ergonomics. Dampens the transfer of vibrations from the ear cups to the headband assembly.|
|Ear Cup Frame V2||Multi-Jet Fusion PA12||Decorative frame which acts as a surround for the ear cup, provides an even and smooth appearance by seamlessly blending with the hinge yoke, giving both components an appearance of a single part.|
|Hinge Attachment V2/V3||SLS Carbon Fiber reinforced PA||Small, but complex components that keep the hinge yokes firmly attached to the baffle, with integrated angle stops. They dampen the transfer of forces from the baffle to the yoke, and prevent stress damage on those components. Easy and affordable to replace.|
|Headband slider V2/V3||Multi-Jet Fusion PA12 / CNC Aluminum||Sliders used for headband size adjustment via 10 holes and a ball spring plunger on each side for plenty of range. Designed with a specific curvature to ensure proper ergonomics, equal clamping force, and great comfort at any size setting.|
|Headband Piece – Front||SLS Carbon Fiber reinforced PA / CNC Aluminum||Front part of the two-part headband assembly, houses the attachment points for the headband spring steel and padding, as well as a receptacle for the headband slider. Carefully designed geometry ensures great fit and comfort, while the aesthetics ensure seamless visual integration with the hinge yoke design.|
|Headband Piece – Rear||Multi-Jet Fusion PA12||Rear part of the two-part headband assembly, stabilizes the headband slider in one of 10 positions via the integrated ball spring plunger. Attached to the front part with four fasteners for solidity.|
|Ear Pad Ring V2/V3||Multi-Jet Fusion PA12||Securely and reversibly attaches an ear pad onto the baffle via six solid clips and a rotation-locking mechanism. Compatible with any of the ~100mm diameter ear pads on the market available from various manufacturers.|
The pre-built V2 model, has sound tailored to suit a wide range of applications, not just music, but movies and games as well, due to great imaging and a fairly large soundstage. The V2 provides a balanced and smooth sound, without anything sticking out in particular. At the same time, it’s exciting and fun enough to be enjoyable with a wide range of music genres. The low end has been tuned to be tight, deep, and clean, with excellent extension for an open-back headphone. At the same time, it transitions into mids very smoothly, with no peaks or dips. This evenness and smoothness is maintained all the way into the high frequencies, resulting in an essentially flat frequency response with a very minor tilt towards the warm side. Because of that, the overall sound of the V2 model is balanced and smooth, with plenty of accuracy for reproducing vocals and instruments, but at the same time, with a powerful low end and plenty of detail. The sound can be further tailored, as explained in V2 customization section. The high frequencies of this headphone are largely influenced by the type of ear pads used, and in the case of standard pads provided with the V2, which are the excellent Beyerdynamic T1 gen.2 pads, a minor rise in the high frequencies is present, not to the extent of making the headphone sound bright or irritating, but adding a small dose of sparkle. Of course, ear pads can be swapped in the future. The general sound resolution of the V2 is also very respectable, especially for the price, as it offers the sort of transparency and micro-detail that owners of high-quality headphones are used to, especially when combined with good amplification and a good source. It’s not as picky with music as the V1 though, which is an advantage for those who don’t exclusively listen to audiophile-grade recordings.
Below, you can see the measurement graphs of the V2 model in its default configuration. The Beyerdynamic DT770Pro serves as a reference to show the performance of the utilized measurement rig, it’s not a performance benchmark, as it’s quite far from V2’s sound quality level.
In addition to the standard configuration, V2 owners will able to reversibly modify the headphones to their liking through several customization options:
Replaceable 40 to 50 mm diameter driver units with multiple options available on the market at a wide price and quality range, from various OEM and aftermarket manufacturers. The V2 headphones can be fitted with pretty much all of them, in an entirely reversible and simple way, unlike any other headphone on the market. This gives the V2 headphone platform a lot of flexibility and potential, and gives the owners an opportunity to build unique headphones in the future, without having to replace an entire unit.
Unique and removable driver holder components enable quick driver swaps, with various driver-to-ear distances and several acoustic filters available. Driver holders are an excellent solution for swapping the drivers, because they’re the only components that have to be changed, the rest of the headphone can remain the same, so swapping drivers is as affordable as possible.
Unique and removable filter frame components enable owners to fine tune the size and shape of the enclosed ear pad volume, which is another unique LTA features which makes sound tuning extremely flexible. The exact methods of use, and the effects of various filter frames on the sound, will be explained in the use case example section.
Several types of acoustic mesh filters can attach over the tuning ports on the filter frames, allowing owners to find the exact configuration they like. Once a couple of configurations are determined, owners will be able to order or build custom filter frames with specific acoustic mesh filters fitted to them. This will enable them to quickly swap filter frames and reversibly switch between their favorite sound signatures. It’s like having multiple headphones in one.
Damping the rear driver ports is another quick, simple, affordable, and fully reversible way of manipulating the sound signature. Several damping acoustic mesh pads will be provided with the headphones. Their effects are described in the use case example section.
Removable ear pad frame components designed to fit any ~100mm diameter ear pad (industry standard) on the market from manufacturers like Beyerdynamic, Dekoni, Brainwavz, etc. Whether you decide to stick with the excellent provided ear pads or upgrade them, you will have plenty of choices. Each ear pad gives the headphone a unique feel, fit, and effect on the sound, giving owners an opportunity to find exactly what they like.
Acoustic treatment materials for the rear acoustic chamber will be provided with the headphones, enabling owners to play with the acoustic properties of the chamber by lining the walls with damping and/or sound absorbing materials.
Acoustic mesh filters for the rear grills will be provided, enabling additional sound customization, with several acoustic impedance spec options.
Removable hinge yokes and ear cup frames enable simple future aesthetic personalization.
In order to more easily understand the benefits of modularity, here is a real world example of customizing the V2 headphone.
For example, changing filter frames is an easy way to manipulate the general sound balance of the V2 headphone. That is because the overall tilt of the frequency response, especially in the range up to ~2000 Hz, mainly depends on the total acoustic impedance of the tuning ports on the filter frames/baffles. In other words, it depends on how much leakage the ports allow, or how much damping is applied to them with acoustic mesh filters. The less leakage is allowed, achieved through use of less transparent acoustic mesh filters, the higher the SPL level under ~2000 Hz will be, with a very slight rise above it, and vice versa. Because LTA headphones utilize special acoustic mesh filters specifically designed for headphones and for this purpose, the results are very predictable and entirely linear, with no peaks or dips in the response. This means simply changing the acoustic mesh that covers the tuning ports on the filter frames, or replacing the entire filter frames with a different mesh attached, is an easy way of manipulating the sound balance of the headphone towards a fuller or a leaner sound, is entirely reversible and, most importantly, completely unique.
In addition to the filter frames, specific amounts of damping can be applied to the drivers themselves, either in the front or the rear. In the V2 drivers, the main port on the rear of the driver can either be uncovered or covered with one of the acoustic mesh filters provided with the headphone. Depending on how much damping is applied to this port, the character of the low-end response of the headphone changes. The more damping is applied, the tighter the bass response becomes, with the peak of the bass response being pushed towards higher frequencies, and vice versa.
You can observe these effects on the frequency response graphs provided below.
The red line represents the stock configuration, with a very transparent rear driver damping filter and a medium acoustic mesh on the filter frame, for a well balanced response suited to a wide range of applications.
The light blue line represents a configuration with the same medium acoustic mesh on the filter frame, but with a less transparent rear damping filter, which increases the tightness of the bass response, but also reduces the overall SPL in the low end of the frequency range, leading to a leaner, tighter sound signature.
The dark blue line represent a configuration with the same, less transparent rear damping filter, but also with a less transparent acoustic mesh on the filter frames, which increases the overall SPL below ~2000 Hz, resulting in a tight, but more impactful bass than the light blue configuration, with a slight SPL reduction above 2000 Hz.
Combining the effects of the filter frames and the rear driver damping lets owners precisely tailor the frequency response of the headphone, as these examples represent just a fraction of what is possible. The effects can be more or less pronounced, with very fine steps between various configurations, as there are many types of acoustic mesh filters available. There are 12 ports on the filter frame, and each can be covered with a different mesh. Whether you want more or less tightness in the bass, a higher/lower amount of bass, a higher/lower peak bass frequency, or a fuller/leaner overall sound signature, you can easily find the right configuration, with each step always reversible.
It’s easy to see the benefits of this in practice: because they can make changes that are entirely reversible, future owners will be able to swap out filter frames depending on the sound signature they prefer at any given moment. Owners can even switch the drivers they install, effectively turning a single headphone into multiple models by swapping parts and leaving 95% of the headphone untouched.
Another simple, quick and affordable way to modify the sound or your headphone is to swap out the ear pads for any of the countless ~100 mm diameter models available on the market. You can see the effects that some of those ear pads have on the frequency response graphs below:
|LTA V2 Headphones||Other High-End Headphones|
|Reversibly attach a wide range of 40 to 50 mm drivers to the baffle via custom driver holders.||Feature not available|
|Reversibly control the ear-to-driver distance via custom driver holders.||Feature not available|
|Control the headphone sound balance by manipulating the amount of leakage out of the enclosed ear pad volume via custom, removable filter frames.||Feature not available|
|Reversibly control the openness of the ear cup with acoustic mesh filters.||Possible on some models but with limited options and reversibility|
|Removable and replaceable ear cup grills allowing for aesthetic and functional customization.||Possible on some models but with limited options and reversibility|
|Attach various ear pads onto the headphone via custom, removable rings.||Possible on some models but with limited options and reversibility|
|Custom frontal driver damping via acoustic mesh filters specifically developed for headphones, attached to driver holders, available in several acoustic impedance ratings.||Feature not available|
|Custom rear driver damping with precisely cut acoustic mesh filter pads, reversibly attached to the rear of the driver, available in several acoustic impedance ratings.||Feature not available|
|Parts available in various materials and finishes.||Possible on some models but with limited options and reversibility|
|Multiple versions of a basic baffle design with drivers at several angles and offsets.||Feature not available|
|Ability to develop and produce unique and custom parts in low volumes to meet each owner's unique demand.||Feature not available|
|Ability to re-use most of the headphone parts while customizing or building a new headphone, with a lot of the parts being cross-compatible between the LTA V2 and V3 models.||Feature not available|
|Future updates coming, with new materials and component designs, new baffles and cups for alternative headphone types (closed back) and other driver technologies compatible with current components.||Feature not available|
From the start of the project, I’ve relied very heavily on additive manufacturing technologies, and they’re one of the biggest reasons this project exist. I had to use manufacturing technologies that enabled me to design and play with my ideas with as few restrictions as possible. At the same time, I had to use methods that would enable me to produce complex and custom parts at small volumes, while using materials more advanced than those found on most headphones on the market. SLS and MJF technologies ticked every box, which is why they’re an essential part of the LTA Headphones project. It’s crucial to understand the massive differences between the SLS or MJF technologies, and the traditional FDM 3D printing that a lot of people are familiar with, as SLS and MJF are industrial-grade manufacturing methods, producing parts on machines costing hundreds of thousands of dollars each. Parts produced with them are not comparable to FDM ones, as they’re far superior in mechanical properties, dimensional accuracy, surface finish, as well as design freedom. Utilizing SLS and MJF technologies is also one of the many aspects of the project that make it unique in the headphone industry, as no other headphone manufacturer has used these technologies to anywhere near this extent previously.The reasons for that are simple, while these technologies are superior to traditional manufacturing, they’re also considerably more expensive, and that would make it impossible to maintain extremely high profit margins most companies in the hi-fi industry strive for. Find out more about the additive manufacturing technologies by visiting the LTA Headphones website.
The materials and technologies used to produce LTA headphone parts are at the pinnacle of modern manufacturing. They could even be considered materials of the future, since they’re mostly reserved for cost-is-no-object projects—and the aerospace and motorsports industries—where only the best will do. They’ve recently become more widely available, however, and they offer previously unimaginable possibilities and complete freedom of design. This allows production of very complex components that would be extremely difficult or even impossible to produce using traditional manufacturing and have properties traditional materials can’t match. While most headphones have parts produced out of ABS plastic, LTA headphone parts are produced from carbon fiber reinforced (CFRP) and graphite reinforced polyamides (GRP). These materials have the highest relative stiffness and strength of any additive manufacturing material available and are several times stronger and stiffer than ABS. For example, these materials are irreplaceable in the motorsport world, with even Formula 1 teams using many CFRP and GRP parts. In many ways, these materials also have ideal properties for headphones, as they can produce complex, extremely rigid, and durable components that are still very light. Find out more about the materials by visiting the LTA Headphones website.
This project has been a one-person endeavor from day one. Doing everything from initial ideas, all the researching, learning multiple skills from scratch, developing and designing the headphones, prototyping, and finally finishing them, all completely alone, has been a tremendous challenge, but doing it has had its advantages. Having a very limited budget with no external investors for the duration of the project has forced me to be extremely careful with spending and I’ve learned to be very efficient, minimizing the costs to the absolute lowest level. At the same time, I left no detail of development unchecked and always went the extra mile to over-engineer things even when not absolutely necessary.
In addition to that, being a one-person project means that my profit margins can be far lower than those of traditional headphone companies. Without having tens or even hundreds of employees, with large amounts of capital needed just to keep the company running, I can afford to invest a huge percentage of the MSRP into the actual process of building each headphone.
This is one reason why LTA Headphones can use high-tech materials such as CFRP, which most traditional companies simply can’t afford. These technologies are still too expensive and so they’d have to sell headphones for thousands of dollars a pair. LTA headphones have, and will always have, extremely reasonable prices relative to their cost of production and quality.
LTA headphones are more than just headphones. They’re a fully modular headphone platform, allowing owners to build, repair, experiment, upgrade, and interchange various components in order to achieve different functional and aesthetic properties, while using unique components and modifications not found on other headphones. For that reason, LTA headphones are designed from ground-up with modularity in mind, ensuring that all modifications to the headphones are reversible, and can be done with basic tools and without special skills. This not only increases the range of possibilities the headphones offer their owners, it also increases their lifetime, letting owners replace a couple of components to create a completely different sounding, looking, or feeling headphone. All of the components have been designed so these procedures are simple, reversible and repeatable. This is a completely opposite approach compared to most products on the market. The concept of modular headphones is completely new and unique on the headphone market and one of the main reasons why this project started to begin with. Any headphone can be modified in theory, but unless it’s designed for it, it usually requires owners to irreversibly damage their headphone in the process. That’s why customizing high-end headphones is usually limited to simple modifications, such as replacing ear pads. LTA headphones change that, for the first time offering high quality parts that can be used as a platform for building custom high-end headphones. To learn more about the concept of modular headphones, please visit the LTA Headphones website.
LTA aims to fill a part of the headphone market currently virtually empty: the DIY market. There’s a wide range of headphone drivers now available from OEM and aftermarket manufacturers, as well as plenty of ear pads to choose from. But at the same time, there’s a distinct lack of high-quality passive headphone components, and without them, a DIY headphone is impossible. DIY headphone enthusiasts and modders are currently limited to destroying their old headphones and re-using their parts in ways they haven’t been designed for, so it’s almost impossible to build a headphone from scratch and not get results that are mediocre at best.
The LTA Headphones project changes that by offering future owners modular platforms they can use to create custom, DIY headphones with better results than ever.
Despite the ease with which LTA Headphones can be modified, future owners should not assume that such modifications are necessary. LTA headphones are designed to be extremely well-built, competitive products out of the box, without any modification. Their modular characteristics are merely a bonus—albeit a significant one—for those who want to explore additional possibilities. Even unmodified, they will satisfy those who are simply looking for another great headphone to add to their collection.
Since every LTA headphone is built by hand, a high level of care and attention is given to each and every step of the building process. For example, a very complex procedure developed through two years of experimentation is behind post-processing the 3D printed parts, ending with hand polishing each part to a perfect mirror finish. It’s a lot of extra work that most headphone makers don’t take because it can’t be automated, it’s very hands-on and requires a lot of attention to detail and effort, but it makes a huge difference to how the parts look. You can learn more about LTA post-processing on the LTA Headphones website.
Special attention is also given to part orientation during 3D printing, for the absolute best possible surface finish and optimal mechanical properties.
In addition, all dimensional tolerances have been fine-tuned to less than 0.1 mm through several cycles of prototyping which, combined with extremely rigid and tough materials assembled with high quality Swiss-made brass threaded inserts, results in extremely solid assemblies. This gives the headphones a monolithic feel, as if they were made out of a single solid piece of material, rather than multiple parts.
Photograph is for illustrative purposes only and does not show all parts contained in the V1 DIY Kit
Includes LTA designed V1 components unavailable elsewhere, produced using state-of-the-art additive manufacturing technologies and the most advanced materials available. Also includes all the special fasteners required to assemble a headphone, as well as acoustic treatment accessories. You will need to provide your own drivers and ear pads appropriate for those drivers.
For a detailed list of parts, fasteners, and accessories included in the V1 DIY Kit, please visit the LTA V1 DIY kit page on the LTA Headphones website.
Drivers & ear pads - Two tried-and-tested combinations of drivers and ear pads are available, at additional cost, as options for the V1 DIY Kit. We are offering the drivers availble at a slightly discounted price during the campaign. As an alternative, you can source these components on your own from recommended manufacturers.
Optional LTA cable - The LTA Headphone Cable is two meters (6.5’) of SommerCable Peacock MKII wire with Neutrik NP3X-B and HR10A connectors. It comes with two HR10A connector receptacles and a high-quality, 30 cm, pure silver interconnect wire for attaching the drivers to the connectors.
Post-processing options - By default, the LTA V1 Kit comes with unfinished components. However, if you are comfortable assembling your headphones but uninterested in painting and polishing them, we have made several post-processing options available at additional cost. They include the standard, high-gloss, black-metallic finish and six different custom finishes. Finishes applied to DIY kit components are identical to those applied to the pre-built headphones, and will make your DIY headphones look as good.
A fully built and tested LTA V1 headphone, containing all of the components from the DIY kit. The V1-R is a version with the Elleven Acoustica R1 drivers, original L-cushion ear pads and the LTA cable. The R1 drivers are a perfect choice for those looking for a neutral sound leaning towards an analytical side, with a focus on delivering the highest possible amount of detail and clarity. Headphone parts are meticulously post-processed by hand to one of the offered surface finishing options.
Carrying case - A compact, high-quality, watertight, black-plastic hard case—internally lined with soft PU foam—that’s perfect for storing, shipping, or transporting your LTA V1 headphones and their cable. Made in Italy, with an LTA logo on the outside.
Finishing options - The pre-built V1 headphones will come with a high gloss, hand polished, black metallic finish as standard. However, several options for custom finishes at extra cost are available to choose from. Extra cost comes from having to special-order paint products in lower quantities, and therefore higher relative cost, and from the different post-processing procedures required when applying different finishes.
Fully built and tested LTA V1 headphones, with all of the components from the DIY kit. The V1-P is a version with the Elleven Acoustica P1 drivers, original L-cushion ear pads and the LTA cable. The P1 drivers are a perfect choice for those want a neutral sound leaning towards a euphonic side, with a slightly warmer and fuller sound character than the V1-R. Headphone parts are meticulously post-processed by hand using the selected surface finishing option.
Identical to V1-R Options above.
Photograph is for illustrative purposes only and does not show all parts contained in the V2 DIY Kit
Includes unique LTA designed components unavailable elsewhere, produced using state-of-the-art SLS and MJF additive manufacturing technologies, using the most advanced materials available. A full kit, containing special fasteners required to assemble a headphone, a pair of headphone drivers and appropriate high-quality ear pads, as well as acoustic treatment accessories. For a detailed list of parts, fasteners, and accessories included in the V2 DIY Kit, please visit the LTA V2 DIY kit page on the LTA Headphones website.
Also available, at additional cost, with CNC-machined components identical to those used for the Pre-built LTA V2 CNC Machined Headphones.
Optional LTA cable - The V2 LTA Headphone Cable is identical to that of the V1: two meters (6.5’) of SommerCable Peacock MKII wire with Neutrik NP3X-B and HR10A connectors. It comes with two HR10A connector receptacles and a high-quality, 30 cm, pure silver interconnect wire for attaching the drivers to the connectors.
Post-processing options - By default, the LTA V2 Kit comes with unfinished, SLS Carbon components. However, if you are comfortable assembling your headphones but uninterested in painting and polishing them, we have made several post-processing options available at additional cost. They include the standard, high-gloss, black-metallic finish and six different custom finishes for SLS Carbon components. Finishes applied to DIY kit components are identical to those we apply to our pre-built headphones, and will make your DIY headphones look just as good. Finally, this is where you can choose to upgrade your DIY kit to include CNC-machined components identical to those we use for our Pre-Built LTA V2 CNC Machined Headphones.
Fully built and tested LTA V2 modular headphones, containing all the components from the DIY kit, including the removable LTA cable. Hinge yokes, frames, and headband pieces are meticulously post-processed by hand using the selected surface finishing options. In addition, these components are entirely compatible with all future updates to the V2 platform , as well as with the future V3 platform, enabling V2 owners to build the V3 model more economically by reusing more than half of the components.
Carrying case - A spacious, high-quality, watertight, black-plastic hard case—internally lined with soft PU foam—that’s perfect for storing, shipping, or transporting your LTA V2 headphones and their cable. Made in Italy, with an LTA logo on the outside.
Finishing options - The pre-built V2 headphones will come with a high gloss, hand polished, black metallic finish standard. However, several options for custom finishes at an extra cost are available to choose from. Extra cost comes from having to special-order paint products in lower quantities, and therefore higher relative cost, and from the different post-processing procedures required when applying different finishes.
|1||Headband Sliders||Brushed finish|
|2||Ear-cup Grills||Brushed finish|
|3||Hinge Yokes||Anodized Matte Black|
|4||Headband Front Piece||Anodized Matte Black|
The ultimate version of the LTA V2 uses CNC machined aluminum components combined with state-of-the-art additively manufactured, carbon fiber reinforced components, designed to feature materials and build quality that rivals considerably more expensive headphones. CNC machined components are entirely compatible with all future upgrades the V2 platform will receive, as well as with the V3 platform (except for the V2 grill), enabling V2 owners to build the V3 model more economically by reusing more than half of the components.
While additive manufacturing is excellent, certain simpler parts of the headphones don’t necessarily require it, which means they can be CNC machined out of aluminum instead. This is the ultimate goal: combining high-end additive manufacturing with CNC machining, utilizing both methods in the best way possible. Certain complex headphone components that need to be modifiable will be produced from carbon fiber or graphite reinforced polyamides, fully utilizing all of the qualities that these materials offer, making the whole concept of DIY-friendly and modular headphones viable.
On the other hand, simpler components with purely mechanical purposes, such as hinge yokes, grills, or headband sliders, can be made out of aluminum. This takes advantage of the ultimate mechanical properties of CNC machined metal and gives the headphones a higher quality feel, as nothing can replace the feeling of precisely machined cold metal in the hands.
The result are headphones with simply excellent solidity, appearance, durability, and feel, matching many far more expensive headphones on the market in terms of build quality.
Our V2 headphones have plenty of unique qualities that will more than justify their cost if you compare them to other, similarly priced headphones. Among them is one particular feature that we would like to highlight: many of the V2 parts, especially the CNC machined ones, are compatible with all mods and future updates we have planned out. Examples include:
We have designed many of the V2’s core components—including hinge yokes, ear-cup frames, hinge-attachment pieces, and its entire headband assembly—such that we will not have to modify them even if we transition to new ear cups, drivers, filter frames, or ear pads. Once you have those core components, you can reuse them in multiple ways. You can also rest assured that they will be 100% compatible with our work-in-progress V3 model. Not having to purchase all of the V3 parts will drastically reducing your total cost should you decide to upgrade.
Carrying case - A spacious, high-quality, watertight, black-plastic hard case—internally lined with soft PU foam—that’s perfect for storing, shipping, or transporting your LTA V2 headphones and their cable. Made in Italy, with an LTA logo on the outside.
You can find out a lot more about the LTA Headphones project at the LTA Headphones website.
If you have any questions, requests, suggestions, or any other project-related reason to contact the project owner, you can do so directly through the contact form and you will receive an answer ASAP.
LTA Headphones also has an official Youtube channel, where you can watch headphone assembly videos, post-processing videos, etc. More videos related to current and future LTA projects will be uploaded in the future.
For those ordering DIY kits, a very detailed LTA post-processing guide can be used to help build the headphones, accompanied with videos. Detailed instructions on how to assemble the kits will be provided in the future, before campaign backers receive their DIY kits.
For those interested in seeing the LTA headphone designs more closely,
CAD files (
.ipt files that require Autodesk Inventor 2020 or newer) of headphones will
be available at the website. Those files can be freely modified, used
as templates to design custom parts for the headphones, or for other non-commercial uses.
The manufacture of LTA headphones relies heavily on additive manufacturing technologies, which dramatically simplifies the process compared to traditional manufacturing methods. Simply put, when the campaign ends, the funds collected will be used to order the required parts from manufacturing partners, just as in the prototyping and developing stages. During the last couple of years working on the project, I’ve found reliable manufacturing companies with a massive amount of experience and great reputations. Located in Italy and England, they will manufacture the MJF PA12, SLS CFRP and SLS GRP components of the headphones, for both the finished headphones and the DIY kits. These companies work with partners from all over the world, ranging from small companies to massive aerospace organizations, automotive companies, and motorsport teams. They’ve always delivered their services exactly as promised. I have full confidence they’ll continue this trend in the future.
The raw headphone parts for kits will then be pre-assembled for the purpose of quality control, threaded inserts will be installed and certain components that consist of multiple parts will be permanently glued using industrial adhesives, so owners won’t have to do things that have to be done in a certain way and cannot be messed up. Individual components will then be organized and packed into zip lock bags, together with all of the individually packed fasteners and accessories that come with the DIY kits, and will ship in rigid cardboard boxes.
Fully built headphones, on the other hand, will have their parts meticulously post-processed by hand and then the entire headphone will be carefully assembled, tested, and packed either into rigid cardboard boxes, or foam lined, watertight, carrying & storage cases, depending on the options picked by backers.
SLS and MJF parts will require three to six weeks for production and delivery from the moment of ordering. An additional three weeks will be required for post-processing, since that’s a hand-done process that can’t be rushed for maximum quality. Fasteners and all of the accessories will be delivered two to three weeks after ordering. All waiting periods are included in the estimated shipping times, with plenty of headroom to avoid delivery delays.
Once we have tested and verified all units, the entire batch will be sent to the US for distribution to backers via Crowd Supply’s fulfillment partner, Mouser Electronics. Delivery within the US is included in the listed price, while delivery outside the US will incur the international surcharge specified for the relevant pledge level. See Crowd Supply’s article on Ordering, Paying, Shipping: The Details for more information.
Not much can go wrong during production other than possible delivery delays due to the global pandemic. These are not very likely, as the manufacturing partners have been working at full pace, even during the most intense moments of the crisis, always managing to deliver prototype parts with zero delays. There is no reason this will change for the actual production runs of the headphone. However, if there are unexpected delays, there are countless additive manufacturing specialists all over the world who could take over. Their prices are all very similar, so the funding collected through the campaign will be sufficient even in worst case scenarios.
As the post-processing of certain components is done by hand, it’s obviously theoretically possible for something to go wrong during any of the steps of the process. However, nothing is irreversible, because the raw plastics which make up the components are resistant to chemicals such as acetone, so if something is wrong with the paint-job, the component can be stripped to raw plastic with acetone and post-processing can start again from scratch.
Certain delicate components, such as headphone drivers, can theoretically be damaged during delivery, or during the assembly process, but can easily be replaced. Extra reserve units of all delicate parts will be ordered to cover for potential problems during the campaign, just to be on the safe side and so as not to delay deliveries.