The airplane seat with headphones put in into the headrest

Editor’s Word — Month-to-month Ticket is a CNN Journey collection that spotlights a number of the most fascinating subjects within the journey world. In June, we’re taking to the skies for a have a look at the most recent developments in airplane interiors, together with the folks working to vary the best way we fly.

Hamburg, Germany (CNN) — As wi-fi headphones change into more and more omnipresent, standard-issue airline headphones with their tangled cables and multi-pronged jack plugs appear more and more outdated.

Certain, now you can hyperlink up private headphones with some airplane inflight leisure programs, however will your batteries final the size of a long-haul flight, and are you prepared to threat shedding your costly earbud within the seat mechanism, by no means to be seen once more?

Enter Euphony, a brand new airplane seat idea from French plane inside designer Safran Seats, produced in collaboration with audio expertise firm Devialet.

Euphony does away with the necessity for a private headset. As an alternative, audio system are put in in every particular person seat’s headrest, with sound ranges perfected so passengers can take pleasure in their alternative of inflight leisure with out being overheard or disturbed by their neighbor.

Safran premiered the idea this month on the Plane Interiors Expo (AIX) in Hamburg, Germany and CNN Journey received the prospect to enter the Euphony “expertise room” to check out what may very well be the subsequent technology of inflight leisure.

Snug arrange

Euphony is designed for a enterprise or top notch cabin.


At first look, the AIX prototype appears to be like just like a daily enterprise class airplane seat. Safran has made solely minor aesthetic changes to the headrest design.

However the distinction is clear as quickly because the inflight leisure is switched on. Sound begins blasting out of the headrest, droning out the pre-recorded airplane engine sounds already echoing by the expertise room.

The display performs the booming trailer for the current Marvel film “Physician Unusual within the Multiverse of Insanity.” Atmospheric music blares by the headrest, earlier than the system switches to a few completely different audio experiences, together with a podcast, for comparability.

It takes me a short while to get the headrest within the excellent spot — for optimum sound high quality, you need it to be as near your ears as attainable.

However as soon as it is in the precise setting, the private audio system appear to work properly. The whirring of the simulated airplane engine turns into largely background noise and my consideration focuses on what I am seeing and listening to.

Euphony isn’t any substitute for the cocoon-like expertise of noise-canceling headphones, nevertheless it’s a cushty arrange and feels extra akin to the expertise of watching a film in your sofa. It could be excellent if you happen to have been flying with another person and needed to talk and work together as you watched a film in tandem.

Within the AIX expertise room, it is laborious to evaluate whether or not or not there’s actually no sound leakage — there’s just one Euphony mock-up in place. However the truth that you may’t correctly hear the sound until you have received the headrest subsequent to your ear suggests it ought to be comparatively leak-proof, at the least in enterprise or top notch, the place passengers are extra spaced out.

Vacationers on the lookout for complete noise cancellation or privateness should want to use their private headset, however Safran senior architect Paul Wills and his group say the thought behind Euphony is to supply vacationers extra choices. Vacationers may also join private units to the system by way of Bluetooth, and headrest audio system work when the seat is absolutely reclined in addition to upright.

In-flight bulletins would not be broadcast by the headrest, as a result of they’d even be broadcast within the cabin at giant, and Wills’ group desires to keep away from a “humorous mish-mash of sounds.”

As an alternative, any bulletins from the captain or cabin crew would simply halt the inflight leisure, as is already the norm on flights.

Complicated design course of

Safran partnered with audio experts Devialet to perfect the sound design.

Safran partnered with audio specialists Devialet to excellent the sound design.


Euphony has been in growth for some years now, and Wills and his group say perfecting the idea took trial and teamwork.

When Safran first experimented with placing audio system into the headrest, earlier than Devialet got here on the scene, Wills says the sound high quality was “terrible.”

“At that time it was apparent that we’re good seat designers, however we’re not sound designers, so we needed to discover somebody who was,” he says.

Franck Lebouchard, Devialet’s CEO, says the mission was a “thrilling” problem for his group of audio specialists.

“An plane might be probably the most advanced sound setting you may think about, each when it comes to the frequencies — low frequencies, excessive frequencies — and the quantity,” Lebouchard tells CNN Journey.

The problem in concurrently blocking out the airplane’s high and low frequency sounds at anybody time is what prompted the group to develop Euphony with out noise cancellation expertise — the designers needed to keep away from blocking out one frequency and unintentionally upping the opposite.

However Safran and Devialet say the present iteration of Euphony will regulate in actual time to masks the cabin noise, and future iterations of the idea will look to additional enhance the sound combine.

One other problem was guaranteeing one of the best sound high quality attainable, on the lowest weight. Airways are all the time attempting to keep away from pointless additional load — each to cut back their carbon footprint and keep away from additional prices.

The completed product nonetheless provides an additional kilo to any pre-existing seat, and it is partly for that reason that Euphony is a enterprise and first-class providing, at the least for now.

“It is probably not acceptable in the intervening time in financial system, purely and just because it weighs an excessive amount of,” explains Wills.

However sooner or later, the group reckons they may superb tune the idea for decrease value cabins.

“There is a clear demand for it,” says Wills.

Safran already has a yet-to-be-revealed associate launch airline, which might be premiering the product on their top notch and enterprise class cabins in early 2023. Euphony take a look at flights will happen on the finish of this 12 months.

The last word intention, says Wills, is to make flying as “regular” as attainable, replicating the expertise of stress-free in your personal residence.

“Whenever you go residence, you do not go and pop your headphones on for the night and watch a film — it simply does not work, does it? You possibly can’t chat to your associate, or your mates, or shout on the canine or no matter else it’s good to do. You’ll want to be free to maneuver about. And that was the thought with this. You sit down, activate the TV, play a film — it is similar to residence.”

High photograph courtesy Safran

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