In the realm of pro quality audio, there are a number of groundbreaking technologies that have revolutionized the consumer audio landscape.
One of these technologies that has got recent traction from several big audio brands is bone conduction. Bone conduction technology has found widespread application, especially in audio products that focus on fitness.
This is the space where you can find premium products from Shokz, formerly known as Aftershokz.
When it comes to premium audio products focused on fitness or sports use, it is difficult to find a brand as celebrated or popular as Aftershokz. Even for regular consumer use, getting a pair of Aftershokz bone conduction headphones can have a number of important benefits.
Here, we will take a detailed look at the bone conduction technology that powers Aftershokz headphones, explore the product range, and provide an extensive guide on how to pair Aftershokz headphones, no matter which device you use.
Let us first delve into the finer nuances of bone conduction technology and take a look at the product portfolio of the Aftershokz brand.
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Earbud/Headphone Pairing: Sony / Tozo / Aftershokz / JLab / Bose / JBL / Soundcore
Understanding Bone Conduction
In traditional headphones, drivers are used to produce the actual sound. This sound is then fired inside the ears where the normal process of hearing can pick up the sound.
Bone conduction technology works very differently, keeping the ear canal completely open and delivering sound directly to the inner ear or cochlea using vibrations. Therefore, the sound does not need to pass through the eardrums. This is where bone conduction differs from ear conduction, the normal way.
Aftershokz is the brand that is considered to be pioneers in enhancing and implementing bone conduction technology in consumer products while keeping to high quality and usability standards. All Aftershokz headphones use bone conduction and their implementation of it helps maintain high-resolution audio quality.
Instead of sound drivers that you would find on standard earphones, Aftershokz headphones use transducers that produce vibrations. Two carefully calibrated transducers are placed on either side of the head in such a manner that they are positioned exactly above the cheekbones. These transducers achieve high-quality audio by using titanium transducers. Titanium is an apt material for conducting sound vibrations while also being extremely durable and lightweight.
The vibrations created by the transducers are then transmitted to the cheekbones and carry on to the inner ear, where they are perceived as sound.
One obvious advantage of this is the snug fit Aftershokz can achieve with these headphones. This makes them ideal for sports use as the possibility of moving or falling out, as you can often experience with traditional earphones, is not an option here. During running or exercise, this snug fit can help provide a consistent experience.
Another important advantage is better hygiene. Anything that regularly enters the ear canal from the outside is liable to be an infection threat. Customers might forget to regularly clean out their earphones and ear tips, letting them get dirty. Since Aftershokz headphones never actually enter the ears, they are more hygienic. It is also easier to clean them out after use.
Finally, the open ear design that you get with bone conduction technology can help you stay safe and communicate better.
Traditional headphones block most or all of the sound coming naturally into your ears. While you are out and about, especially during runs or workouts, you need to hear ambient noise to stay safe and avoid accidents and traffic collisions. This is a breeze with bone conduction earphones.
With Aftershokz headphones, you get to hear everything in your environment, including traffic sounds, pedestrians, and even wildlife.
If you regularly work out with partners, the better communication is also an added bonus. While using traditional earphones will definitely affect your hearing, you can easily start and carry-on long conversations while using bone conduction headphones.
You can use these headphones at home and stay connected with your family. Use them at work while not missing anything from your co-workers. Of course, you can use these in the gym or during outdoor workouts and also catch every sound around you easily.
The Aftershokz Range
The Aftershokz range of headphones comes with many different models, focused towards different use cases, all using their excellent implementation of bone conduction audio technology.
The Sports range currently features three models, starting with the budget OpenMove unit. This is followed by the mid-range OpenRun and the premium OpenRun Pro. The Pro model has all the latest features and the ninth iteration of the excellent bone conduction technology powered by Aftershokz.
In addition, Aftershokz also makes the OpenComm, a communications device that features a directional, adjustable microphone and NFC pairing. Another interesting offering that also uses bone conduction is the OpenSwim, a pair of headphones with MP3 playing capabilities that is intended for use while swimming.
While there might be subtle differences between the models in terms of audio quality due to the more recent models receiving updates to the core bone conduction technology, Aftershokz headphones are generally considered the benchmark when you consider consumer-grade bone conduction headphones. Especially for sports use, these headphones are much sought-after due to their excellent build quality and high-fidelity audio.
Apart from the OpenSwim, all other Aftershokz products use Bluetooth to achieve a wireless audio connection. The pairing process has been detailed in the following section.
How to Pair Aftershokz
Aftershokz headphones use the Bluetooth protocol for wireless audio. Therefore, the process of pairing Aftershokz headphones is similar to pairing any other wireless earphones that use Bluetooth.
First, you have to put the headphones on pairing mode. If your headphones are new and you are taking them straight out of the box, they will already be in the pairing mode. Otherwise, follow this process.
To start with, turn your headphones off using the power button. Then, you need to hold the button for increasing the volume for about 5-7 seconds.
The LED light on the headphones will then start flashing blue and red, indicating that the device has entered pairing mode. You will also get an audio prompt from the headphones that says “pairing”. When this is done, you can let go of all buttons and your device is ready to pair.
From there, the process of pairing depends on the device you are choosing to pair with.
For Android devices, you need to enter the Bluetooth settings, turn on Bluetooth, and start searching for the headphones. Once the device picks up the headphones, tap on the name and click to pair.
The process works in a similar manner with iPhones, where you can head into the Bluetooth settings and scan for the headphones to complete pairing. Once paired, your headphones will remember the last paired device and will automatically connect when Bluetooth is turned on.
If you have the OpenComm headset, you can also pair with an Android device using NFC, which makes it far more convenient to handle the pairing process. Put your Aftershokz OpenComm in pairing mode first. Then, you need to locate the NFC tag, located on the left arm of the headphones. When you bring it closer to the NFC region on your Android phone, the headphones will pair automatically and you will get the relevant LED and voice alerts.
Aftershokz headphones also come with built-in support for multipoint pairing, where you can pair your headphones with multiple devices. While this doesn’t allow you to keep both devices connected at the same time, you can alternate between two devices.
To accomplish this, put your Aftershokz in pairing mode using the usual method. Then, you need to hold the volume plus button and the multifunction button together for a few seconds till you get the voice prompt that says multipoint has been enabled.
You can then pair the first device. Once it has been paired, turn off your headphones and re-enter pairing mode. Pair the second device and you will get an audio prompt that says that “device two” has been connected. You can then turn the headphones off.
From here, whichever device is first found by the headphones will be active.
Aftershokz headphones provide excellent audio quality, great durability, and reliable performance using bone conduction technology.
With this guide, you should be able to successfully pair your Aftershokz headphones with your device of choice. You will also learn more about bone conduction technology and the Aftershokz line of products.
With this information, you get to enjoy the best performance and utility from your pair of Aftershokz headphones.