Stages LLC Launches Out of Stealth Mode, Unveiling Two Unique Hearable Devices
December 5, 2016

Stages' Hero and Sidekick will revolutionize the audio industry with their patented approach to personalized sound control

PRINCETON, N.J. -- All day, every day, people are bombarded by sound. Some sounds are desirable, but many are not. Traditional audio devices offer a binary choice; either isolating immersion or disruptive ambient pass-through, often paired with marginal sound quality. Stages, a NJ-based audio start up has set out to change that paradigm by exiting stealth mode and unveiling two new products, the Hero™ and the Sidekick™. These augmented listening devices provide a new level of choice and personalization to transform every day auditory experiences, as if they resemble superpowers for your ears.

Two products, same core technology

The Hero is an advanced audiophile-quality, over-the-ear noise canceling pair of headphones that can operate either wired or wirelessly. The Sidekick is a rechargeable desktop product that offers the same sound personalization functionality as the Hero, but allows the use of any wired or wireless headphones or hearable product you already own.

Both products contain Stages' patented technology, which combines multiple proprietary digital signal processing and speech-based algorithms, custom-designed circuit boards, dual onboard stereo audio codecs and a circular MEMS microphone array board in a platform that constantly scans a full 360-degree acoustical soundscape in real-time. This allows Stages technology to narrowly identify and capture desired incoming voices and sounds based on user preferences, virtually eliminating undesired ones in the process.

Motion tracking via a 9-axis accelerometer, gyro and compass allows complete freedom of motion while preserving source and location preferences. Stages innovative command, control and communications app for iOS or Android devices provides an unprecedented level of control over what you want to hear and what you want to silence.

Unparalleled choice

Providing an exceptional and immersive, high-resolution listening experience is core to the Stages' mission. When combined with the ability to choose when, and from where, ambient sound is mixed in with desired source audio, Stages' products create a listening experience like no other. Both the Hero and Sidekick offer ambient+™ directional sound control and selective sound™ admittance gating criteria.

Users of Stages' devices will be able to choose from which direction(s) they want to hear sounds across a full 360-degree spectrum, and can automate the experience using criteria such as keywords, speech activity, and, in a world increasingly voice-based, speaker-dependent voice profiles, which can be captured, stored and shared. Taken together, this allows users to hear what they want, when they want, to enjoy a completely immersive listening experience without ever feeling isolated again.

"As someone who has always had a passion for audiophile sound and live music, I had a vision to create an experience that would elevate everyone's enjoyment of music -- from the casual listener to the purist -- by eliminating the barrier that exists between immersive listening and the ambient world around us. Now everyone can enjoy what they are hearing, without unwanted distraction," said Stages co-founder and CEO, Benjamin Benattar.

"George Lucas famously said, 'sound is half the picture', and people are increasingly listening to music or soundtracks, videos or endless other forms of content while commuting, working, relaxing, exercising at the gym, participating in outdoor activities and while using augmented or virtual reality. As people become increasingly immersed in these experiences, they risk becoming isolated; they are often faced with sacrificing some of the listening experience or living with the anxiety that comes from that isolation. Our technology changes that paradigm once and for all, and will allow people to personalize their listening experiences in an endless variety of ways. We hope to make the listening experience better for everyone and this is only the beginning. We have focused our IP and engineering activities around a road map that has the potential to transform the way people interact with the world around them. Our technology has applications across live and recorded music, sports and entertainment, outdoor activities, business and healthcare. We've spent the past few years challenging our engineers and technology advisors to reshape what has been and what can be, done. We are tremendously excited where this will lead as we expand our product offerings and pursue opportunities in multiple markets."

"When people first heard about what we were trying to do, there was often some skepticism about whether or not it could be done. After finishing our first prototype, we watched as facial expressions changed and eyebrows went up when people heard something they had never heard before. What we repeatedly witnessed is their realization of how awesome and potentially transformative our products and technology are, and the virtually unlimited contexts in which the technology can be used," said Joel Sackett, Vice President of Product, Marketing, & Software Engineering.

"We want as many people as possible to experience what Stages has to offer, and as quickly as they can, so we're very excited to announce that we will be exhibiting in the Eureka Park Marketplace at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas from January 5th through the 8th, 2017. We will also be launching a Indiegogo campaign around the same time which gives people the opportunity to try one or both of our initial products -- the Stages Hero and Sidekick -- and experience sound like never before."

About Stages

Founded in 2013 in New Jersey, Stages LLC is on a mission to change the way people hear the world around them, while providing an unparalleled, high-resolution listening experience. The Stages team is comprised of over a dozen seasoned audiophiles and technology experts alike, with professional backgrounds ranging from hardware, software, DSP and embedded software engineering and design to music production, music performance, digital sound processing, user experience design and machine learning.

To learn more, visit stages.co and follow @stagesaudio on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram for our latest updates.

Media Contact:
Joel Sackett
press@stages.co
609-434-8084