About this project
Introducing Plugfones Liberate
Noise-isolating earbuds are far from novel, but the Plugfones Liberate flips a common equation on its proverbial ear: we’ve engineered a product that’s earplug first, earbud second. Building on what we’ve learned for the past 6 years producing WIRED Plugfones, we’ve SEVERED the cable with Plugfones Liberate.
These Bluetooth 4.0 earplugs offer the same top-notch aural quality as our wired Plugfones, but without the hassle of a 3.5mm connector.
Each Liberate headset has a Bluetooth 4.0 antenna, a fully sweatproof design, a noise-reducing inline microphone for voice calls, ruggedized play/pause, volume up, and volume down buttons, song progression buttons, and a water resistant USB charging connector. You can expect the battery to last 8 hours on a full charge, enabling you to easily get through extended shifts without having to source power.
- Bluetooth 4.0
- Compatible with all Bluetooth enabled devices
- 8 hour battery life
- Available in two colors: Yellow /Dark Blue* (Long Model) or Black/Grey (Short Model) You will pick your color option after the campaign ends. $99 MSRP
- 18-inches from earplug tip to earplug tip (Long Model), 14-inches from earplug tip to earplug tip (Short Model)
- 7.5-inches from earplug tip to the case (Long Model), 5.5 inches from earplug tip to case (Short Model)
- 4.5 ounces (total weight with earplugs installed)
- Noise Reduction Mic, placed on the right side lead
- Inline Remote: center button is a universal button for Power On/Off, Bluetooth Sync, Play/Pause, Answer/End Call
- Left and right buttons are Volume Control (short press), Song Progression (long press)
- Sweat and water resistant
- *Yellow/Dark Blue (Long Model) Does not come with a mic
Two Models Available
Yellow Model for music only.
Black Model for music and calls.
Plugfones were initially dreamed up after Shaun, our co-founder, found himself too preoccupied with his own thoughts while working tirelessly in a glass factory. After searching in futility for a set of earplugs that would also play music, he began scraping together funds to assemble prototypes in his garage. By testing them himself and on colleagues, he made the requisite changes to produce a product that perfectly straddled the line between earplug and earphone.
We’ve been doing this for nearly six years, and count the likes of Goodyear, La-Z-Boy Manufacturing, and Tyson Foods as customers.
Changing the mold
Conventional earbuds, even those designed to cancel noise and costing hundreds of dollars, aren’t comfortable for all-day use. Plugfones were engineered as earplugs first, which means that your ears won’t fatigue after wearing these on a 12 hour shift or while shooting your AR-15.
Even if you aren’t working in the field or in a factory, having a set of earplugs makes everyday scenarios far more tolerable: riding the subway, sleeping alongside a snoring partner, maintaining focus in the gym, mowing the lawn, or keeping outside distractions at bay while gaming. Or, for the crazy ones, skydiving!
The issue, of course, is that typical earplugs are boring. Really boring. Plugfones Liberate enables you to enjoy the spoils of an earplug without going insane. While your ears are being protected, you’ll be treated to top-notch aural excitement. Beyond streaming music, you’ll also be able to take incoming calls without having to expose your ears to unsafe levels of loudness even for a moment.
The Liberate, just like our existing wired Plugfones, have been tested by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL). A third-party firm, Michael & Associates, Inc., was employed to rigorously test our products according to U.S., E.U., and Australian standards. Our new Liberate headset received an ANSI certified NRR (Noise Reduction Rating) of 26.
As you’d expect, we’re big advocates of protecting your hearing. It’s an element of our lives that we often take for granted, and it’s difficult to recognize small but meaningful diminishment to how acutely we’re able to hear.
If you commute daily on a subway, are exposed to loud machinery, or routinely find yourself in noisy environments, it’s not enough to simply drown out the external world with loud music. Liberate works to reduce your ear’s exposure to loudness, enabling you to enjoy music at lower volumes while protecting one of the most important senses you have: the ability to hear.
Plugfones in the Media
"I was able to head out onto the busy CES show floor and hear nothing except for the sweet sounds of U2." - Reviewed
“I could have used a pair of these when I lived in the Lower East Side of Manhattan and drunken NYU students were screaming at each other at 3 in the morning.” -David Goldman, CNN Money
Because Liberate is designed to be worn for extended periods of time, we’ve designed the earplug tips to be user-replaceable. We recommend silicon tips be swapped out every four weeks, and foam tips every one to two weeks. We toss in four total sets of tips (two silicon and two foam sets) with each Liberate. Replacement sets in quantities of ten are available on our website for $7.99.
Seating a Plugfone in one’s ear canal is fundamentally different than seating a conventional earbud. If you’re an avid earbud wearer, remember to seat the Plugfone Liberate more deeply than you normally would -- it’s an earplug, after all!
We generally recommend to seat the Liberate without music already playing. Once you seal out external noise, then turn on your music. If you can hear the low-end resonate, you’ve successfully seated your Liberate!
Designing a product like the Liberate requires months of planning, tooling, re-tooling, and if we're honest, another round of re-tooling. We're big fans of exploring prototypes and getting behind the scenes tours of our favorite gadgets, so we wanted to share a few initial drafts, drawings, and renditions that we generated en route to a finalized product.
-The Plugfones Team
Share with Your Friends!
We’re eager to get Plugfones Liberate into as many ears as possible, but shipping outside of the United States and Canada may bring additional duties, taxes, or fees to the user. Backers ordering for shipment outside of these countries will be responsible for paying those fees. In the event that we cannot ship to a certain country, your pledge will be fully refunded.
Risks and challenges
We’ve been doing this product manufacturing thing for a long while, and we’re well-versed in how it all operates. Since 2009, we’ve manufactured wired versions of Plugfones and have shipped them all over the globe. We have a full-time employee that lives in Hong Kong, speaks fluent Mandarin, and works one-on-one with our partners to make sure every granular aspect of our products match our standards before they’re shipped out.
We showcased a near-final Plugfones Liberate unit at CES 2016 and received positive feedback from the likes of CNNMoney and Reviewed. We are finalizing the Liberate right now, and will have units out to our initial backers in June 2016.
We’re beyond thrilled to cut the cord on Plugfones and bring this product to a sector that’s producing a staggering amount of innovation year in and year out. We can’t wait to see the Liberate in use all over the globe!
Thanks so very much,
Shaun, Tyler, James and the entire Plugfones Team
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