Parrot was showing off their Phillipe Starck-designed Zik noise cancelling headphones at CES2013.  Read on for details.


Parrot was showing off their Phillipe Starck-designed Zik noise cancelling headphones at CES2013.  These are premium, well-built noise cancelling headphones; when I tried a pair out on the CES show floor, the noise all around me was eliminated and I could focus on the music.  In addition, these automatically pause your music when the headphones detect that you have taken them off of your head, have a touch pad area for controlling volume and song selection, fold flat for easy travel and can be used as a bluetooth headset for your telephone.  Here is the press release from July announcing the Zik:

Parrot unveils its first wireless audio and telephony headphones: Parrot Zik.

Designed by Philippe Starck, the Zik headphones host the most state-of-the-art technologies: highly performing active noise control, “spatialized” musical image, touch panel that enables sensual movements, head detection sensor, bone conduction sensor, five microphones and a powerful digital signal processor… With the Zik, Parrot is reinventing audio headphones for a never-before-seen sensorial experience…

Music: a “humanized” musical image…

  • A natural musical image

Because music listening should be harmonious and profound, Parrot took great pains with the sound depiction of the Zik.

The headphone is thus equipped with powerful DSP algorithms (Digital Signal Processing) that build a natural melodic image. This is the ‘Parrot Concert Hall’ algorithm: the music is ‘placed’ in front of you, like in a concert, and does not arrive from right and left. The sensation of a thumping room is over! The acoustics of a concert hall is recreated for harmonious and much more natural listening.

A free application for iOS or Android allows defining the parameters of the ‘Parrot Concert Hall’ effects.

  • Active Noise Cancelling (Parrot patented)

Insistent, muffled or direct… In a plane, in a train or in the street… The noise is everywhere.

To cut oneself off from it, Parrot engineers developed an extremely performing active noise cancelling technology -patented- which eliminates up to 25db for an uncompromising listening comfort, even in extreme conditions.

Hands-free telephony: Conversation, without compromise…

Parrot Zik enables the user to take or answer phone calls hands-free. It offers both user and the person on the other end of the line, conversations with exceptional sound quality, even in a very noisy environment!

The Parrot Zik is thus equipped with two technologies, which jointly cancel the surrounding noise in order to keep only the voice.

  • Bone Conduction Sensor

This sensor, located in the cushion of the left earpiece, detects and analyzes jaw bone vibrations to extract the speech. The headphones can then measure the speech before it is distorted by surrounding noise.

  • Active Noise Reduction (Parrot patented)

In real time, two microphones record the sound and determine its direction. The digital signal processor of the Zik can then determine the origin of the noise and eliminate it.

The innovation of the ergonomic…

Designed as the extension of Smartphone, the Parrot Zik is putting the usage at the heart of technological innovations.

  • Capacitive panel

The access to the basic functions of the Zik is super intuitive thanks to a tactile panel, like those of Smartphones, and located on the entire surface of the right headset. Move one finger vertically to enable volume control. Move it horizontally to launch the next or previous music track. During a phone call, no need to look for your Smartphone. Tap on the right headset to take the call, touch the panel for two seconds to reject it… Quite simply…

  • Head detection

One gesture is enough to pause the music: turn the Zik around the neck… Replace the Zik on the head and the music plays again.

Organic lines…

While drawing the organic lines of the Parrot Zik, Philippe Starck illustrated the “biology-inspired” technologies that Parrot engineers developed.

The Parrot Zik is a ‘fused looking’ object. A sensitive object, full of sensors. The Zik is revealing your emotions. The Zik merges with the body, like a technological extension of you to listen to music.

“Despite its simple and humble design, Zik is certainly today one of our most successful products in terms of intuitive ergonomics,” says Philippe Starck. “The headphones are perfectly balanced and almost seem fused looking like a mere extension of the human body and all its needs. Sound and consequently music are just a search of one’s own world. The more the sound is close to you, the more you’ll like the music and feel comfortable. An object like this is a universe.”

The materials were carefully selected… The surface of the headsets, matte black with a soft touch, expresses the sensuality of the skin. Two steel-like ‘commas’ underline the skeleton of the headphones. Adjustable, the headband plays the contrast between metals’ alloy and “leather-like” band.