It’s Batiste here. Following my article and webinar on the design of the VK-X, many reactions, both positive and negative, resulted from the LED, the indicator light allowing users to visually understand the mode of operation of the VK-X. At the time, we opted for a very visible solution, an LED on the cup in the form of a ring around the control button of the VK-X. This solution was not retained for various reasons that I have chosen to present to you today.
The initial solution dismissed
The discarded solution included a ring of light around the control knob, as you can see above. The idea was for the light to “breathe” through the VK-X via a warm, bright and homogeneous halo. Finally, I decided not to choose this construction for the following reasons:
- The plastic ring passing LED light was not aesthetically-pleasing when the headset was turned off. Specifically, it interrupted the continuity of the aluminum between the cup and the button.
- The headphones would not have been symmetrical, or symmetrical but at the cost of a useless added element. The indicator light being located on one side, we had 2 choices: (1) add the same plastic ring on the other side, but without light, which would not have stuck with our very minimalist vision of design, each new form having a new function; (2) do not place a plastic ring on the other side, creating an imbalance. As a result of these decisions, I chose to pursue another route for our design
- Achieving a homogeneous luminous halo, although possible, would have resulted in a significant development cost because of the realization of a complex light guide inside the cup in view of the very limited space available.
- Finally, and as some of you have pointed out, the ring light and breathing would have given the VK-X, headphones that are already noticeable, a side that is too ostentatious.
The Best Solution
I chose a more discreet and simpler solution, which you may have noticed in the latest visuals published. The latest prototype includes a small LED located to the right of the USB-C port, for which we will maintain a “respiring” light when the headset works. This solution has the advantage of taking advantage of the existing imbalance on the left side of the headphones due to the presence of the USB port for charging and for wired listening. This option was chosen in order to be more discreet, and to preserve the continuity of material between the cup and the control buttons.
A Different Solution
We considered a third solution for which we would have made micro-perforations with a laser on the surface of the cup in order to make the light appear through the aluminum. Although aesthetically-pleasing, we did not find an industrial partner in time to carry out this operation … perhaps for a later project!