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PHONON’s mission is to truly convey music’s imagination.

PHONON was born out of the mission to “convey to people the most accurate information that its creator imagined through music.” This will be accomplished using unique ideas and skills, as well as unique products that don’t even have known categories.

This is not an improvement over old systems; rather it is a resolution from the baseline. Musicians don’t normally get to listen to the sound they really wanted to play. Unlike the sound in live venues, reproductions have sounds that are degraded as part of the recording process. PHONON’s genesis arises from trying to find the correct way for musicians to “hear” and communicate the true sound intended.

By re-evaluating the “recording to playback” process from scratch and using unique ideas and technologies, we are now offering you new tools to precisely convey the artist’s imagination.

PHONON was born in 2010, a group of retired engineers from major Japanese audio manufacturers gathered at Isao’s studio for research and collaboration.

Team members are DJs and high-end audio developers. Each member has their own criteria for evaluating sound quality. They discuss their opinions and feed them back into our products so that they do not become too systematized.

After decades of research, dedication, and high-level experience in the audio industry, looking for better sound delivery, we’ve developed and produced a set of unique and innovative professional high-end audio equipment.

Our mission at Phonon is to truly convey music’s imagination.

The philosophy behind the Phonon & SMB-02 by Isao Kumano (Phonon CEO and engineer)

Music and Sound quality are essential to me.   I have been listening to music every day for more than 20 years, spent long hours building sound systems in clubs, and even longer hours working in the studio. When the sound is not right it bothers me and I can’t listen to it for a long time. I need to fix it.

Music tuned correctly makes you enjoy music so much more. You really enjoy music when your monitoring setup is right. In the studio, as a sound engineer, it is important to have correctly tuned studio monitor speakers.

It is the same for headphones. I have always corrected, adjusted, and modified my sound environment. After long hours of using headphones your ears fatigue. One of the things that bothered me when I used headphones in the studio was that there was a difference between the sound of the headphones and the sound coming from the speakers.

I use headphones to check very carefully for noise, distortion, and how the low frequencies sound, so when I compared headphones to speakers, I always heard a difference in the sound and that was always a problem, and it always bothered me. It takes some time until the brain corrects this issue, it is a very big burden for sound engineers. But does it have to be? We say no.

I made the SMB-02 with this purpose, to eliminate this essential problem, and to correct the difference between monitoring speakers and monitoring headphones.

Using all my experience as a professional sound engineer experimenting and tuning headphones I finally came up with the phonon SMB-02 for studio use and for the pure enjoyment of music.

For me, most of the headphones in general are muffled or clogged, or they have aggressive high frequencies so I have a fear of using them. And the ones that have a good sound I know cost a few thousand dollars.  But they are big, heavy and have a strong pressure on your ears, so you get tired. 

Also, I find it important to have a good long-length cable so that you can keep your headphones on when you move around in the studio and grab your coffee.

For all those reasons above, I was able to come up with a pair of headphones that you can use for long hours and seamlessly with monitor speakers. 

Our making of headphones started from a pro audio perspective, it’s a perfect combination of art and science, we engineered them but most importantly we tuned them as best as we could. This is where we feel we create the magic. Rather than improving existing systems, PHONON sets out to create new solutions. We leave the old technology — the fundamentals of building great headphones — to them, and focus our attention on building new sound quality values.

Today its sound is what hi end audio users all around the world are looking for. It is the right natural sound as it was originally produced. 

Please enjoy music in a stress-free playback environment and you will probably re-discover music! 

Isao Kumano (Phonon CEO and Mastering Engineer)

One of Japan’s top mastering engineers crafted the innovative PHONON headphones with audio professionals in mind. He has also been a member of Chillax that a project with Takagi Synth, and the unit Tokyo Black Star with Alex From Tokyo, performing from his point of view in music.