Quirky Shinola Launches New Headphone Line, Made in Detroit

Can of ShinolaQuirky Shinola, the scrappy Detroit, MI-based manufacturer of an eclectic collection of disconnected product lines, including watches, bicycles, leather goods, jewelry and, now, audio, has introduced a line of headphones, including over-ear, on-ear, and in-ear models. The company, which is owned by Bedrock Manufacturing Company, LLC, is as much an experiment in bringing manufacturing back to bankrupt Detroit, as it is a power brand.

See more on this new headphone line from Shinola…



Having come from Detroit (OK, really a suburb of Detroit…but I spent a lot of time in the city throughout my life), I’ve been casually following Shinola from afar. They really are based in Detroit…and they are really manufacturing things…in Detroit.

However, it has always struck me as an unfortunate name…and a name from the past. I have to admit, I cringed when I first heard the name. Why? Because for years, one of my father’s favorite expressions (picked up during WWII) was, “You don’t know shit from Shinola.” Somehow, that always linked Shinola with shit in my brain.

Shoe Polish That Shines

However, Shinola was actually a respected brand of black shoe polish launched in the late 1800s in Rochester, NY. It went out of business in the 1960’s, which is how the brand became available. Bedrock Manufacturing snapped it up. Incidentally, Bedrock Manufacturing is actually a Texas-based venture capital company. They chose to manufacture in Detroit, according to Wikipedia, because they saw a study that said people will pay up to three times as much for an item from a bankrupt American city.Shinola logo

So while they express altruism on their website, and certainly take a bow for bringing manufacturing jobs back to Detroit, they would appear to be somewhat morally ambivalent, as it would seem their true motive is one of  profit…rather than one of helping people.

Runwell Watches, Runwell Turntables



Their first product was a watch called the Runwell. The company’s goal was to produce a Made-in-America watch (with, in some cases, 100% of components imported from overseas) that rivaled the great luxury watches of the Swiss, but for a more affordable price.

All controversies aside, Shinola launched their first audio product in November 2016 – a turntable, called the Runwell Turntable. The Runwell Turntable sells for $2,500 and is a belt-drive design available in multiple wood tones and finishes.

The Canfield Collection of Headphones

Now we have a whole series of headphones called The Canfield Headphone Collection. Designed and built in Detroit, with parts sourced from around the world, Shinola says “how it’s made matters” and “how things look, feel and sound, matters.”

“The introduction is special,” said Shinola’s founder, Tom Kartsotis in a prepared statement. “It speaks to our love of music and craft and it speaks to the soul of Detroit. It is rare that one product can capture and transmit this much emotion and be so much fun to share. People always smile when they hold the headphones, feel the quality and then listen. It has taken us a while to make it feel right, to make the steel and leather details and the sound all come together. We are so proud of this effort from our Audio team. Their tireless efforts have created a product that personifies what Shinola has come to stand for.”

Here then, is the Canfield Collection:

Photo of Canfield Over-Ear

Canfield Over-Ear Headphones

Canfield Over-Ear

The Canfield Over-Ear headphones utilize a 50-mm dynamic driver and the headphones have been tuned to be neutral (no Beats-ish bass bump). The company notes this model incorporates stainless steel components, lambskin ear cushions, top grain leather headband and an in-line microphone.

Canfield Over-Ear headphones sell for $595 in black and cognac, and for $650 in black PVD.

Specifications

  • 50-mm Shinola dynamic transducer, closed-back circumaural design
  • Frequency Response: 20 – 24,000 Hz
  • Nominal Impedance: 41Ω
  • Sound Pressure Level: 102dB ±3dB/mw @ 1 kHz
  • Total Harmonic Distortion: 1% THD @ 1 kHz
  • Efficiency: 115dB spl/v @ 1 kHz
  • Weight: 0.99 lbs
  • Dimensions: 6.9 x 8.3 x 1.7 inches

 

Canfield On-Ear



The Canfield On-Ear headphone is based on a 40-mm dynamic driver and, like the Over-Ear model, utilizes stainless steel components, lambskin ear cushions, top grain leather headband, and an in-line microphone.

Canfield On-Ear headphones sell for $495 in black and cognac colors and for $550 in black PVD.

Specifications

  • 40-mm Shinola dynamic transducer, closed-back, supra-aural design
  • Frequency Response: 20 – 20,000 Hz
  • Nominal Impedance: 32Ω
  • Sound Pressure Level: 105dB ±3dB/mw @1kHz
  • Total Harmonic Distortion: 2% THD @ 1kHz
  • Efficiency: 120dB spl/v @ 1kHz
  • Weight: 0.73 lbs
  • Dimensions: 6.9 x 7.5 x 1.4 inches
Canfield Pro In-Ear Monitors

Canfield Pro In-Ear Monitors

Canfield Pro In-Ear Monitors

In the case of Shinola In-Ear monitors, the company says it worked with Campfire Audio out of Portland, OR to acoustically tune them. Using a quad balanced armature receiver, Shinola says the design will “bring out every possible element of your favorite music.” The company also says they are very comfortable.

The Canfield Pro In-Ear Monitors sell for $495 and will be available in December.

Specifications

  • Quad balanced armature receiver
  • Frequency Response: 10 – 20,000 Hz
  • Total Harmonic Distortion: < 1%
  • Nominal Impedance: 37Ω @ 1kHz
  • Sound Pressure Level: 102dB

 

Canfield In-Ear Monitors

The standard Canfield In-Ear monitors were also developed and tuned in conjunction with Campfire Audio. This model utilizes memory foam and silicone ear tips and a dynamic driver for great sound.

The Canfield In-Ear Monitors sell for $195 and will also be available in December.

Specifications

  • 8.5-mm beryllium dynamic driver
  • Frequency Response: 10 – 20,000 Hz
  • Total Harmonic Distortion: < 1%
  • Nominal Impedance: 16.5Ω @ 1 kHz
  • Sound Pressure Level: 104 dB

To learn more about Shinola headphones, as well as all of their products, visit: www.shinola.com.


About Ted

A sales and marketing specialist – primarily in the technology industry – I’ve experienced a sort of “circle of life” in business. I’ve been a mass merchant retailer, a specialty retailer, a specialty manufacturer, a large volume manufacturer, a distributor, and even represented sales representatives.

Now the owner of a marketing company that works with a variety of businesses on improving their strategic marketing and business development – I analyze issues from all angles to develop holistic solutions.


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