At Cambridge Audio, we’re always looking for new and exciting ways to recreate good sound quality on the go – cue our portable speaker range. However, there is one unexplored realm we’ve been itching to work on: in-ear headphones. We’re proud to announce the SE1s, our first, and quite possibly last, high-end in-ear monitor earphones. The SE1 in-ear headphones use custom-made 8mm Beryllium Drivers to help recreate the balanced sound commonly heard from our Hi-Fi products. Unlike regular in-ear headphones, they react quickly to high frequencies so your music is produced much crisper and clearer. They also come with three sets of Comply and silicone tips to ensure every type of listener is accommodated for. We’re making a limited edition run of 1,000 pairs and opening them up to the public to purchase. And this is where we go completely off-piste – YOU choose how much you pay for them and then we donate that money on your behalf to Youth Music.
What does Youth Music do?
Youth Music is a national charity investing in music-making projects for children and young people experiencing challenging circumstances. They work tirelessly to bring opportunities for making music to those who might otherwise find barriers in their way. Projects take place where they're needed most, often in areas of great deprivation. The projects support practical, creative music-making of every possible style and technique, with activities including songwriting, music production and performance.
Youth Music shares so many of our own values and beliefs that we simply had to get involved with supporting them. Our head office also shares the SE1 postcode with Youth Music’s national base, so we decided to take this as a sign that our headphones were made for them!
Projects supported by Youth Music have helped some incredible musicians on their way including MOBO award winner Laura Mvula and well-known hip-hop duo Rizzle Kicks. Here are just three examples of the many amazing stories Youth Music alumni have to tell:
18-year-old Joe has Cerebral Palsy and because of this, his movements are severely restricted. Joe uses his eyes to speak by selecting vocabulary on his communication aid, but wanted to explore other options on how he could make music. A Youth Music project run by OpenUp Music in Bristol developed a new instrument which gave him the chance to make music with others using movement detected by the Xbox Kinect controller.
“I created music using the Kinect sensor but also listened to music, to fellow members, for my cue to come in. I had to watch the conductor, and know and understand when to play. It made me feel amazing. It helped me concentrate and channel my behaviour by focussing on the music. It was cool.”
Rianne’s lack of confidence held her back from making music in a public setting. With the support of a Youth Music project at The Garage in Norwich, she was able to come out of her shell and develop her talent at their SLAM nights, where young musicians like herself perform in front of other budding young musicians.
“When I first started writing songs, they were pretty meaningless, but now they’ve become a lot more personal. I write a lot about my own experiences: family, friends, how I feel, if I’m ill, if I’m sad. When I’m fighting with my family it’s quite nice that I can sit there and get my feelings out in a song instead of just angry screaming like everyone else does… Music takes me into another world. I can just relax and feel like I’m actually me.”
Muz, from Tottenham in North London, has schizophrenia and had been in and out of prison and mental health care. Making music with Key Changes, a project supported by Youth Music, has been a central part of his recovery and return to the community.
“Now I can make my own beats, tweak the beats, I can songwrite, I can sing, I can rap. When I make the beat, I think, that’s quite good. They’ve helped me have confidence, get back my style and my sound. I can freestyle easy, I don’t have voices in my head saying ‘it’s rubbish, it’s rubbish’, instead I hear ‘that’s good’.”
How much of the money goes to Youth Music?
We took inspiration from British legends Radiohead and their pay-what-you-want scheme on the release of their ‘In Rainbows’ album, and decided to open up the price of the SE1s to the buying public. Once you’ve chosen the amount you wish to pay for the SE1s, we have to give the obligatory 20% to the taxman, then every other penny goes to Youth Music. However, because we’re serious about making as much money for the charity as possible, we hope you’ll understand why we’ve placed a £25 minimum spend on the SE1s. The only money coming in to Cambridge Audio will be the exact cost of postage and packaging we need to cover to get the SE1s safely out to you.
Alright I’m in! How do I get the SE1s?
Put your money where your ears are and head over to the SE1 page and pick up a pair. But act fast, as we only have a limited run of 1,000 pairs in total! You can read more about the making of our SE1s, read our interview with Youth Music CEO Matt Griffith or visit the Youth Music website to read more about the inspiring work from our postcode neighbours and how you can get involved with supporting their important work.
Check out the playlist below featuring fantastic original compositions by young people from Youth Music projects across the country to really hear where your money is going.