The headphone market is an overstuffed jungle of a place, with most of them coming from overseas. However Flare is leading the UK resistance with its impressive-sounding R2 in-ears. But, like Lord Kitchener on that WWI poster, it needs YOU.
To get them made, it's using Kickstarter, just like Pebble. Flare's made its name making mega sound systems for professional studios and counts Jimmy Page among its fans. It's now turning its attention to home audio, but keeping the same rigorous approach to sonic craftsmanship.
They say the R2 offer "distortion free sound down to the micro level", "deep bass accuracy", "purity of sound in an incredibly small and lightweight package" that's been "turned on a robotic precision lathe and created from one solid bar of aerospace aluminium." And there's "patent-pending pressure-balancing technology," to boot!
Well, it's easy to feel cynical and exhausted, ploughing through PR bumf like that, but we've given the R2 a listen and can confirm the audio is impressive indeed for a pair of earphones that cost 79 quid, with Comply isolation tips ensuring comfort and a deep, satisfying ear penetration, for excellent sound isolation. Splash out £119 and you can get the improved R2A model.
Like Jarvis Cocker, the R2A is incredibly slim and lightweight, doesn't perhaps have the sharpest appearance, but is undeniably cool and musically gifted. So it's apt that foppish Radio 6 DJ and former Pulp front man Jarv is fully onboard with Flare's earphones.
"In order to get ‘Jarvis Cocker's Sunday Service’ together every week I have to listen to a lot of music whilst on the move," he said, probably whilst wearing a brown corduroy jacket. "These headphones have made that process a hell of a lot more pleasurable: I can hear everything! I'm once again enjoying pieces of music I thought I was "over- familiar" with because now I can hear new stuff in there. Listening is a pleasure again. Thank you Flare. I'm sure the radio show will improve as a result.”
You can join Jarvis in supporting the UK's Flare R2 on its Kickstarter page. It's your patriotic duty. Do it for the Queen.