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Volume and Product Testing Methodology

I believe that we design and build the best headphones for children. If I ever stopped believing that or stopped working toward that goal, I’d stop building headphones for children.
 
There are three main reasons why I believe we’re the best:

    1. Ours are the most beautiful. Yes I’m biased, but I believe it. And just wait until you see our new models.
    2. Ours are extremely high quality with high quality accessories and high quality components. We are trying to deliver this high quality at affordable price points and at our prices, the value is tremendous.
    3. Safety is the core of what we do, both in build quality and hearing safety.
I’ll focus on point 3 since the first two are more opinion than fact. But point 3 is very factual. Our build quality focus is not to only to make them last longer but also to make sure LilGadgets’ products don’t inadvertently cause your child to injure himself or herself. We went through the process to meet the Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Toy Safety requirements. This was completely voluntary but something we took seriously because safety isn’t just about ear protection. It’s also about reducing choking hazards (we have a special in-line microphone on our cables). It's about reducing breakability into small parts (we have a custom plastic mix that is much more flexible so full snaps and shattered pieces are extremely rare). It’s about making sure that if your child gets twisted in the cable, it doesn’t create safety concerns (our cable jacks have the pull force custom tweaked so it balances the need for the cable to stay in securely but pull out at the right time). And there are other little things we’ve done to make the build better and safer on all our headphones (we can't give away all our secrets). 
 
Then there is volume safety. We use industry standard equipment and best practices to test our headphones (more on what we do below). While there are other ways to test volume levels -- many less accurate -- the bottom line is that lower volume and shorter length of use is going to be better. Hands down; no question. That’s why we encourage parents to let their children use their headphones with devices in quieter areas when possible. And why we encourage parents to follow the generally accepted idea that frequent breaks at any volume are needed, every 15-60 minutes according to some sources. And why we encourage parents to also set the volume limiting on the device itself, just one more safeguard against accidental volume increases. But hey, we’re parents too and know that all those perfect scenarios don’t always add up.
 
That’s where we come in with our volume limiting. Our goal is 93 decibels +/- 3 decibels. The variation is just the nature of mass production but think of our headphones as a giant mountain, or a bell curve if you love stats. Almost all of them will be 93db, but of course we may have a few outliers that make it through our rigorous checks. We work tirelessly with our quality assurance and quality control teams in the factories to make those outliers as few as possible but if you happen to get one and feel the headphones are too loud, please let us know (plug: we have a 100% satisfaction guarantee).
 
As for why we chose 93 -- it’s both complicated and simple. We had to account for variance and we had to account for “too low” and “too loud.” We worked on our padding and fit of the headphones to create a good amount of passive noise reduction. From there we tested dozens of headphone decibel levels in dozens of situations to see what was tolerable. 85db was great in a library, but useless on an airplane or during a dinner party. 97db was plenty loud for an airplane, but louder than we wanted on our daughters’ ears. If we could have tuned to exactly 91db we would have, but alas, after much trial and error, we couldn’t. In fact, if you ask any manufacturer, they will have a variance as well. Since 91db was what we felt was the bottom of usefulness in “louder” situations, we went with 93db and remind parents that the volume shouldn’t be maxed out and time with the headphones should be limited.
 
It’s not a perfect solution but then again, there isn’t a perfect solution at a price point that works for most families. We’re aiming for unique solutions where parents won’t be required to buy overpriced headphones but still can feel comfortable knowing their children’s safety isn’t an afterthought. We care. And we’re working to find the answer that works for your kids and ours.
 
Without further ado, here’s a summary of our practices for volume testing:
    • Our headphones have both the internal circuitry limited and speaker drivers limited to our specifications (93db +/- 3db)
    • All of our headphones are checked both left ear and right ear several times by one of our electroacoustic test meters monitored by trained engineers. This is an industry standard and used in most audio factories worldwide.
    • In our particular case, we wanted to be extra sure that as few headphones as possible pass QC inadvertently so we built a special apparatus for each model of headphone to we produce very accurate tests.
    • 100% of our headphones are checked in production by our in-factory quality control team. Then we unpack finished goods and use the industry standard AQL (2.5 major, 2.5 minor, 0 critical defects) to test many facets of our product, including volume levels. Volume levels outside our threshold are considered critical and rejected on the spot.
    • Rejected goods are reworked if possible in order to reduce waste, but if we can’t rework them they are discarded.

    And for fun, here's a photo of our headphones on the electroacoustic test meter:

    If you would like more information on our company, our beliefs, or our processes, please contact me directly: jason@lilgadgets.com.

     

    Best always,
    Jason Hembrey
    CEO + Co-Founder

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