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Knowles Launches New RAF Series Balanced Armature Drivers, Delivering Premium Sound in a New Design

The new RAF Series, including IPx7 models, enables premium hearable and earphone designers greater flexibility to improve critical features such as audio quality, connectivity, battery life, and water resistance without sacrificing size or comfort.

LAS VEGAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 3, 2017-- Today, Knowles Corporation (NYSE:KN) launched the new RAF Series balanced armature drivers to improve how hearable and earphone designers create the next generation of premium headsets. Developed for wireless products, the receiver’s small dimensions and high efficiency make it ideal for a number of applications including premium music earphones, hearables, Bluetooth headsets, communications earpieces, and miniature sound amplifiers.

As consumers increasingly use smartphones to stream music, podcasts and audiobooks, sound quality remains one of the most important features of a headset. A recent industry study* discovered that 90 percent of respondents want high quality audio from their devices. The same study discovered that 92 percent of respondents are frustrated when the connection between the audio player and headphones doesn’t occur and 84 percent are concerned with the current state of connectivity. With sound quality and connectivity paramount to adoption, the industry will benefit from the RAF drivers ability to deliver premium sound and design flexibility.

“Knowles continues to drive the industry forward with pioneering solutions for hearables and premium headsets,” said Christian Scherp, president, Audio. “With the rapid growth of wireless products, the RAF Series provides the rich, premium sound consumers want, with the small size designers need to accommodate improved antennas for better connectivity or larger batteries for longer operating life.”

To support the demand for greater audio quality and enable manufacturers to offer improved connectivity, the RAF Series occupies less volume than even the smallest dynamic driver. RAF uses an innovative design that shifts the terminal ports from the rear of the component to the side. This seemingly simple, yet complex, shift maintains Knowles’ premium audio quality and “frees” space behind the driver for larger batteries and enhanced antennas. The new design enables greater design flexibility to address consumer concerns and demands.

The small size of the RAF Series is an evolution of the successful RAB Series receiver. Both series enable manufacturers to offer consumer devices that are more comfortable, more discrete, and deliver a more enjoyable listening experience. The low power consumption receivers help preserve battery life and contributes to longer operating times between recharges.

To address the growing demand for sport earphones, the RAF and RAB series offer models with an IPx7 waterproof rating. An increasingly important rating for earphones, wearables, and smartphones, the IPx7 rating enables the Knowles drivers to be immersed in up to one meter of water for up to 30 minutes. The waterproof drivers address the needs of sport hearables without an additional protective membrane that can reduce the sound quality.

The RAF Series and RAB Series are currently available in production quantities.

This announcement is in conjunction with Knowles’ presence at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, where the Knowles team is meeting with customers, partners, and investors. Additionally, Chief Technology Officer Alexis Bernard is sharing insight on sensors in hearables, internet of things devices, and smart homes as part of a panel on innovation and trends. For more information on Knowles’ presence at CES, visit Knowles.com/CES or follow @KnowlesCorp on Twitter and Facebook.

*The State of Play: Consumer audio trends, attitudes and purchase drivers. October 2016. Qualcomm Technologies International Ltd.

About Knowles Corporation

Knowles Corporation (NYSE:KN) is a market leader and global supplier of advanced micro-acoustic, audio processing, and specialty component solutions, serving the mobile consumer electronics, communications, medical, military, aerospace, and industrial markets. Knowles uses its leading position in MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical systems) microphones and strong capabilities in audio processing technologies to optimize audio systems and improve the user experience in smartphones, tablets, and wearables. Knowles is also the leader in acoustics components used in hearing aids and has a strong position in high-end oscillators (timing devices) and capacitors. Knowles’ focus on the customer, combined with unique technology, proprietary manufacturing techniques, rigorous testing and global scale, enables it to deliver innovative solutions that optimize the user experience. Founded in 1946 and headquartered in Itasca, Illinois, Knowles has employees in 15 countries around the world. For more information, visit knowles.com.

Source: Knowles Corporation

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