Fanstereo Reveals How To Combine High Fidelity, Stylish Design and Musician’s Input For Great Headphones

Various headphone companies have explored relationships with musicians, bringing varying degrees of credibility to the project. The folks behind Beats headphones leveraged musician involvement to a success far outweighing the product’s sonic quality. Fanstereo is a headphone company that puts quality sound at the forefront, and its recently introduced Studio43 headphones were designed with input from Ayo and Teo. The pair from Michigan has a hit with “Rolex,” which has been one of the top 20 downloaded songs on iTunes, peaked at #20 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and has in excess of 350 million views on YouTube.

I was able to ask Jay Leopardi, the founder of Fanstereo, a handful of questions that illustrate the strategy he pursued in creating the Studio43.

The headphones are on-ear in design, and feature passive isolation noise cancellation, which is made up of specific foams and felts, as well as the shape of their design to block out any noise. This design strategy has always been used by professional producers, DJs, artists, etc. The passive isolation method is truly blocking out the background noise, not just cancelling it. (Active noise cancellation generally deploys either a very high or very low frequency to trick the ears and to drown out any background noise).


Leopardi states that Fanstereo’s passive isolation allows you to hear music more clearly, the way it was meant to be heard, and is a component of the company’s proprietary HPA technology (high precision audio).

The Studio43s are indeed very comfortable, the fine camel leathers used for the ear cups are smooth and well designed. Weight is always an issue with headphones, as magnets and technology present a constant tradeoff. The Studio43s provide a good balance in that regard, proving to be both light in weight but rich in sound. They are completely Bluetooth, and have a built-in microphone so you can take calls while in the midst of listening to music. The sound is transparent, with clean highs and solid bass.

Auerbach: What prompted you to hook up with Ayo and Teo?

Leopardi: I come from the music world and I started as a musician and producer myself. I know talent when I see it, and with the capsule collections in mind, I saw these kids and said first they have talent, and second I like the market they’re going after. They’re a hybrid group, not just hip-hop kids. They have a very melodic style and are very into dancing. I was a break-dancer back in the day, and it’s really cool to see Ayo and Teo bringing that kind of style back, a new style of music, as they go into a market that no one’s ever gone into.

Auerbach: What level of collaboration did your company have with the pair?

Leopardi: Going off of what’s explained above, I decided to partner with Ayo and Teo because I felt a personal connection to them. Ayo and Teo were very involved in the project and have been great to work with.

Auerbach: Will this business model be considered more as a licensing deal or a partnership?

Leopardi: They are partnerships. If an artist comes to me and expresses that they want to do a deal with us and want their own line, I’ll give them a licensing deal because, in some cases we’re not dealing with an artist, were dealing with a licensing company. The company reaches out to us directly and wants to do a deal with us and one of their artists. If a label feels they have an up and coming artist we get together and break the artist into the industry together. When an artist is going to pop [in the marketplace], each celebrity capsule collection becomes its own business.

Auerbach: What are some of the unique aspects of the Studio43 that make it stand out in the marketplace?

Leopardi: First of all, their price [$140] is unbeatable compared to other similar models of headphones on the market. The Artificial Intelligence feature allows users to use voice commands to answer phone calls, texts and manage their phones, making them designed for hands-free convenience and ease. This technology hasn’t been used in headphones before – just as if you were to speak to a voice activated speaker, like Alexa, you can literally speak to the Studio43s when you have an incoming call or text, and tell them how you want to respond. If you don’t want to answer a call you can say “Ignore” or you can verbalize what you want to write in you text message to someone. Everything is made with premium leathers imprinted with our logos, designed to give a stylish look but also comfort. Overall, I think our business model with our celebrity capsule collection is what makes us stand out the most from other headphone companies in the game.

Auerbach: Neil Young famously said that when he sees people on the street with standard issue earbuds, he wants to yank them out and tell them they deserve better. How does a company like yours get people to move away from the earbuds that ship with portable devices?

Leopardi: What make our earbuds (called Eirs) stand out are their 12 different ear bud styles making sure each user can wear something that fits their own ears perfectly. Additionally, the shape and materials of the ear buds provide sound isolation for all listeners, making these perfect for drowning-out outside noises. The speed and strength of the Bluetooth connection for these, as well as all of our products can’t be beat. Never worry about misplacing your “eirs” either because we made our faceplates magnetic, so you can easily wear them on your neck or connect them to other magnetic devices.







Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.