Blackening of stainless steel.

In this issue, we will explain in detail about the blackening “Gen” applied to the stainless steel housing of 9iNE.

1) Blackening stainless steel “Gen”.
2) Advantages and features of blackening stainless steel.
3) My impressions after actually making earphones with the blackened housing.

1) Blackening stainless steel “Gen”.

The blackening applied to the stainless steel housing is a technique called “Gen,” which was developed by applying the iron blackening technology that TM Co., Ltd. has cultivated for more than 50 years, with decorative properties, and is a brand of beautiful skills fostered by the blacksmith techniques of Sanjo, Niigata.

This is a method of coloring by forming a black oxide film, or so-called “black rust,” instead of painting, and has advantages and tastes not found in painting.

In 634EARS, we wanted to differentiate the 9iNE chassis from MIROAK, which has a similar shape, so we considered stainless steel coloring from the beginning of development, and tested various methods including electrodeposition coating and plating, but in the end, we decided to use 634EARS However, in the end, we decided to use blackening because of its various advantages and features, including its sound, and because it has a unique character.

2) Advantages and features of blackening stainless steel.

①You can enjoy the change over time.

Although “Gen” is a metal, you can enjoy the faded texture as if it were denim.
The edges, in particular, have an antiqued look due to repeated friction.
I felt that this was a good direction for the 634EARS earphones, which also feature the aging process of wood.

②The texture of stainless steel material can be utilized.

“Gen” is a dyeing technique that, unlike painting, preserves the unique texture of the metal.
Unlike painting, which leaves the surface texture of the painted surface, this “Gen” technology leaves the texture of the stainless steel metal intact.
It is nice that the stainless steel texture is retained since it is a metal housing.

③Dimensions do not change.

“Gen” has a very thin film of 1 to 3 microns, and it is chemically deposited inward from the surface, resulting in almost no dimensional change.
This is a very good thing for a precisely designed product such as earphones.

In fact, with the plating coating, the entire surface is slightly thicker, which affects the diameter dimension. Also, there was a slight change in the sound with the plating, but not with the blackening.

④Harmless to the human body and environmentally friendly.

Earphones are worn in the ear, so it is very safe to say that they are harmless to the human body.
Some methods and agents known as stainless steel blackening have safety issues, but this blackening technology “Gen” has no effect on the human body and is safe to eat and drink, and no prohibited ingredients are used in the treatment solution (RoHS compliant). The treatment solution does not contain any banned ingredients (RoHS compliant), making it a very environmentally friendly process.

3) My impressions after actually making earphones with the blackened housing.

In fact, when you hold the 9iNE in your hands, completed as earphones with stainless steel blackening “Gen”, you can see that the texture of the metal remains intact.
The combination of the metal texture with wood and other metals is very beautiful.
The tip of the nozzle and the cross section of the rear back plate are blackened from the beginning to show the silver base, which further emphasizes the stainless steel-like appearance.

Stainless steel was an absolute requirement for this earphone. Aluminum, titanium, or brass could not produce this sound. We wanted to differentiate this earphone from the previous MIROAK earphones so that it would not look the same as the previous MIROAK earphones, and I think we found a very good technology.

The brass and copper backplates continue the metal coloring technology of Momentum Factory Orii, as in MIROAK, LOAK-TS, TB, and TC, and when combined with this stainless steel blackening technology, the unique texture and character of the backplates are very cool.

Although 634EARS is only a small part of the company’s overseas operations, we would like to make the technology that has taken root and evolved from Japanese traditions known to people overseas, even though it is only a small contribution.