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Not Interested In The Big Box: Periodic Audio Heads To CanJam With The Audiophile In Mind

It’s not a sales strategy one often hears in the headphones business: Periodic Audio, a manufacturer founded by audio industry vets, insists it would be happy selling hundreds, not millions, of units.

Periodic, founded last year by Dan Wiggins, Mike Kim and two unnamed partners, is bringing its three debut products and its retail strategy to the CanJam audio trade show in New York this weekend. The products, a trio of in-ear monitors (IEMs), had a soft launch at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest last fall; after receiving extensive feedback, Wiggins told TWICE in a recent call, the company regrouped and made significant product adjustments.

The three models range from $99 to $299 retail, and Wiggins said they’re targeted toward audiophiles with high-end systems or headphones at home and are seeking a carry-around solution. As part of its efforts to attract this consumer base, Periodic intends to target small, independent dealers, rather than the big-box chains. “We want to support small dealers and give them an opportunity to continue growing,” said Wiggins. “It’s a natural symbiosis with them.”

Periodic is even drilling down a bit more from the already-niche audiophile base: Doctors, for example, are often audiophiles, have small pockets of downtime for listening to music, and have a good amount of disposable income, said Wiggins. Periodic’s new IEMs can be sterilized, and they’re “low cost enough that if I break a pair each year, it’s not going to bankrupt me,” he noted.   

This last point is a particularly salient part of the company’s strategy. At $300, the IEMs are hardly exceptionally high-end — not for the audiophiles who may have a $4,000 pair of headphones in their arsenal. “You could easily sell these for more,” Wiggins acknowledged, “but what if you broke a pair? Would you buy another?” Setting too high of a price will affect where the consumer chooses to wear them and make them less likely to be used in mobile-first environments, he said.  

See: Headphone Sound Quality Busts Price In Consumer Priority

As such, Periodic will be advertising in medical journals. “I can guarantee you that … we will be the only audio ad in the entire magazine each month,” said Wiggins. It’s also considering other niche publications like Cigar Aficionado and high-end car magazines.

“Everyone wants to be next Beats or Bose,” said Wiggins. “[But] that’s kind of foolish [and] more about marketing and pushing the brand than the product. We’re passionate about the product. We think we could be happy selling hundreds a month.”

Periodic is more a labor of love, he said, and was founded by audiophiles with deep experience in product design and manufacturing. Wiggins has founded several other, larger audio companies, including DW Designs and Doppler Labs, but said he grew weary of the time he was forced to spend on managing the company rather than on the product. “If my passion is building and keeping small and tight, why focus on building something massive? We’re perfectly happy keeping it small and tight and pushing the envelope.”

Wiggins said the company intends to give these dealers high discounts — “We’re not going to squeeze them at 30 or 40 points” — and said dealers will be able to recoup costs by just moving a few pairs, rather than dozens.

The three IEMs include the Mg, which employs a magnesium-content magnesium/aluminum-alloy diaphragm ($99); the Ti, which uses a pure titanium diaphragm ($199); and the Be, which uses a pure beryllium diaphragm ($299). All three feature a polycarbonate body construction and are slated to begin shipping in March.

Periodic also intends to introduce other products down the line, Wiggins said.