"April's Fool!" went FitEar's Mr. Suyama between mouthfuls of tasteless Japanese beer at the 2014 Mook お疲れ様会. Before our eyes, he dangled a tiny gatling gun fitted to an earphone. Each of its barrels was, as you may have guessed, made of that FitEar precious metal, titanium. Every angle, every barrel, every hard edge projected the singular image on the minds of everyone at the table: Gundam.
Yep, a Gundam earphone.
April's Fool? I can't imagine how many hours, how many prototypes, how many broken fingernails and overtime promises FitEar had to go through to perfect the deadly beauty dangling before us. Between burps, the rest of the fellas agreed.
"This could work," informed Oyama Satoshi, the extremely well-read, and least paralytic of us.
"Is it Parterre inside?" asked Sasaki, the owner of the world's most famous thumb.
"Can I 'ave another?" blubbed Mr. Inai, beer mug held aloft between trembly thumbs. (No one knows where he came from or how I knew his name, but he was a great drinking buddy. If you're reading this, Inai, ol' buddy, I salute you!)
Mr. Suyama just smiled and shrugged. "The insides are somewhat of a secret. Not that that matters; we have no plans to take it to production."
By the time it came to give the guns some of that good ol' Nathan wax, I was already halfway under the table. Because I wasn't myself, I'll refrain from giving my audiophile impressions. But even through the fog, I could see a market for expensive, superbly-crafted earphones like the FitEar Gundam (a name the fellas decided upon), especially in anime-loving geekdom.
Thirty minutes and about a pint and a half later (I'm not a strong lad), I crawled out from under our table. Perhaps it was the double vision that cued me in, perhaps it was the heightened awareness from the spice flowing in my bladder; whatever it was, I noticed something different about the earphones dangling from Mr. Suyama's neck.
They were black. And they bounced freely when he laughed. After helping me sit up straight, and moving my beer well out of reach, Mr. Suyama set the phones in front of me. "I've begun experimenting with 3D printing."
These earphones, too, lacked a name, not to mention the usual FitEar heft. In the hand, they were nearly as light as one of Jerry Harvey Audio's creations. And sprouting from them like a goitre was a new earphone connector.
"Is it Parterre inside?" asked The Thumb again.
Mr. Suyama slogged back another pint of flavourless Kirin. He shook his head 'no' as I rolled the phone back and forth in my hand. The massive plug diverted four conductors into its two prongs. On the other end was a 2,5mm 4-pole jack.
"For the AK240," explained Suyama.
But this time, Mr. Suyama kept the year-early (or days late) ejaculation of "April's Fool!" from the table. Does that mean that the 3D earphone will make it to market? I don't know. In fact, I still have no clue as to whether or not Mr. Suyama's April's Fool gag was a gag at all.
For geeks everywhere, I hope it wasn't. Even if the FitEar Gundam doesn't make it to market, it's good to see Suyama experimenting with 3D printing, though, part of the attraction I've had to the brand has to do with their eschewing of the use of welterweight materials.
Which is probably why I didn't ooh and ahh as much over the balanced, 3D printed model. But that's just me. I think the market will happily accept any new thing from FitEar. Bring it, I say.
But tout your expertise in metalwork (and robots). No one else can. And while your at it, why not canonise your geek cred by invoking Gundam?