Listening To Stevie

STEVIE WONDER tries Meters headphones


Mark and Dan Gooday, the father and son team behind Ashdown Engineering, had a wonderful surprise when the legendary Stevie Wonder made an impromptu visit to their stand at NAMM. Stevie has been using Meters OV-1 headphones since picking a pair up at a previous show and was keen to try the latest OV-1B Connect wireless version. The ensuing conversation has resulted in Mark and Dan listening to Stevie and planning advances for future production runs.

Mark says: “The work it takes to create something new, build a brand, is so hard, Having Stevie sit and chat with us was unreal, bought a tear when he played me three tracks and asked what I thought ???? WOW. Unreal on our headphones which he has had for a few years now, then in chatting we decided to put braille on them…”

Mark Gooday with Stevie Wonder

Braille seems a small thing to add to a product, but it’s something that will make a big difference to users, demonstrating that product development isn’t only about incorporating new tech. The braille will be used for the volume up/down and answer functions on the ear piece of the headphones, and for identifying the left and right ear cups. Stevie had no problems pairing the OV-1B Connects to his phone using his braille device, his questions about which button does what leading to plans for the further improvement to these highly acclaimed headphones.

I shared this news with Jay Pocknell, Music Support Officer at RNIB, who had the following to say:

“That’s great to hear and will be a lovely advert for braille. I think this will be a big help for getting the left and right ear the correct way around especially. And regardless of braille being inclusive to blind users, I imagine that using buttons which feel different to each other will allow anyone to use the headphones without taking them off to look at them….”

I also spoke with Mary-Alice Stack, CEO at Creative United, and she said the following:

“Taking the time to sit down and understand the user experience of products from the perspective of disabled customers should be an essential part of the R&D process for any business. Mark’s story of how chatting to Stevie Wonder for just 40 minutes influenced his thinking is a brilliant example of this and the value of small but important inclusive design considerations for blind and visually impaired users. We hope that other firms will be inspired by this example to involve disabled musicians more regularly in their product design processes going forwards, helping to make the whole industry more accessible and inclusive.”

Stevie Wonder isn’t the only star using Meters headphones. A recent video on TikTok shows Sam Ryder wearing a pair as he sings his song ‘Mountains’. There’s no endorsement in place, just a highly regarded performer using the product out in the field…

@samhairwolfryder NEW MUSIC????MOUNTAIN????MAY 12TH link in bio to win my guitar ???? #newmusic #mountain #fyp ♬ Mountain – Sam Ryder

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