Popular audio accessory company Pioneer today announced a new line of Lightning earbuds that the company says offers an experience not possible with traditional 3.5mm headphones. The “Rayz” series includes two pairs of earbuds, the Rayz and the Rayz Plus and will be available soon.

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The wired headphones connect to any iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch via the Lightning port and draw power from there, thus meaning there’s no need for charging of any kind. The Rayz Plus earbuds, however, set themselves apart in that they have a built-in Lightning port on the cable that allows users to charge their device while using them. Pioneer says that the Rayz Plus are the first earbuds to offer such a feature:

Rayz earphones maximize all of the benefits offered by the Lightning Connector. They are powered by iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, meaning no additional batteries are required. The Rayz Plus model is also the first and only Lightning headset with a sleek in-line charging node to simultaneously charge iPhone, iPad or iPod touch while the earphones are connected and in use.

The Rayz and Rayz Plus both use Avnera’s LightX technology, which ensures that they draw the least power possible from the iPhone to which they are connected.

Furthermore, the Rayz line offers a host of “smart features,” according to Pioneer. The company says that both the Rayz and Rayz Plus feature six microphones that allow these features.

For one, the ear buds offer a Smart Noise Cancellation feature that scans your ear and optimizes noise canceling performance based on “your ear and environment.” There’s also a HearThruä mode, which Pioneer says allows a certain threshold of sound to come through, allowing you to be aware of your surroundings. Much like AirPods, Pioneer’s Rayz earbuds also offer on-ear and off-ear detection so that music will play or pause when you take an earbud out and put it back in.

These smart features are possible through an accompanying Rayz app, which also features settings such as EQ and button programming.

The Rayz model will cost $99.95 and be available in Onyx and Ice color options, while the Rayz Plus will run $149.95 and come in Graphite and Bronze. Both pairs will be available soon.

LONG BEACH, Calif., Feb. 14, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Pioneer® Home Entertainment U.S.A. today introduced RayzTM and Rayz Plus earphones, a new line of truly innovative appcessories for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.  Rayz and Rayz Plus blend the intelligence of an iOS app with innovative Lightning accessories to deliver completely new experiences not possible through the 3.5mm headphone jack.

Rayz and Rayz Plus use Apple’s Lightning audio technology and aim to simply and smartly solve the top challenges that today’s mobile consumers experience on a daily basis.

Talk and Charge

Rayz earphones maximize all of the benefits offered by the Lightning Connector. They are powered by iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, meaning no additional batteries are required. The Rayz Plus model is also the first and only Lightning headset with a sleek in-line charging node to simultaneously charge iPhone, iPad or iPod touch while the earphones are connected and in use.

Rayz and Rayz Plus are based on Avnera’s breakthrough LightX platform that enables the earphones to operate in modes with the lowest power use possible from iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.  The LightX platform also plays host to multiple smart features making the Rayz earphone line the ultimate iPhone companion.

Smart Features 

Despite its small size, each model contains six microphones which enable several key first-to-market features. To start, Smart Noise Cancellation, a standard feature for both models, is a patented technology that scans your ear and optimizes the noise-cancelling performance uniquely to your ear and environment. In addition, while other noise cancelling products focus on noise for frequent flyers, Rayz delivers exceptional noise cancellation across the entire noise spectrum of everyday life – from commuting, to work, or play and school environments. Rayz also has HearThruä mode which lets in just the right amount of outside noise so you can stay in touch with your surroundings without taking your earphones off.

Next, Rayz and Rayz Plus use the embedded microphones to implement sensor-less on-ear detection where the earphones know when they are in or out of your ear and automatically pause and restart your content so you don’t miss a moment of music or video. Rayz smartly enters a low power mode and saves you from accidental battery use if you do not put the earphones back on.

Using a combination of the 6 microphones and multi-mic voice processing makes phone calls using Rayz just better, and easier with the smart button.  Rayz are the only Lightning earphones to support a one-button click to mute the mics during a call.  The programmable smart button also allows you simple access to open apps and to control the advanced features of Rayz.

Finally, an integral part of the Rayz experience is the companion app, available on the App Store. The Rayz by Pioneer app for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch enables you to personalize the earphone’s settings like adjusting audio EQ and programming the smart button.  Most importantly, the app creates the ability for Rayz earphones to continually improve with the delivery of new features via the software update interface.

“Pioneer and Onkyo have been driving first-to-market innovations in audio over the last few decades. We are delighted to partner with Avnera to bring to market the world’s first truly smart Lightning earphones,” said Munenori Otsuki, CEO of Onkyo Corporation.

“We worked closely with Pioneer to deliver compelling smart user experiences without compromising battery life, product size or performance,” said Manpreet Khaira, CEO of Avnera Corporation. “This is made possible by the breakthrough innovations in audio, voice, speech and sensor circuits in Avnera’s new LightX Platform that is the basis of Apple’s second generation Lightning audio module technology.”

The Rayz earphones are offered in Onyx and Ice and Rayz Plus is available in Graphite and Bronze metallic finishes and will be available at OneCall.com with suggested retail prices of $149.95 (Rayz Plus), $99.95 (Rayz).