Santa Cruz Tech Beat


Santa Cruz Audio announces SC1000, the ultimate headphone experience

By Fred DeKalb (Founder of Santa Cruz Audio) and Thomas Illick (Director of Marketing and Sales at IDE)
Special to Santa Cruz Tech Beat

May 21, 2016 — Santa Cruz, CA

(Photo above: Santa Cruz Audio’s newly launched SC1000. Contributed.)

Local startup Santa Cruz Audio launches adjustable noise canceling headphones with development help from Scotts Valley’s IDE

Santa Cruz Audio was founded by Fred DeKalb in 2012. With a career focused on engineering high-end audio products for over 30 years, Fred knows what it takes to develop high quality audio products.

At Santa Cruz Audio, the goal is to create the products that we wish existed. Their products enhance our lives and are a pleasure to own functionally and aesthetically. By combining their focus on usability with their extensive engineering experience, they are able to create products we all wish we had.

Santa Cruz Audio products are designed and built in Santa Cruz, California.

What is the SC1000?

Portable headphones have been in high demand in recent years but the performance has generally been poor. With the SC1000 the goal was to take the current state of the art and increase the performance in every category.

The SC1000 are adjustable noise-canceling in-ear headphones that give you nearly perfect sound, extreme comfort, great looks, great durability, and the ability to fine-tune the amount of ambient sound you hear.  They also include a built-in amplifier to help deliver crystal clear high-fidelity sound out of your portable music player.


How is it used?

Personal use

The patent pending design allows the earpieces to be easily placed in the ears with the wires positioned over or under the ears. The wires rout to the back of the neck and the amplifier is supported around the neck or with the unique clothing clip.

Ever tried having a conversation while wearing in-ear sealing headphones and had to pull one out of your ear in order to hear?  With the SC1000, there’s no need to remove your headphones.  Simply adjust the ambient sound control and continue your conversation clearly, while still enjoying high-quality music in stereo.

There are also times where you want to drown out background noise and listen to music, but still be aware of your surroundings.  A great example is traveling on an airplane and catching a nap, while still being able to be warned of an emergency.

The SC1000 can also be used as adjustable high-fidelity earplugs. Have you ever attended a live concert that was simply way too loud?  The SC1000 allows you to turn down the volume without compromising the sound.


When using the SC1000 as in-ear monitors (IEM), musicians can control how much they hear of their own instrument versus ambient sounds such as the rest of the band.  This allows users to hear themselves better and reduces the risk of hearing damage in extremely loud shows.

Key Features


Shallow insertion tips were chosen for their comfort and when combined with the light pressure from the flexible stabilizer still produce a great seal, with incredible sound and extremely high isolation. This was the perfect balance of performance, ease of use and comfort.

A single dynamic (moving coil) speaker provides an extremely wide, flat frequency response with very low distortion and great dynamics.



Because ear tips can naturally work their way out of the ears and lose their seal, flexible stabilizers were incorporated. The flexible ear tabs push off of the back of the ear (under the antihelix) and hold light pressure on the tip keeping it in place.


The SC1000 uses Mogami® Cable, one of the most respected cable manufacturers in the world. This cable is virtually unbreakable, tangle free, and eliminates the need for connectors.


The SC1000 uses an in-line amplifier to enhance the sound from mobile devices. With the siding volume control on the side of the amplifier, the microphone signals can be adjusted from zero to slightly louder than normal hearing.


The path to development

Santa Cruz Audio hired IDE based on their experience working together in the past, designing audio products for Plantronics.

Jay Wilson, former Plantronics design director, now an independent consultant, completed the industrial design. The SC1000 was intended to offer elegance and simplicity. Machined metal parts provide durability and style.

Once the aesthetic concept was established, IDE’s electronics hardware team collaborated with our mechanical engineering team to design the SC1000’s PCBAs. IDE’s design teams also worked closely with SCA on the earpiece designs and the amplifier/battery housing unit.

Extensive use of IDE’s in-house prototyping capability was critical in the development of the earpiece and amplifier. IDE’s in-house 3D printing and CNC machining capabilities allowed the team to iterate, test, optimize, and finalize the design in an efficient and thorough manner.

Learn more

Go to Santa Cruz Audio’s website to sign up for their newsletter and receive special offers, new product release announcements, and more.


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