Control & Automation

Headphones Enable Untethered Access to Amazon Alexa, Smart Home Control

$399 ONVOCAL headphones allow integrators to offer clients voice control access to Amazon Alexa, Google Home and Apple Siri to control smart home technology.

Industry veterans Bob Spaner (left) and Dave Malin are the forces behind ONVOCAL, makers of headphones that enable untethered voice control of home technology without using a smartphone.
Jason Knott · December 14, 2016

Finally, another reason for integrators to sell their clients headphones beyond just the audiophile crowd.

Led by two familiar faces to those in custom installaton industry, ONVOCAL (OV) is debuting intelligent headphones that connect to Amazon Alexa, Siri and Google Home to enable control home technology functions using voice control.

The company president is Bob Spaner, who is well known for his years with Monitor Audio and Sonos. OV's director of business development is Dave Malin, longtime Tweeter and ZeeVee executive. 

The new headphones, which will have their coming-out party at CES 2017 in January, unlock entertainment, communication, shopping, on-demand services, information and more via Amazon Alexa to access Amazon Music Unlimited, Prime Music, Audible, Kindle books, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn Radio by voice control.

“We’re excited to work with ONVOCAL to bring Alexa to the all-new OV headphones—the first headphones available with the Alexa voice service built in,” says Aaron Brown, director, Amazon Voice Services. “Now customers can use their OV headphones to access over 5,000 Alexa skills such as Lyft, Domino’s, and 7 Minute Workout.

"Plus, if they’re on the go, they can use Alexa to quickly check for nearby movie show times, manage their shopping lists, control their smart home and much more—all just by using their voice. We can’t wait for our customers to try this out.”

OV’s patented and patent pending innovations include a unique and useful suite of intelligent Sound Controls. According to the company, OV is the only headphone to offer Ambient, Voice and Chat sound controls so you can boost, block, mix and customize exactly what you hear.

  • The Ambient control allows you to hear what’s happening around you in true binaural 3D sound.
  • The Voice control allows you to hear your own voice in real time for better calls, voice commands and even for singing along to your favorite tunes.
  • A double-tap of the Chat button automatically dips music volume and turns on Ambient and Voice, which means you don’t need to remove earbuds to have a face-to-face conversation with the fight attendant, barista, friend or colleague. 

OV is also well suited for audio listening using balanced armature speakers, and it has a pair of beam-forming microphones to reduce background noise when making calls or talking to voice assistant.

OV headphones are controllable via a free app or by using hard key on the neck rest.

The headphones audio levels can be set using a free app, as well as via hard buttons on the neck rest. The app allows access to Alexa and enables fine adjustments of Audio, Ambient, and Voice levels for music and phone calls alike.“We created OV to make daily life easier and more enjoyable,” says Spaner. “We’re passionate about sound and driven by creating seamless user experiences that connect us to each other and a vast array of cloud services. OV doesn’t just let us listen to high fidelity music on the go, OV empowers us to control a world of content, information, services, and communication with the sound of our voice.”

The units are available for pre-order online via its website and via Amazon starting December 14, with plans to ship in January.

But the headphones are also aimed at the custom installation channel as a unique add-on by dealers who sell and install voice control for their clients.

The headphones allow for extension of voice commands while gardening, jogging, or other outside duties without having the carry smartphone. 

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  About the Author

Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990. He joined EH Publishing in 2000, and before that served as publisher and editor of Security Sales, a leading magazine for the security industry. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He is currently a member of the CEDIA Education Action Team for Electronic Systems Business. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Jason at

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  Article Topics

Control & Automation · Automation · Events · CES · Products · Amazon · Headphones · Onvocal · Voice Control · All Topics
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