The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

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LHS Graduate Anthony Mattana Returns as Guest Speaker

Anthony Mattana demnstrates how the Hooke Audio app can be paired with the headphones
Demi Glusic
Anthony Mattana demnstrates how the Hooke Audio app can be paired with the headphones

Imagine going to see your favorite band with a fully charged phone or video camera to record the performance, only to get home and find that the sound on the video is all wishy-washy.

Anthony Mattana, a 2007 LHS graduate, founded a company and invented a product that would take care of this problem. On Thursday, May 12, he was invited back to LHS to be a guest speaker in Mrs. Suzanne Torrence’s physics classes to present information about his company and product to students.

Mattana founded the company Hooke Audio, which produces the first Bluetooth binaural headphones, which can record sound in true 3D.

When most videos are recorded on phones or cameras, the recorded audio is compressed from two audio tracks into one. When it is played back, it is played back as one track as well.

The key component to recording in 3D is the microphone located in each earbud of a Hooke Audio headset. Each microphone is meant to imitate the human ear drum. “Imagine your eardrums having a record button,” explained Mattana at an interview with Live Design, an online resource for the latest trends for professionals in different technical departments. Each microphone is designed to pick up what that one ear would hear.

When the audio is played back through any pair of earbuds or headphones, each individual track is played back in the ear it was heard from when it was first recorded. This creates the sense of hearing audio in 3D because you can tell where that sound would have originated from (from the left, right, or behind, for example).

Hooke Audio headphones can also be paired with an app that is available both on the Android and Apple stores. The app holds controls that can enhance the use of the headphones. On the main screen, there are two bars that represent what decibels both the left and right microphone are picking up, and the volume of recording can be adjusted by sliding a finger up or down on those bars.

Mattana had to work with other people to grow Hooke Audio into a successful business. In the fall of 2014, he and friends made a Kickstarter video in a basement. That campaign raised over $70,000 and gained sparks of interest in his product.

Now, his team of business partners is spread out both nationally and globally. While speaking at LHS, Mattana acknowledged that all successful companies are much more than a one-man operation: “The greatest gift you can have if you want to start something is knowing how to ask for help.”  

At one point, Mattana was asked to be a part of the TV show “Shark Tank.” He declined, explaining that there were catches most people who only watch the show don’t realize. For example, according to him, if a participant agrees to take part in the show, the “Sharks” automatically take five percent of the business income, and Mattana thought that it was too much to risk. On top of that, the show brings around 30 businesses in but only air five or so on TV, usually the five who don’t have their act together. Mattana felt that the company was already “too far along in the progress” to risk going onto the show.

Mattana’s passion for sound started in high school when he was involved in the theatre and music programs. After LHS, he attended school at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama, where he majored in sound design.

After graduating from college, Mattana moved to New York City, where he has been writing sound effects and original music for theater productions and Broadway musicals. He explained his job by saying, “[The producers] come to [him] in tech and they go ‘Could you put like a woosh in there? Do like a wind blow.’ It adds to the scene and can make it really powerful,” explained Mattana.

Being around sound all the time within his career, Mattana took close notice to how sound was recorded and played back. “I’m at Lollapalooza every summer, and every video I record and share sounds like a dump truck!” exclaimed Mattana.

When he realized that nobody was being creative with sound, he got the idea to create Hooke Audio, and the business has since taken off.

If everything goes as planned, Mattana said that the release date and distribution of Hooke Audio headsets will happen in a few weeks, once one more certification is finalized. Right now pre-orders for headsets can be made for $139.99 on the Hooke Audio website, but only for a limited time, until the product will cost its full retail price of $189.99.

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The student news publication of Libertyville High School
LHS Graduate Anthony Mattana Returns as Guest Speaker