US 3671685 A
A headset incorporating a tubular conductor for sound waves having an earpiece at one end and a connector at the other, and electrical conductor means for coupling said connector to an electro-acoustic transducer mounted within said earpiece. The headset is preferably provided with a pair of earpieces, each connected by a tubular sound wave conductor and electrical conductor means to a respective connector. The pair of tubular sound conductors are joined at a junction means at a point therealong spaced from said earpieces, said junction means including a pair of support members, each receiving one of said sound wave conductors and being adapted for relative angular displacement for the selective positioning of the earpieces by the user.
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 51 June 20, 1972 McCabe  ELECTRO-ACOUSTIC HEADSET WITH RATCHET  Inventor: John P. McCabe, Miller Place, NY.  Assignee: Instrument Systems Corporation, Jericho,
 Filed: Nov. 9, 1970  Appl.No.: 87,692
 Foreign Application Priority Data Jan. 25, I969 Germany ..P I9 03 794.6
52 u.s.c|. ..l79/l$6,l79/1G 511 mu. ..H04ml/05,H04r5/0O  FieldotSearch ..l79/lGP,l56
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS R25,652 l0/l964 Kennedy ..l79/lGP 2,827,5l4 3/1958 Murray ..l79/l GP FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 690. l 02 7/1964 Canada ..179/118' Primary Examiner-William C. Cooper Attorney-Blum, Moscovitz, Friedman & Kaplan ABSTRACT A headset incorporating a tubular conductor for sound waves having an earpiece at one end and a connector at the other, and electrical conductor means for coupling said connector to an electro-acoustic transducer mounted within said earpiece. The headset is preferably provided with a pair of earpieces, each connected by a tubular sound wave conductor and electrical conductor means to a respective connector. The pair of tubular sound conductors are joined at a junction means at a point therealong spaced from said earpieces, said junction means including a pair of support members, each receiving one of said sound wave conductors and being adapted for relative angular displacement for the selective positioning of the earpieces by the user.
10 Claims, 2 Drawing Figures ELECTRO-ACOUSTIC HEADSET WITH RATCHET BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates generally to a headset of the type utilized to transmit acoustic signals, news announcements, entertainment music, and the like to areas in which large groups of people are required to sit, such as in the cabins of large aircraft and in railway compartments. In the art, such acoustic signal transmission is generally handled by means of a centrally located sound source which transmits information through a suitable sound wave conductor system having provision for each user to attach a headset containing sound wave transmission elements. Such headsets generally consist of one or two earpieces to which tubular sound-conducting elements are attached. Such sound-conducting elements are usually formed of an elastic material and are fitted with a tubular plug which connects to the transmission system of the aircraft of the like. While this method of transmission is appropriate for frequencies up to 5,000 to 6,000 hertz, the system is inadequate for frequencies above that level due to the failure of transmission of high-frequency sound waves.
In the art, a broader range of frequency response is generally obtained by a headset provided with an electroacoustic transducer in the earpiece, said transducer being coupled by electrical conductors to the aircraft system or the like. However, the electro-acoustic transducers necessary to produce the large range of frequencies are relatively heavy and uncomfortable to the user and for this reason, as well as their great expense, are impractical for use in aircraft systems and the like. By providing a headset having both sound-conducting tubes and an electro-acoustic transducer for highfrequency signals, the above-enumerated difi'lculties are overcome.
In the art, headsets are generally provided with two earpieces, each connected to a separate sound-conducting tube for connection to stereo systems. The tubes of such headsets are generally joined at a point spaced from the earpieces, said tubes separating from that point to define a stethoscope construction. Since a single configuration of the headset must be applicable to persons of all sizes, adjustment of the known headsets to provide a comfortable fit on users of all sizes has proved difficult. By providing a junction means including a pair of separate support members angularly displaceable relative to each other, this difiiculty has been overcome.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Generally speaking, in accordance with the invention, a headset is provided which includes at least one earpiece, at least one sound-conducting tube having said earpiece ing tubes. An electro-acoustic transducer may be mounted in each earpiece for coupling through respective electrical conductor means to said connectors. Junction means is provided mounted at one end thereof, a connector mountedat the other end of said sound-conducting tube, an electro-acoustic transducer mounted within said earpiece, and electrical conductor means connecting said transducer to said connector. Said electrical conductor means are preferably mounted within said sound-conducting tubes, which are preferably formed of flexible plastic material. Said earpiece may be provided with a sound-conducting channel therethrough, leading from one end of said sound-conducting tube, said electro-acoustic transducer being mounted with the acoustic output thereof in said sound-conducting channel.
The earpiece is provided with a removable tip member adjacent the end of the air channel opposed from said soundconducting tube, said tip member being adapted for insertion into the ear canal of the user. Said tip member may be fonned of a soft elastic material.
The connector may be formed from a nonconducting for coupling said sound-conducting tubes at a point spaced from said earpieces. Said junction means includes a pair of support members, each supporting one of said sound-conducting tubes, said support members being angularly displaceable relative to each other for the selective adjustment of this spacing between the earpieces. The opposed faces of the respective support members are provided with meshing teeth for the incremental angular adjustment of the relative position of said support members and for retaining said support members in the selected position.
Accordingly, it is an object of this invention to provide a headset which should efficiently transmit sound waves having frequencies both under and over 5,000 to 6,000 hertz, while being light and inexpensive to manufacture.
Another object of the invention is to provide a headset which is readily adjustable to permit use by persons of various sizes.
Still other objects and advantages of the invention will in part be obvious and will in part be apparent from the specification.
The invention accordingly comprises the features of construction, combination of elements, and arrangement of parts which will be exemplified in the constructions hereinafter set forth, and the scope of the invention will be indicated in the claims.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING For a fuller understanding of the invention, reference is had to the following description taken in connection with the accompanying drawing, in which:
FIG. 1 is a partially sectional elevational view of the headset according to the invention; and
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the junction means of the headset of FIG. 1.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring now to FIG. 1, the headset depicted includes two sound-conducting tubes, la and lb, fonned from a flexible plastic material. Secured to one end of each of said soundconducting tubes are earpieces 2a and 2b. Said earpieces are preferably formed of a rigid plastic material and have a soundconducting channel 6 therethrough for transmission of sound waves to the ear. Each earpiece is formed with a short projection and 7b, through which sound-conducting channel 6 extends. Said projections are on the side of the earpiece adjacent the head of the user and are adapted to receive replaceable tips 8a and 8b, respectively, which are also formed witha sound-conducting channel therethrough in alignment with sound-conducting channel 6 of earpieces 2a and 2b. The tips are preferably formed of a soft elastic plastic material to avoid damage to the ear when the earpieces are inserted in the ear canal of the user. By selecting the diameter of the tip actually secured to the earpiece, it is possible to accommodate the dimensions of the earpiece to the diameter of the various ear canals of users. Projections 7a and 7b are formed with notches in the-peripheral surface thereof adapted to receive corresponding projections on tips 8a and 8b in mating relation, thereby ensuring an affirmative lock between said tips and said earpieces.
Earpieces 2a and 2b are also provided with an internal chamber in the path of sound-conducting channel 6 adapted to receive a small electro-acoustic transducer 5. Said trans- 'ducer may be of the electrodynamic, piezoelectric or magnetic type. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1 of the drawing, said transducer is of the magnetic type, with a few turns of a coil wound around the center leg of an E-shaped core and including a diaphragm extending across the two outer legs of said core. The diaphragm is aligned in said sound-conducting channel to transmit sound waves therethrough toward the ear of the user. The transducer is adapted to change electrical energy applied to the coil to acoustic energy at the output surface of said diaphragm.
The coil of each transducer 5 is connected to electrical conductors, electrical conductors 4a and 4a" being connected to the transducer mounted within earpiece 24, while conductors 4b and 4b" are connected to the transducer mounted within earpiece 2b. Each pair of electrical conductors extends from its respective transducer through a portion of sound-conducting channel 6 and through the corresponding sound-conducting tubes la and lb.
A hollow connector is secured to the opposite end of each of said sound-conducting tubes, each of said connectors terminating in a tubular plug contact 3a and 3b. As shown in FIG. 1, the connectors are preferably formed as a single member having two passages therethrough and being formed from a rigid plastic material.
Electrical contact elements 9a and 10a are formed in the wall of the connector portion associated with sound-conducting tube la, while electrical contact elements 9b and 10b are formed in the wall of the connector portion associated with sound-conducting tube lb. The respective electrical contact elements are insulated from each other by reason of the material from which the connector is formed. One of said electrical contact elements is connected to each of electrical conductors 4a, 4a", 4b, and 4b". In this manner, when the connector is plugged into the fixed transmission system in the aircraft or the like, the plug contacts 3a and 31; provide a passage for sound waves from the electro-acoustic transducer in the transmission system, while the electrical contacts 9a, 10a, 9b, and 10b establish electrical connection with corresponding contacts in the transmission system for receiving audio signals for application to the electro-acoustic transducers 5 in earpieces 2a and 2b.
The sound-conducting tubes la and lb are preferably coupled together by a junction means shown in FIG. 2 at a position spaced from earpieces 2a and 2b a sufficient distance to permit portions of sound-conducting tubes la and lb to extend around opposed sides of the head of the user to permit insertion of said earpieces in respective ear canals. Sound-conducting tubes la and 1b are preferably secured together along the portion thereof extending between the junction means and the connector. The junction means includes a U-shaped clamp 11 for retaining a pair of support disks 12a and 12b. The opposed faces of disks 12a and 12b are formed with teeth in meshing relation, which are adapted to permit the incremental angular displacement of said disks relative to each other. U- shaped clamp 11 serves as a spring member permitting such incremental stepwise displacement while retaining the two disks in the selected relative position. Sound-conducting tube la passes through and is supported by disk 12a, entering said disk through an entrance opening and leaving said disk at exit opening 14 circumferentially spaced from said entrance opening. in like manner, the sound-conducting tube 1b enters disk 12b at entrance opening 15 and leaves said disk at an exit opening 13 also circumferentially spaced from said entrance opening. The entrance openings 15 are preferably aligned on the bottom of the junction means, with the exit openings 13 and 14 being positioned on opposed sides thereof. The foregoing structure permits the adjustment of the spacing between the earpieces by rotating the disks, thereby accommodating the headset to the user's head size.
It will thus be seen that the objects set forth above, among those made apparent from the preceding description, are efficiently attained, and since certain changes may be made in the above constructions without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, it is intended that all matter contained in the above description or shown in the accompanying drawing shall be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.
It is also to be understood that the following claims are intended to cover all of the generic and specific features of the invention herein described, and all statements of the scope of the invention which, as a matter of language, might be said to fall therebetween.
What is claimed is:
1. A headset comprising at least one earpiece having a sound-conducting channel therethrough, said earpiece being formed with a projecting portion through which at least a portion of said sound-conducting channel extends, said projecting portion being dimensioned for insertion in the ear canal of the user; a tubular sound conductor coupled at one end to said earpiece in registration with said sound-conducting channel; sound-conducting connector means coupled to the other end of said sound-conducting tube; an electro-acoustic transducer mounted within said earpiece and having an output surface in said earpiece sound-conducting channel; and electrical conductor means coupled to said electro-acoustic transducer for applying an audio signal thereto.
2. A headset as recited in claim 1, wherein said connector means is formed with contact means in the outer wall thereof, said electrical conductor means extending through at least a portion of the sound-conducting channel of said earpiece and through said sound-conducting tube and being connected to said contact means.
3. A headset as recited in claim 1, wherein said earpiece projecting portion includes a tip portion through which said sound-conducting channel extends, said tip portion being formed of a soft elastic material and being removably mounted on the remaining portion of said projecting portion.
4. A headset comprising a pair of earpieces, each of said earpieces having sound-conducting channels therethrough; a pair of sound-conducting tubes, one of said earpieces being mounted at the end of each of said sound-conducting tubes with its respective sound-conducting channel in alignment therewith; a pair of sound-conducting connector means, one of said connector means being coupled to the other end of each of said sound-conducting tubes; an electro-acoustic transducer mounted within each of said earpieces, each of said electro-acoustic transducers having its output surface positioned in the respective earpiece sound-conducting channel; electrical conductor means connected to each of said electroacoustic transducers for applying audio signals to said transducers; and junction means for retaining said pair of sound-conducting tubes together at a point spaced from said earpieces, said junction means including separate support means for each of said sound-conducting tubes, said separate support means being angularly displaceable relative to each other for the selective adjustment of the spacing between said earpieces, the opposed engaging faces of said support means being provided with meshing teeth, said junction means including resilient clamp means for permitting the incremental relative angular displacement of said support means and the retention of the selected relative angular position of said support means.
5. A headset as recited in claim 4, wherein said pair of connector means are joined together as a unit, and are formed of a nonconducting material, and including contact means formed in the wall of each of said connector means, each of said electrical conductor means being coupled to the contacts in the associated connector means.
6. A headset as recited in claim 4, wherein said clamp means includes a U-shaped clamp adapted to receive said support means between the arms thereof.
7. A headset as recited in claim 4, wherein the portions of said pair of sound-conducting tubes between said junction means and said connector means are joined together.
8. A headset comprising a pair of earpieces, each of said earpieces having sound-conducting channels therethrough; a pair of sound-conducting tubes, one of said earpieces being mounted at the end of each of said sound-conducting tubes, with its respective sound-conducting channel in alignment therewith; a pair of sound-conducting connector means, one of said connector means being mounted at the other end of each of said sound conducting tubes; and a junction means for supporting said pair of sound-conducting tubes together at a point spaced from said earpieces, said junction means including separate support means for supporting each of said soundconducting tubes, said support means being adapted for relative angular displacement for the selective adjustment of the spacing between said earpieces, the opposed engaging faces of 5 said support means being provided with meshing teeth, said junction means including resilient clamp means for permitting the incremental relative angular displacement of said support means and the retention of the selected relative angular posi-