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Founders Story

History of HeadRoom

You could say that HeadRoom really began when its founder, Tyll (pronounced “Tile”) Hertsens, traveled the globe working as a repairman for a company that made scanning electron microscopes. The job had its interesting technical side, but it also required Tyll to spend a lot of down-time in airports and on planes. To try to keep what little was left of his sanity, Tyll constantly listened to music. He started off listening to a WalkMan, upgraded his headphones to get better sound, and eventually switched to a portable CD player. He still wasn’t getting the sound quality he desired. Then, in a singular moment of Zen clarity that would eventually forever change his life, Tyll realized what he really needed was an amplifier to drive his headphones! A little soldering and a rough proto board soon had him wiring up his first headphone amp in the garage. It was an ugly affair, but at least it got the job done, and he finally had some quality sound while on the road.

One day as Tyll yet again settled into his seat for a couple hours of listening on an airplane, the guy next to him asked what he had driving the headphones. The man turned out to be a long-time recording studio engineer. He told Tyll that headphone stereo imaging had some problems and that a scientist had written papers on the subject many decades ago. During scarce down time, Tyll researched university libraries and found the AES papers that described various complex ways to fix headphone imaging. A little more solder and some better proto board circuitry later and Tyll had his first amp with a 'crossfeed circuit' to fix the psycho-acoustic soundstage imaging problems plaguing headphones. Read more about our unique HeadRoom crossfeed circuit technology here.

Tyll left high-end electronics repair and, after a number of stints in corporate sales and marketing roles, eventually found himself without steady work. He well knew the difficulties of the start-up process from prior experience, but was confident he had enough energy left to do it one more time. As he searched for an appropriate idea for a new start-up venture, he recalled the little headphone amp he had built for himself and thought, “If I needed one, then someone else must need one too!” Serendipity sang her sweet song and Tyll soon found an investor willing to bet on his product. HeadRoom was born. That was September of 1992. Fast forward to today and HeadRoom Corporation has grown into the world’s leading authority on headphone sound and amplification. Tyll continues to exercise his creative juices and infectious energy to develop the Headphone Hobbyist movement, evaluate headphones' technical performance, and offering consulting services.