Underwater Audio – Part III


I have been trying for quite some time to find a good solution for listening to music underwater while on deco.

It can get very boring and I love music so it seems like a good idea. However, it hasn’t been easy to find a solution which meets all my needs. In the previous installment, I had detailed a “canister” I had custom made the house an audio player. It worked, but it was bulky and offered no ability to control the music. It also relied on a set of underwater headphones that are no longer manufactured.

But then…

Depth Audio Player

A few months ago, my friend Drew Wilson sent me a link to an underwater audio player that was being developed on Kickstarter.

Photo from the Kickstart er site

I was a bit skeptical but signed up to support the effort. The device is designed for free divers, but since it was listed as waterproof to 100m, I figured that it would also work for divers. After I signed up to support the effort, I reached out to the founder, Grayson to see if he wanted any “beta testers” that would take the Depth device to some relatively deep scuba dives. We had a few calls and talked about the specific challenges of scuba diving vs free diving. Grayson said he would reach out when a prototype was ready.

Prototype Testing

I got in touch with Grayson around the beginning of 2023 and he shipped me a prototype unit to start using and testing. I did my first serious dives with the device this past week.

The device works by bone conduction so you can place it anywhere near your ear and you can hear the audio. For my initial tests, I connected a bolt snap to the device via some cave line and then clipped the bolt snap to my mask strap and slipped the device under my hood next to my right ear.

Beta Unit

I conducted one dive to 280 feet and another to 140 feet. Profile for the deeper dive is below.

Given that the unit is still in development and testing, I sent Grayson some feedback on the unit that is mainly around usability and interface. Here are some initial thoughts:

  • Overall, I really enjoyed having the music on my deco stops.
  • The audio quality is pretty good given that it doesn’t really have speakers. It is designed for underwater use and sounds better underwater than on land.
  • My initial plan was to pop the unit out from under my hood to test the pause, song forward, on/off, etc. functions but it is too hard with dry gloves and a tight hood. Instead, I did some testing while keeping the unit in my hood
  • I think some form of haptic feedback would be a benefit but I need more practice using the controls as well
  • Other than some other minor usability features that Grayson is going to work on implementing, I really enjoyed the unit and look forward to continuing to provide feedback and help them improve the unit

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