Yamaha Design “Synapses” TW-E7B

2022 / EARBUDS

Red Dot Award
iF Design Award

The earbuds that delivers True Sound through mastery of materials and textures.


Two basic functions—speaker and microphone—represented by two circles. A simple design that is as classic as it is unlikely.


The larger circle features a mottled coating, the drumhead of the smaller circle is anodized, and the body is painted with a rubber-like finish. This fusion of different materials gives the design a distinct panache.


The shape and texture fit snugly in the hand, giving the earbud the character of an accessory. The design is both iconic and ergonomic.


When the earbud is placed into the ear, the buttons are at the top for easy operation and the microphone points down toward the mouth for better pickup.

Kazuki Kashiwase
Kazuki Kashiwase
Yamaha Design Laboratory

Harmony of shape, color, and texture create comfort akin to well designed musical instruments.

The TW-E7B True Wireless Earbuds brings listeners close to the artist by creating True Sound: sound that elicits emotions. I consider an earbud to be a speaker worn on the body, and at the same time, I sought to give this design a comfortable shape and elegant coloring that offers the user the same pleasure felt when picking up a musical instrument. The main unit consists of two circles—one large, one small. The circles represent the two basic functions of wireless earbuds: a speaker for listening to music (the larger circle) and a microphone for picking up the voice input (the smaller circle). I allowed the functions to guide us as I perfected this simple yet groundbreaking new design.

As a collection of parts forms a musical instrument, I sought a balance in which plastic, metal, and silicone work together to create a pleasant rhythm that flows throughout the entire shape. To get into the details, first note that the edges of the smaller circle are somewhat sharper than those of the larger circle. The slightly pointed edges meet the meat of the thumb, serving as an indicator to help when turning the knob and facilitating even the finest of adjustments. I designed the earbud so that the two circles function as legs to make it stand upright. This hidden detail keeps the earbud from rolling and falling off tables and other surfaces—the part that goes into the ear stays clean because it never touches the ground.

We also took some bold steps with the finish. First and foremost, not many musical instruments come in as many as four different colors. I created a more broadly appealing lineup by adding two colors to the basic offerings of black and white: beige, to evoke a natural, organic feel, and dark blue, to elicit images of cafés and other calm spaces. I mixed countless different paints ourselves to find just the right colors, and created the texture by spraying granular ink to give the base color a mottled finish. Even a slightly different shade of beige on beige can create a completely different impression. These fusions of colors augment the appearance and enhance the elegance of the earbuds in a way that single colors cannot. I went beyond combining parts and colors to create a balanced whole that both looks and feels good. I feel that I successfully created the design I were aiming for.

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