Pioneer Launches Nani Personal Sound Amplifier

The Nani? PHA-M70 Personal Sound Amplifier Pioneer previewed at CES in January is now available in the U.S. for $150.

At a glance you might think Nani? — the question mark is part of the unusual moniker — is a personal audio player with earphones but it’s actually a sound enhancement device designed to help “anyone who could use a little help hearing daily conversations, TV dialogue, phone calls, or lectures.”

We like to think of it as a kind of dialogue enhancer you can take with you wherever you go.

Sound collected by microphones built into the PHA-M70’s earphones is analyzed by a digital signal processor, which optimizes voice frequencies and suppresses unwanted background noise, according to Pioneer. The result is sound “tuned for clear, natural, undistorted sound enhancement.”

The PHA-M70 offers several sound enhancing features including automatic ambient noise reduction, signal processing to maintain directionality, L/R balance adjustment, automatic input reduction (to protect against sudden loud noises), and anti-howling technology (to prevent feedback).

The amp/processor weighs less than an ounce and at 1.3 x 3 x 0.6 inches is small enough to clip to a shirt pocket (clip included). With only a power button and side-mounted volume dial, it’s designed to be operated with one hand and last for up to 21 hours when its battery is fully charged; it will also run on an ordinary AAA battery. The earphones come with four sets of silicon ear tips to accommodate different size ears.

“Technologies coalesce inside this compact device to let daily conversation and communication become rich and rewarding once more,” Pioneer explained in the original press release. “Microphones for left and right ears collect sound for amplification and playback through two big 10mm drivers. Roll your thumb on the volume wheel to adjust the sound levels during conversations, watching TV programs, and in many other situations. The earphones are comfortable, and the amp is lightweight so users will hardly know it’s there.”

The PHA-M70, which Pioneer says is welling well in Japan, is available in champagne gold or smoke gray.

Pioneer is careful to point out that PHA-M70 is not certified for use as a medical hearing aid or intended to replace hearing aids for people with diagnosed hearing loss. Rather, it’s “intended for use in amplifying daily sound within a user’s personal space.”

For more information, visit