Flare Audio – better connecting you to the music you love

Published by Alison Jones on 20 June 2024

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West Sussex-based Flare Audio has its roots behind the mixing desk at the Isle of Wight Festival. Today, it has sold more than two million pairs of its calming in-ear devices and earphones across 187 countries. Naomi Roberts tells Kreston Reeves their story.  


Davies and Naomi Roberts founded Flare Audio in 2010 following a passion for live music, building today a highly respected audio company that seeks to deliver the best sound experience for music lovers, calming in-ear devices and ear protectors. 

Yet it is a business that almost never was. 

Flare’s inventor Davies left school at 15 without any qualifications, joining the fire service and lifeboat services in West Sussex – a career that lasted over a decade – with Naomi a successful secondary school teacher. 


“During this time, Davies had maintained a keen interest in sound having had his own DJ set up from 16 years old, he enjoyed exploring ways to create a better sound experience,” explains Naomi. “It was the chance invite to man the sound desk for the unsigned band KOOPA opening the Isle of Wight Festival in June 2007 that started this incredible journey.” 

Flare Audio’s first products were loudspeakers used at live music events, including the popular Bestival, and installed in cinemas in Selfridges and Olympic Studios before turning to its critically acclaimed Flare Earphones. Today, its products include a range of earphones for mirror image sound, Earshade ear protectors to block sound at live events, and their biggest seller Calmer, an ear insert that changes the geometry of ears to make stressful sounds more manageable. 

“Calmer has taken off in a way we could not have imagined,” says Naomi. “We have sold more than two million pairs worldwide.”

Calmer is worn in environments where noise can be overwhelming and uncomfortable, offering relief from aggravating and distracting sounds. 


“Calmer is used by neurodivergent people, people who are sensitive to sound, individuals working in noisy offices and school children who can find them helpful in concentrating at school. And we are still discovering new ways in which people use Calmer. We learnt of one music producer who wears them from the moment he wakes up until he is in his studio, saying it saves his ears from being bombarded with sounds leaving him fresh for work. It is a deceptively simple product with multiple uses.” 

Every product from Flare Audio builds on previous products, as Naomi and Davies work hard to learn and understand how the ear works. They have worked closely with the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (ISVR) at the University of Southampton to shape their products. 

Crowdfunding growth

Flare Audio has been an early adopter of crowdfunding its growth, having raised over £2 million via four separate crowdfunding programmes. 

“It is a trickier way to raise money to develop new products, with high expectations from those who have backed you,” says Naomi. “But it is a great way to learn a lot about your customers in a very short space of time. It is intense. You bare your soul to customers and funders and that is not always comfortable, but it is enormously rewarding.”  

The success of its Calmer crowdsourcing campaign saw the company grow very quickly as demand for the product rocketed.  

“We grew from a team of six to 40 in just a few weeks to meet that initial burst, and it did feel like the business was running away from us,” explains Naomi. “We knew it wasn’t sustainable and had grown too quickly.” The company now employs 24 people in its West Sussex HQ and continues to innovate and challenge the perceptions of what is possible in the audio and earphones industry.  


Shipping and logistics products are now outsourced to a specialist company in Bristol. 

It will shortly launch a ‘skunk works’ arm, Flare Labs, that will release limited edition and prototype products that its customers welcome and value. Its bank of high-tech 3D printers means it can quickly develop prototype products enabling almost instant customer feedback.  

Kreston Reeves

Kreston Reeves has worked alongside the Flare Audio team for 12 years, guiding Davies, Naomi and the company on its extraordinary journey.  

The Kreston Reeves team is led by Alison Jones and David Petitt. They are, says Naomi, extremely knowledgeable with a great understanding of our business and what we want to achieve. “They are trusted advisers, giving us a lot of comfort.” 


This has proven particularly valuable in claiming R&D tax credits, where the government has made it much harder to secure credits following what it believes was widespread abuse of the regime. 

“We are an audio technology business and R&D tax credits are valuable to us,” says Naomi. “The regulations have tightened, and claims are being challenged. But because Kreston Reeves is highly respected, every one of our claims has been successful. That is just one example of the support and value they bring.” 

Naomi also recognises the guidance the firm has offered over the last four years, some of the most challenging the UK has ever seen. 

“There is a feeling that they genuinely care about what we are doing and want us to succeed,” said Naomi. “And the accounting world is complex and never once have they made me feel stupid when discussing our business with them. The team are just great offering useful advice every single time.” 

Alison and David add: “We are thrilled and enjoy being part of the Flare Audio team over the past few years. It has been enormously rewarding to see Flare prosper and grow in a sustainable way, especially during the challenging trading conditions seen over the last three years.” 


Visit www.flareaudio.com  

To find out more about how we can support you or your business, please get in touch.  

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