RightMark AudioAnalyzer is a free audio testing tool that takes the place of a bench-top full of equipment, including spectrum analyzers, tone generators, and test records. It can test the analog and digital signal paths of most any audio device, especially sound cards but also CD and DVD players, MP3 players, and recording devices. Using your sound card as a reference, it can evaluate other sound cards as well as audio devices connected to your sound card's inputs and outputs. It can even self-test audio cards that can handle separate inputs and outputs simultaneously. Several of its modes require … Read more
The first time you get into a hybrid car, it can be quite eerie.
Not merely because of the peculiar sanctimoniousness of its owner, but because when it comes to a halt, there seems to be no engine sound. At first, you think it's stalled. Then you realize that cannot be. So your innards have to train themselves for this odd sensation.
However, it seems conclusive now that this little lamb's silence is proving to be somewhat injurious.
I sympathize with the hordes of urban dwellers who begrudgingly subject themselves to the purgatory of daily public transportation -- the screeching teenagers, sticky floors, and potpourri of smells are part of the reason I ride a bicycle. That said, there are things you can do to ease the pain of your commute.
First, don't look at anyone -- gawkers are universally creepy, so pick a spot on the ground and stare. Next, source a pair of headphones using the following criteria as your buying guide: durable, compact, noise-isolating, and "closed-back," meaning they won't betray your privacy and leak your music to fellow commuters.
This list includes both circumaural (over-ear) and in-ear, bud-style headphones. Both styles are suitable for noise isolation, though you may prefer active noise-canceling headphones if your ride is extra-annoying. If not, earbuds with well-fitted tips (silicone or foam) can be just as effective at muting the world around you.… Read more
Like something out of George Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty-Four" where "Big Brother is watching you," Google is trying to patent technology that could pick up on background noise during mobile-phone calls and then promote related ads.
The title of the patent application is "Advertising Based on Environmental Conditions," and it was first reported today by tech-news site The Next Web. Apparently, the technology will be able to listen in on background noise, like rain, music, or a baseball game, and then serve related ads, such as a spot for an umbrella, a new album, … Read more
During my recent vacation, I rediscovered the importance of owning good headphones. Specifically, noise-isolating earbud 'phones, the kind that allow you to watch a movie on an airplane, listen to music in a noisy coffee shop, and go for a run without wind noise drowning out your tunes.
Alas, my earbuds are always going missing--or getting permanently "borrowed" by certain family members who shall remain nameless (all of them). That's why when I see a deal, I like to stock up.
While supplies last, J&R has the Altec Lansing Muzx Core MZX206 noise-isolating stereo headset for $12.99, … Read more
Remember when expensive headphones, let's say anything over $100, were never big sellers, and only audiophiles bought them?
That's no longer true--judging by the number of Beats by Dr. Dre headphones I see on the streets and subways in New York--pricey headphones have reached the mainstream. That's radical. Bose did pretty well with its QuietComfort noise-canceling headphones long before Dre jumped into the headphone business, but the Beats stand out in a crowd.
The reasons for Dre's success aren't purely based on sound quality, it's more that the other manufacturers' headphones sorely lacked any sense of street style. … Read more
The company sells small chips that process phones' microphone signals with technology it calls EarSmart designed to identify the person speaking and filter out everything else. It's good for voice calls, obviously, but also for newer uses, such as issuing voice commands to a phone, videoconferencing, or capturing the soundtrack for a video.
Audiences's technology reproduces audio signal processing that humans use--processing that relies on our having two ears and therefore that works on … Read more
I have to admit I never really bought into noise-canceling headphones.
The name was a turnoff, they don't really cancel or eliminate noise, they reduce noise--and that's great--but so do most in-ear headphones. Better yet, those headphones don't need batteries and don't run the music signals through the noise-canceling electronics. My favorite isolating headphones sound better than noise-canceling headphones, but I haven't tested a noise-canceling headphone for a long time.
Apple's A5 processor includes noise-reduction circuitry licensed from a start-up called Audience, and a chip analyst believes that fact resolves an iPhone 4S mystery and explains why the iPhone 4 lacks the Siri voice-control system.
Audience revealed details of its Apple partnership in January, when it filed paperwork for an initial public offering (IPO) of stock. Teardown work from iFixit and Chipworks revealed a dedicated Audience chip in the iPhone 4, but the iPhone 4S integrates Audience's "EarSmart" technology directly into the A5 processor, the company's S-1 filing said.
The details answered a question that … Read more
In the past, Creative's noise-canceling headphones have been pretty decent, and the nice thing about this one is that unlike the Bose and many other noise-canceling models, the HN-900 has an integrated microphone for making cell phone calls. One AAA battery gives you about 40 hours of active noise-cancellation.
At the same time Creative released the HN-900s, it also announced the impending arrival of a higher-end model noise-canceling model, the $… Read more