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About Audio8Master

Born and raised in Silicon Valley, I am a student at San Jose State and Marketing intern at Velodyne Acoustics. I am an avid San Jose Sharks and San Francisco 49ers fan. When I'm not watching sports, I'm listening to music and thinking deep thoughts about sound.
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SaberCats Fan Appreciation Night

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Another SaberCats season has come and gone and we are proud to say that we will attend Fan appreciation night on July 11 when the SaberCats take Tampa Bay Storm. The SaberCats will play their final home game of the regular season at SAP center at 7:30pm.  We will be there out one last time this season to showcase our lineup of headphones.  So if you are there then don’t forget to stop by our table and listen to your favorite music on any of our headphones.  We will once again showcase our vTrue studio headphones, vLeve on-ear headphones, vFree and vBold Bluetooth headphones and finally our vQuiet noise-cancelling headphones. We hope to see you at the game.

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Summer’s Here: Tips To Help You Wake Up In The Morning

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Do you often find yourself hitting the snooze button in the morning at the sound of your alarm clock because you are not yet ready to get out of bed? This tends to happen even more during summer since many of us stay up later since it stays light longer. We also tend to be more active in the evening due to the light and warmer weather, which can also lead to more barbecuing and socializing, creating the need for more rest. So how do you combat these things to get yourself up in the morning?

My first suggestion is that you try to adjust your circadian clock. Your circadian clock is your body’s internal clock that tells you when to go to sleep and when to wake up. So how do you adjust your internal clock? There are several factors that go into how your circadian clock is influenced. One factor that affects your clock is light. Light signals to your body when it is time to go to bed and when it is time to wake up. In one of my previous posts I suggested avoiding bright objects like T.V. and computer screens an hour before bedtime. When it comes to waking up the opposite is sort of true. Instead of avoid light in the morning you need to expose yourself to it. Open up your blinds if it is sunny out. If not, then turn on lights in your bedroom to make it bright. Bright light helps your body to accept that it is time to get out of bed and begin the day.

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Next, try to play with the time that you go to bed but not with the time you wake up. Our bodies sleep in cycles. The best time to wake up is when we are in the lightest phase of the cycle. By changing the time that you go to be but not changing the time that you wake up, this teaches your body that wake up time is inflexible and therefore it must instead adjust your bedtime. By setting a rigid wake up time your body will start to become tired earlier.

A great way to wake up is  by turning on music. Some may use music as their alarm clock. Upbeat, happy tunes will rouse you from sleepiness, get your blood pumping and may even get you singing. If your living situation is such that a stereo system complete with subwoofer is a too much for the rest of your household (or your neighbors!) in the morning, put some headphones on while you’re getting ready so you don’t disturb anyone.

There are two final pieces of advice that I have for you to help you get up in the morning. If you find yourself frequently hitting the snooze button, then you need to make it more difficult for yourself to do this. One such way is to set your alarm out of reach so that you have to physically get out of bed to turn it off. This helps to avoid the temptation to go back to sleep.  Lastly, you should try to maintain your sleep pattern every day….including weekends. This is probably the hardest thing for all of us to do. I find it very difficult to not want to sleep in on the weekends but keeping our sleep pattern will make it easier to get out of bed on Monday morning, typically one of the toughest days to wake up. Give these a try and let us know how they work out for you. Or, share your tips if you have a great way to get yourself out of bed in the morning.

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Reasons You Need A Pair Of Bluetooth Headphones

Black and Silver vFree

Black and Silver vFree

Nearly all of us own a cheap and practically disposable pair of headphones that we likely received with the purchase of an iPod, iPhone or other listening device. Due to the popularity of mobile devices like smartphones and mp3 players, the demand for headphones has increased dramatically. Headphones come in all sorts of styles, brands and price levels to meet consumers appettite for them. This has raised one important question. Are expensive headphones worth the money? The short answer to this question is, yes they are and in this post I will explain why sound quality is important and how the vFree and vBold meet this need.

 Sound quality is of utmost importance to many people. Musicians spend numerous hours in recording studios tailoring their music to be heard just the way that they want us to hear it. In order for us to hear all of the different instruments and frequency ranges that there are in different songs we must have high quality speakers that can accurately reproduce the sounds that these musicians create for us. Without well-built speakers we will not hear music the way that artists intended for us to. The sound quality of the vFree and vBold is excellent. As you would expect from a subwoofer company, these headphones deliver the excellent bass that many music lovers seek without compromising the mid and high ranges. The first time I listened to a pair of the vFree headphones I was very surprised at how crisp and clear the audio was. Producing clean and true bass as well as a good mids and highs make sound quality a big strength of both these headphones. This makes them both a big winner in the audio quality department.

Another reason that I believe that they are worth the investment is because they are comfortable to wear. Nobody likes to wear uncomfortable headphones. I remember the first time that I saw the vFree headphones and I felt the pads on them. I was immediately pleased at how soft the padding was, not to mention how light they are, making them almost un-noticeable when you wear them. Put these two things together and you have a very enjoyable pair of headphones. 

Bluetooth capability is the final reason that I love both of these headphones. The ability to go wireless is awesome. You can roam around your house without the limitation of a cord. You can also listen to music on the go without having an irritating cord tangling from you headset down to your pocket that can get caught on something. Both of these headphones have microphones built into them so you will also still be able to answer calls while using the Bluetooth capability. The thing that surprised me the most about the Bluetooth feature was that the sound quality was not noticeably inhibited when streaming music wirelessly. My biggest concern about using Bluetooth to stream music was that the audio quality would suffer. However, after listening to a pair of vFree using the Bluetooth feature I was very surprised to find out that they still sounded wonderful even while streaming music. In fact, the only difference that I noticed between cordless and wired use was the strength in the volume; you get a little bit more volume when the headphones are wired but that is about it. Velodyne’s Bluetooth vFree and vBold have proven to be quite a “sound” investment.

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Tips to help you get to sleep at night

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Getting to sleep at night has been a challenge for all of us at one point or another. This can be especially frustrating when it is late at night and we have to be up early the next day. In an effort to help you deal with this irritating occurrence here are some helpful tips below to help you try to cope with this common problem.  

The first and most obvious suggestion that I have for you is that you need to make your room both quiet and dark. Your body’s natural response to darkness is to start getting sleepy. If you have a T.V. on or you are staring at a bright screen like a cell phone or computer then you are inhibiting yourself from becoming tired. You also need to make your room cool.

The Next suggestion that I have is to regulate your room temperature. Optimal room temperature for falling asleep is in the low to mid 60s which is fairly cool. The reason for this is believed to be that a cool room helps to lower your core body temperature which then makes you sleepy. If the temperature gets too hot or too cold many people have trouble falling asleep. 

It is also not a bad idea to shower or even better take a warm bath before you go to bed. Just as throwing cold water on yourself wakes you up and makes you more alert warm water has sort of the opposite effect. It relaxes you and also starts to make you tired.

Listening to some music can also be a helpful way to get you to sleep at night. Not everyone sleeps best in total silence. In fact, some people may find it easier to fall asleep when there is ambient noise. This would be a good time to pull out your vFree or vBold headphones.  Obviously you will want to listen to music that is soft and soothing. Nothing that is loud or hard on the ear as this will make it even tougher for you to fall asleep.

The last piece of advice that I have for you is to take some melatonin. For those of you that have never heard of melatonin it is the natural hormone that your body produces that regulates sleep. As you age your body naturally produces less and less of this hormone which is why that as you get older you begin to sleep less. Taking a small dose of melatonin is a simple and natural way to get to sleep at night. I can personally vouch that melatonin works as it has helped me get to sleep countless times.

Now that I have given you a list of things to try to help you sleep I will give you a list of things to absolutely not try. As I said before you should seriously refrain from watching television or looking at any bright screen about an hour or so before bedtime. The reason behind this is because darkness tells our bodies that bedtime is approaching and it is time to get sleepy. When you have a bright television on in your bedroom you are artificially tricking your body into thinking that it is not time to go to sleep yet. This is why we are told not to go to bed with a television on. When it starts to get dark our body begins to produce natural hormones that make us sleepy. By having lights or other bright things on close to bed time it tricks our body into thinking that it is earlier in the day that it really is.

The next piece of advice that I have for you is don’t work out close to bed time. Workouts do the opposite of putting you to sleep they wake you up. It is actually better to work out in the morning than it is to work out at night for this reason.

 I would also strongly advise you not to nap during the day. This is one that I personally struggle with. When I am tired in the middle of the day nothing sounds more appealing than a nap. However, it has also been shown that taking naps messes with you sleeping pattern which I can also attest to. An interesting suggestion that I have heard of is to take a nap with keys in your hand. Whenever the keys fall out of your hand this wakes you up and this is the right amount of nap time for you to get a burst of energy without messing with you sleep pattern. Lastly, I would also recommend you not eat before you go to bed. Going to sleep when your body is trying to digest food is difficult and you should therefore avoid it. You should especially avoid drinking anything that has caffeine in it for obvious reasons.   Hopefully the next time you are having trouble falling asleep you will find these tips helpful.

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San Jose SaberCats

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Arena Football season is here. We are happy to say that we are again sponsoring the San Jose SaberCats this Arena Football season. For those of you that were not aware, we sponsored the SaberCats last year during the 2013 season. We attended three home games at SAP center where we showcased a few of our headphones including the vTrue, vFree and vLeve out on the concourse. We also did a raffle and gave away a pair of headphones at each game we went to.

We are proud to say that we attended the SaberCats home opener on Sunday March 23rd at SAP Center and showed off almost our full line of headphones. This year we are showing off our vQuiet noise-cancelling headphones, vBold Bluetooth headphones in addition to the vFree, vTrue, vLeve. If you did not see us at the home opener don’t worry because we will be at 2 more SaberCats home games this year. Our next game will be on May 3rd at SAP center when the SaberCats take on the Orlando Predators. We will also attend the SaberCats last home game of the regular reason on Friday July 11 when the SaberCats take on the Tampa Bay Storm. So if you were not able already please stop by our table and listen to our headphones at our next game.

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Must-Have iPhone apps

We all know that there are countless apps in the app store. Some of them are great and other not so much. Unfortunately, most of us do not have time to sit down and sort through all of them to find the best ones. This post is intended to give some guidance to a handful of apps you might want to consider. Instead of boring you by listing off a bunch of apps that everyone already has like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter I will try to list some apps that maybe you don’t know about or at least some that I think that everybody should have.

            The first iPhone app which I believe is a must have for everyone is the “Find iPhone” app. This app shows you where your phone is on a map so that you can retrieve it. It also allows you to lock your phone remotely and play a sound so that you can hear it. I’m sure many of us have heard of this app already but I felt that it was worth my mentioning given how many times it has saved my bacon. If you ask any of my friends they will tell you how bad I am with misplacing my phone when I am over at their houses and this app has helped me find it many times. I will certainly not be removing this app from my phone anytime soon.

            “SoundHound” is another handy little app that I like to have on my phone. This app is  a brilliant idea. How many times have you been driving to work or school or anywhere for that matter to hear a song that you like on the radio that you don’t know the name of? This used to happen to me all the time until I got my hands on this convenient little app. There is finally a smartphone app that can figure out the name of the song that you are listening too by using the microphone on your iPhone. I have used this app to figure out the name of dozens of songs over the last couple of years which is why this app is definitely on my list of must-haves.

The next app that I like is the Netflix app. You may or may not be interested in this app depending on whether or not you are a Netflix subscriber. If you are a Netflix subscriber then you then you should really get this app if you don’t already have it on your iPhone. This app enables you to stream movies on your phone just as if you were in front of your computer. If you have unlimited data on your phone then this app is wonderful because you be able to stream all of the movies that you want and not have to worry about using too much data. Now only if the battery life on your phone was unlimited too…

Not too long ago I heard about an interesting alarm clock app that wakes you up naturally by monitoring your sleep cycle. The name of this app is called “Sleep Cycle” and I have come to be a fan in the past few weeks. The purpose of this app is to prevent sleep inertia by waking you up in you lightest sleep cycle. Now for those of you that don’t know sleep inertia is when we wake up in the morning feeling groggy and not fully awake. This is something that has happened to all of us at some point in time or another. Whenever we are asleep we go through different cycles known as Deep sleep and REM. Deep sleep is the part of sleep where our brains are the least active and is therefore the least desirable stage to wake up in. On the other hand, REM which stands for rapid eye movement is the most active stage of the sleep cycle for our brains. In fact, there is more brain activity during REM than when we are actually awake.  This app uses the very sensitive accelerometer in the iPhone to monitor what stage of sleep you are in and wake you in your lightest sleep stage. The app wakes you during a thirty minute window that ends with your set alarm time. So if you normally wake up at 7:00 then this app would wake you sometime between 6:30-7:00am. Alarm clocks like this have been around for a while now but are usually pretty expensive. At just $0.99 this app is definitely on my list of must-haves.

Recently a customer emailed us about an equalizer app that he was using in tandem with our headphones to get very good sound. The name of this app is called “Onkyo” which has quickly become one of my most used apps on my iPhone. This app is a sound equalizer that enhances the sound quality of your music. This app works pretty much like the music player that comes standard on your iPhone except that the equalizer works to improve the sound quality of your music. This is especially true when you are using this app with a high quality pair of headphones like the vFree or vBold just to name a few. The app allows you to make a playlist of all your favorite songs and also allows for you to search through your library via playlists, artists, songs and albums just like the music player on you iPhone. The equalizer is awesome on this app. Not only does it have different presets loaded onto it for different music genres, but it also allows you to adjust the bass and treble manually as well.  Overall, I love this app as it is a significant improvement in sound quality over the standard music player that your iPhone comes with which makes this app a must-have for anyone who is a high-quality sound enthusiast.

So there you have my five “must have” iPhone apps. I’m sure there are plenty of other great apps out there that I completely forgot about or don’t yet know about. If you feel that you know of a great app that everyone should have then please comment below and tell us about it. 

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Earworms

earworms picture postHave you ever heard a song on the radio only to find that it is stuck in your head and is driving you nuts? This phenomenon is known as an earworm and almost all of us have fallen victim to it at one time or another. Researchers have discovered that some songs are more likely to get stuck in our head than others. One theory as to why we get earworms is that our brain simply likes to occupy itself during idle periods. In other words our brains simply don’t like to be bored. They have also discovered that we are more vulnerable to earworms when we are stressed or tired. Researchers have also found that we do not just get songs that are really annoying stuck in our head. In fact, many of the songs that get stuck in our head are songs that we like. Still what exactly causes this phenomenon remains somewhat of a mystery.

            Knowing that earworms are experienced by pretty much everyone at one point in time or another, I thought that I would give some tips on how to get rid of these irritating occurrences. Although there is no guaranteed method that can get rid of earworms, there are many tricks which you can try. One of them is to simply pop in your headphones and listen to or try to sing another song. This can help your brain to concentrate on another song and consequently forget about the one that is repeating endlessly in your head. Another trick that I have heard is to listen to the song all the way through. This may or may not work for you. I have tried this one in the past and have had limited success but that is not to say it won’t work for you. The last tip that I can give you is to do something that keeps you busy or distracts you from the song stuck in your head. This could mean watching television, exercising, doing a crossword puzzle, or anything really that makes your mind focus on anything but the earworm. The basic idea is to preoccupy your brain with something so that it will forget about the broken record in your head. I am sure there are tons of other possible methods that do not guarantee success,  so you will just have to experiment around and find the method that works for you. The overall idea is to do something that distracts you from the song that you are thinking about.What other ways have you tried to cure an earworm? What songs are most likely to get stuck in your head?

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The Purpose of Music

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In two of my prior posts I talked about the evolution of music over the centuries and how it has constantly evolved over time. I also talked about how important music is to us in our daily lives because of music’s profound impact on our psyches. I discussed how music can change our psyches by pumping us up or calming us down. Now I would like to answer the question of why the human brain likes music as much as it does and what evolutionary purpose music serves to human beings.

            Music is heavily associated with the reward system in our brains. It is no secret that the reason we listen to music is because we find it pleasurable. So it makes sense that when our brains hear songs that we like it triggers the release of the reward chemical known as dopamine. This essentially lets us know that what we are doing is good. Now generally the dopamine system in our brain gives us the feeling of reward when we do things that are essential to survival such as eating food but music is obviously an exception to this rule as in has no obviously apparent survival value.

Neuroscientists have studied and investigated the link between music and the dopamine systems in our brains and have found some clues as to what the brain likes so much about music. Researchers have discovered that at certain points in a song we like we experience a peak amount of pleasure. In other words this is like our favorite part of the song. At the point of song where we experience maximum pleasure our brain releases dopamine. But it doesn’t just stop there. Not only does our brain release dopamine during our favorite part of a song it also releases dopamine in a different part of the brain just prior to hearing our favorite part which is particularly interesting. Neuroscientists have determined that the reason for this is because our brains is making predictions about what we are about to hear and our brains get pleasure from being able to anticipate and predict what is coming.

Now that I have given some insights as to what exactly our brains like so much about music I would like to discuss what the possible evolutionary purpose of music is. Dancing is probably the biggest complement to music. Whenever we hear our favorite songs we often like to dance, tap our feet or nod our heads to the beat of the song. Now listening to music and dancing to music is not something that we just do all by ourselves. In fact, this is something that is often done together in groups with our friends. I can’t speak for other people I personally have never gone to a concert all by myself. I always go with friends or family. Studies have shown that people who listen to music and dance together are more likely work together on non-musical tasks. I believe that the reason for this is because music bonds us together through shared experience and in my opinion this is what the ultimate purpose of music is. Music is a way to bond people together and bring us closer to on another. This explains why we like to go concert together with our friends and why we dance together in sync. When I was in I used to love to listen to my favorite tunes with my friends after school and  I can see now that the reason I enjoyed it was because it was a shared experience and memory that I have with my friends.

            Music is essentially a way to bring people closer together through a common experience. This is the evolutionary purpose of music. Music brings us together.

           

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Caring For Your Headphones

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For those of us who enjoy listening our music when we are out and on the go having a pair of working headphones is very important. I myself have been frustrated on more than one occasion when I was about to plug in and listen to my favorite tunes only to discover that my headphones did work after I had treated them poorly for a while. When I got my first pair of headphones from Velodyne, I instantly loved them because of the sound quality so I decided it was time to learn some good headphones care techniques to ensure that they lasted. So here is some advice for those of you looking to protect your investment.

            The first piece of advice that I would like to give you is that when you buy a pair of headphones keep the receipt. Velodyne headphones all come with a standard 1-year manufacturer warranty as long as they are purchased directly through Velodyne or through and authorized dealer. In order to be covered under the warranty you will need the receipt to prove purchase. The next piece of advice that I have for you is to keep your headphones in the case or carrying pouch when you are not using them. This is especially good advice for the vPulse since they come with a hard carrying case. By keeping them in this case when they are not in use you are preventing them from possibly getting wet. You are also preventing pressure from being put on them. Believe it or not small amounts of pressure will damage your headphones over time.  Keeping them in the carrying case or pouch will also help prevent the wires from becoming tangled which brings me to my next piece of advice. Don’t let the cord tangle. Tangling causes knots which can pinch the small wires inside and cause them to break. When the wires inside the cord break this causes the all too common problem of one of the earpieces going out which I am sure many of us have experienced in the past. Whenever you are done using your headphones wrap the cord up nicely as to prevent the wires from becoming knotted up. Wrap the cord gently around your headphones not tightly as wrapping the cord too tightly is hard on the wires. Avoid sharp or sudden pulls on the cord. Pulling on the cord will cause the wires to separate from the ear bud over time rendering them useless. Doing these things should help to protect your headphones and keep them working for a long time to come.

Black and Silver vFree

Black and Silver vFree

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