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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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Second Annual CoachArt Children’s Benefit in San Francisco

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CoachArt is a non-profit organization that creates a transformative arts and athletics community for families impacted by childhood chronic illness. On April 23, 2015 the CoachArt Children’s Benefit will be honoring Velodyne friend Rod Streater, wide receiver for the Oakland Raiders, as well as Selina Tabbacowala, President and CTO of SurveyMonkey for dedication to the community and children of CoachArt. Velodyne is proud to participate in the event this year.

The benefit will be held at The Terra Gallery, 511 Harrison St., San Francisco. The night will begin with a cocktail hour featuring live performances by CoachArt children followed by  a silent auction and  dinner starting at 6pm. Velodyne will sponsor the after-party from 9:00pm-12:00am. We are pleased to announce the entertainment for the after-party will feature a performance by Velodyne friend and 5-time Grammy Nominee, Ashanti Floyd. “The Mad Violinist”, as he is known, has an amazing set planned that will bring the house down. Tickets are available for $25, which includes open bar and specialty desserts. Don’t miss out on this rare opportunity to see The Mad Violinist perform in the San Francisco Bay Area!

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How to Spend $1,000 Wisely

dollar signYou might be reading this and thinking to yourself, “When I am going to have an extra $1,000 to spend however I wish?” Tax season is approaching and many of people out there will be getting modest refunds and wondering whatto do with that extra money.  I am not a financial advisor but I have some insight as what you can do if you find yourself with extra money.

In my opinion, the smartest way for you to spend your extra $1,000 is to pay down debt. Paying down debt ahead of schedule is really never a bad idea. This is especially true for credit card debt as it is probably the worst kind of debt you can have. Making the minimum payments on a credit card will cost you substantially more money in the long-run than in it would to just pay down the principal now. Let’s you have $1,500 in credit card debt. Your interest rate is 19% APR and you are paying $75 a month. It will take you 25 months…that’s over two years to pay off the credit card. It will also cost you $317 in interest over the roughly two years to pay this off. Apply your thousand dollars to this and pay the debt down to $500 and you will save yourself nearly $300 in interest over the life of the loan. Not a bad way to spend a thousand bucks, huh?

The next thing I would recommend you to do with your money after paying down debt would be to invest it. Now what you invest in is entirely up to you however unless you really know what you’re doing I would not advise you to pick individual stocks invest in. Instead, consider invest in passively managed ETF’s (exchange traded funds) or index funds. By putting your money here you achieve diversification and earn the return on the market which is usually around 10%. If you are not comfortable investing in the stock market you can always buy U.S. treasuries which are usually regarded as the safest investment in the world. While the return on treasures is pretty low they are a safe a place to park your money and save it for a rainy day.

Finally, the last thing that you can do with a $1,000 cash is to treat yourself something nice. There are a lot of things that your spend $1000 on. Perhaps a you are in need of a new computer or TV. Or why not get yourself a new Velodyne subwoofer and pair of headphones? A WI-Q 12” and a pair of vPulse is not a bad way to spend $1,000 on yourself.

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How To Properly Care For Your Headphones

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Headphones are important to anyone who likes to listen to music and drown out the outside world. This makes taking care of them and keeping them in working order a high priority. Without proper care the life of your headphones will almost certainly be reduced. Here is a list of tips  every headphone owner should follow to properly care for headphones.

The first tip is to take care of your headphones while you are actually using them. Most people thinking of caring for headphones as proper storage when not in use, but this should not be the only concern. Simple things such as pulling on the end plug instead of just yanking on the cord go a long way to making your gear last. If you own a pair of vPulse, make sure that you are using the right size ear tips to minimize the amount of pushing and squeezing. The more you handle your headphones the faster they will wear.

Keeping your headphones clean is also important to make them last as long as possible. Anytime you use your headphones for an extended period of time you should wipe them down afterwards as bacteria does start to grow on ear tips and ear cushions. Cleaning products do not mix well with electronics. A little bit of warm water and soap should suffice to clean your headphones. Remember that electronics to not like water so be very conservative with how much you use. You could also try using some rubbing alcohol if you really want to get your equipment clean. Rubbing alcohol and cotton swabs work well to clean the ear tips of the vPulse as well as the ear cushions on Velodyne’s other headphones. Wiping down the cables occasionally can be helpful, obviously placing most attention on the part that come into contact with your skin. Keeping your headphones away from heat and liquids are also important for obvious reasons. You should also avoid humidity as the function of the electronic components will become affected over time.

Finally, storing headphones carefully when not in use is very important to their longevity. A clean and dry place away from heat and sun is ideal, as sun will fade the finish and cause the ear cushions to fall apart.  The best thing to do is utilize your headphone storage case or bag; if they do not come with one then invest in one. The hard carrying cases for the vPulse cost $0.99 and are worth the investment. Cable tangling is a constant problem with in-ear headphones that can be managed by wrapping the cord carefully. The vPulse do have a flat cord which does help to reduce tangling but it is still important to wrap them nicely before you out them in your case. One trick you might try to reduce the amount of time it takes you to unravel the cord before use is to wrap them in a figure 8 around your fingers. Doing this allows you to pull them out of the case and unravel them instantly.

Taking care of your headphones is not difficult or very time consuming task however the benefits of it are significant. Taking good care of your equipment will increase their lifespan and save you money. Next time you are using your headphones remember to treat them right.

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Holiday Gift Suggestions 2014

It is officially the holiday season and you know what that means…. it’s time to go gift shopping for your friends and family. This implies the obvious question,  “What should I get them?” This post is intended to give you some gift ideas for loved ones this holiday season to hopefully make your gift shopping a little bit easier.

In order to select a gift for someone, it is important to first consider who it is that you’re shopping for. Many of you are parents and will be shopping for your kids. Boys of nearly all ages would enjoy a PlayStation 4 or an Xbox one. I remember how happy I was when I was 14 years old and I woke up on Christmas morning to find a PlayStation 3 under the tree.  Alternatively, if your son is satisfied with his current gaming system, two of Velodyne’s wireless headphones are sure to impress your tech-loving teen. Check out the vBold or vFree on www.velodyne.com.

On the flip side of the coin, you may have a teenage girl. I suggest a Bluetooth tracking tag from uncommongoods.com or even a pink pair of vPulse in-ear headphones from Velodyne. The Bluetooth tracking tag is a handy little device which attaches to your keychain, wallet or whatever you want. Then you download the smartphone app which allows you track down the tag using your smartphone. Now the cool part of this tracking tag is that it also works in reverse. So if you lose your phone and have your tracking tag you can use the tag to locate your phone. The in-ear headphones have amazing sound, with kicking bass, and the pink is just on point for today’s fashion-conscious girl.

For you guys out there that are shopping for your wife or girlfriend you will need to think carefully about your significant other to decide what to get her. Observe what she likes to do in her spare time. Does she travel, read books, watch movies or listen to music? Perhaps a pair of vQuiet headphones would suit her well if she enjoys these activities. Think about what would make life easier or more enjoyable for her. Maybe a new Keurig coffee maker or sassy pair of shoes would put a smile on her face? You can also try asking her friends if you are really having trouble figuring something out. Of course if all else fails, you can always just ask her wants she wants. It won’t be a surprise but at least you will get her something she likes or needs.

Ladies, if you are shopping for the man in your life, there is no doubt he will love the masculine look, feel and solid sound of our vTrue headphones. The supple brown leather and forged aluminum paired with the deep resounding bass that Velodyne is known for will make your guy feel like a king!

Overall, if you want to select a good gift for anyone this holiday season you need to be observant and pay close attention to how that person spends their time to figure out what they might like and what they would use. Don’t be afraid to ask for help either. Asking for someone else’s input can often save a lot of time and trouble. There’s nothing worse that being disappointed with your gift, or feeling you have disappointed by missing the mark with your purchase. Happy Holidays and good luck gift shopping. You’ll need it!

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Breast Cancer Awareness

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As many of you already know October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. Breast cancer is something that affects the lives of many people in ways that are both measureable and unmeasurable. In recognition of this, Velodyne is running a promotion this month on our pink vPulse in-ear headphones. We are offering 2 pink vPulse for $50 on velodyne.com and 10% of the proceeds will be donated to a breast cancer charity.

Breast cancer affects many people in many different ways. It is true that about 1 in 8 American women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. It is also true that about 40,000 women will die from breast cancer just this year alone. Breast cancer research is of great importance to those affected, whether, victims, survivors or their families. Funds are required to support scientific research, whether it be to raise awareness about early detection and treatment options, prevention, risk reduction, and research into possible environmental contributors.

How can you help? Spread the word. Many band together to do breast cancer walks, which are as much about support and solidarity as raising funds for the cause. Be a good friend, spouse or child to someone you know that is affected. And, hope for the cure.

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Five Must-Have Items for Gadget Lovers in 2014

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I have compiled a list of five items that gadget lovers are going crazy for this year. Can you live without these? Sure. But they really do make daily life much for fun.

The Sony Smartwatch 2 is the #1 gadget on this list. This is for android smartphone users out there. This little device pairs up with your smartphone via Bluetooth and goes on your wrist for easy access. The Sony Smartwatch allows you to initiate, answer and end calls. It also allows you to send text messages, emails and access your apps. You can also receive Facebook and Twitter updates on this little device too. It is water resistant and even comes with a stainless steel band which makes it stylish. Furthermore, it has a rechargeable LiPo battery to give you up to 7 days of uninterrupted use. What, you say your smart phone already does all those things (except rest on your wrist)? Well, the beauty of the Smartwatch 2 is it keeps all of that information at the ready, but you can receive your updates more discreetly and even better, keep your hands free!

The Waterpebble is an interesting little device that I believe people who spend a lot of time in the shower should consider buying. If you find yourself in the shower for more than 20 minutes, that is too much. With the current drought situation in California, reducing water usage is of utmost importance. Not only are long showers a waste of water but are ultimately expensive as they rack up your water bill fairly quickly. If you are looking to reduce your water usage, then get yourself a Waterpebble. The Waterpebble monitors your shower’s water flow and tells you when your time is up and you need to get out. You can set it for however long you want, but bear in mind more time is more water. Not a bad little device to have to have if you are looking for ways to cut costs.

The next item on my list is vQuiet noise cancelling headphones. With so many noise cancelling models flooding the market, what makes Velodynes so special? Well, the first thing is how comfortable they are to wear. The soft ear pads and headband pad coupled with the relative light weight of the vQuiet make them very easy to wear. My ears never start to hurt from wearing these headphones which is not the case with many other brands. The second reason I love the vQuiet is because of the sound quality. The vQuiet headphones deliver the superb bass that Velodyne is known for, making these headphones a definite must have in my book.

Next up on my list of must have is the KeySmart key organizer. Are you one of those people that has too many keys jingling around on your keychain? The KeySmart key organizer is the place for ALL of your keys. This organizer is sort of like a Swiss army knife. You place them all in one little convenient organizer and when you need one of them you just flip them out. The KeySmart organizer will eliminate key jingle and thigh poke. The KeySmart can be enlarged with an expansion pack to hold up to 10 keys for those of you out there that carry a lot of keys.

Last but certainly not least on my list of must have gadgets is the IN1 iPhone case. The IN1 iPhone Case is an 8-in-1 multi-tool phone case. Have you ever noticed that when you need a Philips screwdriver, a pair of scissors or a pen to sign something you never seem to have those items on your person? Now if you are like most smartphone users your smartphone is pretty much always in your pocket or somewhere nearby. This clever little phone case houses a Philips screwdriver, slotted screwdriver, scissors, tweezers, nail filer, toothpick, phone stand and red and blue pen. How’s that for convenience? Now you can have these items on your person at all times.

So there you have it, my list of 5 must-have gadgets in 2014. If you know of any other cool gadgets that you think should be on this list, please comment below and share it with us.

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Dealing with End-of-Summer Blues

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It’s August and we all know what that means… summer will soon be drawing to a close and so will summer activities. The warm weather, long days and fun in the sun will soon be over, making this is a sort of somber time of year for obvious reasons.  I have decided to write a post to give everyone some helpful tips to help both kids and parents alike cope with the end-of-summer blues.
The first piece of advice that I have for parents is to start rolling back your children’s bedtimes by about 10-15 minutes each night, a week or so before your kids go back to school. On top of this wake your kids up a little bit earlier each day as this helps to correct your kids sleep cycles before school starts. Doing this will result in less of a shock come the first week of school making the transition for everyone a little bit smoother. Giving your kids a little bit of structure each day is not a bad idea either. After you have woken them up make them shower, brush their teeth and get dressed as this helps them to get back into the routine faster.
The next piece of advice that I would like to give parents about their kids is to pay attention to what they are doing rather than what they are saying. This is especially true for kids that are under 10. After school has been in session for a few weeks kids finally realize that summer is really over. This is when kids are most prone to start misbehaving. Kids will often resist getting out of bed in the morning, going to school and throw temper tantrums. Children could be more likely to show aggression toward their siblings. If you notice these things happening with your kids, understand that this is a sign of anxiety. Instead of expressing themselves to you in words they show you what is wrong via their behavior. You should talk to your kids and ask them what is wrong if you observe this happening.  Sometimes just being a good listener can go a long way in helping them cope with the fact that summer has finally ended.
My third piece of advice is to prepare in advance by marking your fall calendar. Obviously, the first thing that you should mark is the first day of school. You should also prepare as much as you can in advance. Make sure you have already purchased school supplies, textbooks and other necessities before school starts. This will save you a lot of stress by not having to scramble immediately after school starts to get everything you need. Also, mark fun autumn events on your calendar such as Halloween costume shopping, pumpkin picking, and even Christmas tree shopping. This gives your kids something to look forward too.
So far I’ve given several tips about what adults can do to help kids cope with the end of summer leaving some of you adults out there wondering, “What about me?” I think you guys should treat yourself to a present or some sort of experience after you have worked hard to get your kids back into school routine. Is there something that you really need but have been putting off because money is tight or for some other reason? Why not treat yourself to a new electronic gadget like a new phone or computer or how about pair of Velodyne headphones? Or maybe you prefer experiences instead of material things. Then why not reward yourself with some concert tickets to your favorite musical artist if you know they will be in town soon. The point I’m trying to make is if you are a hard working adult especially one with kids, every once in a while it is good to reward yourself with something you want. I know that often times those of you out there with families spend so much time worrying about your kids and your bills and work that you neglect yourself. Now is as good a time as any to do something nice for yourself especially if you haven’t done so in a while.
Now with the warm summer days fading you have probably realized summer cocktail season is almost over. When the seasons changes so do our cocktail taste buds. The summer makes us crave fruit flavored cocktails while the cooler autumn makes us desire holiday scented cocktails. So how about some ideas for some fun fall themed cocktails? I’ve done some research and found a few that you might like. If you are hosting or attending a Halloween party instead of just the usual boring fruit punch how about spicing it up with some spiked apple punch to make things more interesting?

Halloween Punch (for adults)

To make this you will need:

1 gallon of apple juice, 1 gallon of apple cider, 3 cups of white sugar, 6-8 cinnamon sticks and 1 bottle of 190 proof grain alcohol. Simply add the juice, cider, sugar and cinnamon sticks into a large pot and heat it to a boil. Then allow it to cool and add the grain alcohol and enjoy.

Another one you might try if you like apple flavored cocktails is apple cider margaritas. Margaritas are a popular summer drink that transition nicely into the cooler months with this recipe.

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Apple Cider Margaritas

Gather 6 parts apple cider, 4 parts of silver tequila, 2 parts of triple sec, a lime and some brown sugar. In a margarita shaker add the cider, tequila, triple sec. Then squeeze some lime juice and add a dash or so of brown sugar. Finally, shake it up and pour it into a glass with ice and enjoy. You can also add some slices of apple if desired.
Well there you have it. My list of tips to deal with the End-of-Summer blues. If you have any other tips for people to cope with the end of summer or if you have some fun fall themed cocktail recipes please comment below and share it with us as we would love to hear it.

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How To Choose The Right Pair Of Headphones

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As you probably already know Velodyne has a full lineup of headphones. Choosing the right pair of headphones may seem daunting with so many different options to choose from. There are in-ear headphones, over-ear headphones, wireless headphones, noise-cancelling headphones…all of which Velodyne makes. So how do you pick the right pair of headphones for your needs?

What do you plan to do with your headphones? Are you someone who likes to listen to music out and abut or will you primarily be listening to your headphones at home on the computer? If you are like me and you like to listen to music while walking around at school then I would highly recommend that you get yourself a pair of the vPulse. Not only do they sound excellent but they are small earbuds that won’t get in your way while you are walking around. I do not enjoy wearing large, cumbersome headphones on my head which is why I prefer the vPulse for on-the-go listening.  Now of course there are other things to consider when choosing headphones such as affordability, style and wireless capability. The vPulse are the least expensive pair of headphone that we offer, so if you are budget-conscious those would probably be your best bet. If  you don’t mind wearing larger headphones and you are on a budget then the vLeve wired headphone would be a great choice too. Not only do they have a larger driver than the vPulse but they are also our least expensive on-ear model headphone if you are trying to save money. Not to mention, you can change up their look with headphone skins. Several looks for one low price!

Now maybe you are not someone who will be listening on-the-go but instead will be primarily using your headphones at home on the computer or maybe even a stereo. If this is the case then you probably consider the vBold or perhaps even the vTrue if you plan to use headphones on a stereo. The vBold are our largest pair of over-ear Bluetooth wireless headphones. With a 40 mm driver and comfortable over-ear pads the vBold provide excellent sound quality and great comfort. Meanwhile, the vTrue – which is our studio headphone – utilizes a 50 mm driver to deliver premium sound that you will not find anywhere else.

If you are a big traveler and spend a lot of time on airplanes, then the vQuiet noise-cancelling headphones would clearly suit you well. However, airplanes and commuter trains are not the only place that noise-cancelling headphones work well. In fact, the vQuiet works well anywhere. In the bedroom when someone is mowing their lawn outside. When your kids are running around the house making lots of noise and you just want to tune them out. Or anytime you just want some good old peace and quiet the vQuiet can get the job done.

The last thing to consider when choosing headphones is comfort and style. Nobody likes to wear headphones that are heavy and become uncomfortable after you have had them on your head for a while. Fortunately, Velodyne’s full lineup of headphones has plenty to offer in this department. The vFree, vLeve, vBold all have very soft padding on the ears and headband which makes them very comfortable to wear for long periods of time. These headphones are also very light, you might even forget  you are wearing them.

No matter what your headphone preference, Velodyne is a one stop shop.

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Must-Have Back-to-School Items

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It’s August now and we all know what that means…It’s time to head back to school. This can be a sort of chaotic time of year as many of us are scrambling to figure out what we need to buy in order to get ready for the first day of school. This post is intended to provide some insight as to what kinds of things you should consider when you go back to school shopping in the next few weeks. Instead of boring you with the obvious necessities like pens, paper, binders and stuff like that I will try to give you some ideas for items that you may not think of right off the top of your head.

The first item that I think everyone needs to consider closely is a new backpack. I know that I promised that I wouldn’t bore you with obvious items, but this is actually something I felt is worth mentioning. When kids go to school they have to lug around books which are HEAVY. When I was in middle school it always drove me nuts having a backpack that hurt my back when it was full of books. Often I would just choose to not bring books with me to school because I didn’t want to carry them around.  This didn’t always go over well with teachers, but I didn’t want to have a sore back at the end of the day. What is my point? Well, when it comes to backpacks my advice is to shop around a bit and invest in a good one.  They even have back packs with wheels on them now which are a lifesaver. You will thank yourself for it down the road.

The second item that I think everyone should have is a reusable water bottle. These come in BPA-free plastic and stainless steel, among other materials. There are convenient sizes and shapes, those that fit in your cup holder in the car, as well as the side sleeve of your backpack. Remember that when school starts it is still actually summer which means that it is still quite hot out. Being a equipped with a water bottle will keep you hydrated to avoid fatigue and other side affects of dehydraton. This is especially true for grade school kids who play outside in the heat during recess. You will also save money with a reusable water bottle as you won’t have to buy individual bottles of water whenever you are thirsty and this is also kind to the environment.

The next item on my list is a pair of headphones and not just any headphones. Get yourself a quality pair of headphones that are stylish, comfortable to wear and above all deliver premium sound. You may, depending on your school and grade, wear headphones while walking to class, waiting for the bus, on the bus, in the library and during free time on campus. The Velodyne vLeve are an excellent choice for those students out there who are looking to invest in a good pair of headphones before heading back to school. As you may already know the vLeve are customizable with our designer skins. The vLeve are also very light weight with soft ear pads and head pads making them comfortable to wear. Finally, the vLeve provide premium sound quality so you can listen to all your favorite tunes loud and clear while you are on-the-go.

Now of course if you are going to invest in a pair of vLeve headphones then I would also highly recommend you download Onkyo music player to get the best sound performance out of your new headphones. For those of you that have never heard of Onkyo music player, it is an equalizer app that works much like the music player app on your iPhone or Android phone with one key difference. It allows you to equalize all your songs either by the presets or by hand. I’ve had this app on my phone for about 6 months now and I love it. By changing the presets for individual songs I can get the best sound performance out of all my Velodyne headphones which makes this app a must have in my book.

There are two more must have items on my back-to-school list. The first of which is a USB thumb drive. Most of you know what these are and what they are used for. Thumb dives are little pocket sized flash memory cards that plug into the USB port of a computer. You can put all kinds of different files on them in order to go from one computer to another. These are handy for research papers, PowerPoint presentations, pictures, music and anything else you might have that is school related on your computer.

Lastly, I recommend a dry erase board for lockers or dorm rooms, or even study areas for those headed back to school. This will allow you to write reminders and have themt posted somewhere that you will see it. These also come in handy to jot down ideas, and rough outlines of papers. You can’t beat the visual impact notes written on a dry erase board have, and the ease of changing those ideas with the swipe of the eraser.

Hope everyone is prepped with all of their essentials. Comment below with your favorite back to school item for a chance to win some Velodyne swag.

 

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