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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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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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Holiday Gift Suggestions For Your Audio Enthusiast

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With Black Friday and Cyber Monday both behind us, the holiday gift shopping season is now in full swing. To help you shop for your audio enthusiasts, many websites have put together their own gift guides for your audio lover. Among some of these sites are audioholics.com who recommends our vQuiet noise-cancelling headphones for those of us who wish to block out unwanted background noise. The vQuiet boast a 90% noise reduction which is an excellent choice for airplane, train and other travel.

            The vQuiet is not the only headphone model of ours that has made the cut on other popular tech websites. We are also proud to say that our vBold Bluetooth headphones have been listed on CRN.com as an excellent gift for your sound hound this holiday. The vBold come with a 40 mm driver and offer wireless connectivity to leave you free to move about with ease. To add to that the vBold also feature a built in mic so that you are not hindered from answering your calls while you are listening to music from your iPhone or Android smartphone. Finally, the vBold battery charges up in just 1.5 hours and last for up to 10 hours of listening/talking so you don’t have to constantly replace battery packs or recharge often. 

            The vBold is actually not our only wireless Bluetooth headphone that has been listed as a holiday gift suggestion. The vFree, which is our first wireless headphone released last fall, has also been mentioned by momtrends.com as a gift for a “Dad-on-the-go.” Momtrends.com says that the vFree provide crystal clear sound without the limits of wires. They also like how the vFree fold up easily making them easily storable as well as customizable with swappable skins.

            Last but certainly not least our vTrue reference headphones have been rated by popularmechanics.com as 1 of their 5 “Ho-Ho Headphones for the Holidays.” According to popularmechanics.com, the vTrue’s 50mm driver gives some serious bass without compromising the mid-range or treble. The vTrue also does not distort at high volume like many other headphones we’ve tried.

These are just a few of the gift guides where our products have been featured. We hope you find what your loved ones are looking for on our website this holiday season.

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Music and Daily Life

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Music is no doubt an important part of our daily lives. We hear it in on the radio in our cars on our way to work and school. We listen it on our headphones when we are jogging and walking.  We hear it being played at professional sporting events when we go to see our favorite team play. We even go to concerts just to listen to our favorite artists play their best songs.

Now you might be wondering why music is so important to us.  There really is not clear cut exact answer to this tough question. However, if we examine what music does to our state of mind when we are listening to it then this provides is with some clues. Music has a profound effect on our psyche.  We have all experienced this deep effect that music can have on our state of mind. Music can pump us up and calm us down. It can make us happy or even sad depending on what the song is about and the context in which it is being played. It’s no wonder so many people listen to music when they are exercising.  The right song pumps us up and makes us want to push ourselves harder. This is obviously very helpful.  Now not only can music pump us up but it can calm us down as well.  Whether or not the music that we are listening to is going to hype us up or relax us depends heavily on what genre of music it is, the speed or beats per minute of the song, and how loud the volume is turned up. This all probably comes as no surprise to us as the majority of us have experienced how a loud rock and roll song can hype us up while we are running or how a soft classical song can put us to sleep.  The point is that music has a deep effect on our minds and this can be a very useful tool.

When we are tired in the morning before a long day at work or school we can try listening to something that is upbeat and happy as this will wake us up and get us into the right state of mind for that time of the day.  On the other hand, after a long day has passed and we are on our way home work of school we can try listening to some calm or soft music to help us relax and unwind after a tough day. It’s not hard to see how useful of a tool this can be for many of us.

Music is obviously an interesting phenomenon in human life. If you are wondering who invented music and when you maybe surprised to learn that it was never really invented. Music has actually been around since before recorded history began so we can only speculate as to where originated from.  It has been around as long as humans have been around and it has evolved over time just as humans have evolved over time.  As time continues to go on we can only wonder how music will change with it, but we can probably safely assume that music will continue to be a deep part of human life for a long time to come.

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