Just a little iPhoneography fun today. What better subject matter than the deep, soulful, low-distortion, bass of our Digital Drive Plus.
by AudiOdysseus on May 23, 2012
Naturally, we spend a considerable amount of time discussing the way sound is projected from audio products like our DD-18+. But this spring a cool little gadget with an impressive ability to capture sound will be available to those who like to use Skype
I first saw Blue Microphones’s Tiki device a few months ago at CES in Las Vegas. This nifty little USB gadget is the size of a memory stick and it plugs right into your computer. It also listens with the intelligence of human hearing.
“It pulls your voice to the forefront and minimizes everything else…computer fans, keyboard typing, and cartoons in the background,” said Hillary Money from Blue Mic.
It also has auto-muting, which puts you on mute after you stop talking for three second. And as soon as you start talking again, it takes you off mute.
These are great features for using any VoIP.
For those of you who may be unfamiliar with Voice over Internet Protocol, it has actually been around for quite awhile. But the internet hasn’t always been ready to handle it with the speed and bandwidth necessary for having a “natural” sounding conversation with someone. In recent years, however, there have been great improvements to speed and bandwidth that make VoIP an exciting opportunity for technology companies, as well as consumers.
How does it work? VoIP is simply a method for taking analog audio signals, like the kind you hear when talking on the phone, and turning them into digital data that can be transmitted over the Internet.
by AudiOdysseus on February 15, 2012
When the working day is done, I can usually be found writing fiction from the comfort of home. Currently, I’m working on a story about the relationship between a mahout and his elephant. I’m still largely in the research phase, which means my early morning hours are now saturated with all things elephant.
So, what does this have to do with audio?
One of the most interesting things I’ve learned about elephants is the way they communicate with each other. Elephants can “speak” to each other over long distances by producing and receiving infrasound, a sub-sonic rumbling, which can travel in the air and through the ground much farther than higher frequencies. The frequency range in which humans can hear sound is 20 Hz to 20 kHz. Sounds are generally considered to be infrasonic if their frequency is less than 20 Hz. This low frequency sound can’t be heard by humans, but it can be felt. This is how our subwoofers allow you to feel bass rumbling through your body during an epic battle scene. They go infrasonic. For instance, our flagship Digital Drive PLUS series produces frequencies as low as 8.8 Hz overall (14.4 Hz +/- 3 dB).
These infrasonic frequencies can also be felt by the sensitive skin of an elephant’s feet and trunk, which pick up the resonant vibrations much as the flat skin on the head of a drum. To listen attentively, every member of the herd will lift one foreleg from the ground, and face the source of the sound. They will often also lay their trunks on the ground, as well. The lifting of one leg will presumably increase the ground contact and sensitivity of the remaining legs.
The discovery of this new aspect of elephant social communication came with breakthroughs in audio technology, which can pick up frequencies outside the range of the human ear. The pioneer in this type of research is a woman named Katharine Payne. Payne is a researcher in the Bioacoustics Research Program at the Laboratory of Ornithology at Cornell University. In 1999, she founded the lab’s Elephant Listening Project. The Bioacoustics Research Program team developed Autonomous Recording Units (ARUs), which are used to continuously record elephant vocalizations in forested areas. These units are hoisted high into trees, protecting them from elephant damage. They are waterproof and will record unattended for up to six months. The ARUs have performed extremely well in the difficult climate of Africa’s tropical rainforests. Reportedly, the biggest problem has been damage to the power cables caused by inquisitive chimpanzees.
In 2004, Payne’s initial recordings of elephants were selected as one of 50 recordings chosen that year by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry. Incidentally, I highly recommend taking a look at the list of recordings on record. It might surprise you to see what else is there.
by AudiOdysseus on February 9, 2012
I wasn’t sure what to expect as I landed in Amsterdam a few days prior to ISE 2012. I felt confident I was mentally and physically prepared following the exquisite chaos called CES. But how would it go down with the added stress of frigid weather and jet lag?
I can report I was pleasantly surprised by the civility of it all.
The show itself was substantially smaller than CES. There were 40,869 registered attendees over the course of three days. The 825 ISE exhibitors occupied 11 halls of the Amsterdam RAI. These numbers are the highest in the history of the show, with the exhibitor total increasing 15% from 2011.
ISE, which started in 2004, is Europe’s largest tradeshow for the professional AV and electronic systems industry. It’s a kind of meeting place for manufacturers, distributors, and retailers from all over the world. The manufacturers can show off their latest technologies and distributors and retailers can see what’s available for their customers and consumers.
The show itself feels like a cool combination of a professional dress code and relaxed energy. It is truly international, representing companies from all over the globe.
The Standout Trend
The number one trend at ISE was digital signage. It was everywhere. In fact, ISE kicked off with the Digital Signage Conference (DiSCO). One of the topics covered was the potential for digital signage to help brick and mortar retailers compete with e-commerce websites by allowing them to reflect the new ways in which consumers are shopping. This includes providing the ability to allow shoppers to serve themselves, access products not on shelves, and obtain detailed product information.
That’s the cerebral take on digital signage. The sensorial take is the mind-blowing picture clarity and endless number of LED screens dominating the halls of RAI. There were single screen behemoths towering overhead, as well as smaller screens interacting seamlessly to create any number of awesome effects.
One of my personal favorites was a bit more understated, but really cool. These screens featured “live bands” playing in a sushi lounge located in the center of one show hall. Each member of the band had his or her own screen towering over the lunch tables. There were four screens in all playing simultaneously. The bands members were probably filmed separately, but they actually look like they are interacting with each other in each of their respective screens. You really feel like you’re watching a live show.
The European Aesthetic
A minimalist at heart, I felt a connection to the European aesthetic. There weren’t a lot of bright colors or flashy designs. And it was easy to see why as I looked up into apartment windows while walking through the city. They almost look bare compared to living space in the United States.
For the most part, the walls were consistently white or off-white. And there seemed to be only one or two pieces of furniture or artwork. The industrial design and colors of most of the audio products reflected this aesthetic. It’s no wonder that our MicroVee and MiniVee are so popular in Europe. Most of the design is focused on hiding audio components. I saw the embodiment of this idea with a “fully invisible wall” speaker. It was quite literally a wall of sound. It’s also not surprising that our distributors in the United Kingdom are creating some pretty cool custom designs focusing on installing the SC IW (1250) In-wall subwoofer into the floor and other hidden locations.
Overall, the show was fantastic. It was fascinating to see what is happening outside of the United States. ISE showcased some of the major differences in the domestic and international markets. However, both markets are clearly utilizing incredible technology to fill consumer needs and demands.
A Special Message to the People of Amsterdam
Thank you for your gracious hospitality. Thank you for delicious cheese and chocolate. I secretly believe these are your two major food groups, although I cannot prove this. I found your city to be absolutely delightful, but please consider holding ISE during the summer next year.
To all the bikers who jingled their bells as I wandered into their lane, unaware I was grossly violating local etiquette: In my humble opinion, your bike lanes look very similar to your pedestrian sidewalks. It was an honest mistake.
A Tribute to Amsterdam in Trivia:
- Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands, as well as the largest city.
- The name Amsterdam is derived from the city’s origins: it grew around a dam in the river called Amstel.
- There are approximately 747,290 people living in Amsterdam proper and 2,158,592 living in the metropolitan area.
- It is impossible to know for sure, but city authorities say there are well over 600,000 bikes in Amsterdam.
- There are165 canals in Amsterdam, with a combined length of 60 miles.
- There are 1,281 bridges in Amsterdam, many of which can open to let ships pass. In fact, “The bridge was open” is a popular excuse for arriving late to school or work.
- Amsterdam has 6,800 16th, 17th and 18th century buildings.
- Amsterdam is also known as the “Venice of the North” due to its many canals.
- The Amsterdam zoo, Artis, was founded in 1838. It is the oldest zoo in Europe and the third oldest zoo in the world.
- Established four centuries ago, the Amsterdam Stock Exchange is regarded as the oldest stock exchange in the world.
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My name is AudiOdysseus. Admittedly, I would never describe myself as a hero of any kind and I tend to get seasick in open water. But I love adventure. There is nothing I appreciate more than exploring new territories and gathering information about the world around me. Those are also the types of posts you can expect from me. I’ll be writing mostly about new gadgets, emerging trends, and my work-related travels to other lands.
I'm passionate about music, a lover of pop-culture, a runner with a mad sweet tooth and an addiction to coffee. Read my musings about life, movie soundtracks and live concerts. If you see me on the freeway I am most likely singing very loudly in my car. Honk and say hi!
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Ace of Bass
Born and bred in the Silicon Valley, I have an innate passion for all things technology. I'll post about home theater, quality sound, apps and much more. If I bump into you, its probably because I'm looking at my iPhone. Sorry!
Owner of vPulse and vFree and curious for the ventures of Velodyne Acoustics, I will be exploring our headphones and what we do next. Stay tuned as I share what I find.
Born and raised in Silicon Valley, I am a student at San Jose State University and Marketing intern at Velodyne Acoustics. I am an avid San Jose Sharks hockey fan and San Francisco 49ers football fan. When I'm not watching sports, I'm listening to music and thinking deep thoughts about sound.