Aumeo tailored audio

Another interesting audio device.

Aumeo is a pocket-sized device that provides a personalized audio experience. Our award-winning technology maps your hearing sensitivity to different sounds and then adjusts your music based on your audio profile. The result is a tailored audio experience custom-fit for your ears only.

Aumeo corrects sound to your personal hearing sensitivity in the audio signal path from your music player to your ears. It unlocks your best hearing potential so you can hear your favorite tunes the way they were meant to be heard—in all their fullness and richness.

A few comments:

  • Why go through the effort of producing a physical device when this could be done entirely through an app?

They do answer this question in their FAQ section. However, I think the inconvenience of having to carry around and charge yet another device trumps the portability of being able to connect this to any music player. Selling this technology to a major music provider to incorporate into their own app would probably be the best way to get this in peoples’ hands (ears), but that might come later down the line if this device proves successful. Or even selling this technology to a hardware provider (Apple/Samsung/etc) might be the best way to do this.

  • On the outset, it looks as if it’s a 6 (or 8?)-band parametric EQ for the left and right channels, set based on a ‘hearing test’. (They say more bands are EQ’ed, interpolated based on the outcome of the tests.)

The concept isn’t new, but a device like this hasn’t been available for consumers previously. For example, home  and car audio EQ products are available; however, none seem to take into account the hearing sensitivities. They mainly correct for the room/space and try to achieve a balanced/flat frequency spectrum, without taking into account your hearing sensitivity.

  • The effective frequency range is from 50 Hz to 20 kHz

How important is the frequency range below 50 Hz?

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Here – Active listening earbuds

Interesting product. I wonder how often people would use these. Fiddling with an EQ curve while at a concert is the last thing I’d want to do.

Here does not stream or play recorded music. Instead, the Digital Signal Processor (DSP) inside Here acts as a studio in your ears by providing you with a volume knob, equalizer and effects to transform real world audio. Use this “remote control for your ears” to have an optimal listening experience every time.

Here has been engineered to give you control of any and all live listening experiences: Suppress the jet engine on an airplane. Reduce a baby crying. Boost the bass at a club. Live mix a concert by adding reverb. Enhance your senses and personalize every listening experience.

Reduce the noise from jet engines and a baby crying… but usually on a plane I like to also listen to music or watch a movie – there’s no way to listen to other audio streams with this device. Many people already have ANC products that achieve this goal.

I hadn’t heard of Doppler Labs before, but I skimmed through their documentation on their first product – the Dubs earplugs. I like what they’re doing – producing interesting and innovative hearing protection devices to the market. But here’s dubious claim:

We chose to use a polyurethane reticulated foam within the low pass chambers as they best slowed
the speed of sound through our filters.
I really hope the speed of sound doesn’t change as it goes through the filters.

CDs vs Vinyl – Dynamic Range

I always believed that the dynamic range available on the CD was superior to that of vinyl. But, I never really took into account the fact that it would also depend on the compression during the mastering – that they would make different cuts for the different mediums.

I have no idea why the artists (and producers, etc) would not want to take advantage of the ~98 dB dynamic range available on the CD, compared to the 50-60 dB range of vinyl. Perhaps it’s that vinyl listeners these days are typically more discerning of the sound quality and playback fidelity of the music versus the more ubiquitous CD/MP3 listener. And the fact that vinyl isn’t quite portable and you’re not likely to listen to it on the subway using cheap headphones with a ton of background noise leaking in.

The Dynamic Range Database has a list of tested albums. I have no idea how accurate it is (I can’t find documentation on it and I’m guessing that it’s all been crowdsourced so there’s probably some sort of error factor in there), but you can download the program/addon to check the dynamic range of any song that you have on your computer.

Brief discussion on the science of music, on Star Talk Radio

Neil deGrasse Tyson on Star Talk Radio had guest Josh Groban on this week.

You’ll learn how artists breathe life into their music, and about the qualitative difference between human generated and automated music. Explore the importance of the acoustics of a performance space, the effect music has on people, the difference between melody and harmony, the ranges the human voice is capable of, and which was more important, Charlie Parker’s personal style or his sax

They didn’t so much discuss these items as gloss over them lightly.

Money isn’t required?

This interesting episode on Ideas discusses effecting change in the culture of stewardship and sustainability without having to use money (especially borrowed money).

The initial example, of the City of Curitiba in Brazil, is about how the former mayor (Jaime Lerner) used innovative social and educational programs to clean up the city’s slums, brought in sheep to weed the city and provide wool, and brought in a public/private partnership-based Bus-Rapid-Transit system to the city.

The other examples discussed in the episode…

In Japan there is a “caring relationship” currency, where good deeds are traded like money, a system that has provided quality care to the fastest growing elderly population in the world — all at no cost to the government. In Canada, there is a sharing hub at the Toronto Tool Library where sweat equity gives access to woodshop space and over 3,000 tools, again at low marginal cost.

Speaking of tool libraries, I think many cities have them now, and Ottawa is just getting started up.