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Monthly Archives: April 1975

Audiofly AF160

Audiofly AF160
What is your favourite feature of the earpiece? In my opinion, I like the design job – It is cooler than an Inuit’s underpants!

earpieceDesign
The bulky maroon/brown-and-black earpieces let you know immediately that the AF160 means business. Its easily detachable, black-and-gray braided cable descends from each earpiece, then joins into a single cord with a cloth casing. Semi-rigid wiring near the earpieces offers a moldable, extremely secure, over-the-ear fit. There’s no in-line remote control or microphone—your next clue that the AF160 is not for the casual listener.

Armed with a handsome brown leather hard case, the AF160 feels like a luxury item. It comes with six pairs of eartips: three of the standard silicone round variety, and three flange-shaped pairs. Also included: An earwax-cleaning tool, a 1/4-inch headphone jack adapter, and an airplane jack adapter. No one can accuse Audiofly of skimping on accessories or design details.

Performance
Calling the AF160 light on bass response would be doing the earphones a bit of a disservice. In an era of overly bass-boosted earphones and headphones that shift the balance way too far toward the lows, the AF160’s sound signature is a breath of fresh air. On tracks with tremendous low frequency content, like The Knife’s “Silent Shout,” the AF160 delivers the closest thing to a clinical, flat response sound I have heard in earphones in quite some time. However, at top (and unsafe) listening levels, it also distorts quite a bit on this track. That should never happen in this price range. At more moderate levels, the AF160 sounds defiantly light on low frequencies, with a focus on the high-mids and highs.

Audiofly AF160 inlineI was curious to see if the AF160 was capable of producing big bass sound when forced to, so I connected the earphones to my Marantz stereo receiver and pumped the bass level to maximum. Interestingly, at moderate-to-loud volumes, the AF160 suddenly delivered some beautifully rich, vibrant bass. It’s a bit odd that it needed the Marantz receiver’s bass levels to be maxed out in order to deliver any real semblance of low-end, but the point is that the AF160 is capable of bringing out the lows in a mix you if use an equalizer, either on your mobile device, or on your stereo at home. It just doesn’t do very much of this on its own.

Back to regular listening on my iPhone 5s, Bill Callahan’s “Drover” sounds crisp and beautiful on the AF160. Yes, it’s again light on the low frequencies, but its focus on the treble edge of his baritone vocals and the guitar strumming deliver this mix cleanly and powerfully. This approach can’t work too well for all genres, however.

On Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “No Church in the Wild”, the kick drum loop gets a nice boost to its attack, so that the hits slice through the mix. It sounds sharp and clean, but the loop lacks much in the way of bass presence, and the sub-bass synth hits that punctuate the beat have very little low frequency power. For electronic tracks like The Knife’s and modern pop and hip hop mixes like this one, the AF160’s approach to bass seems a bit too gentle and hands-off. These types of tracks can end up sounding weak.

Classical tracks, like John Adams’ “The Chairman Dances,” manage to sound a bit fuller than I would have guessed based on the sounds of the previous tracks. The higher register strings, brass, woodwinds, and percussion take center stage here, with focused sound that is never too bright. The lower register strings, however, somehow seem to have a little extra life at times. It’s nothing like what some bass boost might bring out in them, but it is more presence than the sub-bass frequencies have on the aforementioned tracks. Basically, this is the epitome of a flat-response style sound signature—a sound that is less popular now than ever, as the ubiquity of mega-bass changes the balance of mixes, and perhaps even the way some engineers approach mixing.

If your budget is sky-high and you want an even more pro-level-style in-ear pair, the Shure SE846$999.00 at Amazon and Sennheiser IE 800$999.99 at Crutchfield both sound amazing. You can also find the clinical sound minus the AF160’s pricing in earphone pairs like the Etymotic ER-4PT$264.99 at Amazon, the go-to flat response in-ear pair for years now, and the Westone W10$199.99 at Amazon with its slightly more low-end-focused balance. I was turned off by the AF160’s distortion considering its price, but at normal levels it’s not an issue. I tend to like a bit more bass response than what the AF160 offers, so I’d probably augment the low-end a bit with a subtle EQ, Plenty of listeners who a flat, mids-and-highs-focused won’t be disappointed, though. From the secure fit to the classy design and accessories, the Audiofly AF160 is every bit a high-end, audiophile-grade earphone pair—if you can get past the distortion at top volumes.

What Is Audio Surveillance

With very little information on the internet about headset’s, it is very rare when we get a chance to re post, with permission, an article from this industry.

earpieceAudio surveillance is the act of listening to third-party conversations and recording them. This technique is frequently used by law enforcement, private detectives and government spy agencies. Most audio surveillance consists of either bugging a room, wearing a wire (headphone (http://www.twowaycommunication.co.uk/?p=171)), tapping a phone or distance listening. Each provides distinct advantages and disadvantages, depending on the situation.
Wiretapping is one of the most common and simple form of audio surveillance. This is preferred because it is highly inconspicuous and allows for two sides of a conversation to be clearly recorded. Small audio devices, commonly called bugs, are attached to the internal circuitry of a telephone to pick up a conversation. A signal is wirelessly transmitted to another device that records the conversation. The drawback of this method is getting access to a subject’s telephone to properly wiretap it.

A room microphone is another audio surveillance technique that often is utilized. This involves planting a wireless microphone in a room to pick up conversations. Disguised room microphones are available to look like pens, clocks, stuffed animals and a variety of other covert forms. This microphone sends a signal to a receiver, just like a wiretap does, and the signal can be directly recorded. The disadvantage here is access to some rooms and getting only one side of a phone conversation if it takes place in that room.

Concealable transmitters known as body wires are well-known devices that have been featured in many television shows and movies. A small microphone and transmitting device are worn under the clothes of a person in order to send a signal back to a receiver and record a conversation. This allows the person wearing the wire to ask questions and get specific details that simply listening to other people’s conversations could not provide. The disadvantage of this method is getting access to the person needed to be recorded and also concealing the microphone in a way that hides it but allows for clear recording.

Long-distance microphones are another covert means of audio surveillance. A parabolic microphone, often called a shotgun microphone because of its long shape, has a powerful ability to pick up conversations up to 300 feet (91.4 m) away. Its main disadvantage is its high sensitivity. It can pick up other noises and cannot function if obstructions, such as trees and automobiles, are between the microphone and the conversation.

MOTOTRBO Helps Sears DDC Keep Deliveries Moving

audioWithout giving too much about this radio earpiece piece, but I found it remarkable and appropriate to what I’m currently doing.

As part of its continuing goal to provide next day delivery on large home and garden items, Sears opened its Jacksonville, Florida direct distribution center in May of 2008. With seven day shipping, consistent, reliable communications was critical in order to coordinate the large volume of products that went through receiving and shipping on a daily basis. MOTOTRBO digital radios are used to enable the entire warehouse to talk radio to radio without a repeater; the crisp audio enables conversation even in the noisy environment; and the long lasting batteries last through multiple shifts for increased productivity.

Sears Holding Center opens 812,000 sq. ft. facility

In May 2008, Sears Holding Corp. opened its newest direct distribution center (DDC) in Jacksonville, Florida. The new 812,000-square-foot warehouse is the distribution point for home appliances, tractors, televisions and other large items to local warehouses for more than 112 Sears and Kmart stores in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

“This facility will allow Sears to expand our appliance distribution capabilities and moves us closer to our goal of becoming more effective and efficient,” said Jim Mixon, senior vice president of supply chain and operations for Sears Holdings, in an interview with the Jacksonville Business Journal.

The new facility, located on 130 acres in the NorthPoint Industrial Park, consolidated two smaller warehouses that Sears Holdings operated in Jacksonville. With a new facility and a larger, busier warehouse to manage, Sears DDC Facilities Manager, Mike Harbert, began looking for a communications system that would be better suited to the environment.

Looking for long battery life and better audio

Harbert found that the company’s existing radios did not provide the audio quality required in the noisy warehouse environment, or the battery life needed to last through an entire shift.

“The problem with the batteries was that we ran three shifts and we shared the radios from shift to shift,” Harbert says. “The guys knew that when
they came in, the battery would be dead in a couple of hours, so they switched out the battery at the beginning of their shift even though it had another couple of hours on it.”

Because the batteries were not completely discharged before recharging, memory effect shortened the life of the batteries even further, and eventually even the fresh batteries wouldn’t last an entire shift.

While the existing communications the Sears DDC staff had been using were sufficient in the older smaller warehouses, they were limited. Once the operations moved to the much larger warehouse, they quickly realized better communications, clearer audio, and longer lasting batteries would be required.

Harbert worked with Hasty’s Communications, a Motorola authorized dealer, to recommend a solution.

MOTOTRBO digital radios deliver the right package

Mathews recommended MOTOTRBO radios based on Sears DDC’s existing environment and loaned
Harbert some radios to try them out for himself. The digital radios’ enhanced audio, featuring background noise suppression, was especially was especially attractive to Harbert to deliver clear audio, even when standing next to the noise generated by the large diesel trucks.

“The radios worked well and the audio was so crystal clear that even though the background was noisy, it was like the person you were talking to was standing right next to you,” Harbert says.

Harbert also liked the fact that, in spite of the warehouse’s large size and structure, he would not need to purchase repeaters.

“We talk radio to radio and I haven’t found a place in the warehouse or throughout the 45 to 50 acre area where we can’t talk to each other,” he says. “I’ve actually been down the street about a half mile or so and was able to call back to the building with no problem.”

Long-lasting batteries keep communications going during Hurricane Fay

As Hurricane Fay slowly made its way through Florida toward Jacksonville in mid August, Harbert and his team began preparing the facility and grounds for a direct hit. Once again, the MOTOTRBO radios provided clear communications and,
equally important, long-lasting batteries that kept communications available.

“We lost power early on and switched to our large UPS systems in the data room to keep our crucial data equipment running,” recalls Harbert. “The nice thing about the radios was that after our cell phone batteries began dying, we were still able to keep communicating with the MOTOTRBOs due to their long-lasting batteries.”

Between the rapid IMPRES™ battery charger and the control process Harbert instituted that maintains both battery inventory and user accountability, the batteries have lasted even longer than expected. According to Harbert, he can now easily keep the radios operating through long shifts with half the spare inventory required by the old radios.

With longer talk time, clearer audio delivery, and the ruggedness that meets military standards for durability and reliability, MOTOTRBO radios offer a private, cost-effective solution that can be tailored to meet unique coverage and feature needs.

Some Brief Information on Walkie Talkies

You can be safe in the knowledge that I bring the most effective radio earpiece articles, some of which are my own several of which are curated by me, when i choose to use somebody elses articles it’s because it’s relevant to my readership, so feel confident you are reading the best from my industry.

Developed during World War 2 for use in the military, walki talkies are now commonly used by millions of people in work and in homes all over the planet.
Originally quite large and cumbersome, just like so many other electrical devices, they have shrunk in size considerably over the years. In general, a walkie talkie will have a mouthpiece to talk in and a speaker to listen from they also can come with a compact earphone microphone for discreet conversations if need be.

Licensed and Unlicensed Walkie Talkies
Walkie talkies come in two basic types. One type is referred to as licensed, while the other type is referred to as unlicensed. A “licensed” set of walkie talkies will transmit conversations over a radio frequency that has been isolated and designated specifically for that particular set of walkie talkies.
This type of walkie talkie would be the type that you would see a pit crew at a car race communicating with their driver with.

Right Off an Electronics Store Shelf
Unlicensed Walkie Talkies would be the type of walkie talkie that you can buy off the shelf at any electronics store. While there is an extremely small chance of it, you can run into situations with unlicensed walkie talkies where unrelated walkie talkie users using completely different walkie talkies can over ride each other and cause a confusing situation.
This is precisely the reason why licensed walkie talkies are available for professionals who can’t afford the risk of these types of situations.

Always a Place for Walkie Talkies
The advent of the mobile phone took the place of the walkie talkie for a good many people over the years that the cell phone has been in use. However; there will always be situations and places where a set of walkie talkies can’t be replaced. For instance, hunters and outdoors men use them to communicate with each other in desolate areas where cell phone reception is unavailable.

Also, walkie talkies don’t have a time delay while a call goes through, which is a benefit in commercial situations.

Iron-Man earpiece and smartwatch unveiled

Boy. The brand new radio accessory is breathtaking. I mean it is just so stunning so highly developed. I pity people who grew up without the radio accessory.

audioThis week we get closer to the Iron Man dream with Intel’s ‘Jarvis’ technology, enjoy extended music streaming from Spotify, learn of Samsung’s 2014 plans and report the announcement of two new exciting gadgets.

CUTTING EDGE: Intel Releases Their Smart Earpiece ‘Jarvis’

Well you Iron Man fans will be happy as Intel has just introduced ‘Jarvis’, their smart earpiece designed to rival Apple’s Siri and Google Now.

Jarvis performs commands that can be carried out by your phone, it can even make suggestions and interrupt you with relevant information you might want to know.

What might be slightly disheartening to you die-hard Iron Man fans though is that Jarvis actually speaks with a female voice not that of Paul Bettany…Still, Intel provided a live demonstration of the product at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

On request, it recommended a restaurant, arranged a call to make a reservation and even re-scheduled calendar events. Of course, digital assistants are nothing new; Siri in particular has been with us for some time now.

However, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich believes the competition cannot yet match the conversational and hands-free elements of Jarvis. It is always-listening and can seamlessly integrate with your calendar, interrupting politely with the information you need.

APPLE: Spotify Introduces Free ‘Shuffle-play’ Feature for iOS

The music streaming service Spotify has recently unveiled an update for its iOS app that allows users to play an artist’s whole music catalogue without a paid subscription.

The limitation is that this can only be done through shuffle mode but now all user and Spotify created playlists can be listened to as well.

Advertisements will still play every now and then, which is to be expected but on iPad, users can listen to any song at any time, without the ‘shuffle-play’ limitation.

It had previously been the case that Spotify users must pay a subscription to stream music on their mobile devices as per the company’s licensing agreements with music labels.

However, recent pressure from the ever-growing US service Pandora and Apple’s iTunes Radio has caused the Swedish company to make changes as it struggles to maintain market share.

It would be a shame to see Spotify fall behind its rivals; it offers a fairly comprehensive music catalogue and its iOS apps for both iPhone and iPad are slick and intuitive. This recent change is a definitely a step in the right direction.

ANDROID: Samsung Unveils its Plans for 2014

In an interview with Bloomberg News, Samsung has outlined its plans for various Android devices to be released this year.

The biggest revelation is that the Galaxy S5 may come out as soon as April, potentially with new iris-scanning technology in response to Apple’s fingerprint reader on the iPhone 5S.

Samsung’s Galaxy S range has long been considered their flagship so it’s good to see they might be pushing some technological boundaries here.

Samsung’s mobile executive Vice President Lee Young-Hee also revealed that the Galaxy Gear smartwatch is set for a makeover, improving on the somewhat bulky design of the original and increasing its functionality.

Finally, the Note 4 might emerge in the second half of 2014 with a three-sided display to allow for multiple viewing angles.

That could really be something to see, excuse the pun… Lee went on to say that significant improvements will be made to their flagship Galaxy S5 after a somewhat lacklustre consumer response to its predecessor.

As a result, Samsung will be “going back to basics” focusing on hardware, screen and the overall feel of the phone. It has been rumoured that we may see an overhaul of Samsung’s user interface as well.

Previous iterations of its Android based ‘Touchwiz’ UI have not always been well-received so it would be good to see some improvement. This hasn’t been confirmed yet so fingers crossed for now.

GADGETS: ‘Pebble Steel’ High-end Smartwatch Announced

If you cast your minds back you might remember us writing about the ‘Pebble’ smartwatch, arguably one of the better wearable tech pieces of last year.

Well now they have stepped into the high-end market with the introduction of the ‘Pebble Steel’. It will be available in both a brushed stainless steel and matte black finish with the choice of a matching or leather strap.

The Steel also uses Corning gorilla glass to protect its face, which should make it quite durable. If this wasn’t enough, it even gets a brand new Pebble app-store with six main categories: daily, fitness, remotes, tools and utilities, notifications and games.

The addition of a dedicated app-store means developers no longer need to rely on the iOS notification centre to relay information so can create a smoother user experience.

If you have the original Pebble, don’t worry you won’t be missing out as a firmware update is due to allow you use of the new app store as well.

However, if you don’t yet have a smartwatch, the Steel retails for $249 over at getpebble.com with pre-orders shipping globally from January 28th.

GAMING: SteelSeries Unveil the ‘Stratus’ Bluetooth Gaming Controller

Gaming peripheral creator SteelSeries has recently unveiled its new Bluetooth gaming controller the ‘Stratus’.

The new product is MFI-certified, which means it has been signed off to work with all Apple devices.

It differs from the competition by acting as a standalone controller and uses Apple’s ‘extended’ control layout featuring: a directional pad, four action buttons, four shoulder buttons and dual analog sticks.

The Stratus has a built-in battery providing around ten hours of game time from a full charge and can be topped-up by USB charging in just two hours.

Up to four Stratus controllers can be connected to a single iOS device at once, with LED lights showing which controller is which.

This rather exciting new device can be purchased in a not quite so thrilling choice of black or white colours and is available for pre-order from the company’s website.

It costs just under Ł85 and is set to ship on March 2nd.