Prescribing Shiit for an ailing Squeezebox

Shiit Modi 2 Uber & SB3Aged though they may be, we continue to enjoy our little fleet of Logitech Squeezebox music players. Sadly, as they age one common problem is the failure of the analog outputs.

The analog output has an electrolytic capacitor on each channel. As they age they dramatically change their electrical behavior. In our case the output level of one or both channels falls off dramatically. This fault has now befallen three of our five SB3s.

The faulty analog outputs can be overcome is a few ways. One of the easiest, albeit not the cheapest, is to leverage on of the digital outputs, adding an external digital-to-analog convertor (in audio-geek-speak, an external DAC.)

Late last year I found a Shiit Audio Modi 2 Uber DAC under the Christmas tree. This little box is not especially expensive, yet seems well regarded. It’s derived from the very well-regarded* Bifrost model, which is considerably more expensive.

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T-Mobile Moves Beyond HDVoice

T-Mobile Nexus5 EVSI’ve been a T-Mobile customer for a long time. In fact, my transition to T-Mobile happened when I bought my first smart phone, a Blackberry 8100 (aka Pearl).

More recently I’ve been using an LG-made Nexus 5. No, not the newer 5X. Late last year I semi-regressed from a One+ One to a Nexus 5. One of the reasons for that step backward in time was to finally be able to enjoy mobile HDVoice calls to my wife, who also carries a Nexus 5.

T-Mobile, who lead the US in the rollout of mobile HDVoice, supports it’s use for in-network calls between a list of supported handsets, including the Nexus 5. That initial rollout of HDVoice came before the big build of their LTE network. They enabled the AMR-WB codec (aka G.722.2) over their existing 3G HSPA+ network.

Most other US carriers waited until their LTE rollout to launch HDVoice. An LTE network is natively an IP network, readily supporting advanced voice codecs and video. When the voice calls are handled over the LTE network it’s called Voice-Over-LTE or VoLTE, which is very different from how voice was handled on 3G networks.

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….and then there were four. Conference Phones.

Phoenix Audio Spider MT505 360pxHaving recently made it known that a spate of conference phone’s were being considered hereabouts another company has asked for an opportunity in that gladiatorial exercise. So it is that a Phoenix Audio Spider (MT505) has entered the fray.

I guess that I’d better get down to business before someone else knocks on the door and the task grows even larger. This effort will not be comparative. Each device will be considered individually.

Unexpected: OSX on a Polycom VVX-600

vvx-600-with-OSX-320pxA Polycom VVX-600 is my primary desk phone. It has been since its launch demoted the VVX-500 to a lesser role. Both are great phones, but I find the larger touch screen of the 600 model better for both my eyes and fingers. One of the things that keeps the Polycom phone on my desk is its ability to conveniently record calls to a USB memory stick. It’s a capability that I’d find difficult to give up.

On the other hand, in my daily routine I find that I don’t use USB memory stick very often anymore. I have a couple hanging around, but not the little stash that once graced my computer bag. So, occasionally, when I’m in a hurry, I pull the SanDisk Cruzer that lives plugged into the back of the VVX and use it to sneakernet a few files from here to there.

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Observations of the vMix 17 Public Beta

Last week saw the release of the vMix Fun Time Live Show for March which was punctuated by the public release of a beta preview of vMix 17. The official release of vMix is being timed to coincide with the annual NAB Convention, which is April 16-21 in Las Vegas.

In the middle of 2015 vMix replaced Wirecast as my preferred desktop video production software. vMix is effectively a production switcher. It allows me to combine various audio and video sources in real-time, the results being sent to a Hangout-On-Air or recorded to disk. It handles webcams, graphics, animations, video capture cards, live desktop capture and even PowerPoint files with ease. Further, it does so while being less hardware intensive than its competition.

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Here’s why a headset remains the very best way engage on the phone, hangout, video chat, etc.

Whether in the board room, office, home office or car…using a good headset is how I ensure that I can both hear and be heard clearly! This has long been my habit, and if you wish to communicate effectively it’s a strategy that you should consider as well.

In the past I’ve described my rationale on various occasions, even offering recorded examples so you can hear the difference for yourself. I recently found the following nice image that illustrates exactly why a headset is the superior choice.

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