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Phoenix Audio Beams Up A New SIP Conference Phone

Phoenix Audio at InfoComm2015InfoComm 2015 is next week, which has swayed the nature of press releases filling my in-box. While most are less than interesting, there was one from Phoenix Audio Technologies that piqued my interest. They have introduced an intriguing new device they call the Condor. Condor is not a typical SIP end-point.

Condor is an audio pickup appliance, essentially a microphone array with some sophisticated on-board DSP capability. With an on-board SIP client it’s one component of a huddle room conferencing solution. Add a large HDTV with built-in speakers and you have a complete solution for audio conferencing. You’re also well on your way to video conferencing.

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Wide Range Audio Meters

simple_vu_meter_by_masaakikaji-d47vzp9It has been said that anything that can’t be measured, can’t be managed. While there’s some debate about the universality of this statement, it’s most definitely true for audio levels.

With respect to the independent measuring of audio within a computer I’m please to share a new software tool that I’ve recently been using; Wide Range Peak Meters by Darkwood Designs.

Before I get into the application and it’s capabilities you might like to know why I think it’s necessary. To be over simplistic, WebRTC!

What I really mean by that is PC-based audio handling by soft clients that lack their own audio metering.

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Dave Michels on Headsets

Sennheiser-DW-Pro-2-HeadsetDave Michels is a tea drinker. I’m not sure that fact is widely known, but I swear it’s true. Moreover, I suspect that someone has slipped something into his tea. Today he issued a curious assertion in an otherwise good article about headsets.

Sez he:

Headset/Headphones: I prefer the term headphones. I think headset implies a voice microphone and headphone implies audio or speakers only. Those distinctions are obsolete. Modern microphones are small, cheap, and sensitive. They no longer need to be in front of the mouth, so can be placed invisibly on headphones. Since most devices now support speech or voice, it’s just silly to get headphones without a microphone. Now that we’ve cleared this up, I am only using “headphone” below.

I take issue with his simplistic view of microphones, and especially the significance of microphone placement. If you truly care about how you are conveying your voice then a boom mounted microphone is a must! Accept no substitutes.

If, on the other hand, you are more concerned about not looking geeky…go whatever path tickles your fancy. Enjoy those Beats By Dr Dre Hey, he’s a Doctor right? They must be great.

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Hunting For Our Next SqueezeBox

When stuff just works all the time it doesn’t often come up in conversation, which just seems wrong. After all, it’s still working! It’s the stuff that doesn’t consistently work that gets the attention.

We’ve used Logitech Squeezeboxes for musical playback around the property for a  very long while. We presently have five of them deployed, including our original Squeezebox 3 that was purchased in 2005! In general they just work, which has been great, especially since they were discontinued years ago.

When we stage our annual Halloween festivities we are required to reposition some equipment. Last time around one Squeezebox powered-up with a fault in the analog output. One channel is delivered with level much reduced compared to the other channel. A quick search of the still lively forums.slimdevices.com turned up similar reports, attributing the problem to faulty capacitors in the analog output stage.

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Mini-Review: Definitive Technology AW5500 Outdoor Speakers

Definitive Technology AW5500Not long after I started this blog I described my plan for delivering Whole House Audio. To summarize, at various locations on the property we pair a Logitech Squeezebox with semi-pro powered audio monitors. The Squeezeboxes can be synchronized, delivering the ability to play music across the entire property, with independent control of level at each location. Or we can play different things at different places, all under control of the Logitech Media Server’s web interface, or apps on our handheld devices.

Even though the Squeezebox is no longer made, this remains a pretty sweet setup. In the summer of 2013 I added a pair of Definitive Technology AW6500 outdoor speakers under the eave of the garage, providing music into the back yard. In truth, I had planned to install these on the front porch but they proved too large for that site. Rather than return the speakers, I deployed them in the back yard where they have been serving us nicely.

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