VU Meters For Windows

Some time ago I noted the availability of installable audio metering for Windows. Today I stumbled upon a similar free application called “VUMeter” that provides old school stereo VU meters.

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The meters can be resized from 50%, 100% or 200% of normal size, where  normal size is 1500 x 300 pixels.

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They can be set to stay on top of all windows. They can also be set to display the signal from any available sound recording or playback device.

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Mobile HDVoice; A Post In Three Acts

Act 1: The Future – Sprint To Offer HDVoice Nationwide in July

iPhone-SprintSprint,  the nation’s number #3 mobile carrier, has announced nationwide rollout of HDVoice in early July. At present they have just a few test markets HDVoice enabled. While some met the announcement with enthusiasm, HDVoice observer Doug Mohney has taken a justifiable wait-and-see approach to this news as Sprint has made such promises more than once in recent years.

Ever curious, I thought it worth looking into what kind of HD Voice-capable devices they would be offering. The list of twenty handsets seems quite comprehensive. That bodes well for customers someday actually getting to experience HDVoice.

Just as significantly, the HD Voice capable handsets was easy to identify. The company lists “HD Voice” as a key feature that can be used to search through the entirety of their handset offering. Thus new customers can easily reference this feature while in the process of selecting their new handset.

That brings me to…

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This is the sort of “3D” that I will not up with put!

3DRemember the opening sequence Sesame Street? Well, this post is brought to you by the number 3 and the letter D…cuz some of you weren’t paying attention all those years ago!

Both Voxeet and Dolby Voice are interesting binaural conference services. However, some of the marketecture being deployed sets off alarm bells in my mind. Despite claims to the contrary, and the echo of such claims by the media, I don’t believe that what they offer is “3D audio.”

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Podcasters, Please! Put Down The Phone!!

Scott Harvey Old Vine Zinfandel (5)While it doesn’t often get mentioned here (more usually here) I’ve developed something of an interest in wine. This passion comes with a healthy learning curve. I’m still early in the process so trying to take onboard whatever information I can find.

For some time I’ve been listening to Randy Fuller’s excellent “Now and Zine Wine Report” podcast. At one minute, five times a week it’s an information-rich nugget of Johnny-Five style input. It’s especially notable because Randy Fuller is also a professional actor and voice talent. As you might well expect, his podcasts are usually a fine example of an audio professional at work.

Randy’s typical high standards make his recent series, taken from a conversation with winemaker Scott Harvey, all the more jarring and unexpected. Randy’s presence in the podcast is his usual, most-excellent self. It’s Scott’s presence that I find wanting.

According to Randy’s introduction, the series of three posts so far are, taken from a conversion that they had by telephone. It seems quite likely to me that Scott was on a mobile phone at the time. His audio quality is quite poor, but it’s really the contrast between the host’s voice and the guest that hits like a hammer to the skull.

This has me pondering the various alternative approaches that might be used in creating such a podcast. There are many possible ways to avoid leveraging a cell phone over the PSTN.

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3D Wallpaper: An Affordable Approach to Better Office Acoustics

mio_paperforms2013_acousticweave_angleLacking for any specific consideration of acoustics, many workplaces simply sound bad. Hard surfaces like drywall, glass, tile, stone and hardwood floors combine with arbitrary dimensions to create boomy, boxy sounding spaces where sound bounces around a lot. This creates a muddled sound that can make it more difficult to understand conversation. Sadly, this is also true of a lot of meeting small spaces and home offices.

This acoustic reality impacts how we work, especially the quality of our communications. Speakerphones and conference phones suffer in sub-standard acoustic environments. Intelligibility of conversation can be significantly degraded. You may not notice, as you are in the space and accustomed to that environment. However, the person at the far end of the conversation may find it more difficult to understand what you are saying.

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Deal Alert: Plantronics .Audio 476 DSP Portable USB Headset

plantronics-audio 476This morning I have found that sellout.woot.com is offering the Plantronics .Audio 476 DSP Portable USB Headset for a rather impressive $14.99! This offer, which is available for one week or while supplies last, is for new devices, not refurbished goods. The MSRP is $49.99.

The .Audio 476 is described as “for laptops” which implies two things; the design folds down for easier transport, and the cable is not especially long. The specs list the cable as 6.5 feet. The specs also indicate that the headset is more than capable of HDVoice.

$15 is pretty cheap for a decent USB headset. I must admit that I am tempted, even if it’s just to have a spare headset in a drawer.