Communications and entertainment are two key factors in today’s consumer technology marketplace. Now more than ever, with the advent of highly sophisticated gadgets, users are relying on their mobile devices and associated electronics for just about everything.
The extreme success of Apple’s (News - Alert) iPhone and the increased uptake of Android users, among a slew of other popular devices in the marketplace today, have increased our need to keep technologies close and use them for everything from communicating, to working online and even for entertainment.
Today’s phones have the ability to store lots of music, even watch HD movies on a wider and more specialized screen and include more functionalities and multitasking capabilities than ever before.
Headsets play an important role because they deliver the quality and sound needed for communications and user listening experiences with the devices.
A quality headset not only offers improved sound technology but also the ability to knock out background noise and more.
One company, U.S.-based Andrea Electronics, is aligning with this need for users and offers a line of SuperBeam Headsets they say offer, “Convenience and a solution all in one to meet the needs of today’s consumers.”
Yours truly had a chance to try out the Superbeam Headset firsthand as well as chat with President, CEO and Chairman of the Board, Doug J. Andrea, about the company and these US noise cancellation headsets.
My first impression of the headset was the packaging and style. I received the white version and the appearance is very modern with a sleek design and nice chrome accents.
It also appeared comfortable with extra padding all around on first glance.
My first test was to connect the headset to my laptop and conduct a Skype (News - Alert) video conference session. It was basically plug and play, with no need to add software. Skype also automatically identified the microphone and I was set to proceed with my conference session.
I was able to hear my friend on the other side who claimed to have a TV blaring and newborn crying somewhere in the background; I did not hear them.
This was possible thanks to a dual microphone array, combined with Andrea’s patented Adaptive Beam Forming technology, which cancels out background noise.
Next, I got up and plugged the headset into my desktop computer and played back some YouTube videos and hopped onto Pandora (News - Alert). The sound quality was very strong. Even with my fiancé’s loud PS3 music going (that I did pick up faintly), I was still able to understand clearly and enjoy the media from my computer.
I took the headset on the go with me for another test and plugged it into my iPod. The headset was a bit larger than I like to wear out in public (there are many who love the new style of a large headset, but doesn’t really go with any of my outfits). It delivered crisp quality playback, and the large, well cushioned ear cups and band were lightweight and comfortable to wear without feeling like I even had a headset on.
To test out the sound recording capabilities of the headset, I conducted a mock podcast, recording a call between me and a friend, and then used Audacity to play back the recording. The sound quality was recognizably better than when I have just used my desktop phone itself to record.
A definite plus of the headset is that it offers a product you can easily use to enjoy music and media online or on a portable gadget while also offering the technology needed for important communications needs; so many of today’s users who mesh business and downtime on the same device can appreciate that.
Doug Andrea, CEO, said, during an interview with TMCnet, that the company’s offerings have been used by consumer, commercial and military markets and are on showcase in the Henry Ford Museum and Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
Commenting on their success over the last 75 years, Andrea noted the transformation the company went through from a manufacturer of avionics and military intercommunication systems to becoming a supplier of patented audio technologies and being incorporated into converging mobile computing products to provide enhanced voice input and improve the performance of voice centric applications.
This, Andrea said, makes the company highly skilled in the development of their products and a reason why their proprietary audio technologies have gained a widespread following and support from end users as well as industry leaders such as IBM Corporation, Microsoft Corporation, Intel, Dell (News - Alert) and HP.
Another thing I liked about the headset over other models I’ve tried in the past was the absence of a microphone across you lower face area. Typically, headsets include the microphone near a user’s mouth to pick up sound.
The SuperBeam Headset instead comes with small microphones in each ear cup. These allow for conversations to be much more natural. My personal feeling is having the in-ear buds version of these headphones would also add to that natural feeling because you won’t be looking at your video image with a white headset strapped to your head.
During the TMCnet interview, Andrea also noted the importance of sound quality. “Convenience and sound quality play the most important role when it comes to the consumer and enterprise customer when using any given VoIP application they now have increased fidelity for voice transmission over traditional phone systems and our product enhances the user experience with these new forms of communication.”
To take sound and recording quality to the next level, Andrea Electronics also offers AudioCommander Software that allows for audio filtering on Macs and PCs. The intuitive user interface makes it easy to control and manage aspects like speaker equalization, noise cancellation, and more.
“We are making it more convenient for better voice quality by removing the boom microphone, which really comes down to the freedom of voice. The sound quality remains exceptionally high while accentuating new speech Codec’s with wide bandwidth such as SKYPE, SABA Centra, I-Chat, and numerous other video conferencing and distance collaboration applications.”
So what’s next for the company? Andrea told TMCnet their future outlook includes, “expanding our market to mobile devices, smartphones, tablets and mobile and gaming.” Sounds good!
Stefania Viscusi is an assignment editor for TMCnet, covering voice and Voice over IP technologies. She also oversees production of TMCnet's e-Newsletters in the areas of Internet telephony and speech technology. To read more of Stefania's articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Rich Steeves