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2016 year in review: Motorola’s resurgence

Motorola have always been a brand we have looked up to, in our eyes they produce some of the best equipment on the market, sometimes they don’t sell as well as they should do. The business has been split and sold several times over the last year, but they are now on the rise and business is going well, as this article shows.

2014 saw Motorola’s ownership change hands from the west to the east. Lenovo acquired the company off Google on January 29, 2014 but it was not until 2016 that the fruits of Lenovo’s ownership started showing up.

The year started off with Motorola in a slightly vulnerable position with the relative failure of both the Moto X Style and Moto X Play. The Moto X line was fading and even the third generation Moto G had failed to impress.

These first devices under Lenovo’s ownership however, had been in the pipeline much before Lenovo took over and it was not until the Moto G4 and the Moto Z in 2016 that we saw what the new Motorola could deliver.

Moto G4 series: Ushering in a renaissance

The Moto G4 Plus was one of two variants of Motorola’s fourth generation Moto G, the firm’s bestselling smartphone range ever. This was the first time Motorola (now owned by Lenovo) launched more than one smartphone in the G range, with the Moto G4, Moto G4 Play and the Moto G4 Plus.

At a starting price of Rs 13,499, the Moto G4 Plus made for a compelling buy, and continued the G series of smartphone’s tradition of providing good smartphones at an affordable price. With a superb display, a fast and accurate fingerprint sensor, stock android and great performance, it ticked all the right boxes for a mid-range device.

In comparison to the regular Moto G4, the Moto G4 Plus featured an improved 16MP rear camera with phase auto detection, laser autofocus and a dual LED Flash and also came with a fingerprint sensor.

Motorola also released the Moto G4 Play which was the cheapest device in the G4 lineup at Rs 8,999 and packed a 5-inch 720p HD display, a 2,800mAh battery, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of expandable internal storage.

The Moto G4, G4 Plus and G4 Play were critical as well as commercial hits and announced the comeback of Motorola in the smartphone game. The Plus in particular, presented a fantastic blend of features and affordability that saw it shoot up the sales charts.

Moto E3 Power: The odd one out

Lenovo also unveiled the Moto E3 Power in India which was a more powerful version of the third generation Moto E3. In a surprising move, the company decided against releasing the regular Moto E3 in the country.

The Moto E3 Power came with a massive 3,500mAh battery, 2GB of RAM, a 5-inch HD display and nearly stock Android Marshmallow.

At Rs 7,999, the Moto E3 Power found itself in as odd situation with the much more capable Moto G4 Play priced at just a thousand rupees more.

The attack of the Modular smartphones

Motorola then cemented its position in the smartphone world by releasing the striking Moto Z, the company’s most exciting smartphone in years.

The Moto Z came packed to the gills with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 SoC, 4GB of RAM, a 13MP rear camera with OIS and 4K recording, a 5MP front shooter and a 2,600mAh battery along with TurboCharging support.

The ‘World’s thinnest premium smartphone’ came with a 5.5-inch QuadHD display protected by corning gorilla glass, a sleek and suave metal/glass body and unlimited feature expansion through the Moto Mods.

The distinguishing feature of the Moto Z were the ‘Moto Mods’: snap-on accessories that could be attached to the back of smartphone through magnets in order to increase its functionality.

Alongside the flagship Moto Z, Motorola also launched its younger brother, the Moto Z Play which came with a 5.5-inch 1080p Super AMOLED display, a downgrade from the QuadHD resolution of the Moto Z and the largest battery Motorola ever put in any of its smartphones. Just like the Moto Z, the Moto Z Play also supported the innovative Moto Mods.

The Moto Z and Moto Z Play helped bring Motorola back into the spotlight. The Moto Mods in particular were greatly appreciated and were hailed as one of the best implementations of the modular concept in recent years.

The stunning all-metal Moto M

The end of the year saw Motorola launching the stunning all-metal Moto M in India.

The Moto M’s full metal unibody design with antenna bands on the top and bottom edges was a complete departure from the design language of previous Motorola smartphones and was again an indication of the company’s new ownership.

This is what Sudhin Mathur, Executive Director, Lenovo Mobile Business Group, India had to say about the company’s performance in 2016:

“The Moto G franchise continues to be much loved and we witnessed an extremely high conversion from early Moto G buyers opting for the new Moto G 4th Generation. But, our real game changer and technological breakthrough was the Moto Z and Moto Mods series that redefined the evolutionary progress of the smartphone industry. The Moto Z and Moto Mods system is designed to provide connected, intelligent and mobile consumer experiences in a seamless fashion and the power to transform your (Moto Z) smartphone in a snap is revolutionary. We started with four Moto Mods and are continuously working with multiple partners to develop more Mods for smartphone users in 2017.”

What’s next?

2017 will be a crucial year for the company as it prepares to build upon the success of the G4 and Z range. It is pivotal for Lenovo to make sure that it retains the essence of the company while at the same time push new boundaries of design and innovation.

Rifleman Radio is indispensable

When the army are on the battlefield, the equipment that they carry and the weight of it is paramount. Most two way radios are one of two things, light and easily breakable, with limited power, meaning limited range or heavy and the opposite to the above, Robust and able to transmit at a lengthy distance. The current development for a 2 channel that’s able to receive and transmit voice and data is an interesting concept. This article, that can originally be found here, give you more of the story.  

Nearly two years after the award of the Rifleman Radio contract, I made an appeal for new thinking by both the defense acquisition corps and the defense industry that now bears repeating.

Twenty-two months ago, the need for the Rifleman Radio was obvious as it is today. It provides infantry units with a relatively small and lower cost software-defined radio capable of transmitting voice and data, such as maps, images and texts. The technology that defines this “workhorse” tactical radio was continuing to mature, resulting in today’s Rifleman Radio being far more reliable and capable than the LRIP-ordered radios from even three years ago.

This maturation process was being driven by ongoing investments in radio technology made by the defense industry, including Thales and Harris Corporation, the two companies selected by the Army to build the Rifleman Radio.

At that time, I noted that success in the Defense Department’s new “Non-Developmental Items” or NDI strategy for the Army’s HMS program would require three things:

  • People. Bringing the right people together from three key groups for meaningful engagement: those defining the capabilities; those acquiring the capability for the government and industry; and those who have to deliver the capability to the Warfighter.
  • Dialogue. Creating ethical opportunities for face-to-face discussions with industry (not RFI dialogues) about the state of technology innovation and what is feasible to provide in a reasonable time and at a reasonable price.
  • Strategy. Building a shared understanding that this new NDI marketplace for tactical radios that requires industry to invest their own money to develop products will be one that delivers greater and greater capabilities over time, in other words, iteratively.

Where are we now? 

The Army is currently working to develop requirements for a 2-channel variant of the Rifleman Radio, a significant step in the Rifleman’s continuing evolution. The fundamental 2-channel communications capability — whether handheld or manpack variants — represents the future of tactical communications.

Two-channel capabilities for the small-unit leader radio like the Rifleman will meet the Army’s evolving tactical communications needs, with its ability to receive and transmit voice and data simultaneously, passing data to and from command to the unit.

The 2-channel Rifleman Radio will provide new capabilities without adding weight from extra radios and batteries. In short, it will provide the capability of two radios without burdening troops with lugging around two radios.

Viewed from a technical perspective, however, a 2-channel handheld radio represents an exponential leap in terms of complexity — it bears no relationship to the notion of “fusing two 1-channel radios together.”

Even the 2-channel HMS Manpack represents a tremendous technological leap forward, though it came with fewer space, size, power and weight limitations than the much smaller handheld Rifleman undoubtedly will. In short, the 2-channel Rifleman Radio will be a tall mountain to climb.

The future Rifleman 2-channel

The 2-channel Rifleman is an achievable reality, however, and speaking for Harris, we’re already well on the way to delivering this capability. The U.S. Special Operations Command (SOF) Tactical Communications (STC) 2-channel handheld radio being developed by Harris for special operations forces is leading the way to this future.

The STC radios are able to operate in the harshest environments and are specially designed to meet rigorous requirements. The STCs are small, lightweight, multiband and multifunction, with multi-mission capability to enable SOF teams to communicate over multiple channels simultaneously.

The Harris STC will provide the ability to receive ISR full-motion video and signals-based threat information. These handheld radios also will have built-in backward interoperability to communicate over legacy networks, and will be upgradable to integrate new capabilities as requirements evolve.

Although the Army’s requirements are still coming together, the 2-channel Rifleman most likely will trade fewer features for less cost. That said, there are many technical attributes related to the 2-channel capability that are likely to be applied from the Harris STC to the next iteration of the Rifleman.

The important takeaway here is that the Army’s continued commitment to evolving tactical communications has led industry to sustain its investment in advancing capabilities — and that formula has brought the 2-channel handheld much closer to reality.

Whether it is the STC or 2-channel Rifleman, the coming wave of new communication capabilities are the result of persistent innovations in myriad radio components: chip design, software, battery life, power consumption and antennas, to name a few.

As I pointed out in January 2015, the development of the Rifleman Radio would represent just the first iteration in the Army’s modernization of tactical radios ― a commitment that would deliver even more revolutionary capabilities over the next decade. But this will only happen if the Army maintains its end of the bargain by assuring industry that ongoing investments would be rewarded with purchases of the end products.

If BBP 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 continue to be nurtured and “take root,” these radio technology capabilities will continue to evolve with each measured investment making possible continuing progress. Such an active NDI marketplace will ensure industry remains committed to R&D — and the beneficiary of this healthy dynamic is the warfighter.

Spy Earpiece: A Micro Earpiece That Will Help You Through Presentations, Interviews, Speeches + More

When you think of a spy earpiece, the first thing that comes to mind is inspector gadget or Mission impossible, well it does for us anyway. But there are real world applications for these earpieces are wide. As this article explains, when you need a little help with prompts on a big presentation or you need to receive instructions during a lecture, then a micro earpiece could be the answer.

This device originally developed for covert operations is now made available for the public to use. Each earpiece kit can provide a way for you to transmit and receive audio information without anybody in the room knowing. Whether you want to receive pre-recorded messages or information from another party to assist you during your presentation / interview or speech, the earpiece can be set up with your phone, audio recorder, radio, or MP3 player to send the message to your earpiece , placed in your ear channel so that it is undetectable .. All kits also include a built in microphone so that you can engage in 2 way conversation should you wish

So how does it work?

The key is the inductive transmitter that will transmit audio from a phone / mp3 player to the earpiece. The transmitter itself is available in many forms. For example the transmitter may be included within a neckloop to be worn around the users neck, this may connect to your phone or mp3 player via its earphone socket. Or you may have a Bluetooth are often included in everyday objects such as a pair of glasses, a Pen or even a bluetooth watch. The transmitter acts as the aerial for reception and signal transmitter from phone to earpiece. At the same time, output sound picked up by the tiny microphone attached to the neckloop / pen / glasses is sent through your phone just as if the user is talking directly into it.

How to Use The Spy Earpiece?

Depending on what kind of information you wish to receive the earpiece can be set up to suit. For example during a presentation or speech you may wish to pre-record your speech or presentation on an mp3 player, then play it back to yourself during the presentation / speech. Or simply record a simple prompt for each point you would like to make. You could then connect up your mp3 player to an inductive neckloop included in most earpiece kits, and wear a spy earpiece. So long as the battery is inserted into the earpiece you will hear the audio from your mp3 player in the earpiece.

Alternatively you may prefer to have a team prepped in another room to assist you during your speech. This can be achieved by simply starting a mobile phone conversation with your team just before the speech starts. You would then need to either connect an inductive neckloop to the headphone output of your phone, or pair your phone with a bluetooth induction neckloop / pen / glasses. Insert the earpiece into your ear making sure the battery is inserted correctly. Your team should be able to hear your speech in real time over the phone, and can give you tips in your earpiece along the way. The same may apply in an interview situation, you may wish to have a third party issue you advice during your interview.

Each Inductive transmitter whether it be a neckloop or a bluetooth device like a pen, glasses or bluetooth neckloop, will also include a built in microphone so you can also talk back to your colleagues should you wish during your speech / presentation or interview.

Lets not forget the original intention of the Spy Earpiece which is for security and covert surveillance. The Spy Earpiece excels in these situations where the requirement is for a security operative to communicate covertly.

The key to success is in the careful planning and preparation so that everything runs smooth.

The way I see it, when the challenge is great and the results mean everything, why not try the Spy Earpiece and take the risk out of the equation?

Source - https://techfeatured.com/1592/spy-earpiece-a-micro-earpiece-that-will-help-you-through-presentations-interviews-speeches-more

Sepura Contributes to Success of World’s First Cross-border TETRA System

We take it for granted that when we move around the country our mobile phones connect to the nearest mast, or we go abroad and our phones automatically connect to the network, with tetra, this is not as easy, but this article is about a test that Sepura completed connecting two TETRA networks in Norway and Sweden, interesting stuff.

Sepura radios have successfully participated in interoperability trials for the world’s first cross-border TETRA communication system, linking RAKEL and Nødnett, Sweden and Norway’s public safety networks.

More than 350 first responders were involved in the trials, which took place in Meråker, close to the Swedish border, in a crisis response exercise involving public safety users from both countries.

The cross-border system utilises TETRA Inter-System Interface (ISI) functionality to connect networks together, effectively allowing users to roam to another network. This allows first responders to use their radios in both countries – vital for smooth collaboration in emergency situations.

The initiative to strengthen co-operation between national emergency services started in 2013 with the EU-funded Inter-System Interoperability project, designed to improve the ability to respond to natural disasters and security threats. The RAKEL and Nødnett networks are scheduled to be ready for bi-national operational use in early 2017.

Sepura’s STP9000 hand-portable radios and SRG3900 mobile radios were used by both Swedish and Norwegian emergency services during the exercise, although all Sepura radios – including the new flagship SC20 range – meet the technical requirements of the ISI system.

“This is one of the most advanced multinational radio communication projects in Europe,” said Tariq Haque, Product Manager for Sepura.

“After two years’ development, bi-national interoperability has become a reality, bringing cross-border mission critical communications to Sweden and Norway.

“We are extremely pleased to have played a part in this ground-breaking event.”

Source – http://www.tetra-applications.com/33643/news/sepura-contributes-to-success-of-world-s-first-cross-border-tetra-system

MIT’s new method of radio transmission could one day make wireless VR a reality

VR is the Buzz word for this year, every technology company clambering to get their headset out on to the market. Much of the market needs to catch-up though, the power of home computing needs to improve and removing the inevitable extra cabling and wires that come with current headsets. Luckily this article is about the future technology of VR headsets, see what we can expect as this technology grows.

If you want to use one of today’s major VR headsets, whether the Oculus Rift, the HTC Vive, or the PS VR, you have to accept the fact that there will be an illusion-shattering cable that tethers you to the small supercomputer that’s powering your virtual world.

But researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) may have a solution in MoVr, a wireless virtual reality system. Instead of using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to transmit data, the research team’s MoVR system uses high-frequency millimeter wave radio to stream data from a computer to a headset wirelessly at dramatically faster speeds than traditional technology.

There have been a variety of approaches to solving this problem already. Smartphone-based headsets such as Google’s Daydream View and Samsung’s Gear VR allow for untethered VR by simply offloading the computational work directly to a phone inside the headset. Or the entire idea of VR backpacks, which allow for a more mobile VR experience by building a computer that’s more easily carried. But there are still a lot of limitations to either of these solutions.

THE MOVR PROTOTYPE SIDESTEPS TETHERED VR ISSUES

Latency is the whole reason a wireless solution hasn’t worked so far. VR is especially latency-sensitive, along with the huge bandwidth requirements that VR needs to display the level of high-resolution video required for virtual reality to work. But the MIT team claims that the millimeter wave signals can transmit fast enough to make a wireless VR headset feasible.

The issue with using millimeter wave technology is that the signal needs a direct line of sight, and fares poorly when it encounters any obstacles. MoVR gets around this by working as a programmable mirror that can direct the direction of the signal to the headset even while it’s moving to always make sure the signal is transmitting directly to the headset’s receivers.

For now, the MoVR is simply a prototype, with the team hoping to further shrink down the system to allow for multiple wireless headsets in one room without encountering signal interference. But even as a proof-of-concept, it’s an interesting perspective on how virtual reality could one day work.

Hytera Awarded Multi Million Dollar Contracts in Dominican Republic

Hytera are the fastest growing radio country this year, they have opened offices all over the world and are taking market share from Motorola. When you look at their Hytera earpieces, Chargers, repeaters, hand portables and base units they are of an excellent standard and quality. That is probably why the Dominican Republic was persuaded to use them for two big projects.

Hytera, a world leading solution provider of Professional Mobile Radio communications, was awarded two projects by the Ministry of the Presidency of Dominican Republic. In order to establish a nationwide emergency response network for National Emergency Care System and Security 9-1-1 (Sistema Nacional de Atención a Emergencias y Seguridad), Dominican Republic government selected TETRA (Terrestrial Trunked Radio) technology for mission critical communications, and launched two public tenders at the end of 2015; one is to cover two cities, Haina and San Cristobal, adjacent to the capital city Santo Domingo, with 5 sites and 528 terminals, while the other is to cover Santiago, the second largest city of the country, with 30 sites and 2,155 terminals.

The existing TETRA network in the Santo Domingo area was delivered also by Hytera as a result of a contract awarded by Dominican Republic’s Ministry of the Presidency in 2013. The project includes several components: the 911 system, a camera surveillance system and the communications infrastructure with its respective terminals which was awarded to Hytera. “The system in Santo Domingo offers reliable communication services to the public safety forces, and it is a very good testimony of Hytera’s solutions and supports,” said Fernando Camelo, regional director of Hytera international business.

“Dominican Republic government officials have spent a lot effort to choose the right technologies for its public safety forces. Obviously, TETRA has been widely adopted and proved. We are proud to be part of the initiative of building a united nationwide mission critical communication system for the country,” commented Ming Kam Wong, deputy general manager of Hytera international business.

The TETRA digital standard as a global open protocol provides secure, encrypted communications for mission critical operations as well as promoting a more efficient use of spectrum. More than 750 interoperability (IOP) certificates have been awarded to more than two dozen manufacturers by the TETRA + Critical Communications Association (TCCA), the governing body, globally, for the TETRA standard.

Source – http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160912005706/en/Hytera-Awarded-Multi-Million-Dollar-Contracts-Dominican

Sony Announces AI Assistant Earpiece to Go on Sale in November – See more at: http://aibusiness.org/sony-announces-ai-assistant-earpiece-to-go-on-sale-in-november/#sthash.nm99apky.dpuf

Smart earpieces are the next frontier for the smart generation, we have all seen the earpiece that can translate instantly But that is just the start, as we can see from this article about this Xperia Ear wireless earpiece, it updates you from your phone when you put it in your ear. It won’t be long before we won’t need a smart phone everything will be in our ear.

Sony has revealed its ‘smart personal assistant’ that include a bluetooth earpiece will go on sale in November.

At the IFA show in Berlin today, the firm confirmed it will launch this November ‘starting in select markets,’ although its price has still not been revealed.

The Xperia Ear wireless earpiece can update you with any missed calls or messages as soon as you slot it into your ear.

The firm also showed off a Xperia Agent, a robot measuring just over one foot tall, that also works as a PA.

‘It will navigate you to where you want to go and make your life eye-free and hands-free,’ said Sony Mobile’s President and boss, Hiroki Totoki of the ‘her’ earpiece when it was unveiled at the MWC show earlier in the year.

‘It is also powered by Sony’s voice technology and will respond to a number of commands.’

The firm says the smart earpiece ‘is a next-generation wireless ear-piece that brings a new way of communicating, without compromising on enjoying the world around you.’

It reads users information such as your schedule, weather and the latest news to keep you up-to-date on the go.

Powered by Sony’s voice technology, it responds to verbal commands, so you can ask it to make a call, perform an internet search, dictate a message or navigate to a certain location.

It connects to an Android smartphone via NFC or Bluetooth and talks to a host application, where you can customise settings, including the info you need when you first connect in the morning, touch commands and app notifications.

‘Its lightweight and comfortable soft silicone ear-bud is built for continuous wear, with IPX2 water-protection and all-day battery life3,’ Sony said.

It’s available in Graphite Black and the innovative case doubles as a charger, so you can simply pop it in when you need to recharge.

It also unveiled the Xperia Eye, a wearable camera that acts as your personal sidekick, capturing everyday life moments with a 360 degree wide-angle lens.

Unveiled at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, the Xperia Eye can be attached to clothing or worn around the neck.

It forms part of a suite of connected gadgets designed to free people up from their phones.

Sony said the Xperia Eye is ‘a vision for a personalised assistant’ and joins three other smart gadgets that are connected to a Sony smartphone that acts as a hub, feeding information to them such as notifications.

These are Xperia Agent, Xperia Project and Xperia Ear.

Xperia Agent is a security camera-style device which acts as a home monitoring system, keeping an eye on what’s going on around it and projecting notifications fed to it from a Sony smartphone onto surfaces around it.

‘It will provide you with useful information, communication assistance and home appliance controls,’ Sony said.

Xperia Project projects an interactive interface onto any clear surface, meaning you can manipulate images, webpages and screens you would usually find on your smartphone, onto a hard surface.

Sony claims this projected image will respond to touch, voice and gestures just as someone would interact with your smartphone screen.

The Xperia Ear is a wireless earpiece that will update you with any missed calls or messages as soon as you slot it into your ear.

‘It will navigate you to where you want to go and make your life eye-free and hands-free,’ said Sony Mobile’s President and boss, Hiroki Totoki.

‘It is also powered by Sony’s voice technology and will respond to a number of commands.’

The wearable camera is the first time Sony has shrunk its image sensing and camera technology into such a small device.

How Many Walkie-Talkies Can Operate on the Same Channel?

Theoretically, you can use an unlimited amount of walkie-talkies on the same channel (although in practice you might experience a few problems if you took that suggestion literally). Basically, there isn’t really a set limit. You could use as many as you like provided they are set up correctly. Anybody set to the right channel and in range at the time of transmission would then be able to pick up the signal and respond to it.

Most radios have access to 8 channels. These channels each have 38 separate ‘identification tones’. The user sets his/her channel up with the desired tone and then only other users who know the channel/tone will be able to hear the transmissions. As a result, there are, in any given area, about 304 different combinations, so signal interference is unlikely to affect you.

Please do not interpret this answer as saying that your radio has access to 304 possible channels. It does not. It will likely only have access to 8. Some less reputable manufacturers tend to falsely imply access to 304 channels; this is simply not the case. You will have access to 304 possible tone/channel combinations, that’s all.

To better explain the CTCSS codes and how they work; we’ll include a little information from Amherst.co.uk’s FAQ page.

“CTCSS stands for “Continuous Tone Coded Squelch System”. These codes are also often called “Privacy codes” If a CTCSS tone is selected; a CTCSS sub-audible tone is transmitted along with the regular voice audio by the transmitting radio. The receiving radio, set to the same CTCSS tone, will only receive audio if it contains that sub-tone. Interference from other users on the same frequency is therefore rejected (unless they are also on the same sub-tone). This is a way of allowing groups of users of walkie-talkies on the same channel to avoid hearing messages from other nearby users”.

So, in conclusion, you can probably use as many walkie-talkies as you like on the same channel. As long as the units in question are of the same type (either VHF or UHF) and have the same CTCSS setup, then you simply shouldn’t have a problem. You also shouldn’t suffer from signal interference due to other users (although you may still experience signal loss/interference/degradation from other sources). We have talked about combating signal loss elsewhere, so please see the other questions if you have any problems in this area.

What’s The Earpiece Performers wear What Perform Singers have in Their Ear

Every time a singer gets on stage, he or she wants to put on his/her best performance ever. This is why he/she will try to avoid any distraction that might otherwise affect his or her performance in a negative way. They will ensure that their concentration is really high and that they can hear themselves sing during that moment. One of the distractions that is usually in almost every concert is noise. The noise can be coming from the speakers, the echoes and even form the audience itself.

The music and the song that is normally heard when a singer is performing is referred to as house mix while the song that the singer hears from the speakers is referred to as monitor mix. Usually, a singer stands at the back of the main speakers that are normally placed in front of the audience. Most of the time especially on a big stage, the song that reaches the audience is reflected back to the stage (but not immediately). Such background music will prevent the singer from hearing his or her voice.

Stage monitors are small speakers that are directly aimed at the singer for him or her to hear himself or herself sing. Stage monitors were previously used in concerts and they are still being used on some small venues where cover bands do gigs e.g. in some private parties, bars etc. In the current concert venues, stage monitors do not work very well. This is because singers and musicians move a lot on stage when they are performing. Although the stage monitors enable the singer to hear the music on the stage, they are not as clear as personal monitors (referred to as earpieces, very different to Radio Earpieces).

Earpieces give the singer a detailed information regarding his or her performance. They make him/her hear both the song and the orchestra. They enable the singer to constantly hear his/her song regardless of his or her physical movement on the stage. This is unlike the stage monitors that usually provide the band’s and the singer’s voice based on their distance from the speaker. With stage monitors, the sounds usually vary especially if the singer is moving all over the stage.

When a singer has the earpieces on, he gets to choose what he wants to hear. For instance if he wants to hear himself sing or even hear the lyrics, he can. The earpieces help in drowning out the background sounds like the noises made by the crowd or even those from the band. In fact on average, the earpieces can help the singer reduce the background noise by up to 30 decibels. This can extremely help the singer during the performance.

Usually, the earpieces are tailor- made to perfectly fit the singer. They also come in different styles and colors and therefore the singer can pick the one that suits his/her outfit on the stage.

The most important benefit of having the earpieces on is that, they help the singer in eliminating or reducing the echoes. In an auditorium specifically built for concerts, sounds usually radiate through the entire building when the singer is performing. The audience really enjoy the music that echoes back to the stage however, the singer can easily get confused with such echoes. Note that, by the time the echo reaches the stage, it will be one or two seconds off from what the singer is singing at that moment.

Earpieces also help in blocking the sounds that are coming from the band. The instruments are extremely loud especially those that use electric amplifiers. This noise can make it really hard for the singer to hear himself or herself sing.

The earpieces give the singer the sound feedback and therefore he/she is able to hear everything that is in the song. This makes it easier for him/her to keep on with his or her performance.

Sometimes, you may notice that some garage bands who work in small areas are not using earpieces. The members of such bands usually monitor one another while performing to ensure that they keep up and stay in tune during the performance. However in large crowds of say a 100000 people (i.e. in huge stadiums), one will definitely need earpieces otherwise he/she may not hear anything and may even end up with off key sounds.

What Every Headset Purchaser Needs To Know

Closed Back Headphones vs. Open-back Headphones

Open-back headphones have pads which rest on the outer ear. They’re designed such that the outer shell of the ear cup has perforations usually with horizontal cutouts. The Open back headphones design of the ear cup enhances better natural sound because of less coloration as compared to the Closed back headphones.

Closed back headphones have much larger earpads which encircle the ears. They are designed such that there’s a big pad which cups the ears, and it features an insulated outer shell of plastic which covers the ears. The Closed back headphones actually have a very solid outer shell which doesn’t have any sort of perforations such that the outer shell effectively cups/encircles the entire ear. The Closed back headphones are excellent at isolating noise. They block most of the ambient noise, but they’ve a smaller sound stage, which gives the user the perception that the audio/sound is originating from within their head. Closed back headphones also tend to produce much stronger low frequencies as compared to Open back headphones.

Low Impedance vs High Impedance

Headphones normally come in various different impedance levels, such as 8 ohms, 16 ohms and 32 ohms. The power that’s supplied by an audio source may be at varying levels because of a variety of factors including being limited because of being battery powered. Generally, as the impedance of the headphones increases, much more voltage will be required in order to drive it, and the audio loudness of headphones for a particular voltage decreases.

The determination of impedance is usually disregarded by many headphone buyers, however, the truth is it’s one of the most important factors to consider when choosing the best headphones for your particular needs. Impedance is basically just how much power the headphones can put out so that it can overcome resistance to move the headphones’ diaphragm.

Low impedance headphones (that is, less than 25 ohm), usually require little power in order to deliver high audio levels. Low Impedance headphones play well with devices which have weak amplification. These can include; mobile phones, portable music players and various other portable devices. This type of headphones can be used at home and also while jogging with your mobile phone; this is one of the reasons why most of the on-, in-, and over the ear headphones, are low impedance. Low impedance headphones are normally designed to get plugged directly in to a single (one) source, and generates sound more efficiently from a lower level input signal. This headphones tend to be much louder and much more efficient, however, they will also require a much more capable amplifier.

High impedance headphones (25 ohms and above), generally require more power in order to deliver high audio levels. As a result, they’re protected from damages caused by overloading. High impedance headphones are typically designed for studio like applications where there might be multiple phones/devices wired in parallel and receiving input signals from a single source. High impedance headphones are more tolerant of the amplifier limitations, however, they will produce less volume for a particular output level. They are also a little more durable (that is, electronically), however, they require much higher signal levels in order to produce the same level of output level of the low impedance headphones. This type of headphones can be used with a wider range of audio equipment.

Passive Headphones vs. Active Headphones

Passive (noise cancelling) headphones are made of materials which help in blocking out sound waves from the surrounding environment. The same way ear muffs soften the outside noise, so does this type of headphones employ passive noise canceling. This type of headphones are typically used for both professional mixing and monitoring, like in broadcast and recording studios, and such other applications. Passive headphones are basically designed to playback music/audio true to the actual original recording, with minimal, compression, EQ, and such other sound enhancements.

On the other hand, Active headphones use batteries in order to power the built in Digital Signal Processing (also abbreviated as DSP) technology which processes play back for a particular reason, for example, to enhance the bass and the high end. Due to the enhancement of playbacks with sharper high ends and more bass, active headphones are more popular for general listening and listening to music for pleasure. Active noise cancelling headphones are also made of materials which help in blocking out outside noise, however, they take things a step further by making their very own sound waves; the sound waves created mimic the outside noises, but are a mirror image of each other, thus cancels each other out.

Wired Headphones Vs Wireless Headphones

When choosing a pair of headphones, deciding between wireless vs. wired is among one of the most overlooked factors. Wireless headphones might be a more popular choice, however, the wired headphones also have their own set of benefits. Well, that being said, as a general rule of thumb, between wireless headphones and wired headphones, assuming a similar price between the models; the wired headphones usually offer a much better quality. Also, the audio quality may get compromised over Bluetooth.

You can opt for the wireless headphones if you are not much of an audiophile, and you tend to travel a lot. If you really don’t like getting the cables of your headphones getting tangled, or caught while listening to music/audio, then the choice should be rather simple; go for wireless headphones.

You can opt for the wired headphones if you are an audiophile, and you do not necessarily bother with the wireless options unless absolutely essential like using them when traveling, or keeping the headphones as a backup. As aforementioned, the wired headphones are way ahead in terms of output quality as compared to the wireless headphones. You will never have to worry about running out of batteries, unless you happen to opt for wired headphones which cancel noise. In addition, you will never suffer from interference from the other commonly used wireless electronic devices. However, you will need to take good care of the wired headphone cables, or they will eventually break.