Murphycreek
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May 22, 2017

Natural World

First Hearphone outing: dinner, four couples, noisy restaurant.  After overcoming geeky self-consciousness and putting on Hearphones, could easily converse with people nearby, up to two away (rectangular table). Could hear/understand two soft-spoken women at far end of table. But couldn’t converse, because they couldn’t hear me, unless I bellowed (which I don’t).

 

Over next couple of days, found other enjoyable applications for Hearphones:

 

-Sitting outside, dark night, rural area, very quiet, by pool. Turned World to 35, treble up a little. And was immersed in rich, pleasant cacophony. Frogs ribbiting in nearby pool (how to get rid of frogs in pool?). Crickets, in seeming millions, cricking in surrounding grasslands. Other frogs, deeper (bullfrogs?), in stockpond two hundred yards away. Distant coyote, excited.  All loud and crisply clear (not unpleasantly loud), and fun to hear.

 

-Outside on warm summer early evening. Quiet, so turned World to 40, treble to 7. In an aural aviary. Barn swallows swooping, squeaking, rattling (feeding hatchlings in nests nearby). House finches chattering and warbling. Mockingbirds making up flat, oddball tunes. Mourning doves mourning. One gawk from a heron heading home for the evening. The birds were there all along, of course, but the Hearphones moved them up front and gave them a kind of drama. How do birders do without these things?

 

-Warm early summer morning. Breezy. Wild oats, thick stand, almost five feet high, dry, blowing in wind. Turned World to 40, treble to 8. And heard, very clearly, the sound of the wild oats, blowing in the wind, rustling against each other. Reminded me of sound of bamboo forest in wind, klacking against each other from Asian movie (Crouching Tiger?). But gentler, more a grassy purr. I’ve never heard anything like it.

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ST - Hearphones
Community Manager - Retired
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Dec 23, 2016

Re: Natural World

Hi Murphycreek,

 

Thank you for this beautiful post. Your descriptions were so lusciously vivid. It was amazing to hear these things with you. 

 

ST

Murphycreek
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May 22, 2017

Re: Natural World

Hearing in restaurants got my interest (and credit card). But I continue to be intrigued with Hearphones as bionic super ears, which allow me to hear natural phenomena with greater intensity than my ears (even when younger and better) would allow.  My nontechnical, uninformed, possibly hysterical view is that Hearphones are much more powerful than they would need to be to allow me (at least) to hear better in noisy places, and have other, additional uses.

 

Probably anyone using them quickly learns about three magical powers:

 

     -They amplify sound, but in a special way.  They increase soft sound more than louder sound.  The more you increase “World,” the deeper into soft sound they go.  Like a sonic microscope.  And if, when World is cranked way up, your Labrador puppy at your side shrieks a milk-curdling, rising pitched, bark riff, it doesn’t blow your ears off (although it is both loud and surprising).

 

     -The treble/bass control doesn’t just add a little more high or low pitched sound.  It seems to allow you to choose a band of pitch to amplify.  So as you crank Treble up, the sonic microscope  lets you focus on hearing mostly the sounds in a higher and higher narrow band of frequencies.  Like moving a zoom magnifier over different parts of a picture, only with sound.

  

   -They let you hear from 360 degrees, something like 180 degrees, or a narrower swath. 

 

Here are examples:

 

An unusual early summer storm came through a few days ago.

 

First came forerunner winds, gusting from the South. With World at 45, Treble around 20, and focused sound, a blue oak tree produced wind-rhythmed rich crackling, which I took to be the edges of the leathery leaves knocking together.  A couple of palm trees sounded of sabers rattling, metallic and sharp. A mockingbird sang (?) an extemporaneous warble throughout.  Sliding the Treble control to deep base produced a, to me mysterious, heavy rumble like from a Bach organ fugue, but with the same wind driven rhythm of the higher sounds (what could it be?).

 

Rain, windless, arrived at dawn. I took coffee and Hearphones to sit outside under a canopy.  World at 30, a little Treble, and 360 sound gave me an unnaturally and delightfully intense form of the rain-on-a-tin-roof phenomenon (which I like very much).  I was entranced, and just listened for 45 minutes. Switching the direction selection to focused allowed me to hear the rivulet of water splashing off the canopy to the deck railing below.  Deep bass wasn’t so good.  The wind-rumble was gone, and bass consisted of jets at 30,000 feet carrying people to meetings in far off cities.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ST - Hearphones
Community Manager - Retired
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Dec 23, 2016

Re: Natural World

Hi Murphycreek,

 

These are the most compelling aural landscapes I've ever read in recent memory.

Thank you,

ST 

Murphycreek
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May 22, 2017

Re: Natural World

Went to the mountains to listen to snow melt (mostly, I don’t tell friends about things like this). Big winter, still lots of snow in shady places. Warm weather now, so snow is melting fast. Through Hearphones, in a place with no visible running water, I could hear water running (World turned to 60, Treble to 25). Not sure what to make of it: water running under the snow? Water running within the snow? Water running somewhere out of sight and I couldn’t tell the difference?

 

In other places, lots of water was running. Listened to a small creek, now 20 feet across with snowmelt. With Treble high, heard what seemed to be sound of wavelettes. The connection was clearest at a midstream clump of willows, where a visible new wavelette and the sound were simultaneous. Very rhythmic, musical, captivating. With Treble control cranked down to low bass, there were deep gurgles, especially where water dropped rapidly into a pool. Could see eddies, so might be their sound.

 

Lots of willow thickets around stream. Lots of birds in thickets. Mostly, I couldn’t see them, they were hidden by the willows. But they were very chattery. Through Hearphones, with Treble up, the bird sounds were very intense and clear. But I’m not familiar enough with these birds to identify them by sound. Remembered that I had Sibley’s bird app on my phone, which was also controlling my Hearphones. Bird app has recorded sounds of each bird. For a Mountain Chickadee, for example, there were six recordings. And when I played one, I heard it through the Hearphones. So I could side by side the recording and the actual sound. All without playing the calls out loud and confusing the birds. OK, I know it’s pretty geeky, but I liked it. Spent a long time bird sound matching.

Bosewebauthor
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Jun 23, 2017

Re: Natural World

Well done! I am super-excited about the Bose Hearphones.

(Full disclosure, I work at Bose and I am on the team authoring the web page for this product.)

I think you captured your experience in a compelling and beautifully-written way. You made it clear how breathtaking this product is, and I am so pleased that this world has opened up for you.

Cheers!
Murphycreek
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May 22, 2017

Re: Natural World

Thank you for letting me know of my promotion to “friendly fanatic”. This will require some adjustment.  I’m pretty sure I’ve never been called a fanatic about anything in my life.  So far.  Until now.  An occasional gentle passion is about as far as I go.  Usually.  Until now.

 

As for disclosure. I have no association of any kind with Bose (other than owning a pair of sound-cancelling headphones that I bought a few years ago at a connecting airport after torture-by-airline).  I have no involvement with the electronics industry in any form (well, I have a cell phone and a laptop, and internet service, but you know what I mean).  I realize this is a day when we're told that nearly everything on the web and media is made up, fake, fraudulent, etc.  But I’m just a guy having unexpected fun with a new toy, and moved, for reasons I cannot explain, to write about it.  

 

Murphycreek
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May 22, 2017

Re: Natural World

Went to big city. Took Hearphones.  Unnatural world, maybe, but worth listening to in natural world way.

 

On bench facing Bay. Bass up, world up.  Deep rumble-throb of diesel engines as ferry backs away from dock.  Raw power, would fit in Whitman poem. Then treble up, as boat starts forward from two point turn.  Furious splashing propwash.  Decorated with six beat calls of sea gulls, sounding of excitement and complaint at deep injustice of world.

 

Direction at 360, world up, treble up. Schools of polyglot voices drift by behind.  Staccato Asian (Chinese?), touch of Texan, German (crisp Hochdeutsch), Spanish (Mexican?), teen girls (Valley?), more Asian, young geek males talking of start-up.  More distant burbling of children, occasional shrieking accents.  Gathered seagulls, discussing division of garbage.

 

Dinner, seated outdoors, canvas cover above. Next to wife, late 20s male friend across table.  Moderate people noise, plus urban traffic.  Occasional motorcycle roar, suggesting jungle beast.  Without Hearphones, could hear, understand, cross table male, but took serious attention.  With Hearphones, after sliding World up, hearing was effortless.  Tried 180 and focused direction; preferred focused.  Could hear young male either way, but 180 allowed more annoying aural clutter.  Problem:  to hear wife well, had to turn toward her, in owl manner.   Later, live music (jazz) started inside, with open door.  With bass up, music drowned out speech; but with treble just right, my companions were crisp and clear.  They, however, had trouble hearing each other (or me). 

 

Tried walking down sidewalk with Hearphones. Bad idea.  Poor sense of sound direction.  Couldn’t tell instantly where brake-screeching car was.  Put them in pocket.