Sensaphonics is at it again....
Mar 8, 2006 at 9:38 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 13

thorrad

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From the Sensaphonice press release:
"Chicago, IL (January 19, 2006) - Sensaphonics Hearing Conservation is showing its new 3D Active Ambient in-ear monitor (IEM) system at the NAMM show in Anaheim, January 19-22, 2006. The 3D Active Ambient is the first IEM system to add full-range, natural ambient sound to the mix, taking the in-ear experience to the next level. By embedding a highly sensitive, precision-equalized microphone within each custom molded, soft gel silicone earpiece, Sensaphonics engineers have succeeded in adding the actual ambient soundfield, at unity gain and with accurate directional cues, into the monitor mix. The ambient sound picked up at the ears is routed to the compact 3D bodypack, where it is combined with the artist's monitor mix using Active Signal Processing (patent pending) for ultra-smooth frequency response and full-bandwidth dynamic range performance."

But wait there's more...

"Using an all-new hybrid driver, the 3D earpiece actually outperforms Sensaphonics' acclaimed 2X-S model while using just a single driver. A dual-driver version offers even greater headroom along with greater bass response."

Looks like a product worth watching out for. I would caution that this product is built specifically for stage performance, but it may serve a dual role as a personal listening device for us high end users. The only issue I might have with it would be the bodypack. As the PR states:

"The bodypack supplied with the 3D Active Ambient acts as both preamplifier and mixer, providing the user with full control of the ambient input level through two operating modes, easily selected at the flip of a switch. In Performance Mode, the in-ear mix is controlled normally, with ambient sound level set inside the body pack to the user's choice of levels (anywhere from "full" to "off"). In Full Ambient Mode, the on-stage sound is presented at unity gain - the equivalent of removing the earpieces from one's ears - while monitor levels are dynamically reduced to permit conversation."

Sounds like a great feature for those of us with the 2XS. I could hear what folks around me were saying when I wanted to but could just tune them out just as easily. (Dreaming of my bus ride with the noisy neighbors and my phone ringing at work...)

Oh and heres a photo!

Enjoy!

3d_thumb.jpg
 
Mar 8, 2006 at 10:53 PM Post #2 of 13

Sugarfried

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Quote:

Originally Posted by thorrad
Sounds like a great feature for those of us with the 2XS. I could hear what folks around me were saying when I wanted to but could just tune them out just as easily. (Dreaming of my bus ride with the noisy neighbors and my phone ringing at work...)


Just to be certain, a completely new set of earphones will be required. Existing 2Xs (or other) earphones cannot be retro-fit with this new device as the microphones are inside the earpieces.
 
Mar 8, 2006 at 11:31 PM Post #3 of 13

xluben

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Sounds like a hi-tech version of the UE Ambients:

http://www.ultimateears.com/custom/UE-5Ambient.htm

Which pretty much, just have a hole in them to let in some outside noise.

I would think the UE solution would work better (for accurate directionalism) than trying to make one driver and one mic tell you which direction a sound is coming from.

It would be very cool if someone did this with an on/off switch (AKA the Shure PTH without the module).

EDIT: Nevermind about the PTH part, seems that the black box that comes with the Sensa's is bigger than the PTH, doh!
 
Mar 9, 2006 at 12:09 AM Post #4 of 13

thorrad

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Sugarfried
Just to be certain, a completely new set of earphones will be required. Existing 2Xs (or other) earphones cannot be retro-fit with this new device as the microphones are inside the earpieces.


Yeah! Why retrofit something that was really expensive when you can buy new even more expensive stuff! This is HeadFi after all...
etysmile.gif
 
Mar 9, 2006 at 2:08 AM Post #5 of 13

raisin

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Excuse my ignorance, but I don't understand how this would be of use to the solo headphone user. Would'nt the PTH device be the best alternative for the discriminating listner?
 
Mar 9, 2006 at 3:41 PM Post #6 of 13

JeffS

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Yeah, I think the PTH would probably be better for general listening, but still needing the occasional conversation.

I think these new ones are really cool, and definitely have a purpose. I just think it's more relevant to being a monitor for stagework, vs. audio geek listening pleasure.

Although:
Quote:

"Using an all-new hybrid driver, the 3D earpiece actually outperforms Sensaphonics' acclaimed 2X-S model while using just a single driver. A dual-driver version offers even greater headroom along with greater bass response."


Does make it tempting to check out before plunking down for the 2X


I was planning on getting sensas this spring, and pair it up with shures pth device. Now I have a new toy to consider. I'd only go this direction though, if there were a really noticible difference in sound quality. I wouldn't want the bodypack to be permanant part of my portalbe listening setup.

Oh well, it's still early...

-Jeff
 
Mar 9, 2006 at 5:07 PM Post #7 of 13

Sugarfried

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JeffS is correct, this new product is totally aimed at performers only. As this is not in production yet I don't know if pricing is available, but I seem to remember hearing that it would be in the $2,000 range. I will report back if I find out that I'm wrong about that.
 
Mar 9, 2006 at 5:43 PM Post #8 of 13

raisin

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Sugarfried
but I seem to remember hearing that it would be in the $2,000 range.


Hopefully that will be high enough to spare us the usual fanboy reviews
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Mar 9, 2006 at 6:58 PM Post #9 of 13

Tyll Hertsens

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I've talk to many of the IEM maker about including microphones in the earpieces. I think it enables a number of benefits---but it is difficult to make apear in the market.

The thing I like about the UE solution is that it's simple; the thing I don't like about it is that you can't turn it on and off easily. Also, acousto-mecanical (is that a word?) solutions for an on-off switch may tend to compromise both fidelity and isolation. I think the most advantagious solution is putting mikes in the earpieces and provide good electronic switching and mixing functions.

The big problem is if an IEM maker does it electronically then they either have to go in to business making electronics or partner with someone to make a compatable piece of gear. The ideal situation would be to have an industry standard adopted and then let suppliers of electronics and suppliers of IEMs develop their bits independantly. Saddly, there is no clamouring market demand for such a product strong enough to get the attention needed to cause industry response. The danger now is that various vendor create various solutions which are connector incompatable. This condition currently exists in wired cell-phone headsets. We are currently playing around with headsets of various types and have run into the problem of non-standardized connectorization.

The new headsets listed above are not headsets, per se, but who's to say the mikes in the ear pieces couldn't act as the voice mike for a cell phone. Or, maybe you do have to add an additional mike to make it a headset; if you did, and had a significantly cool piece of electronics behind it, you could live your entire day with your IEMs in. It's not that I'm promoting how much fun it is to have IEMs in, I just think some people would realize great benefit from enabling a dramatically versatile aural display in their life. Imagine a stock analyst or sales person who who want's to isolate themselves from a noisy environment but still effortlessly switch between listening to a news report on thier computer, answering their cellphone, answering their office phone, talking to someone standing next to them, and then instantly switching to the music playing on their iPod at all times in between.

The problem is that people need to be willing to pay quite a bit for the ability to do all that---at the low end maybe $300 for the cans and $400 for the electronics on top of thier $300 iPod. That's a $1000 system; the market isn't big right now at that price. But, I do think it will come eventually.
 
Mar 9, 2006 at 10:25 PM Post #10 of 13

JeffS

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Quote:

Originally Posted by raisin
Hopefully that will be high enough to spare us the usual fanboy reviews
very_evil_smiley.gif



Are you kidding? This is Head-Fi!
I believe "...sorry about your wallet." is the standard message for a reason.
eek.gif
icon10.gif
eek.gif


(just kidding...)

((sort of))

-Jeff
 
Mar 10, 2006 at 5:31 AM Post #11 of 13

raisin

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Tyll Hertsens
We are currently playing around with headsets of various types and have run into the problem of non-standardized connectorization.
T



"Not that there is anything wrong with that" (seinfeld)
tongue.gif
 
Mar 22, 2006 at 11:31 PM Post #12 of 13

p0wderh0und23

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Quote:

I would think the UE solution would work better (for accurate directionalism) than trying to make one driver and one mic tell you which direction a sound is coming from.


Actually any "ambient" or "ported" device is not better than mics. You loose a lot of your low end due to the compromise of the seal. With a ported earpiece you really have a very limited control over what you hear. There are little filters one can use, but they can be a pain to deal with. We've made them for customers and that is one thing I hear back from them alot.


This is the press release I am sending out this month on the Ambient system Westone is releasing this Spring:

Westone and Gennum Introduce In-Ear Sound Design™ (SD1) to Winter NAMM 2006 Attendees

Incorporating Ambience with DSP to Enhance the In-Ear Monitoring Experience

(Colorado Springs, CO) March 2006— Westone and Gennum Corporation debuted their jointly developed ambient monitoring and sound contouring system, In-Ear Sound Design, to attendees of the NAMM 2006 Winter Session.
Developed in consultation with monitor engineers, artists and industry professionals, In-Ear Sound Design draws on Gennum’s 33-year history in developing audio solutions and Westone’s nearly 50 years of knowledge and experience in producing custom fit products for the human ear. In-Ear Sound Design enhances the capabilities available to the in-ear monitor user by allowing ambient sound to be mixed with the monitor signal and providing tools to fully customize the response characteristics of both sources independently.
With In-Ear Sound Design, each individual is able to personalize their listening experience, control the dynamics and the amount of ambient sound in their mix, and even tailor the frequency response to taste. It incorporates a 6-band parametric EQ, multi-band compressor and brick-wall limiter. The patent pending ear-level microphone design provides a spatially correct stereo image of the environment and allows the wearer to communicate without having to remove the monitors from their ears.
In-Ear Sound Design is compatible with the vast majority of existing custom in-ear monitors, including those manufactured by other companies. Sound Design Audio Manager (SDAM) software allows the user to personalize the dynamics of the ambient and monitor mix. These personalized settings can be stored in the 4 memory locations of the SD1 belt-pack, allowing quick onstage access during live performance. In-Ear Sound Design can be used in conjunction with a wireless monitor system or as a standalone hardwired system. It is designed to allow the wearer to have total sound control of their monitor and ambient environment.
Featuring Gennum’s world-class Voyageur™ Chip. The Voyageur™ is a 20-bit Digital Signal Processor (DSP) with a 48kHz sample rate. This ultra low power chip provides up to an amazing 300 hours of life on a single “AA” battery. In-Ear Sound Design ships with the SD1 belt pack, SD1 cable with built in microphones, Sound Design Audio Manager (SDAM) software, 1 USB cable and 1 male 3.5mm to male 3.5mm jumper cable.
During the NAMM show, In-Ear Sound Design received extremely positive reviews from artists, engineers and trade magazines. Pricing for the In-Ear Sound Design has not been finalized.
 
Mar 23, 2006 at 12:40 PM Post #13 of 13

Affi75

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Yes, a vented / ported IEM will suffer from a loss of low frequencies, especially when using balanced armature drivers. These are very dependent of playing into a sealed room to be able to reproduce the low end.


We've had a similar version of an ambient IEM here at Starkey Norway for a while. We have made a hybrid of our custom IEM and an active module that works like an adjustable hearing protector and an ambient mixer. The module is integrated in the earmould, with an integrated microphone, a digital hybrid amp, battery, and volume/damping controller, as well as the single or dual drivers. The advantage with this is that you only have a single standard 3,5mm stereo jack, without the need for a dedicated belt pack unit.

The wheel gives you stepless adjustment of ambience from full damping (approx 25dB) through unity gain and up to 10dB amplification. There is a built-in compressor to control and even out the ambient sound, and a limiter that blocks the output to your ear to a maximum of 99dB regardless of input. The limiter only works for the ambient microphone, and so won't affect the signal quality through the monitor input.

The active module are installed in parallell to the monitor input, so you can mix the ambient sound into the monitor signal.
The combination of the natural ambience effect in the sound around you (that helps your brain know its coming from a distance), and the compressor setting, gives you a sound that your brain masks when put up against the more dry direct sound of the monitored signal, making it easy for your concience to suppress the ambient noise when you have a direct monitor signal, but at the same time letting you hear a clear sound of your surroundings when you mute or dampen the monitor input. The possibility of amplifying the ambient sound helps you to hear things you must hear while listening to music that would otherwise be masked too much, like phone ringing, smoke detectors etc.
These functions also makes them ideal for use where you need to be able to be aware of your surroundings or you would like to be able to just pause your music and talk to others without having to take them off.

I myself use these all day at work, and I can hear and talk both with others directly and in the phone without ever having to take them off.

Optionally we make these with multiple memories and/or a telecoil, letting you have one neutral mix, one with bass reduction and one mixed with telecoil, that together with our bluetooth neck loop gives you wireless communication with your cellphone, computer etc.

Here's a couple of pictures as well. I hope you can excuse my not so good english :)

SA-21d%20Active%20(small).jpg


SA-21d%20Active%202%20(small).jpg
 

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