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Surround Sound Philosophy 101

Surround Sound Philosophy 101

Red Panda
Source: Flickr

There has been a long evolution in commercial movie theater sound. During the first two and a half decades of movie theater presentations, a piano, organ, orchestra, sound effects man, or actors reading the dialog comprised the sound of movies. Electronic sound appeared in 1926 with the coming of the “talkies. ” Theaters were wired for sound, and a big speaker perhaps set behind the center of the screen did it all. This was the monophonic sound era. Then stereo sound arrived in the 1940’s with left and right channels. Additional sound channels were added in the 1950’s. (Somewhere in there, a center channel was added to anchor the dialog to the center of the screen. ) Finally surround sound came on the scene in the 1980’s in various versions adapted to the acoustic challenges of the commercial movie theater. (The advent of DVD’s brought affordable surround sound to our home theaters. )
Home theater sound can follow any of these commercial movie theater approaches, or it can move beyond to new levels of sonic realism and effects.
One important difference between movie theaters and home theaters is that movie theaters must present acceptable sound to a (hopefully) large group of people sitting at every location of a large room. In contrast, a home theater usually serves a much smaller group of people sitting in a much more limited part of the home theater space.
The limited size of the usual listening/viewing location in a home theater can work to the advantage of home theater owners due to the nature of sound reproduction.
To understand how sound reproduction bears on this discussion, let’s start by considering stereo sound.
In stereo systems, if a listener is closer to the left speaker, all the sound apparently comes from the left speaker. If you have a stereo, turn it on and try this: sit in a location equidistant from the two speakers and listen to a good stereo recording with your eyes closed. Note the spread of locations the sound appears to come from. Now move a few feet to the left of and then to the right of center and notice how the sound which was spread across from left to right collapses into “all left” or “all right”. This failure of the stereo illusion is unavoidable when you use just two speakers. This means there’s always a “sweet spot” (where the stereo effect works best) located on a line centered between the two speakers in a stereo system.
By the way, purchasing more expensive speakers cannot overcome this effect, as the failure of the stereo effect ONLY has to do with both the differences in loudness between the two speakers (due to being closer to one than to the other) and the difference in the time when the sound arrives at your ears from each of the two speakers.
The center speaker in movie or home theaters is an attempt to override this problem by placing a speaker in the middle of the screen for dialogue and other sounds which the film maker wants to make sure comes from the center of the screen, no matter where you sit in the theater. The center channel solves the problem of stabilizing the dialogue but alas, any stereo sound being provided by the front left and front right speakers will still seem to collapse to one side or the other if a person sits well to the left side or the right side of the theater.
So, now let’s consider the surround speakers. In movie theaters, the sound system designers are really stuck in a dilemma. Some audience members are often sitting right under or right next to one of the surround speakers, which means there’s no hope of the person hearing the other surround speakers’ output at the correct volume and at the right time to get any sort of stereo effect from the surround speakers. This is probably why the older Dolby Pro-Logic system rear surround was only monophonic.
Instead, sound system designers for movie theaters apparently threw up their hands and designed and arranged the surround speakers to:
1. Really lag in time, (so the surround sound wouldn’t arrive BEFORE the sound from the main speakers, no matter where you sat, and)
2. Arranged for those speakers to smear their sound all over the back of the theater to mask the problems caused by the great variety of audience/surround speaker time and distance relationships.
Now, along comes home theater.
Most home theater users don’t fill the room with audiences, but the philosophy of earlier commercial theater design is still being applied. You will observe how some home theater rear surround speakers are designed to project sound in multiple directions and how the set up manuals will often direct that the speakers be placed to project their sound away from the main viewing location.
Here’s the thing – if you want to reproduce the movie theater listening experience, use the surround speakers which try to spread sound all over and position those speakers to aid that goal.
But, if you want to enjoy the more accurate sound source positioning (the sound appears to come from some exact location behind you, to your left, right, or even overhead! ) made possible by Dolby Digital or DTS, a different approach should be used.
In this approach (labeled “Holosonic Sound” by Gary Reber and the gang at Widescreen Review magazine [www.widescreenreview.com]) the rear speakers are placed behind the viewers at about the same distance from the main listening position as the front speakers. They are usually somewhat further apart than the front speakers. These surround speakers should be:
1. Well matched to the sound quality (timbre) of the front and center speakers.
2. Direct radiating, and pointed at the prime listening position.
3. Capable of handling at least one-third to one-half the power that the front speakers can handle.
4. Located at a height at or slightly above the height of the ears of the audience.
(To prevent sound from the rear speakers from being blocked by seatbacks, they might have to go a bit higher. The viewer’s ears must be able to directly “see” the surrounds. )
Home theater owners whose seats are right back against the wall will have to cope by placing the surrounds on the back wall facing the seating, but spaced well away from the viewers (same distance from the viewers as the distance from the front speakers to the viewers, if possible) to minimize the collapse of the rear stereo effect if an audience member is not sitting exactly between the two rear surround speakers.
Movie makers today are releasing films on DVD with sound that is designed so that home theaters arranged to produce accurate stereo sound from good rear surround speakers will really give you the feeling the you are inside the action, with actors sometimes speaking behind you, and sounds moving right out of the screen over your head.
How do you reliably adjust and test your home theater for the kind of performance we’re talking about here?
Easy! Order the AVIA disk from Ovation Software’s website. (www.ovationmultimedia.com)
Study the materials presented on the AVIA DVD, and then follow the instructions on the disk, or hire a pro to do the job after watching the DVD has helped you to understand the outline of what has to be done. The audio portions of this disk will assist you mightily in tuning up your system if you do it yourself. It contains “circulating” audio test signals that circle around the room and if you set up your theater for accurate surround sound, that test will show you how well surround sound can work in your home theater.
It can be very satisfying to have better surround sound than the commercial movie theaters.

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Noise Discipline In Airsoft

Noise Discipline In Airsoft

Playing airsoft at night or under indoor low light conditions can be a great change of pace. You can experience the action of a gun fight with the highs and lows of watching a horror film. To succeed under these conditions, you must practice good noise discipline.

In low light conditions the importance of hearing is increased. Frequent pauses in movement to listen for your opponent and to get a bearing on your team’s position will help insure that you and your team do not become a victim of friendly fire.

In addition to frequent listening stops, you yourself must insure that all equipment is secure and does not generate noise as you move. The metal brackets on your airsoft gun sling and the radio loosely attached to your vest will allow the opposite team to pinpoint you as easily as if you were calling out to them. It is best, before you set out, to jump up and down and listen for noises that you can prevent. Higher frequency noises, such as metal on metal, are much more prone to directional location via sound.

In low light conditions it is usually best to slow your movement down and keep your breathing under control. If your breathing is elevated and forceful your ability to hear is greatly diminished, and you will have to sacrifice crucial time to allow for your breathing to fall back to a level that will not impair your hearing.

You may also want to forgo the usual fully enclosed face and head protection in favor of an eye and face only style mask. The impact from an airsoft BB in the ear can be a painful event, but the increased ability to pin point sounds may be worth the slight chance of being hit in a tender spot. Given that being hit in the head, neck, or ear will cause no permanent damage, you must decide if the increased ability to hear and locate sounds is worth the pain risk.

The choice of magazines you use in your airsoft gun, may also lead to problems on the field. Low and mid capacity magazines are advisable, do to their ability to hold each BB in place. Most high capacity magazines utilize a reservoir that allows ammo to rattle around inside the thin metal container. You can usually hear someone carrying a high capacity magazine from far away, especially if the magazine is partially expended. Medium capacity magazines are a better option as some can handle large quantities of ammo, while maintaining the position of each individual BB.

In airsoft, as well as the real world, having good team movement can make all the difference in the world. Having signals for immediate stopping and relaying positions of sounds heard by team members is paramount. It does no good to practice good noise discipline if you can not hear because your team continues to move and make noise.

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Sinus Problems? No Problem at All

Sinus Problems? No Problem at All

.:Cat Girl:.
Source: Flickr

We all know how it feels. We’ve felt the pain. The pressure builds until you think you can’t handle it any more. Your head feels like it’s twice its normal size and ready to burst. You know what I’m talking about: Sinus problems and sinus infections; whatever you’d like to call them. They can really make your life miserable for weeks at a time, especially during the winter months.

Sinusitis, most commonly known as sinus infection, happens when the sinuses get blocked and mucus and air cannot flow freely through them. Here’s a statistic to think about: 30% of all people suffer from sinusitis at least once a year. Put that in perspective and that means about 1.8 billion people suffer from one sinus infection or another during the year. This includes those who suffer short term (acute: 1-3 weeks), long term (chronic: 3-8 weeks) and recurrent (multiple times throughout the year) sinus problems.

Sinus infection symptoms can hit you in a number of ways. They include:
• Fever
• Headache
• Runny nose or nasal congestion
• Cough
Ear ache or ear infection
• Swelling around the eyes
• Upper jaw and tooth ache
• Tenderness around nose, ear, and cheeks
• Weakness or fatigue

Personally, sinus headaches make me want to die. I feel like I’m in slow motion. A helicopter sounds like it is just above my head with its choppers going constantly. The pressure mounts in my sinus cavities and fills every whole from my brain to my face. I can’t concentrate on anything and everyday tasks become burdens. I couldn’t imagine dealing with sinus headaches on a regular basis. Nobody wants to go around feeling like that. Life’s hard enough without your head beating like a drum.

None of those are fun to experience; you have places to be, people to see, and things to do. You can’t afford to be sick for lengthy periods of time. If you’re part of that 30%, then you would probably like to know what you can do to prevent sinus infections from making your life a mess for weeks at a time. Simple activities, using a humidifier, and regularly cleansing nasal passages are a few good ways that can help decrease sinus infection symptoms. These symptoms can also be combated by using a nasal spray to clean, flush, and kill the harmful bacteria out of your nasal passages and sinus cavities.

Sinus problems can really complicate your daily routine and make life miserable. So plan ahead and don’t get stuck in slow motion from sinus infections.

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Give Your Business The Advantage Of A Bluetooth Headset

Give Your Business The Advantage Of A Bluetooth Headset

Stefani Slutty
Source: Flickr

When you’re in business, you always want to give the best to get the most.
One of the efficient devices to add to your arsenal is the Bluetooth headset to keep tabs on people and their latest exploits in the name of the business.

Business Chic and Hi-end Tech

If you have people in the field and in other parts of the country dealing with clients and looking for financial opportunities, you’d want to know what’s going on. The Bluetooth headset will bridge the gap and the miles.

In the office, teleconferencing can take place with people at their cubicles, but ideally, a teleconference should be held in a quiet place without the irritating background noise coming from keyboards and paper being shuffled.

In all appearance, a Bluetooth headset is a discreet device that can be worn on the ear. It is a single earpiece that establishes connection to the phone, camera, PDA, and more, relying on Bluetooth technology.

Bluetooth technology in the layman’s glossary is wireless connection technology. No more dangling wires that get in the way. Simply wear it, dial the number, and provide the password given to you.

The latest Bluetooth headset in the market is version 2.0, which is three times faster, uses less power, and has simplified multi-links because of more bandwidth. The 2.1 version provides extended power conservation. These are pricey, but eliminate the problems of the older versions.

Your Bluetooth headset

Shopping for the Bluetooth headset that’ll supercharge your business? Take the following tips to heart:

Budget is the deciding factor when buying your Bluetooth headset. You’ll have to decide if you’ll go for the $30 or $300 headset or those in-between.

You’ll have to decide if you want boom or no boom. A boom is the small microphone appendage that sticks out from the headset, which you can adjust comfortably.

In reality, there is no assurance that a Bluetooth headset is comfortable. Worn for hours on end, it can become uncomfortable on the ear. You can switch these from the left to the right ear and back again to ease the pressure on the ear.

Better yet, try on the Bluetooth headset before making your final choice, if you’re buying these from a retail shop. These come in different sizes, so you’ll have to consider the people who are going to use these headsets. There are also headsets with eyeglasses clips or interchangeable loops for those wearing eyeglasses.

Other deciding factors when buying your headset

Your headset should be easy to pair with multiple phones. The Bluetooth headset can be paired with multiple phones. By pairing, you are connecting the headset and your phone instantly, and the two will recall each other’s names and connect each time until you decide to break up the pairing.

Choose a better-sized headset. The smaller the headset, the tinier the buttons. If you happen to have fat fingers, you’ll be constantly seeking the on-button and dislodging the headset.

Battery life. The bigger and weightier the headset, the longer the battery life. You have the option to choose somewhere between two to 10 hours talk time and 25 to 250 hours standby time. Remember, you can’t receive calls when you’re down on batteries.

Get the Bluetooth Advantage Now

There are great reasons to get the Bluetooth headset. Cut down travel costs, increase workforce productivity, exchange information real-time, and cut down those telephone bills. You’ll have up to 5-10 people on the line. Won’t your business gain from these advantages?


Tinnitus: Better Known As Ringing In The Ears

Living with tinnitus can be frustrating experience. The constant sounds in your daily routine can severely limit your energy and feed depression.

Avoid instances where you expect to encounter loud noises. Tinnitus may stem from exposure to loud sounds. You want to avoid any more damage to your symptoms if you do not worsen. It can also stop an occurrence of your current symptoms.

Try using white noise from a fan, a radio, a television or anything that can give your mind something other than the noise in your head to focus on. The background noise will help decrease the amount you notice the tinnitus. If the only noise you hear is tinnitus, it’s easy to fixate on the sound and become more aggravated by it.

TIP! Sleep at night with a white noise generator. Having some background noise can distract you from your tinnitus and make it easier to sleep.

When you start to hear ringing in your ears, it’s critical that you remain relaxed. If it ceases to be a problem, you may want to see a doctor, though it is nothing to freak out about.

If you suffer from tinnitus, try relaxing, a couple good examples are yoga or meditation. Tinnitus is often made worse by stress or overwhelmed.

If you suffer from tinnitus, always wear ear plugs every time you go swimming. Swimming can lead to water entering the ear canal, and that can worsen tinnitus symptoms. Although it may sound ridiculous, you might want to consider donning ear plugs before taking a shower.

TIP! Reflexology is something that many previous tinnitus sufferers have used for relief, so try it too! Make sure to look for a reputable professional with solid references. Call the references and check into their experience before you choose the most trustworthy person to use.

Make sure to find a reputable professional who has some accreditation and offers you a list of references. Do not visit anyone who does not make you feel comfortable with.

Try out different “white” noises to find which one most relaxes you. White noise could aid you from tinnitus noises long enough for you fall asleep.

Try to steer clear of loud volume music, and other noise. It might be faddish to listen to music at full volume, but doing so can have long term serious impacts to your hearing. It can complicate any exiting cases of tinnitus, and it might even cause you to permanently suffer from impaired hearing. If you will be exposed to loud music or noises, you should wear foam earplugs. Also, don’t play your music devices too loud.

TIP! Look for others that suffer from tinnitus. Bookmarking multiple online support groups, or joining local groups, can help to ease your stress and provide you with invaluable information.

If you’ve been diagnosed as having tinnitus before, you should let any new doctor know this. Many medications that are available over the counter can interfere with your condition worse.Your physician needs to know about your condition in order to avoid prescribing an inappropriate medication.

Do what you can to reduce stress. If you are able to do this, you will find yourself less severely affected by your condition.

There are some strategies to provide relief from tinnitus when you are home. Turn the fan part of your air conditioning and heating system on all the time for white noise in the background. Alternatively, you can place small electric fans in each room, or see if a meditation fountain is effective. If you can drown out tinnitus sounds while at home, it’ll be a lot easier to deal with your condition. You probably won’t notice ringing in your ears as much while you are busy doing things outside of your home, so it won’t bother you so much.

TIP! Ear plugs are essential if you struggle with tinnitus. If possible, stay away from things like vibrations and overly loud noises.

It’s possible that a dental problem could be contributing to your tinnitus. You should go to your dentist to have this checked out. Your bite could actually be what’s causing your tinnitus. A dentist can help to fix your bite is creating this issue.

Try to steer clear of loud sounds or constant noise.If certain places or events seem to cause your tinnitus to flare up, avoid them whenever possible in the future.

Visit your dentist. You can develop tinnitus because of a dental or jaw problem. Make sure you speak with them about tinnitus. The doctor may be able to give you advice. If you tinnitus is from a physical condition or problem, get that issue fixed.

TIP! If you play a musical instrument, it can help drown out the tinnitus for awhile and distract you from it. Recorders, flutes and brass instruments work best, because their sound resonates in your head and can effectively drown out the sounds associated with the tinnitus.

Cars Passing

Take a stroll around the block. Pay attention to your surroundings are influencing your symptoms.Perhaps cars passing by, for instance cars passing by, are making it worst. Write down all sounds that negatively affect your tinnitus, so that you can make a conscious effort at avoiding them in the future.

If thinking about the needles of acupuncture make you uncomfortable, consider the benefits of acupressure! Acupressure follows the same general principles of acupuncture and even provides parallel levels of tinnitus relief, but the application of it doesn’t require being stuck with multitudes of metal needles.

TIP! While you may be seeing a physician or specialists such as an audiologist, you should always remember that you’re taking care of yourself too. Nobody is more qualified than you to know if a treatment is working, or when it may be time to try something else.

Having a background noise from radio or television can help you concentrate on homework or business tasks, but it is proven to be of help to tinnitus sufferers.

This directs sound directly to the ears and cancel out any you may have already been hearing from within. If the volume is too high, you can cause further damage.

When you avoid negativity, you discover that are capable of managing your affliction and its symptoms. Some articles put down tinnitus treatments, which makes people wonder why they cannot get rid of the condition. Give any new treatment a fair chance to work before discarding it. Remember, it may take several tries before you find the right treatment for you.

TIP! If you can’t seem to stop focusing on your tinnitus or constantly feel overwhelmed by it, consider seeing a therapist. Therapy can help you learn to manage stress better, as well as learn strategies for coping with your symptoms.

If you are diagnosed with tinnitus and told that there is no cure, get a second opinion. Tinnitus isn’t fatal and there are many forms of treatment which can lessen the symptoms and make it more bearable, and there are a wide variety of treatment options.

Determining what has caused your tinnitus can be quite a challenge, since there are so many factors that can result in the condition. Once you have consulted one or or more physicians, focus on which treatments you can use to reduce your symptoms and learn more about this condition. Once you have your symptoms under control, it will be a lot easier to determine the cause.

You can get new ideas for managing tinnitus symptoms by talking to other sufferers. Listen to podcasts, read blogs, or join forums to connect with other people who have tinnitus. You can also put in your “two-cents-worth” regarding your experiences with tinnitus.

TIP! Some people with tinnitus find medication beneficial. Drugs that are used to treat depression and anxiety have also been shown in studies to help some tinnitus sufferers.

Do any homeopathic remedies without talking with your doctors supervision.

Hypnosis has been able to help many tinnitus symptoms in some patients. It tends to work best to people who deal with tinnitus at night. They indicate that there are good benefits to dealing with tinnitus as a whole as well. A professional can guide you deep into a hypnotic trance and help you are experiencing.

Long-term exposure to noisy, industrial sounds like airplane operation or construction work can cause severe tinnitus. It’s a good idea to wear earplugs if you are exposed to this type of noise, instead of leaving your job. This would help you to avoid damaging your ears.

TIP! Make sure that the food you are eating isn’t contributing to your tinnitus. For example, a number of tinnitus sufferers have found that caffeine and red wine worsen the condition.

Psychotherapy can provide relief to you live a better life with tinnitus. This can be especially helpful, if you’ve become sleep deprived, like depression or sleep disturbances.

Learning what works for others is an excellent way to help your tinnitus. Find pertinent media such as forums, read blogs, subscribe to podcasts and post on forums to learn from others. You could also give back to the same things as you do.

Dealing with tinnitus will be easier if you do not try to do it all by yourself. Inform your friends and relatives that you suffer from tinnitus, and give them an idea of how it reduces your quality of life. You can give them examples to help them understand what it is like to live with the constant noise. Sharing what you’re going through will help you to not feel so isolated, and make those close to you understand.

TIP! Changing your eating habits may also be necessary to beat tinnitus. Most medical conditions are directly related to how well you take care of your body.

Tinnitus is often the result of a person’s hearing being exposed to machinery noises, such as airplanes, machinery or loud construction work. If your work environment involves constant loud noises, rather than quitting your job, try wearing a set of earplugs on the job to avoid possible ear damage.

For example, many tinnitus suffers find red wine and caffeine makes the ringing in their ears louder. Keep a food journal and if any foods or drinks seem to make your symptoms worse, try cutting them out completely for a couple of weeks. This will give you determine whether something about your diet is aggravating your tinnitus.

If you have found an effective relief technique, you should also try to find the source of your tinnitus to prevent it from recurring. It your tinnitus is something that just showed up one day, you might be able to really narrow it down. Unless you are able to determine the origin of your problem, it will be extremely difficult to choose an appropriate treatment plan. Do not become discouraged; continue moving forward until you find what works best for you.

TIP! Have you been told not to panic so many times you could scream? This is sound advice. Panicking only causes anxiety, and the resulting stress can both exacerbate and initiate the symptoms of tinnitus.

To cope with tinnitus, be certain you aren’t alone in your suffering. For instance, make them think about how it feels to listen to a horrible sound, or how you can’t go to a really loud concert without ear plugs. This will help them to realize how they can support you as you deal with tinnitus, and help your loved ones understand what it feels like to live with tinnitus.

The advice in the article above has helped many people to control tinnitus and you may find the same, if you give them a try. Nobody should have to suffer with constant noise in their head, making life miserable. Apply the advice given in this article, and allow it to make the difference for you.

Focus on relaxation before bedtime, and not your tinnitus. Repeat a soothing mantra or comforting word in your mind. Control and change your view of the visualization as you relax. This will make you focus more on your imagination and not on the noise you are hearing.

TIP! In addition to salt and caffeine, anyone suffering from tinnitus should avoid artificial sweeteners as well. Removing these from the diet may significantly reduce symptoms to the point that they are no longer noticeable.