ZVOX Blog

Lost in a Sea of Smart Phones

Posted by Joe Hannaher , Thursday, January 31, 2013




At January’s Consumer Electronics Show, a group of us watched the great 1981 concert video, Queen – Live Montreal.  About half way through the concert the cameras panned the audience and – get this – nobody was holding a cell phone in the air! Instead they were all listening, all watching, all bouncing along with the band. They were having fun. Lots of it. They were “in the now.”

What a contrast to modern-day concerts where it seems everybody in the audience wants to be a documentary filmmaker. iPhone and Android screens create a distracting light show as hundreds or even thousands of phones are raised high in the air. Most people aren’t just snapping a quick picture – they’re standing with phones raised for a long, long time. 

Too long. It’s distracting. It’s annoying. It creates a disconnect between the audience and the concert experience. No one seems very involved with the music when this is happening. You are either filming or getting annoyed at the people in front of them blocking their view with their phones raised high. In either case your concert experience is radically altered for the worse.

And what are people doing with the videos? No one cares about some blurry youtube video with horrible sound. Unless you are in the front row it is impossible to get a good video capture with a phone. Most people resort to using the awful picture zoom feature, which just makes everything look worse. And then there is the horrible sound recording capability of smart phones. The music from the concert will be completely inaudible in most cases. The loud concert sound will completely overwhelm the little microphone in your phone. The resulting recording will sound like a loud roar and the bass line will be the only thing that is still recognizable. 

The truth is many bands these days release high definition concert videos. And high quality concert recordings are often made available to concert goers, sometimes made available right after the show ends. There is no reason for anyone to be filming a concert with a phone. The only thing you should be raising over your head is a lighter during a ballad (or maybe some devil horns). If you are one of these amateur concert videographers, I humbly ask you to stop. 

Please. Stop.

The videos turn out horrible and everybody will have a better time if your phone stays in your pocket. Those people behind you would really like to see the band and not a blurry little capture of the band on your iPhone. The videos come out so bad they have no value to anyone. Try to be courteous and enjoy living in the moment next time you are at a show. Thanks!


Elevate Your Gaming to the Next Level

Posted by Joe Hannaher , Friday, January 25, 2013


A good sound system can elevate your gaming experience to a new level of immersion. 
 

Modern video games have state of the art sound effects and processing. If you are listening to your games through your TV speakers you are not taking advantage of the game’s potential. Having a good sound system is just as critical as a high definition TV. Without a high definition TV you are not taking advantage of your game’s graphical power. Without a good sound system you are getting a stripped down version of your game's audio.

 A good sound system will bring your games to life. My favorite games are Halo® 4 and Black Ops 2™. My first time experiencing a Halo game with a great sound system floored me. My heart was racing and my palms were sweating like a chimp. The enhanced sound brought the game’s intensity to a whole new level. Explosions sound so real that they will literally make you jump out of your seat. Bullets seem to fly around your living room. When your engine roars you can feel the bass rumble below your feet. Sound effects in modern games are just incredible. But the only way for you to take advantage of the wonderful things developers are doing is to listen with a quality surround sound system.  Not only will the intensity of your games get cranked up to 11. You will also bring out the subtleties of your game's environments. From the sound of grass swaying in the breeze or a flock of birds overhead, a good sound system will make your games teem with life.  The enhanced realism draws you into the game and makes the experience more personal and memorable. 

Even though sound is such a critical component to games, the majority of gamers still listen through their TV speakers. This is because traditional surround sound systems are complicated, bulky and expensive. ZVOX sound bars (or SoundBases) offer an easy and sleek solution. Everything you need for stellar gaming sound is in one low profile cabinet that can fit under your TV. ZVOX systems are super simple to connect to your TV with just one cable. No receiver or additional components are needed. Since the ZVOX is all in one system there is no need to run wires for speakers or hide a subwoofer. 

ZVOX systems offer amazing virtual surround sound and deep bass that will instantaneously transform your gaming experience.  I would encourage any gamer to try a ZVOX system free for 30 days. Experience it in your own home and bring your gaming to the next level. You will finally hear your games as the developers intended. You will be amazed at what you have been missing.
 
® Halo is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation. Black Ops 2 is a trademark of Activision Publishing.

How Technology Makes It Easier To Watch Downton Abbey

Posted by Tom Hannaher , Monday, January 14, 2013

I admit it. I am hooked on a soap opera.
Granny, Lady Mary, O’Brien, Bates…even Thomas…I like the whole lot of them. But Downton Abbey has a drawback. It is recorded in a foreign language – “British” (as opposed to English) – and sometimes I can’t understand those delightfully spiteful whispered conversations.
That’s why I use the DE (Dialog Emphasis) feature of my ZVOX 555 whenever I watch Downton. It adds a degree of clarity to the dialog that makes conversations much easier to understand. It’s almost as if the feature translates British into English. We don’t know of any other sound bar or home theater system that can perform this miracle of intelligibility.
I must confess that my age (61) and the fact that I spent a lot of time recording rock and blues bands in the ‘70s has left my hearing a little impaired. So I find that the Dialog Emphasis features gets used on programs other than Downton Abbey. Unless I’m watching a movie or a concert video, I tend to leave it on all the time.
Try it. You’ll like it.

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