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DIY Magazine Bead Headphones

Personalize your ordinary black headphones or ear buds by decorating the cords with recycled magazine beads. This project is perfectly suited for adults as well as children, as children will love showing off these headphones that they made themselves.

First, choose a magazine or catalog with colors that suit your tastes. For example, gardening or home decorating magazines may have softer colors than gossip magazines, just as an adult clothing catalog will likely have more muted shades than a teen clothing catalog. You can easily substitute other papers as well; try using newspapers, old book pages or used computer paper for a slightly different spin on the project.

Tear or cut out a page from your chosen magazine or catalog that displays colors of your choosing. Use scissors to cut a tapered strip from that page. You may wish to use a ruler to draw a guideline on which to cut. Make sure the widest end of the tapered strip is just as wide as you’d like the finished bead to be. The taper can be as subtle or as severe as you like depending on how distinct you would like the layers of your bead to be.

Use a glue stick to coat one side of the paper strip. Wrap the strip, beginning with the widest end, around the headphone cord. Make sure the glue-covered side of the paper is facing out as you wrap so that you don’t accidentally make your headphone cord sticky with glue.

Continue to make more beads as necessary to fill the length of the cord. As you make more beads, you may wish to vary the widths of the beads for a more randomized appearance or to more easily fill the length of the headphone cord; beads of all the same size will create a more uniform look. Varying colors can also achieve a similar effect.

Another easy do-it-yourself option for putting a creative twist on ordinary black headphones is making a set of friendship bracelet headphones.

Bose QuietComfort 15 – Thoughts

I read many reviews and did much research before finally making my decision to purchase the Bose QuietComfort 15’s. Most of the reviews I read were very positive, and everyone said that despite the steep price, they were a good buy. Of course, reading reviews on headphones is difficult because you cannot actually “listen” to them. Of all the noise-canceling headphones, these are some of the most expensive, running in at $299 on Amazon.

I placed my order, and of course, I had very high hopes. The box arrived from Amazon in perfect condition and came with some warranty information and an instruction manual. These headphones run on one triple-A battery, which is not included. These headphones do not require an amp and have relatively low impedance, so they should sound very gentle on your iPod or computer’s native sound card.

Before I say anything else, these headphones are incredibly comfortable. Whenever you have them on your head, you can almost forget that you’re even wearing them after a while. When you turn on the headphones by moving the switch over on the side of the headphones, you notice some extreme noise reduction. One thing that I think can be misleading is “noise canceling.” These headphones do not cancel out everything, nor have I ever heard a pair of headphones that have, but they do significantly reduce the amount.

A good example would if you were on an airliner. They would significantly reduce the lower frequencies, like that low rumble or droning sound that you tend to get. The headphones do reduce higher rates, but not as much. If someone is talking right next to you, it will be muffled, but you will hear it unless you have your volume up. One thing I should mention is that you must have the headphones turned on to listen to the sound. I found this to be a little annoying at first because I would like to listen to music sometimes without the noise cancellation, but I got used to it quickly.

Coming from an audiophile, these headphones sound very good. Some people don’t like how noise-canceling headphones can alter specific frequencies, exaggerating, and reducing others.

That being said, I would not use these headphones for mixing or mastering purposes, but they still sound unusual to the human ear. These are listening to headphones, and they excel significantly for that purpose. I’ve had these headphones for a little over two months now, and they are still running on the original triple-A battery with no reduction in quality. If you are a student or a frequent traveler, I would highly recommend these headphones. I use mine all the time for study sessions when I want to block out the rest of the world.

The Siberia Neckband Headset by SteelSeries: A Review

There is a plethora of choices of wired earphones available to music listeners, gamers and phone users who prefer them to wireless (Bluetooth) devices and in-the-ear buds. Some are cheap and essentially worthless while others are quite expensive. The new SteelSeries Siberia Neckband provides first-class performance at a more-than-reasonable price.

SteelSeries is catering specifically to owners of Apple devices (iPods, iPhones and iPads) by virtue of the 3.5mm plug/jack that has three (white) bands around it rather than the general industry standard of two. All Apple users know that the two-banded jacks, most often, do not work correctly in Apple devices. On the other hand, the three-banded plugs work perfectly in ANY device. The headset is white and looks like it belongs with Apple gear!

This headset is worn behind the neck rather than over-the-head. This style is preferred by many gamers and by people who wear headsets while walking, biking or exercising.

The sound of the Siberia is outstanding with good bass response and a clear and accurate transfer of electrical impulses to sound. There is a volume (and fast forward/reverse) control on the cord and, surprisingly, there is a high-quality retractable microphone built into the left ear cup. It can be pulled out or retracted back into the headset as needed. I am told by people I have used it to speak with (via both iPhone and FaceTime) that the sound quality is genuinely outstanding. The sound at the wearer’s end is equivalent to a high-end set of headphones costing $100 or more.

The basic technical details are what one would hope for in a light-weight, competent headset/microphone combination.

Headphones:
Frequency Response: 18 – 28,000 Hzm
Impedence: 32 Ohm
SPL@1kHz, 1Vrms: 104 dB

Microphone:
Frequency Response: 80 – 15,000 Hz
Pick up pattern: Uni-directional
Sensitivity: -42 dB
Impedence: 2F Ohm

The neckband is adjustable and will fit all but the hugest of necks comfortably. The only downside I have noticed is that the connecting cord is only about 3′ long. This can be somewhat limiting although extension cords of plug-in wires are readily available if needed.

The cushioning on both the neckband and earphones this headset are wonderfully light and comfortable. The sound is great. I am listening to some classical music on my iPad through this Siberia Neckband as I write this and it is really quite remarkable – Especially when you consider the price. At less than $30 on most sites, it is less than half the cost of similar (and less impressive) products offered by Logitech and Sony.

Attractive, affordable, comfortable and good sound and voice response. What more could an informed consumer ask for in a neckband headset that will work with ANY device – Apple of otherwise?

Get Better Mixes with Cheap Headphones or Speakers

Mixing music is one of my favorite things to do. I enjoy taking a rough draft and turning it into a great-sounding song. Having expensive studio monitors to mix with is not always an option. Also, we don’t all have acoustically treated rooms to mix music in. It’s usually money, time or space that’s the issue. In this article, I will attempt to teach you not to let these problems stop you from mixing music. Remember, these tips are based on my own personal experience and may not be the way you would do things.

One thing I have had to do in the past is mix on horrible headphones or speakers. Whether it was generic computer speakers or cheap headphones, I found ways to get decent results. I realize that a lot of you reading this may be thinking that waiting until you get something better is the best option, but practice makes perfect. If you can get a decent mix on a cheap pair of speakers, imagine what you will be able to accomplish once you upgrade your equipment.

Burn them in

No matter what listening device you are using to mix music, you should burn them in as much as possible. This is the process of listening to professionally produced music on them to hear how each frequency shows up on your speakers or headphones. I recommend spending a week straight listening to industry quality music for hours per day. Now when you go back and try mixing your own music, you will have an idea of how it needs to sound in the end.

Use other sources for reference

As you mix your music on your less-than-desirable listening device, you should regularly burns some CDs of your mix and play it on as many different systems as possible. Play it in your car, play it on your PlayStation and maybe even at your friend’s house on whatever playback devices they have. The more sources the better. Some listening devices will mask certain flaws in your mix, and some will emphasize them.

Wrap-up

If you use the information I provided, you should be able to get a decent mix on bad speakers or headphones. It may take a week or so before you start getting better results, but it certainly is possible to do. Keep practicing and good luck to you all!