New project aims to give you volume control on life itself

Doppler Labs Here

At a gig recently a friend commented about how he had a hard time hearing what was being played. See, my friend wears a hearing aid normally, and had recently been fitted out with a special digital set to help improve the overall balance of what he could hear. There was, he said, still some readjustment to do, on account of these new improved plugs opening up a bunch of frequencies he’d never heard before.

Perhaps the poor sound quality at the gig was down to that. Perhaps it was down to the fact we were watching a particularly bass-heavy brand of metal (the mighty Will Haven, if you’re interested) in a tiny venue in Manchester. Either way, the main issue was the obscene amount of low-end frequencies the poor guy was being bludgeoned with and the fact he could do nothing about it.

So it was of great interest to discover a rather exciting Kickstarter project for the Doppler Labs Here filters. Doppler, the guys behind the amazing Dubs acoustic filters, have taken the concept of improving everyday audio to entirely new level with the Here project. Effectively what they’ve created is a pair of earplugs which actively attenuate, boost, alter and effect audio in real time, before it even hits your ear drums.

The technology behind it is incredible. Basically, there is a window of around 30 millionths of a second between sound hitting the device and it reaching your ear drum, and somehow Doppler has engineered a digital signal processing (DSP) codec which enables the Here buds to do exactly that. What that means is that there is no perceivable latency between a sound being made and you hearing it, so all of the processing is done in real time.

The buds pair wirelessly with a smartphone app which provides control over the various parameters. This could be adding a simple EQ boost to certain frequencies, or it could mean blocking out ambient background noise. You truly can begin to shape the sound of the world in the way you want to hear.

The potential applications here are mind blowing. Sat in a cafe and there’s a screaming baby putting you off your cuppa? Simple, block the noise out using the in-built presets. And yes, if you’re interested, there actually is a baby-muffler preset. Just like there’s presets for blocking out the noise of the subway (underground to you and I) or background chatter. Referring back my friend above, a few simply tweaks to the smartphone app and all of a sudden he’d have been enjoying the gig in the way it was meant to be heard.

Also very cool are the added effects you can apply, similar to how a guitarist would use pedals. You could, for example, add reverb to live music for more ambience or, to quote the website, “flange your friend’s voice.” And let’s be honest, who hasn’t wanted to do just that?

More information on Here is available via the Kickstarter page. The good news is that the project has already met its funding goal, so is due to begin production later this year. Well worth keeping your eye on.

Check out a full range of musicians earplugs at the Dawsons website.