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Doppler Labs intros Here One, with improved live audio tuning and music streaming

TechCrunch TechCrunch 28/06/2016 Jordan Crook

The folks at Doppler Labs have come a long way in a few short years. The company, led by Noah Kraft and Fritz Lanman, first launched with a fully mechanical ear plug for concerts. Last year, they launched the Here Active Listening System, which put a tiny micro-computer in their users’ ears, letting them control which frequencies they want to hear.

Today, however, all those steps culminate in the company’s first mass-market launch.

Meet the Here One.

The Here One takes Doppler Labs’ existing sound filtering infrastructure and adds important components that improve that experience. Plus, the Here One is Doppler Labs’ first product that offers wireless streaming of music.

With the Here Active Listening System, which shipped 10,000 units as part of a Kickstarter campaign, users had the ability to tune the real world around them. They could choose to amplify their environment or cancel out the noise. They could even choose to block out certain frequencies.

With the Here One, those same options are available and improved. For example, Here One users can not only tune out a specific frequency, but they can designate which sounds within that frequency should be tuned out. For example, a user could tune out the frequency of glasses and silverware clashing and clanking at a restaurant, while still hearing the chime of glasses being toasted at his or her own table. This extends to all kinds of examples, like a crying baby, a jet engine, or a screeching subway train.

Doppler Labs calls this Adaptive Listening, and these improved filters would not be possible were it not for the computational power within the Here Buds themselves, as well as the new directional microphones embedded in the updated hardware.

Kraft explains that this is one of the most important pieces of feedback from the Here Active Listening System, which was able to cut out entire frequencies but not select various sounds within those frequencies to either cancel or amplify.

Doppler Labs is also introducing music streaming to its technology for the first time, allowing users to stream music from their phones (Spotify, Pandora, etc.) via Bluetooth to the Here Buds. This connection also allows users to employ Siri, Google Now, etc. via their headphones.

Perhaps more importantly, the Here One allows for something that Doppler Labs calls “Layered Listening.”

Instead of cancelling out all the sound and simply listening to music, the Here One lets users also here the world around them as they jam out to their tunes. This could come in handy for folks who bike or walk to work and need to hear car horns, sirens, etc. without hearing the general grumble of traffic.

Users won’t be able to tune (adjust EQ) their streamed music they way they’d be able to tune a live music concert, but they will be able to allow various sounds into their music listening experience.

Finally, Doppler Labs solved one big issue for users with the Here One in the form of personalized listening.

Previously, folks had to go in and tune filters for their exact preferred listening. With the Here One, users are on-boarded with a small hearing test, letting Doppler Labs do the heavy lifting in understanding how your ears differ from each other and amplifying frequencies you have trouble hearing.

The Here One pre-orders start today at $299, and the devices will start shipping in November.

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