Betron HD1000 Headphones

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I have reviewed Betron headphones in the past, three varieties of earbud, each of them performing really well and living up to a lot of their hype. In fact the Betron B850i’s (http://wp.me/pspi8-tC) are actually my preferred replacement headphones for my Apple earbuds. Recently I received in the post the Betron HD100 Headphones to review and I have to say these are a pretty awesome pair of headphones. According to Betron the following specifications exist:

  • Powerful neodymium magnets for stereo sound with powerful punchy bass
  • Extended frequency response for accurate, reliable sound reproduction
  • Increased sound pressure level (110dB) to handle demanding use
  • Rich, crisp bass response
  • Good attenuation of ambient noise
  • Lightweight & comfortable
  • Powerful sound reproduction
  • Optimised for portable audio including MP3, CD players, iPad, iPod, iPhone and mobile phones (iPad, iPhone and iPod are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.)

Claiming to have a wider range of sound and enhanced clarity as well as lightweight and durable and comfortable whilst speaker build material dissipates heat and minimises sound leakage these headphones with a RRP of £79 that are currently selling on Amazon for £29 have a lot to live up to. (Current details from http://www.betronstore.co.uk)

Firstly I have to say that the packaging is excellent, in the first instance a minimal black box with ‘Betron’ and the model number ‘HD1000’ on the top I’m white lettering with a few specs that are outlined below on the side:

  • Driver Unit:  40mm
  • Impedance: 32ohms +- 15%
  • Sensitivity: 108 =-3dB
  • Frequency Response: 20-20Khz
  • Max. Input Power: 100mW
  • Cable Length: 1.7M (I actually found the cable to be 1.8M)

Inside the outer box is a ‘D’ shaped carry case in black nylon with carry handle and double zip that when opened up reveals the headphones sitting in a velvet-like interior that is shaped to hold the headphones snug.  Betron was off to a good start, especially as I only ever got a thin drawstring nylon bag with my SkullCandy Hesh headphones that I will be comparing these to!

At first sight the headphones look gorgeous and have a classy retro look to them in a  rich brown wood and gold effect styling. Getting to grips with the headphones themselves and the feel of the headphones is one that reveals some highs and lows. On the plus side the 3.5mm gold plug is one where the cable exists from the side of the plug at 45 degrees, with a high quality feel braided cable and gold splitter, offering tangle free cabling. The L/R indicators for each side are discreetly labelled inside the headphones above each earpiece, with a subtle branding on the outside. On the downside is the feeling of materials cheaper than they appear, especially around the area of the headband joining to the earpieces – but let me be clear that this does not mean they are not well build. Betron claim that there are no visible screws which there are none, however there are visible rivets.

As stated earlier Betron claim that the headphones are comfortable, cool and a clarity of sound with a deep rich bass. Upon the first point I can wholeheartedly agree, my current headphones of choice have been Skullcandy Hesh over-the-ear headphones and I have found them heavy and too hot after a prolonged use of anything over thirty minutes and I don’t like the feel of on the ear headphones such as the Skullcandy Lowriders as they are uncomfortable and unlike the Hesh model let in too much surrounding noise ( plus they slip off if you are doing anything beyond sitting still). The HD1000’s are a joy to wear, comfortable, lightweight, they don’t get hot ( and that has been in the recent 30 degree weather) and they reduce ambient noise far more than other on-the-ear headphones.

So onto the all important bit, the audio, and do these headphones live up to the manufacturers claims? Well I listen to a diverse range of audio – including podcasts, audiobooks, radio plays, music and a variety of video and films. I even listen to text to speech conversions when I need to listen to reports and I am travelling between locations (these are not the easiest to listen to) and always willing to allow for others opinions I even asked my wife to try them out, as a fitness professional and having to listen to a wide range of music that requires choreography I though her opinion would be valid ( The wife’s choice of headphone is the Skullcandy Lowriders that I am not a fan of – even less now I have used the HD1000’s). Overall I can report that the quality of the audio is superb with a rich definition to the audio that is not affected by the  increased bass.

The wife definitely stated that the audio was excellent and that the headphones were extremely comfortable in comparison to the Lowriders and I feel that the audio is actually compatible to the Hesh headphones.At the RRP the quality up close lets the headphones down but if you are looking for well priced, comfortable and good quality audio these are great headphones. At £29 they are an absolute steal!

Betron has provided me with this product for purposes of providing a personal review and I have received no payment for this unbiased review.

Opinion Podcast Recorder & Editor iOS App

www.opinionpodcasting.com

I love this app, mentioned a few weeks ago, and recently used it in my latest podcast. I needed to record three Learning Technologists at three different locations across two days and did not want to carry around with me a lot of equipment. There is a great article outlying its use here 

Opinion came in really handy, allowing me to record on-the-fly, edit fast and save off for my next interview. Admittedly I did my bigger editing on my desktop but I certainly will  not hesitate to use Opinion again on-the-go. What did come up on my wish list for Opinion was:

  1. I found it a bit awkward to have the mic facing my interviewee and also be able to control the app, thankfully the latest update on the 8th March 2015 allows you to rotate the app 180°, allowing you to record a third party with the mic aimed at them but giving you full control still.
  2. Save and retrieve recordings (including splits?), the work around for this currently is to save to cloud services such as Dropbox or Box and retrieve but these are as whole recordings, meaning you lose any splits
  3. Although targeted at the podcasting market there is no way to layer audio clips. Something that the reasonably proficient podcaster would have for their intro, outro and bumper audio clips or even bed music
  4. And there is also no volume or fade in/out facility, although if you could layer the audio clips you could always have permanent fade in and out built into the intro, outro and bumper clips (I adjust these based upon the rest of my content normally)

Give me point 3 and I would happily give it a go of editing an entire episode on the app.

 

Andy

Alternatives to iTunes Podcasting Directory

Recently I looked to expand beyond iTunes to potential expand my podcasts audience. Surprisingly there are few alternatives to iTunes for podcasting subscriptions and compared to iTunes traffic it if often reported as less than 5% and it certainly is muddy waters.

  • WindowsPhone 7/8 (Formally Zune Marketplace) – A growing market that can only grow on the success of Windows based phones. Certainly going through some changes currently at time of post.
  • Stitcher – a popular directory but one that streams the podcasts, potentially using up the user bandwidth when not on free wifi connectivity (there exists some commentary of them using advertising to pay for the service – potentially coming into conflict with an advertising within the podcasts themselves?)
  • TuneIn Radio – another streaming option but one that is more widely spread to the tablet users
  • The Podcast Source – LybSyns directory/app for Windows 8 and Windows phone 8 (already on this one! as I am hosted upon LybSyn)  – app here
  • Miro – open source and growing, allowing for downloads and one that allows Android users an iTunesesque [sic] experience.
  • Blackberry Podcasts – now defunct

Online Directories

  • directory.libsyn.com – LybSyns own web based directory (already on this one!)
  • Podcastdirectory.com – a web based searchable directory (also in this field is
  • podcast411.com – rough around the edges but well though of! at time of the post it was being overrun by spammers and search/submit options suspended!

There are other systems that pull from other directories such as Overcast: podcast player  (for iOS) that pulls from iTunes. But for me I think that Miro  is the one that is worthy of interest particulaly as it will open up the android market for the podcast (and even windows platforms) followed by the podcastdirectory.com

 

Update:

  • Windows – looks like you have to go through BING and add an XML feed to your podcasts – did not pursue this one!
  • Miro – You will not be able to access the ‘Submit Show’ option from the sub-navigation bar (from your username on the right hand side in chrome) show is now submitted
  • Stitcher takes you through an approval process. It took a few day, required a link to stitcher on the website before approval.
  • Tunein approval took a full week

 

Andy

Skullcandy Hesh 2.0 Headphones

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The headphones are great, mind you I’m not an audio expert, but they sound excellent, they are certainly comfy and won’t break the bank when you can pick certain designs up for around £30 (RRP £50). I was surprised that they come with a detachable cable that includes an in-line mic/controller, whilst this is great from my iPhone it can play a little havoc with some systems such as my PC or Blue Yeti whereby I have to just retract the plug ever so slightly to hear the audio fully.

Certainly a worthy investment for the podcasts.

 

Andy

iTunes Submittal & Acceptance

Once you have set up your podcasts and they sit online (my previous post outlines LybSyn) you will need to submit to iTunes. Well that’s if you want to be found on iTunes!

View your RSS feed by selecting VIEW FEED button to the right of  “LybSyn Classic Feed” (rss) under DESTINATIONS > EDIT OR VIEW EXISTING. Copy the URL (web address) then open up iTunes. in iTunes select Podcasts and then iTunes Store (top of podcasts page). You will find “submit a podcast” on the far right. Once clicked on this all you will need to do is past in your copies RSS feed address.

Do not expect your podcasts to show up on iTunes right away, as an idea my timeline was as follows:

  • Tuesday evening – submission
  • Thursday evening- approval
  • Friday morning – Searchable on iTunes (within two days of approval)

So my podcasts are fully green-lit, with the intention of releasing in the first full week of each month from now on.

Andy

 

LybSyn & RSS Feeds

I have looked into numerous ways of how to syndicate my podcast (effectively a way of advertising your new podcast to other systems such as iTunes) :

  • Webpage: you have to manually edit an XML form to create your RSS feed, and its likely your web space provider will not like the high bandwidth that podcasts demand
  • WordPress: it’s going to cost you £70 per month and then its needs you to set up a category for your posts then set up an RSS feed through a third party service such as feedburner
  • LibSyn: an all in one solution that takes care of all the woes, and the one I have gone for in the end

 

Create an account, a variety of plans exist (See Here), I choose the entry plan, 50mb a month, as I am currently only looking to podcast once a month for twenty minutes (this works out to about 30mb for a 20 minute MP3 File).

Upload your first podcast (CONTENT>ADD NEW EPISODE). Include a title, subtitle and description (it’s worth noting that tags/keywords are no longer used by iTunes so try and include these in your subtitle and description where possible). Review the rest of the fields – they may not all apply to your podcast.

Edit the “Lybsyn Classic Feed” (rss) under DESTINATIONS > EDIT OR VIEW EXISTING, this includes iTunes store basic information such as catagories (x3), subtitle and summary, content rating, author, contact email  and finally “use show image for episodes”- otherwise it will may be rejected by iTunes.

next post – iTunes Submission!

Andy

Podcast Go!

I have finally recorded the first podcast, it’s a huge learning curve. The first advice I would give is make sure you have a brief script to run with, otherwise you add more “Um’s” and “Er’s” than you might be able to cope with. Write down your running order and your opening and closing lines as well a segment links, this will lend some consistency to future podcasts and help keep familiarity with your future audience. Then fill in with content.

Although I had a piece of audio I had created awhile back I revisited it to make intro, outro and bumper audio clips that felt more in tune with what I had recorded, as well as a looping “bed” piece just-in-case.

I have hit about 22 minutes worth of recording, but with edits and addition of music clips, I have come out at about 21 minutes. Not bad considering I was only going to produce an introductory podcast!

Next step syndication and iTunes….

Andy

 

Podcast Delays – Weapons of Mass Distraction

I haven’t launched my podcast – yet! I could list a host of reasons, amongst them:

  • Not having a decent microphone of my own and not wanting to use a borrowed one as audio will change between podcasts
  • I don’t have a pop filter
  • A rotten cold the other week
  • Too shattered from training the previous week

This has caused me to overrun by about three weeks, but I am  fast running out of excuses. I received my new microphone yesterday, a Blue Yeti, just need to play around with settings before recording in earnest. Cold has gone and no training for foreseeable future. The Pop filter is ordered has arrived.

Apparently it is a common occurrence, only 10% of podcasts go beyond their 7th episode! The first Podcast can be delayed in part to imposter syndrome (an earlier post) and lack of focus. I came across a number of recommendations to move beyond the stalemate.

Aim for your audience only don’t worry about pleasing everyone at the start, when you start to establish then you can expand your focus. Plan the delivery and structure, until this is done the podcast is not going to be fully formed up and will hamper the recording process. So with this in mind:

20 minute session max

  • 1 min intro
  • 9 min discuss of last months blog
  • 7 min feature focus
  • 2 min what’s coming up this month
  • 1 min outro

Have a launch date and have plans (not certainties) for at least 10 session topics:

  1 Jan roundup – About me
2 Feb roundup – Learning Technologists
3 Mar roundup – Apprentice Learning Technologists
4 Apr roundup – Learning Technologist Manager
5 May roundup – USA reflections (RA)
6 Jun roundup – Learning Service Manager
– summer hiatus
7 Sep roundup – Academic year in reflection & new academic year aims
8 Oct roundup -anti social reflective perspective (DD)
9 Nov roundup – TBC
10 Dec roundup – Year in review

Down to the actual podcast. There is no further reason to delay:

  1. Record and keep original
  2. Edit
  3. Intro & outro
  4. Export with Tagging id3. Id3 editor
  5. Upload
  6. Schedule & Publish episode to iTunes

Parkinson’s law states that time will expand for activities to the time allotted. A Pasmadira timer may well help this. 25 min work. 5 min reward/rest. I have a two hour hour window in the week to record any podcast and my brain is fooling me each week that its not the best time or I won’t get all the work I need to do to create the podcast. But I don’t need to fully create it. Just record it! Maybe a touch of imposter syndrome is creeping in.

Andy