MP3 Sound Refinement Device – Intunition is an audio manufacturer in Silicon Valley who has introduced the Clari-Fi portable passive compressor to attach to any MP3 player to improve the sound reproduction of data-reduced digital audio files. The sound waves, after processing to reduce their storage and transmission requirement, become spiky, muddled and flat-sounding, and they gain digital artifacts. Ear fatigue sits in, even at low volume levels. The Clari-Fi is said to address all these problems, refining MP3 listening by smoothing out the sound waves as they exit the MP3 player in realtime, while retaining the original acoustic tonal quality of the music and improving its clarity and richness. (Why didn’t they record at 44.1K? Because their mobile hard drives are too small to hold many tunes at that rate.) The Clari-Fi uses a newly-developed proprietary semiconductor technology which is powered by the audio signal, requiring no batteries. The unit is available in a version for music files at about $60 and another for speech podcasts at about $50. It is rather bulky and may put a cramp in the convenience of tiny iPods. Intunition is said to be the first audio manufacturer to use passive compression to address the shortcomings of compressed digital audio files. (It seems to me that compressed audio should be expanded – not compressed, but never mind, logic is not something held in great repute nowadays…)
Cutting Home Theater Clutter with HT2.0 – Another downsizing ploy is promoted by audio writer Steve Guttenberg. He calls it HT2.0 and it means that both people who cringe at the mess of speakers and wires required for 5.1 or 7.1 home theater as well as those looking for a smaller HT system for the bedroom, den or office, may find a solution in a simpler and cheaper two-channel HT system. His suggestion is one of the inexpensive (under $400) AV receivers and a pair of under-$500 stereo two-channel speakers. If the room is larger, he suggests adding an entry-level subwoofer to make a 2.1 system. In the setup menu you turn off the center and surrounds and reroute those signals to the left and right front speakers. Many film soundtracks and music recordings use psychoacoustic tricks to project a pseudo-surround effect into the room from just two speakers, and many receivers have a circuit option such as SRS which can create some virtual surround effects from just a pair of speakers. For details, check this out.