Artificial Intelligence Drives This Brand New Bluetooth Headset From EPOS
Artificial Intelligence – If I were to ask you to imagine a headset for making voice and video calls, I’m fairly confident you would think of something that looks like a pair of headphones with a microphone on a boom that sits in front of your mouth to pick up speech clearly. But if I were to ask you the same question in five years, I’d probably get a different answer.
The reason for this is all down to progress being made thanks to AI or artificial intelligence. Companies like Sennheiser, and now its joint-venture spinoff EPOS, have been working on AI machine learning to improve speech clarity using microphones that may not even be anywhere near the user’s mouth. And yet the sound produced by this new breed of headset makes you feel as if you were almost in the same room as the person you’re calling.
The fruits of all this intensive AI research has now reached the market in the form of the EPOS Adapt 660, a new headset that takes audio performance to the next level and really does make an audible difference so that calls and video chats become far less stressful.
The EPOS Adapt 660 is based on the physical form of Sennheiser’s PCX 550 ANC (active noise canceling) headphones which I reviewed back in 2017. These are comfortable, over-the-ear, closed-back headphones and include two levels of ANC for blocking out background sounds like jet engines, air-conditioning, or just the general chatter of an open-plan office. Built into the headset are three very advanced microphones feeding cutting-edge noise-canceling algorithms that can pick up speech and process it so that it sounds superbly clear.
The EPOS Adapt 660 also processes sound received from the other caller and presents it in such a way that it matches the acoustics of the room you’re in. The result is a headset that makes you feel as if you and the other party or parties on the call are sat in the same room. The effect is positively spooky. The first time I tried the Adapt 660 on a Facetime call, I thought I had my iMac’s main speakers turned on. It certainly didn’t sound like I was hearing the other person through the headset. It was almost eerie how lifelike the sound was.
As for the person I was talking to, they couldn’t believe how clear my voice sounded and commented that I also sounded as if I were in the same room. And this is the main point of the Adapt 660. Unlike a lot of headsets, the Adapt 66- can make Zoom chats or Skype calls so much easier. There’s far less talking over each other, and people could hear me much more clearly than usual as the AI was monitoring my speech and processing out any unnecessary background noises. Not only that, but the trio of beamforming MEMs microphones also managed to pick up my voice clearly even though the microphones weren’t anywhere near my mouth. It’s uncanny.
The headset is lightweight at just 227 g (around 8 oz) and offers up to 30 hours of battery life before recharging is necessary. The power is turned off simply by twisting the left-hand ear-cup through 90° with no need for a conventional power switch. The right-hand ear-cup functions as a touch control for increasing or decreasing the volume, skipping tracks, pausing music or asking Alexa to do something.
EPOS Adapt 660 uses the latest Bluetooth (Version 5.0) and includes support for SBC, AAC, aptX and aptX low latency audio codecs, so it’s pretty much able to handle any audio source. The aptX low latency codec is great for watching movies or TV. The Bluetooth connection can either be made directly to a smartphone, tablet or computer, but a special BT-800 Bluetooth PC dongle is also included and gives higher audio quality than the built-in Bluetooth on some computers. The dongle is fully automatic and just needs to be plugged into a spare USB port; the Adapt 660 headset will find it and connect automatically.
This article originally appeared on forbes.com To read the full article and see the images, click here.
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