Ken has a few Samsung 8500 TVs and would like to listen to them with headphones via TOSLINK. Leo says that TOSLINK is optical, but there are many TOSLINK-analog converters out there. Leo says to go to Monoprice.com since they make a similar box for about $20. He will also need to get an amplifier for them. Check out Headphones.com for that.
Scott Wilkinson joins us to talk about hearing loss. Tomorrow is World Hearing Day and Scott says hearing loss is caused by being exposed to sounds that are simply too loud. That means loud music, listening to headphones, etc. You can get custom moulded headphones with flat filters that will help musicians and radio people save their hearing. Puro Sound Labs is offering wireless, Bluetooth, noise cancelling headphones for kids, and they limit sound to 85db. Leo says Etymotics has Etymotics Kids as well.
Paul is interested in Noise Canceling headphones. Are they like earplugs? Leo says not exactly. It uses "anti sound" to cancel out the noise around him. But it doesn't work perfectly. It's great for low rumbling constant noise, but for sudden, brief noise, it can be lacking. For that, Leo recommends in ear monitors.
Scott is back from CES and this week he wants to talk about the audio gadgets he saw. A lot of the high end audio was at the Venetian Hotel. But Scott says that audio had a much smaller presence at CES this year, and Scott thinks that audio companies are going to be going to regional shows to offer their goods rather than spend a ton of money at CES. And it's difficult to rise above the noise at a larger convention. Smaller, regional shows offer a big fish in a small pond kind of vibe.
Don recently bought a new LG TV, and he likes to watch TV with ear phones, but his wife doesn't. When he uses the earphone jack, it shuts off the speakers. What can he do? Leo says the easiest way to do it is to use dual audio outputs. Leo recommends a sound bar that he can plug into the optical port, and then he can use the headphones with the headphone jack. Vizio makes a good budget sound bar for around $100. The other option is an analog splitter.
Henry heard that Apple will be releasing a new version of AirPods. Should he wait? Leo says that there won't be a completely redesigned AirPod for another year, according to insiders.
Eileen bought a Bose sound system, which is connected to an optical splitter, so they can use her headphones too. But now the headphones won't work after a power surge. Leo says it's possible that the power surge fried the optical splitter. She should check if the headphones work with her TV (she may need to change her audio settings in the TV). It may also be possible that the settings changed in her TV, so she should look in there and see what it's offering. She may need to reset it to PCM unencoded audio or something similar. She should just try different settings.
Both of Seth's parents are now hard of hearing and they need headphones to watch TV. Is there a system that can do it for them? Leo says that hearing aids now can pair to the TV. So if they need a hearing aid, that's a good feature to get. But if he wants headphones, Leo got his mother a pair of Sennheiser wireless RF headphones. They work much better than Bluetooth.
Neil has Apple AirPods, and he says that the connection drops out a lot. Leo says that's because it uses Bluetooth and it's an antiquated technology that wasn't all that great to begin with. Bluetooth is well known for not always maintaining a stable connection. But Apple has put AirPods on deep discount and Leo suspects a version 2 is coming next month.
Here's a totally new product from Bose. No, it's not active noise reduction, which Bose is famous for, but a brand new way to mask annoying nighttime noises. Things like noisy neighbors, construction; or when traveling, vending machines, elevators, etc. Active noise reduction doesn't work for sleep, so they came up with a new technology, noise-masking. The new device is dubbed Bose sleepbuds. They don't (and can't) stream music, but they offer 10 preloaded soothing sound tracks (water, rustling leaves, crackling fire, etc.) designed to match and mask the unwanted noise.