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.
Brian listens to music on his Bluetooth headphones with the Amazon Echo, but every time he gets a call, the headphones disconnect. Rich says it's probably a software issue. Unpairing everything and then re-pairing it could fix the issue. But if it doesn't, it's an Amazon problem and he'll just need to wait for a fix.
Jan is starting to lose her hearing, and wants to know what she can do to still hear people when she's talking on the phone. Leo says he has smart hearing aids that connect to his phone via Bluetooth and he can hear his phone great. If she can't afford those, then she can get headphones or earbuds that will use the phone's headphone jack. Jan has been using Google Fi, so in getting a new phone, she'll need to either get a Motorola Moto phone or a Google Pixel. Those are the only two phones that will work on Google Fi.
Steve wants to use his lightning headphones into a regular headphone jack. Leo says he probably won't be able to do that since the Lightning connector is proprietary. Those Lightning headphones are for one thing only — for use with the iPhone. Walmart does sell a female-to-male Lightning adapter, and there's one that actually comes with the Apple Pencil as well. Leo's not sure that this would actually work, though. It may be easier to just buy a cheap pair of earbuds that would have the proper connector.