These magical earbuds let you augment aural reality on the fly

“Over the last several weeks, I’ve worn Doppler LabsHere earbuds all over the place. To concerts, on the train, at home and work, in restaurants, and, once, in a public bathroom,” David Pierce reports for Wired. “In short, these two round, white buds provide almost total control over how the world sounds. You can amplify certain sounds — human speech, the bass guitar —and attenuate others — the airplane drone, the subway screech. You can shut out the world entirely. Or you can tweak things, like Mickey Mouse conducting an orchestra of the world. Add some reverb to that falling broom, give me just a smidgen of flange, and for Pete’s sake turn down that bus!”

“This is augmented reality, people,” Pierce reports. “It’s not just goofy headsets and crazy flying jellyfish. It’s what you’re hearing.”

“The downside is you’re that guy, constantly pulling out your phone and loading a blindingly white app to fiddle with frequencies. Here makes the best case yet for an Apple Watch; being able to quickly tap filters on and off from my left wrist is infinitely better,” Pierce reports. “Every time I use them, and every time I show them to someone, they’re remarkable. They feel like a magic trick.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Hello, Augment Aural Reality! We can think of myriad ways where the ability to personalize live audio would be very useful. And, yes, as Apple Watch users already know, an Apple Watch is infinitely better than pulling out your iPhone for certain tasks, including this one Here.


  1. If I understand the article correctly, these ear buds aren’t simply using equalization. They’re using what I’d call ‘intelligent’ filters for well described sounds. The filters anticipate not just the frequency range, but the typical envelope (sound pattern in frequency and amplitude) of those sounds. I hope that is the case as it makes perfect sense as a technology. Call it ‘reverse-synthesis’.

    I wonder if it can create filters on the fly? If not, that would make a great next step. Incorporate a microphone and instruct the software to listen and remove isolated sounds. Kind of kewl to consider, eh? I’d claim patent rights, but I seriously doubt I’m the first to consider this possibility.

    In any case, I’d like a listen.

    1. I agree that would work for repetitive sounds but would not work to identify voice or bass guitar which would not generally be a repetitive pattern as candidates for amplification or attenuation. On the other hand I wonder what would happen if someone hummed a single note, with the earbuds on would you still hear it?

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