Introducing Hooke Verse Wireless Headphones; Capture Binaural 3D Audio on your iOS device
I was referred to this amazing site by one of your members Justin (drummer0608)
I myself am not blind, but I have invented a product that blind iOS users like Justin are getting really excited about. He urged that I share here.
My name is Anthony Mattana. For the last 5 years I've worked as a professional sound designer and composer in NYC. Now I am the founder and creator of Hooke Audio and have always been fascinated by binaural audio. For those that don't know, binaural audio is recorded audio captured identically to the way the human ear experiences sound. The result is a two channel recording that makes any listener with a pair of headphones feel like they are there. How cool is that?!
There haven't been any products out there that let a user record binaural audio to their iphones, so I decided to invent one! I combined binaural recording technology into a pair of wireless headphones. It's called the Hooke Verse. Hooke Audio is my company. Hooke is both a playback and capturing device, capable of playing music AND recording 3D Audio. Check out my site here: www.hookeaudio.com and our youtube channel here to hear our 3d recordings captured with Hooke: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBRvQgL46ga9WmgFyTFxNCg
I hope to bring binaural recording to all by making storytelling as easy as unlocking your iOS device!
Would love to hear what you guys think of my product and would be happy to answer any questions you might have! Right now we are manufacturing the headphones. You can pre order via our website. They are set to ship late this summer.
Hey, after reading the review, I'm still in for the purchase. I'm looking forward to upgrading the internal microphone on my iPhone to the verse. 3D audio is the best!
:) It is a great product! :)
I purchased a Hooke Verse and received it two days ago. I sadly cannot recommend it, even though I've been looking forward to using it for months.
The app is a disaster. It literally keeps crashing randomly while recording, and is an absolute pain to use with VoiceOver. Yes, there are some accessible gestures to use, but Hooke Audio could have designed the app so much better (there are recommendations above this post.)
For example, there's no vibration alert when the app starts recording. Changing the mic gain requires you to slide your fingers extremely slowly--even slower than usual in order to actually set the gain you want.
As I said previously, the app randomly freezes. If you're recording and the app crashes, there's no way of knowing if this has happened since you don't hear VoiceOver through the Hooke while recording. And even after recording or when the app crashes, the Hooke still assumes it's recording and will not give you VO feedback.
Contrary to claims made above, you cannot keep the app in the background whilst recording. The recording stops. You have to keep your phone unlocked and focused on the Hooke Audio App.
When viewing files you have recorded, the majority of the time you can't actually select a file to play or share. There's just no accessible way of doing it until you completely disconnect the Hooke from your phone, and even then it's somewhat unreliable.
In terms of the actual hardware, it does take some getting used to but overall it's great for what it was designed to do. My only issues with it are that the audio quality is not as good as it could be (probably because of it being primarily a bluetooth device).
I'm really disappointed with Hooke Audio. You would have thought having a few blind beta testers would result in Hooke Audio actually designing the app a lot better in terms of accessibility. Sadly this is not the case, and I cannot recommend anybody purchase this device until these huge bugs are ironed out.
I am sorry that you have such bad results with Hookeaudio and the Hookeverse. That is very disappointing that these results are so poor. I was hoping to purchase this product, but if people are having such bad results, then that is concerning. Anyways, hopefully your experiences get better.
That is interesting that only you so far have had these results, and no one else. If anyone else can report back, and tell us what the results are, it would be nice, as I know some are still looking to get it.
Anyway, take care.
I'm not having any of the issues you speak of. The quality is good, and the app is very easy to use. I love the idea and can't wait ot see how far the dev gets in developement with the product. It is almost perfect to me, and I'm not just saying that to say that. That is my 100 percent true opinion.
You're only saying that because you're a beta tester and are using Android. I still cannot recommend this product to anybody as the app looks like it's half finished.
Still struggling to return it and get a refund as Hooke Audio aren't responding to emails. Buy at your own risk.
I too wanted to purchase Hooke Verse, but I had a chance to work with a friend's production unit for a few days, and noticed almost everything Visu reported.
First and foremost, the app, while usable enough, is, IMO, confusing at best and implements accessibility in a way that sounds rather odd. It also freezes from time to time and doesn't support background reporting.
Second, just wondering why I can't record in MP3. As mentioned earlier, M4A doesn't sound acceptable to me at all. Now I don't know if MP3 recording is available to Android users, but I don't have it on iOS.
Third, Hooke Verse lacks limiters and low-cut filters -- essential stuff for all software and hardware recorders. The lack of low-cut filters is, in particular, quite problematic as it negatively affects the recording quality in windy conditions even with the windscreens on. It also affects the recording quality at concert venues as Hooke Verse can't remove the extra base present in such locations.
Fourth, guys and gals, even Hooke Verse needs extra recording modes -- I mean normal stereo, 120º stereo, 80º stereo, and mono. I know it's a 3D recorder, but binaural recording isn't suitable or acceptable everywhere everytime. The accompanying app should allow users to alter the recording mode if and when required.
And, last but not least, I'm wondering why the developers insist on *not* publishing tech specifications (especially mic SPL numbers) for the Hooke Verse. Each time that question is raised, we're told the product can handle loud sounds well and we're asked to go to their website to listen to audio samples. Now I might have missed such numbers on this forum -- if so, I apologize. But if you're asking $250 for a product, you should let customers know its technical specifications. Without knowing those, I'm not willing to pay for such a product.
Until these are picked up by the developers, I'll stick to my Sony PCM-D100 as its 120º stereo recording is quite close to binaural recordings the Hooke Verse produces.
OK, so maybe I should just hold off then, until things are more ironed out… I suppose. This is disappointing, that there are so many varying results.
I know that @ke7zum just purchased her Hookeverse recently, so I highly doubt she would be a tester.
2. To even be a tester, you have to be told by the developers themselves, anyways, seeing as the waiting list was long initially. So I am almost certain this is a regular unit. But again, I guess I will just wait and see what happens, since results don't seem to be good for two people, already. But I was highly looking forward to purchasing the product before this, so I am highly disappointed that this has to happen to everyone.
Just… Wow! So many varying results… It's not even funny. Anyways, that's it from me, for now.
Hi Portia and all,
I also think it'll be better if you wait to see how or if the issues we've raised will be addressed down the road. Of course, the Hooke Verse is a good product if you're willing to tolerate the problems or shortcomings we've brought up here in exchange for the promise of binaural recording via a Bluetooth headset. But that means paying $250 for that promise and keeping your hopes high for the future.
What's more, I'm hearing that the producers of Hooke Verse refuse to refund those who aren't satisfied with their purchase. If it is true (which seems to be so), you should consider this in your purchase. Not a good practice IMO anyway.
That is very sad indeed. Maybe your friend and Visu got a defective unit? Just guessing out of wonder. This is quite sad as I said, as I have wanted to record and binaural audio for so long. And yes, I have looked elsewhere for other solutions that were affordable, no such luck. So this is very disappointing indeed. Hopefully that situations that others are reporting with the quality not being good can be sorted out, As @jessiepp and @ke7zum don't seem to be having any issues. When they did their podcast of unboxing them, they even sounded like they enjoyed them as well. So well. This is horrible news for those who were potential customers, That all these issues are happening.
To all who are experiencing issues with the Hooke verse.
I can not say enough that an update is for sure coming.
this update will bring bug fixes as I and other testers have stated on this form.
I personally want this product to work for my needs and if has done so.
That is why I thank those who are willing to go all in and purchase a device because it will only get better from here.
The developer is very understanding and has a lot on his plate at the moment.
He is handling many things at once, I can personally speak to that.
Please, I urge you guys to have some patients and trust that an app update is coming with the fixes blind users need to make excellent 3D binaural recordings.
If I wasn't so passionate about this product and binaural audio, I would not be so eager to tell you of updates to come.
I wouldn't be testing it 24/7 and reporting and having a team listen and take my feedback seriously.
But with hooke verse, there a start up company and they honestly didn't have to make the choice to support blind users.
They did and I appreciate that from the bottom of my heart; because
they understand that recordings are important and valuable to us and are trying there best to serve our community as efficient as possible.
I am so proud to be a part of a team who are willing to go the extra mile, if you guys would stop trudging through all the short comings and realize the long term down the road, things wouldn't look so gloom and variable.
I know, having a product work correctly is everyones hope, and I appreciate all reviews and feedback positive are negative.
It only helps the products improve.
This is why I’m personally head of accessibility and dedicated to make it exclusive to all.
The good thing here with hooke audio is that the under lying issues are all software app specific, the hardware functions as expected and know one will have to upgrade there hardware for these issues to be resolved successfully.
I appreciate the blind community as a whole and hope to see you all making memories in binaural audio as this is how we see the past in its fullest, and the future is ever present.
Feel free to reach out and contact me on the form, and or twitter with suggestions and or concerns, and know that your voice is being heard to help make hooke verse the worlds first wireless 3D microphone a huge success.
Time is a virtue.
Head of Hooke Audio accessibility
I'm glad somebody finally set it. Of course everybody wants things to work perfectly, and it sounds like they're on the way. Personally I really want to get a pair of these. I have been interested in doing Binaural recording for many years with my audio theatre projects. With this I could finally fulfil that dream. Unfortunately I don't have the funds to pay the asking price right now, especially since I live in Canada and the asking price is even more. But one day I would love to try one of these out.
It's definitely not worth $250. Regardless of whether they're a startup company, releasing a product so buggy and selling it for $250 claiming that it's completely accessible is outrageous.
"But with hooke verse, there a start up company and they honestly didn't have
to make the choice to support blind users. "
That argument is invalid in so many ways. If you look at who is actually buying/talking about this product on Twitter, for example, it's mostly blind people. Their so-called 'commitment' to accessibility helps them make more sales, so if they didn't do it they'd be losing a huge percentage of potential customers.
I hate to say it, but a lot of products are buggy right out of the box these days. I wish that wasn't the standard, but apparently it is now. That having been said, this hasn't been out for very long. If the developer does not bother to address any of the concerns people are voicing, then they deserve as much ira as we can give. But if they are willing to make updates as it sounds like they must be, then all we can do is keep reporting bugs as they come, and they will hopefully be addressed. I'm hearing a lot of mixed reactions on this board, though I have not had the chance to test this product out for myself.
Okay, here are my thoughts.
1. @justin and Anthony, thank you for doing your best to make the Hookeverse accessible. I know you guys are trying to handle so much, so I for one, am thankful for your efforts.
Nothing, and I say NOTHING is perfect. It is hard, when you are just a startup, trying to manage everything under the sun and the sky, trying to make whatever your product is work for everyone, whether it be Hookeverse, etc.
3. The more people try Hookeverse, and leave feedback with Justin and the team at Hookeaudio, I think Hookeverse will become a wonderful product.
4. I am not saying anyone has to try it if they don't want to, but it is up to you to decide.
I have faith in you guys and patience, so here's to a wonderful product in the months and future to come..
That is it from me, for now.
Take care. And to Justin and Anthony at Hookeaudio, don't let anything get you guys down. I am willing to be here for you guys, and have subscribed to your channel on Youtube. Keep up the excellent work.
I have no idea why the person on here is making claims that the app is not accessible. It is, you just need to get used to it. I got used to it in minutes. My podcast on the app is hopefully still at http://feeds.feedburner.com/tffp excuse the quality my fault, or http://tffppodcast.com/listen but I really really love mine. I think you are just complaining just to complain and they are worth the $250 or how ever much they are.
I want to have one of those hook verse device but i really like the audio quality. I wanted this device to record my podcast that i work on and enjoy recording to show how things work with voiceover and JAWS with i have on my computer. I think this is a wonderful product. I am not making anyone buy this product if they don't want to. I know the app would get better. I know this i am having to wear hearing amplifiers all the time and this device sound so cool. I thought if i had the hook verse i would use this device with petralex hearing app because i am a great person to deserves to be able to hear. I have to be able to hear if my girlfriend Portia needs me for some reason. I wont to be able to hear her. I know this getting long so i will write later.
Sent from my iPhone
Anthony here, founder of Hooke Audio. I wanted to jump in and clear some rumors that seem to be going around about Hooke Verse.
1. NO ONE, I repeat NO ONE who has requested a refund is being denied a refund. That is straight up illegal. Two customers have requested refunds over the weekend. Our fulfillment office is not open over the weekend. Refund requests will be address at the beginning of next week (it is currently Saturday).
2. I am incredibly appreciative of all the feedback and notes your community has given us in this past week. We have only been launched for a little over a week. In that time we have gained INCREDIBLE feedback from all of you and now know how to make the Hooke App more accessible than ever. This is incredibly valuable feedback for us and something we don't take lightly. I appreciate you all being patient with us as we work to implement these improvements into our next app updates.
3. A look into updates to come: When we launched the app, we implemented direct touch with the idea that it provide the best possible experience for all of you during recording. We have now found from your feedback that perhaps direct touch is not as helpful as we anticipated. So we listened, and we worked to improve. I want to share with you all the new functionality that will be implemented in the next update. This is a direct copy and paste form our new "accessibility tips" page will now AUTOMATICALLY launch upon app launch to help you better access the app:
"To adjust Hooke Verse recording level, locate the microphone gain slider and swipe up or down with one finger.
To adjust the level of what you hear, use the physical volume buttons on your phone.
To enable or disable video capture, double tap on the camera icon. The camera button will then tell you if the camera is disabled or enabled.
To start/stop a recording, either press the multifunction hardware button on the Hooke Verse or double tap with two fingers anywhere on the capture screen.
To view audio or video recordings, double tap the gallery button.
To view your Hooke Verse’s battery level locate the Battery level text on the capture screen.
To view the time counter while recording, locate the time counter on the capture screen
To access controls for sharing, deleting, or playback of recorded files, double tap on a file name from the Gallery screen.
To return to the capture screen, perform the VO scrub gesture or double tap the back button.
To access the accessibility tips or contact Hooke Audio support at any time, locate the settings button and select “contact us” or “accessibility tips"
4. Again, I cannot thank you enough for your support and patience as we work to make the Hooke Audio apps the most accessible recording apps ever. What we are doing is incredibly new and incredibly difficult. It will take some time and a few updates to get it to a way in which we all want it to be working. So again, thank you for the support and keep the feedback coming!
All the best,
No, the app is not usable enough to be called accessible.
Hooke Audio should not be shipping a product when it still operates as a beta product.
Notice how all the people claiming that the Hooke Verse is 'wonderful' are beta testers? Most of those testers got a free product a month ago in exchange for providing feedback and writing positive reviews.
That's great, but why are you even shipping the product right now when the app is still so buggy? You'd have thought will all of the beta testers, you'd have perfected the app before release. You could have avoided all of the negative feedback if you'd waited until everything was perfected (like any other decent company) and then opened up sales outside of your kickstarter.
I am not a beta tester actually. The product is wonderful, and if you don't care for it, there's always arranging for an RMA number and shipping the product back. It worked for me out of the box and the app is 100 percent accessible, you only need to get used to the direct touch. Its simple really. I'm taking mine out tonight to a performance I'm hopefully doing right now there is nothing like the Hooke verse and the technology is brand new, so don't knock it too hard.
I like he changes. I'm too used to the direct touch and as a sound engineer I'm used to slowly pushing faders and turning nobs so for me it was not a big deal. Can there perhaps be a toggle under settings to enable or disable the direct touch gestures? Thoughts?
The technology is not 'brand new', wired Binaural Audio options have been around for years. This is just the first bluetooth binaural headset with a terribly designed iOS app and lower than standard audio quality.
Hello Anthony and all,
I like the changes as well. I am definitely going to see about getting me a pair, and I know it will be awesome. I definitely give you guys credit for what you are doing, I know the product is brand-new. It is not easy developing a product in general, but at least, you guys are trying. I know it will get better and better as time progresses.
I know times can get rough, but just remember. No matter how rough times get, you will always have those that still support you. I can't wait to purchase my Hookeverse when I get the funds. LOL.
I was one of those people who ended up asking for a refund when I preordered it for $139, but given that it shows a link that just says "order now" these days and the price still shows as $139, I guess they ended up leaving the price the same as for preorders?
Despite the varying feedback, I'm still excited to get these when it's a little more convenient. I tend to generally sit on the fence and watch what's going on, watch what everybody is saying and eventually make my judgment. It's one of the reasons that made me request a refund, with the intension to get the product later after seeing its reception.
I'm still excited for the product, and I'm going to try to locate that podcast showing the app, regardless of what negative feedback has already been given.
I'm looking forward to seeing what comes next, including app updates.
No, when you click "order now", it says it is $239.00.
Like many of you, I was excited to finally receive my Hooke Verse. I was looking forward to recording my baby daughter's milestone moments and play in binaural audio.
Sadly, this just isn't happening for me at all...
I have made six recording attempts, but not one of them has resulted in more than 12 seconds of actual recorded audio!
I experience the following barriers to successful recording:
1. The app frequently crashes for no apparent reason, even if I make sure it remains on screen and the phone does not lock while recording. I captured approximately 12 seconds of a 31-minute wedding ceremony!
2. The lack of an accessible indication that recording has successfully begun is a shocking oversight.
3. The weird quasi-direct-touch implementation of VoiceOver accessibility is hard for me to understand, even as an experienced iOS accessibility tester, and it makes quickly reaching and starting recordings unnecessarily difficult.
Unfortunately, at this time I would have to give Hooke Verse 0 out of 5 stars. I hope I will be able to positively modify this assessment after the company resolves the serious bugs in the iOS app.
I haven't measured the duration yet, but I am experiencing considerable lag when Voiceover comes through the HookeVerse. I realize this is just the nature of Bluetooth to some degree, but I get far less lag when connected to a little portable bluetooth speaker I have hear. I'd venture a guess that the lag on HookeVerse is at least double the lag on the speaker.
Has anybody tried plugging the included USB to 1/8" cable into a conventional recorder yet?
I just experimented with my Sony PCM10, and experienced the following:
1. Plugged into the recorder's microphone in, I experienced extreme amounts of digital noise, even at lowest gain settings.
2. Plugging into the recorder's line in, and on maximum gain, I hear some sound from the HookeVerse, but it is quiet.
So, I gather I am supposed to use the microphone in. However, the noise level is incredibly high.
Thanks Justin T for the description of how to fit the windscreens. I didn't even notice the smaller hole in the side of each windscreen, but that makes perfect sense.
I can duplicate your Bluetooth issue. At least compared with my Bragi Dash and a Bose headphone I own, Hooke Verse's audio latency is more noticeable with VoiceOver in use.
I've also had similar results with Hooke Verse's wired recording options and my Sony PCM-D100. The mics are apparently quieter than usual, and increasing the volume results in the generation of a higher than usual noise floor. It seems to me that the Hooke Verse's wired recording mode is inferior to its Bluetooth recording mode. Honestly, were it my own production unit, I'd ask for a refund. But I'm not sure what my friend is going to do with his unit. You may also want to take a look at this Youtube review from a sighted user's perspective: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cdYJjq3WVQ
I have not tried the usb option yet. But I have had the android app crash on me when I was out yesterday. I'm not too worried though as at the time what I was capturing was just misc stuff... I'm hoping one day to use the hook verse with bluetooth to do a live youtube stream of one of my dress rehearsals once I get this group I want to get up and going. I want to try and use stereo recording as an educational tool so I can have the one with my phone read the comments and I try them in front of the listeners and the choral group. But until youtube supports the hook api right now this is just not possible, the person streaming would have to be in my face and I kind of don't want that, that would look a bit odd. Well, if I put the head together and use it that way with the cord that might work, but I won't be able to test until I get singers lol!
So this is not Bluetooth -- like Hooke Verse, but Sennheiser's advantage is that it basically works with any recording iOS apps you have -- including the built-in camera app or any iOS MP3/sound recorder which can recognize external mics.
It can also cancel or turn down/up external sounds and offers a pass-through audio function. Check here for more info: http://www.pocket-lint.com/review/140852-sennheiser-ambeo-smart-headset…
Yes, I'm really looking forward to that headset. Although it's not as discrete as I was hoping, none of Sennheiser's products have ever let me down and their customer service has always been fantastic.
Anthony, please comment on the noise level issue when interfacing HookeVerse with portable field recorders.
Also, any comment about Nafisa's and other reports on the looooong lag when hearing Voiceover through HookeVerse?
Hey. I'm still looking forward to purchasing this. I hope it's worth the price. a question, do I need to inable the microphone of my iphone 7 to just use the hooke verse? or do I need to inable microphone access in order to use the hooke verse? please comment back. also, which sise fits me? I have small ears. so will the small ear tips fit me? and will each app update bring enhancements to the verse
? no hardware update required?
Hello Justin and to everyone who has submitted recordings,
That is so amazing! Every time I hear a new recording, it just blows me away. I don't know why everyone seems to be having so much trouble, but this is just amazing. Every time I hear any recording, it makes me want to get one, and I can't wait to get myself one.
As I said, I am just blown and wowed away. Anyways, that's all for now.
Using my Olympus ls14, I had no problem recording via wired cable with Hooke.
Follow these steps:
1. Plug the wired cable into the mico USB charging port with the headset powered off.
2. Turn the headset on not yet having done anything except plug the micro USB cable end into the charging port on the headset.
You should hear audio when you monitor with Hooke.
3. Plug the 3.5 mm end into the cable into the Olympus microphone jack.
4. Hit record twice-once takes you into standby mode.'
The second press starts recording.
To ensure you are in stereo mode, before you record, hit menu-the key below the record key.
Hit enter on record menu-first option in menu.
Down arrow to rec format setting.
The first mode is pcm mode.
Push enter and your first choice is 44.1 kHz 16 bit.
Hit enter, the Olympus will say set.
Hit menu to exit-unit will beep twice.
Here is a recorded sample
This guide is very useful in making sure the proper set up is achieved , and the results do show as expected.
Thanks for this help.
I'll just say this. In a week and a half to two weeks! I'm buying my Hookeverse! Yay! Sorry for all the exclamation marks, just so excited.
That is all from me, for now.
If you're shipping to New Zealand, how much would the headphones be? I am a podcast maker, and would like to enhance my podcasting with the Hook Verse.
I just found this on amazon:
The price is very high but maybe someone tried this?
I'm almost their! I will hopefully be ordering the verse as soon as I can split the difference. I have a few more questions just to clarify:
1. does one haf to grant microphone access in order to use the hooke verse? or no?
2. before you use the verse, do I need to pare it first before I open the app?
3. Are the winscreens recommended for best recording? I know it comes in the box, but is it really recommended for the best sound quality?
4. and finally, will every app update bring enhancements to the verse?
Thanks again for all of the assistants, and I'm looking forward to capturing the world in 3d audio! I promise I will share a link to my first recording soon.
Hey DJMACRADIO, answers to your questions below:
1. does one have to grant microphone access in order to use the hooke verse? or no?
If you want to use the built in mic when operating the app, you will need to grant access. If you only want to use the Hooke Verse with the app, you will not need to grant access to use the built in microphone.
2. before you use the verse, do I need to pare it first before I open the app?
Yes, to ensure a secure solid connection with your device every time:
1. Make sure the Verse is powered off
2. Make sure the Hooke Audio app is completely killed and not running in the background on your phone
3. Connect the Verse to your phone (The first time you pair, you will hold the power button down until you hear an upwords chime, you can then connect. Moving forward, your device will remember and auto connect to the verse upon every power on.)
4. Open the app
If the issue persists, power cycle your phone and reset the Hooke Verse by pressing the reset button (small hole on right behind ear enclosure) and repairing to your phone
3. Are the winscreens recommended for best recording? I know it comes in the box, but is it really recommended for the best sound quality?
We recommend the windscreens in areas where there is heavy wind. It helps protect the microphones from becoming distorted. You do not need them if there is little wind.
4. and finally, will every app update bring enhancements to the verse?
YES! That is a big part of our mission here. To listen to you all, learn what you want and update! Every update will see bug fixes AND cool new features. Thanks for reaching out!
Founder, Hooke Audio
Hi @AnthonyM thank you for reaching out so quickly. I'm looking forward to ordering this amazing product. Here's a feature that I would like for you to add in the next app update. In some recording apps, you can pause/resume a recording. can that be added into the Hooke Audio app? in other words, dubble tapping the button pauses the recording, and dubble tapping the button again resumes the recording? also, hints could help users who are using the app for the first time. for example, when a user tuches the record icon from within the hooke audio app, VoiceOver will say, if hints are turned on, "dubble tap to start recording." HTH and I hope the feature will be added in the next app update!
Hi @AnthonyM How does the monitoring work with the Verse? most bluetooth earphones when connected, VoiceOvers speech output goes directly to the earphones, are their any difference with the Verse? and when the app launches, will I receive monitoring instently? and will VoiceOvers speech output goes directly to the internal speaker? is the Verse water proof? just thought I should ask. also, how is the verse supposed to be worn?