Introducing Hooke Verse Wireless Headphones; Capture Binaural 3D Audio on your iOS device

App Developer

Hi All!

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.

Thank you!
Anthony

Forum: 

#351 When the app is open,

App Developer

When the app is open, VoiceOver will go through the phone speaker. You can adjust monitoring level by pressing the physical volume buttons on your phone. You will receive monitoring immediately because the first screen to open upon app launch is the capture scree. The Verse is not waterproof.

#352 Ear tip sises?

Thanks @AnthonyM for your answers. another question, but it's regarding ear tip sises. when you receive the unit, which ear tip sises comes with the product by default? and how it's supposed to be worn correctly? I have small ears.

#353 Video suggestion

@AnthonyM I have a video suggestion: could you do a how to use the Hooke Verse with VoiceOver running on iOS?

#354 To Anthony: I would like to

To Anthony: I would like to be part of the beta-testing team for the Hooke Audio app. I don't want to publicize my email address, so whom do I email about joining? I would like to help improve this product.

#355 Hi Nafisah, we are not

App Developer

Hi Nafisah, we are not accepting any more beta testers at the moment. However, when the new update comes out, I want to schedule a phone call with you personally and walk you through the new app to make sure your issues are resolved. Please email us at info@hookeaudio.com with a number to reach you at. I am very much looking forward to turning that one star review into a 5 star review :-) Thanks! -Anthony

#359 So You Know I'm Not Halusinating :)

@AnthonyM:

To help you diagnose this problem, here's a sample of me talking while wearing HookeVerse, with it connected to the microphone input of my Sony PCM-M10 recorder. Yes I reset HookeVerse first, and I followed your instructions regarding connecting the USB-OTG end first, then plugging into the recorder.

I have done absolutely nothing to this - no normalization, compression, or resampling. This is just the raw WAV file from my recorder.

The noise itself is around -38dB and my voice at the loudest part is only about 14dB above the noise!

The sample is at:
https://www.sendspace.com/pro/dl/fnb2hi

(I'll post some other samples soon, such as HookeVerse on maximum gain streaming to my phone, but in a quiet closet, so prospective customers can accurately gauge the noise floor.)

#360 Chris,

App Developer

Chris,

I just listened to the recording. Where was the headset when you made this recording? Were you wearing it? That recording does not sound like it was recorded with the headset. Can you please make another recording where during the recording, you gently tap on the left and right microphones so that we can confirm it is in fact the verse making that recording?

Thanks,
A

#361 It is indeed the Verse

App Developer

I posted a similar recording with my own Verse a while ago, and I can confirm that it is definitely recorded by the Hooke Verse. Not sure why you have a hard time believing us or acknowledging the issue.

#362 there was no operator error

Sure thing. You'll hear the Sony recorder's internal mics first, imaging almost dead center in the stereo field, followed immediately by the Hookeverse audio with much more side information (room sound).
https://www.sendspace.com/pro/dl/6tfzwh

#363 ETA on the App Update?

@AnthonyM: I realize it's probably difficult to set a date, but is there a good chance an update to the HookeVerse app will be available by Wednesday May 31st? I'm attending a loud concert that night, and would love to try things in that environment.

#364 Not a Quiet Revolution

Hi @Visu: Thanks for the back up. I'm detecting some disbelief on the part of Anthony. :)

Still, it's the performance with my iPhone that I am most interested in. The field recorder option is just a back up, and a way to use HookeVerse with taping gear I already own.

It's interesting that there is almost no mention of HookeVerse over on taperssection.com, an Internet community dedicated to concert tapers and other field recordists. You'd think they would be all over this, as a replacement for more complex, cabled taping rigs.

#365 Love the idea

Club AppleVis Member

Thank you, @AnthonyM, for being so responsive on this forum. Once I get a little green saved up, I plan on purchasing a Hookeverse. I first heard binaural audio on a CD when my mom got me Stephen King's, "The Mist." You talk about a great way to bring a horror story to life! I love the idea of being able to do something like that with my phone.

#366 Disappointing product

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

I have my Hooke Verse now, but I'm afraid I can't recommend it. It's simply not worth the money. I really wanted to love it. I bought it because I was really excited about bluetooth binaural audio, and pleased to see a company in this field being so dedicated to accessibility when so many other companies make inaccessible audio equipment despite it being an area of interest for many blind people.

However, having followed this thread closely and from my experience of using the product, I honestly can't imagine any situation when I would use it. I've been thinking about starting a podcast, but the audio from this is too noisy to be used for professional-quality voiceovers. The amount of noise varies wildly from one recording to the next, seemingly with no reason. Earlier today I recorded myself talking and the noise drowned out my voice, even though I was recording with airplane mode on, wi-fi off and having just restarted my phone. I've also had problems with the app losing a couple of long recordings. There are major issues with the app, but that's not quite as much of a concern for me because apps can much more easily be updated than hardware.

I had previously thought I might use it for my own personal recordings - creating memories, as the Hooke team have been suggesting, but even that wouldn't work because the headphones go right inside the ear, blocking external sound, so I wouldn't be able to experience the audio I was trying to record! If there's some way of getting this thing to monitor audio during recording, I haven't figured it out, but even that isn't the same as hearing the audio with your ears directly, when anything you'd want to produce a personal memory-type recording for would be a moment you'd want to listen to as it's happening. Making it more in the style of the Apple ear pods that come with the iPhone would've been better, as they don't block out the sound.

I can't even imagine using these to listen to music, because I generally find in-ear headphones uncomfortable, whichever size of eartips I use. For a better recording device, I might have tolerated that. I changed the eartips but found it difficult to get the new ones to fit on the earpieces and stay there; I do understand how they're meant to fit onto it and I've changed eartips on another headset without much difficulty, which is why I think it's a problem with the headset and not just the way I'm doing it.

The unit itself feels very delicate and flimsy and I worry that the wire could break. I think I already ripped the default eartips as I was taking them off even though I was being very careful.

At a lower price, I would've been more forgiving of its shortcomings, but for the amount they're asking for it really needs to meet a higher standard. Honestly I love what they're trying to do with this, and I really wanted it to work. I could've had a lot of fun making radio dramas and other audio productions with it, but the audio quality is too inconsistent. It's a shame.

#367 Not quite ready for prime time yet

Wow, reading all these comments and listening to the recordings I've heard on this forum, I think the hook verse is a great idea on paper, but the execution just isn't there quite yet. So, I believe i'll pass this initial release and wait to see if a second-generation product is released in the future sometime. I have absolutely no doubt that the hook audio folks have worked hard on the project and I applaud them for the idea, but if I am going to pay that amount of money, I don't want a pare of headphones that might break simply by touching them in the incorrect way. It just isn't ready for prime time. That doesn't mean it won't be in the future, though so i'll keep watching and see what happens with a second-generation product, if one comes out.

#368 Responses From Hooke Audio Founder

App Developer

Hi LC3249, First of all, I am very sorry to hear you are so dissapointed. Allow me to respond to your comments in line:

I have my Hooke Verse now, but I'm afraid I can't recommend it. It's simply not worth the money. I really wanted to love it. I bought it because I was really excited about bluetooth binaural audio, and pleased to see a company in this field being so dedicated to accessibility when so many other companies make inaccessible audio equipment despite it being an area of interest for many blind people.

However, having followed this thread closely and from my experience of using the product, I honestly can't imagine any situation when I would use it. I've been thinking about starting a podcast, but the audio from this is too noisy to be used for professional-quality voiceovers.
**This why we include the recording cable, for you to capture binaural audio to field recorders with much higher sound cards and processing power. Have you tried capturing with the cable yet?**

The amount of noise varies wildly from one recording to the next, seemingly with no reason.
**Sorry, that doesn't make much sense to us. Can you provide examples?**

Earlier today I recorded myself talking and the noise drowned out my voice, even though I was recording with airplane mode on, wi-fi off and having just restarted my phone.
**Can you provide an example? There is no reason noise should be drowning out your own voice. That is not good***

I've also had problems with the app losing a couple of long recordings. There are major issues with the app, but that's not quite as much of a concern for me because apps can much more easily be updated than hardware.
**New app update is coming soon with an insane amount of accessibilty upgrades thanks to the feedback from all of you here**

I had previously thought I might use it for my own personal recordings - creating memories, as the Hooke team have been suggesting, but even that wouldn't work because the headphones go right inside the ear, blocking external sound, so I wouldn't be able to experience the audio I was trying to record!
**This is why we have enabled live real time monitoring when using the app. You adjust monitoring level by pressing the volume buttons on the phone. We would never intentionally try to hinder your hearing during recording!**

If there's some way of getting this thing to monitor audio during recording, I haven't figured it out, but even that isn't the same as hearing the audio with your ears directly, when anything you'd want to produce a personal memory-type recording for would be a moment you'd want to listen to as it's happening.
**See above**

Making it more in the style of the Apple ear pods that come with the iPhone would've been better, as they don't block out the sound.

I can't even imagine using these to listen to music, because I generally find in-ear headphones uncomfortable, whichever size of eartips I use. For a better recording device, I might have tolerated that. I changed the eartips but found it difficult to get the new ones to fit on the earpieces and stay there; I do understand how they're meant to fit onto it and I've changed eartips on another headset without much difficulty, which is why I think it's a problem with the headset and not just the way I'm doing it.

The unit itself feels very delicate and flimsy and I worry that the wire could break. I think I already ripped the default eartips as I was taking them off even though I was being very careful.
**The wire will not break. Please report if you do find the product to break. But we did not design it to break as you are described**

At a lower price, I would've been more forgiving of its shortcomings, but for the amount they're asking for it really needs to meet a higher standard. Honestly I love what they're trying to do with this, and I really wanted it to work. I could've had a lot of fun making radio dramas and other audio productions with it, but the audio quality is too inconsistent. It's a shame.

Hooe the above comments help you, thanks for reaching out.

#369 Please read my response above

App Developer

The headphones will not break by touching them the wrong way.

#370 Finally have enough to order the Verse!

Hi all!
I have some exciting news! while I was on vacation in New York, I've received early birthday money from my family membors, and I have enough to order the Verse! I will be placing my order probably this weekend. to @AnthonyM and everyone elce who is reading this post, I'm super excited to be finally owning my pare. I've listened to 2 reviews on youtube and the sound quality and overall performance is encredible! Be expecting lots of 3d audio recordings soon, probably earlyer than anticipated. And since I have an iPhone 7, transitioning to the Hooke Verse will be an easy one. I will do a follow up post once the order has been placed. Again, thanks for the feedback, and looking forward to the app update, as well as owning my own Hooke Verse!

#371 Good luck!

I hope your experiences with the product are better than some I've read here. Again, this just doesn't sound like it's ready for prime time but i'll be very happy to be proven wrong, trust me!

#372 Thanks

To @ToonHead thanks. trust me, some of the reviews I've read are some what negative. I just ignore negative comments and stick with the positives. after listening to a review done by Drew Weber, I feel that the device can indeed work over bluetooth. In the review, the video recording crashed . But what do you know, The hardware was fine, and besides, it's app spasific, not hardware. the review was done using the beta product, not the released product. in fact, if it hasn't been demoed on the podcast, I would like to do an audio review of the released product so that I could share my experiences using this product.

#373 I don't think it has been demoed in a podcast yet.

Club AppleVis Member

I'll be very interested to listen to a podcast if you do one, @djmacradio. I'd be curious to know what hardware those who are having problems with the Verse are using as far as which iPhone or iPad.

#374 A recording

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

Here's a recording I made with it last night, so you can hear for yourself the amount of noise I'm getting with it:
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/s/hdr10ykqk26gqtg/Hooke%20Sample.m4a
Not sure what's going on with the sounds from the right earpiece... it could've been something I was doing (it sounds like I might have been fiddling with the earpiece without realising it or something, maybe trying to get it to stay in) but even if you ignore that it's still a huge amount of noise. I was recording wirelessly with the Hooke to my iPhone 6.

#375 A question I don't know the answer to

Club AppleVis Member

So I don't know the answer to this question, but are there any sort of minimum hardware requirements? Much of what I've heard says that this app can be very much of a resource hog (and I don't mean that in a bad way). I'm wondering if older devices might have more issues. Just a thought.

#376 Another question a friend on my Twitter had.

Hello,

Another question, since I don't think this was posted, I am asking is for a friend. He isn't on here.

Is the Hookeverse noise canceling? @AnthonyM, Or someone from Hookeaudio.

Thanks.

#377 re: A recording

hi @LC3249 I'm Justin T. I would like to take some time to respond to your recording sample you provided. I myself owning both a beta set and final release hardware set of the hooke audio verse, have not experienced the large amount of white noise that you are experiencing as heard in the sample provided. Have you tried to power cycle your phone and make a recording with airplane mode on, just to see if it makes a difference an to penpoint where the noise could be generating from? Also, not sure whats up with the right earpiece either, I do here the crumbling sound, as if there is something going on. I'm sure anthony will respond as well as others to help you out to the best of there knowledge. Thanks for recording along with the rest of us. ** App update with crash and accessibility fixes coming soon!! :)

#378 Hi Justin, thanks for your

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

Hi Justin, thanks for your response. That recording was made with airplane mode on, and having just restarted my phone. I have also tried adjusting the levels, but that doesn't seem to make a difference.

#379 re: another question

hey @Portia Scott the hooke verse is not noise canceling. but, if you do where the verse with the memory foam ear tips, in a safe environment, you will be able to block out a good amount of average to medium noise in a room, unless you have monitoring on via the Hooke audio app, which is in realtime :) it lets you hear almost equally as if not waring the verse at all if you have it set up correctly. HTH

#380 try turning bluetooth off and back on again

Hi,
Try turning bluetooth off and back on again and see if that helps.

#381 Some Points

Hello; First off I want to thank Anthony and and those that have worked on this project for not only such a great product but the continuing dedication to users of this site in trying to assist. I waited for almost 2 years and when I finally got the product I started using it almost immediately. Sure, I did find the iPhone app tricky at first but soon got the hang of it, and it is good to see that issues addressed will be fixed in a new update. In terms of the hardware, I have only good things to say. I have already made lots of recordings in different settings without any issues. I would like to point out a few things that may be of assistance. Firstly, and maybe Anthony could comment, I found the instructions for wearing the Verse slightly confusing and in the end I found a much better way to wear it for me. Instead of the two plastic extension hanging down from your ears, I found it better to have them resting between your head and earlobe. So then you can sort of squeeze the wires to make this happen so that the buds are in your ears and the plastic bits extend behind and sit on top of your ears. I hope that makes sense. This seems to prevent weight on the ear buds and them falling out. I find that in terms of sound, it is critical to have the earbuds fit well and this makes a huge difference to the sound. You lose almost all bass if you don't have them in properly. When in properly, the sound is quite amazing. I own a pair of Shure earbuds which are over $1000, and I can honestly say that the Verse comes really close to producing the same clear and detailed effect. Of course, I realise a lot of this is subjective. So I really can't complain. My iPhone 6 even vibrates at the start and stop of recording so the issue with it not vibrating doesn't happen for me. Also, I did notice that if you are recording with the iPhone plugged into the wall, you do get noticeable hum. I therefore, really use it without plugging it in, and indeed, that would be more in line with what it was designed for.

#382 re: comment from lc2349

One thing that strikes me about these recordings is that the volume//gain may have been inadvertently changed. This happened to me once and I think that a new update may prevent this from accidentally happening. It does make a big difference to the volume of a recording where the hiss is noticeable at lower recording volumes. Here is a link to a recording I made https://my.pcloud.com/publink/show?code=XZrwX3ZC8cPxqwP1vQXQrYGsx4w5Lhjdktk

#383 Re: Some Points

hello @Skyhook Justin here, head of hooke audio accessibility. I am so glad your enjoying your verse :) I just wanted to know what directions you followed that instructed you to where the verse with the plastic hookes pointing down or hanging from your neck. The way you found that works better for you, in your comment above is the correct way to where the verse. The plastic hook pieces should sit on top and between your upper portion of ear and head with the earbuds going down in to your eardrums. I would love to here some of your recordings that you have made to share your story with you. Thanks Happy recording. ** even better with new app Update coming soon**

#384 App Gain Control

The gain control is very very sensitive, even when moving the slightest amount. Perhaps, since there are only ten possible steps through its range, a regular swipe gesture up or down could always move it by one step. Currently, a larger gesture zips the control from one extreme to the other.

#385 re: some points

Hi @justin T, sorry I can't quite remember exactly which podcast it was but it was on one of the links Anthony included in this thread. I believe you may have also described it as being placed near your neck or I think cheek was mentioned in one of the links. I may have misinterpreted those directions but thank you for confirming zi am now wearing them correctly. Really made a difference to the experience. I do hope to share some recordings soon. Just wondering, would it be possible to include functionality with other apps. So for example, if you had the verse connected and wanted to record binaurally from another app, could that app say interface with the Hooke app? Another issue i have is with voiceover coming through the phone speakers while recording. It would be good to have some way of having voiceover optionally coming through the Verse earbuds while recording so it stops any possibility of voiceover being picked up and recorded. Sometimes its hard to hear the controls when recording without the voiceover being picked up. Tried using a wired earpiece as well as the hooke to see if I could get voiceover output through the wired earbud. This sadly didn't work.

#386 Cool recording, Skyhook

Club AppleVis Member

Wow @Skyhook, cool recording. And you even threw in some Elton John! Haha. Awesome!

#387 HookeVerse with other Apps

Yes, this is another vote for that. Some of the voice chatting clients (like Teamtalk from BearWare) support stereo audio. :)

Both programs would have to be Audiobus compatible, but that should be implementable. See this link for the Audiobus SDK:
https://developer.audiob.us/

#388 Yes, I vote for that too

Yes, I vote for that too.
I do, for most of the time, use teamtalk. it does offer stereo audio. I would love it if the verse would work with teamtalk, so that way I can show my friends who are on teamtalk the functionality and usability of this device. after all, it does offer stereo recording/playback. Hopefully in the future. I'm so looking forward to the next update for iOS owners, as it promises to bring enhancements to the verse, as well as lots of bugg fixes. best of all, it'll be totally 100% accessible for VO users. Direct touch is a bit hard, but the developers really understand how an app should be made accessible with VO. also, for the update, VoiceOver should pause before it says "button," for example, instead of saying "record button" as one long word, it should say, "record, Button" as one standard button. Take the messages app for example. VoiceOver says, "compose, Button." instead of the word "button." I hope this points the developers into the right direction. Cannot wait for the update!

#389 We're on it!

App Developer

Thanks for staying engaged and supportive! New update coming soon.

#390 Thinking of getting some

Hi Anthony, Thanks for creating something so cool!
From listening to samples I am super impressed, and I love how you have a thing to place your hooke on, I have some Binaural mic/headphones but I hate wearing them because it plug right into the ears, I understand these are the same, but it's not so bad if I can put them somewhere else.

Just a few questions:
1. Do these record using other apps? I'm looking using the camera app in iOS to capture great video as well as audio, as I have working vision.
2. Will you consider to have pod-like headphones in a future product? Like I said before, I hate plugs :)
3. Sorry if questions were answered before, but I haven't read this forum, just came from a Twitter post :D
Cheers!

#391 some problems ....

Hello,

I just received my Hooke verse.
but I have some problems:

I connected it over bluetooth and it works fine. VO and music is played over the hooke verse.
When I open the app I do not give permission to use the microphone.
When I start a recording, I can not monitor the sound over the hooke verse. My phone just vibrates when a recording is started and finished.

Also when i go to the gallery and start playing a recording the sound is coming through the earspeaker of my iPhone and not through the hooke verse itself.

Can someone help me with this problem?

Regards

#392 @Falco

@Falco the reason as to why it isn't working is that you didn't allow access to your microphone. If you do not grant access to the microphone, the app will not be able to record directly from the verse. Once the verse is connected, it will override the internal microphone from your phone. Do the following to have a transitional connection:
1. Go to settings, privacy, microphone, then turn Hooke Audio on.
2. Kill both settings and the Hooke Audio app. BTW, make sure the device is off before doing this. If this is not performed and you have the device turned on, it could cause interference, so make sure the device is powered off.
3. Turn device on again and start the hooke audio app.
4. finally, record again. you should now record /hear the audio coming from the verse.

@AnthonyM is more than happy to further assist you, but at least let me know if that resolved your problem.

#393 Answers To Your Questions

App Developer

Hey AlexLKMan! Thanks for your interest in Hooke Audio.

1. Hooke Verse is world’s first fully wireless bluetooth binaural microphone. So we had to build our own proprietary Bluetooth codec to allow Hooke Verse to stream multiple channels of high quality audio over Bluetooth to a phone. This is a procedure that both Android and iOS are not natively set up to support. That is why we use the Hooke Audio app, the app works as a receiver for this custom codec. In order for other apps to support Hooke Verse record, they would need to support our Hooke codec for wireless record.
There is a wired solution however. There are many adapters out there which convert your lighting or micro USB connector into a stereo 3.5mm input (like this: http://www.bluemic.com/products/mikey-digital/) When you plug this adapter in, it overrides the built in mic. This way, you can use your Hooke Verse in wired recording mode, plug the Hooke recording cable into the adapter and capture Hooke 3D Audio on any smartphone app.

2. Not exactly sure what you mean by pod-like headphones. Like over the ear headphones?

3. No need to apologize!

#394 cannot wait for the update

Hey @AnthonyM I cannot wait for the update. I hope it comes out this week. checked the app store but didn't see nothing yet.

#395 Actually

App Developer

You can't record with the cable provided, as it gives off a ton of white noise which is a hardware failure, not an issue with the device being recorded on.

#396 Not true

App Developer

Visu, the cable does not create hiss on every recorder. It sounds like it does on yours. If you are experiencing a larger than normal amount of hiss, it is most likely caused by an impedance mismatch on the recorder. If you have the ability, output the audio to a set of speakers or headphones to see if the noise is still there. If it isn't then it is the impedance allowance of your recorder.

#398 No, it's not.

App Developer

Anthony, it has nothing to do with my 3 recorders. Admit to the issue instead of avoiding it. I'm not the only person who has that problem.

#399 You want us to admit that

App Developer

You want us to admit that none of our cables work? Do you really think that we would mass produce thousands of cables if they just simply didn't work?! What are you even talking about???

This is how you capture 3D Audio using the Hooke Verse cable:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-euqpzL0m_Y&t=1s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5FThgQmGwM&t=12s

Do you hear high amounts of hiss on these recordings? Because those were created using the cable.

I honestly don't know what you think we gain from just lying.

#400 Different device

App Developer

They're probably different devices than what's actually being shipped, or even different cables. I don't know, but when many people are having the same issue, there's definitely something wrong with the product and not the device those people are recording on.

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