I was not previously aware of Andrea Electronics, but I must say the SuperBeam earphones are a great introduction. They have a lot going for them, not the least of which is the built-in microphone system included as part of both headsets.
Andrea Electronics SuperBeam Buds
With the SuperBeam Buds the user can listen to all that one usually uses earphones for listening. The user can also use them with dictation software such as Dragon Dictate, and for Skype calls.
According to the company SuperBeam provides:
- The headsets USB sound card supports CD quality sound of 16-bit and up to 44.1 kHz sample rates.
- 3D surround sound recording, a unique new audio capture and playback feature.
- Sleek “boom free” design with digital noise cancellation technology that is Skype Certified.
- Works with OS X Leopard, Snow Leopard and Lion operating systems.
There are two free downloads available from the company website that support the quality of the sound available to Mac users. The first, AudioCommander software, controls microphone and speaker noise reduction using preset tabs. The second, Mac USB Audio software, offers audio enhancement.
The SuperBeam Buds are available in black (SB-205B) and white (SB-205W). The MSRP for either is US$129.95. Searching the Internet, the best alternate price I found was US$124.95. There is a one year warranty and a carrying case is included with each purchase.
Components of SuperBeam earphones
Using the product
All the facts aside, the bottom line is how well do they work. The answer is just peachy keen. The sound is clear, the base is solid, and conversations are crisp. I spent some time on Skype phone calls, testing them with different voices, and experienced no problems, nor did the persons with whom I conversed. There are both volume controls and mute controls, both of which are assets for anyone who participates in podcasts.
The best thing about the microphones in the ear pieces is that it did not matter which way I turned my head, they were always equidistant from my mouth. There was no microphone in front of my mouth that I had to hold in place to get a consistent level of speech, and I was able to drink a soda while carrying on my conversations.
Another thing, small but significant, is that the clip that attaches the cords to clothing is adjustable. It moves up or down the length of the cord which provides greater comfort. Even during a long call I never pulled an earphone loose because the cord was too tight.
I was able to use the SuperBeam Buds while plugged into a USB hub rather than directly to my Mac, and I was able to use them with my iPhone 4. There is an additional plug that can be purchased for use with the iPhone, but I also was successful working without it.
The last test I tried was dictating with Dragon Dictate. I don’t have this application on my Mac, but I do have it on my iPhone 4 and I frequently use it while away from home. For the dictation test I dictated two pages from one of my old statistical analysis textbooks from graduate school. The end result was perfect.
Do I recommend it?
I do. Anyone who has need of the combination of earphones and a microphone would do well to give this set a try.