The Binaural Headset:

While our Hear Birds Again app will perform the necessary pitch-shifting of high bird songs, it is critically important to use a special “binaural headset” that will allow shifted bird songs to be heard in a natural three-dimensional space, thereby making it possible to accurately judge distances and directions and then go find and observe the singers. Refer to The Headset Conundrum for a more complete discussion.

A Well Designed Binaural Headset is Key to Hearing Pitch-Lowered Bird Songs in 3D Space and Being Able to Find and Observe the Singing Birds!

Unfortunately, no suitable off-the-shelf solutions are currently available in the marketplace (with one possible exception: the Ambeo Smart Headset), so we have performed extensive field testing to come up with our own optimal design that is now available in kit form from a third party (see below). Not only does it provide an excellent spatial experience, it also utilizes super low-noise high fidelity microphones that will aid in the detection of distant and subtle bird songs. A special adapter (made by Rode) is an essential ingredient, providing excellent A/D conversion and connection to the mobile device’s lightning port.

Headset on wood table

closeup of one side of headphones on ear

While our app is entirely free, the binaural headset kit (which will require some assembly) is not. It costs about $175 (USD including air mail shipping), not inexpensive but certainly a reasonable investment considering the life-changing end result for birders suffering from high frequency hearing loss … that of once again hearing the symphony of high-pitched avian musicians!

Ordering the Micbooster Headset Kit

NOTE: As of November 10, the headset kit is now available from Micbooster, but our app is not yet in Apple’s App Store, nor do we have the assembly video completed. So while it’s fine to order the kit now, you should not proceed with assembly of the headset until the assembly video appears on this web page … which should be no later than the end of November.

Click Here to order the headset kit (either the full kit or a partial kit) from micbooster.com, which is located in the United Kingdom. Prices are in British Pounds. If you are ordering from the United States, the website should detect your location and display a price of 143.20 pounds (about $170 USD) for the full kit. NOTE: If a higher price is displayed, please don’t worry … the proper price will appear in your shopping cart once you’ve registered your account and entered your US mailing address.

Disclaimer: Hear Birds Again does not profit financially from the sale of headset kits, nor is our arrangement with micbooster an exclusive one; we remain open to other headset possibilities and sources.

Assembling the Binaural Headset

ASSEMBLY VIDEO COMING SOON!

Assembly Instructions:

The full micbooster kit includes all the required components and makes it very easy for individuals to complete construction. The low-noise mics are already professionally soldered to miniature cables equipped with connector plugs. All that needs to be done is mount the mics on the headset using mounting putty (which is easy), braid the cables by hand, and then secure the braid with several cable ties. The following video shows how this is done:

Note: A video demonstrating the assembly procedure will soon be added here.

How to Hook-up the Rode Ai-Micro Audio Interface

CAUTION!: It is important to properly adjust settings for the Rode AI-Micro in order to prevent annoying feedback squeal:

Our recommended headset requires the use of the Rode AI-Micro interface, which will route the headset mics inputs into one’s mobile device and the device’s output (the pitch-lowered bird songs) back to the Koss Earphones. In order for this to work properly, it will be necessary for you to download Rode’s RodeCentral application and then adjust the settings. The procedure is as follows:

1. Download RodeCentral and then open the app.
2. Connect your Rode AI Micro interface to your mobile device. RodeCentral should then automatically detect the audio interface.
3. TURN OFF the “Direct Monitor” option (the bottommost setting). CAUTION: If left enabled, you will probably experience loud feedback squeal!
4. Adjust other settings as as shown in the following screenshot of the RodeCentral user interface:

RodeCentral UI

Once the direct monitoring setting has been disabled, everything should work fine and you should not have to use the RodeCentral app again, except perhaps to occasionally check for updates to the Rode AI Micro firmware (RodeCentral automatically detects if your current firmware is out of date).

Do It Yourself Headsets & Component List

We encourage experimentation with regard to headset design. Our “recommended” design (available in kit form) is the result of extensive field testing, but it is certainly not the only possible solution. So … once our app is published, we hope that a number of do-it-yourselfers will tackle the headset problem on their own and come up with innovative solutions. To enable such efforts, we provide a full list of components below.

Headset Component List For Do-It-Yourselfers (North American Sources):

UK-based Micbooster is also a trusted source of components, especially for UK and European Do-It-Yourselfers:

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