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Saturday, July 17, 2021

RAW Semantics on headphones as brain machines

The Sony WH1000XM4 noise cancelling headphones recommended by Brian

I loved gadgets and so I have been intrigued for years by noise canceling headphones. Decent ones can be quite expensive, however, and I've never been able to justify the cost of getting them. I don't live in a noisy neighborhood and the only time I really wish I had them is when I fly. But I don't fly very often.

Other people's circumstances vary, of course, so I was pleased to be able to live vicariously through Brian Dean, who lives in a very noisy place and at RAW Semantics discusses his positive experiences using such headphones. 

One of Brian's takes is that the devices can be thought of as brain machines, in the sense of the devices Robert Anton Wilson wrote about later in life:

"Noise-cancelling devices could, at a stretch, be categorised as 'brain machines' (when you consider that sensory deprivation tools such as 'flotation tanks' seem to fall under that category). They certainly seem to improve the effect of other audio input on mental states."

A couple of consumer tips from Brian and from me:

1. From Brian: "f you, or a loved one, ever finds yourself staying in hospital, consider earplugs essential, if you want to get any sleep. It’s a good idea to find a brand that works for you."

2. I sometimes need to go to bed earlier than my wife when I need to get up early the next day for work (my wife is retired.) The TV is in the next room, but my white noise machine is very useful is screening out the sound when Ann wants to watch her show and I need to sleep. When I looked at Walmart's website just now, they ranged in cost from $10 to $45, so they aren't expensive.

3. I never buy expensive earbuds as I assume I will just lose them, but the Panasonic RP-HJE125E-K (about $9) are the best cheap ones I've been able to find by looking at Internet reviews. If you need relatively inexpensive Bluetooth speakers, I like my Sony SRS XB-10 (around $50, depending on the vendor.)

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