Ear3 headphone amp opens your ears for safety

More people than ever seem to be tuning out the world around them, listening to music as they walk, run or bike in public while listening to loud music on their mobile devices. In doing so, they are risking serious harm and injury.

Ear3 is a headphone amp that’s designed to make listening to music in public while on the move much safer than it is now. The amp’s built-in microphone picks up sounds around the user and mixes it with music being listened to at the volume level users want, according to its Indiegogo campaign. Turning the microphone mode off, Ear3 becomes a high-fidelity amp that enhances the quality of the music source, adding stronger full bass, according to the campaign.

Music Tech Accessories

Brick and Bullet make Mac-based music simple and clear

The Premise. The performance stage has changed for musicians in the last few years, as many performers are finding it easier to just connect their equipment through a MacBook and play through AirPlay. However, going beyond what AirPlay was designed to support can cause a wealth of problems, certainly not the least of which is lag between the performance and the outputted audio.

The Product. Really two separate products, the Brick is a Mac mini-like Ethernet switch designed for professional digital audio that can connect to instruments, mixers, amps, and more, bringing it all together to be controlled with a single application. The Bullet is an adapter to connect audio jack-controlled instruments to Ethernet devices like the Brick, bridging analog and digital. The Brick and Bullet setup is natively supported by and MacOS device running Mavericks, including MacBook Pro, Mac Mini, or iMac.

The Pitch., creators of the Brick and Bullet, demonstrate the difference between using AirPlay with an AirPort Express and using a Brick through simply playing the keyboard. It can be almost painful waiting for the sound to come out after each of the keys is hit on the former setup, but with the Brick the two are simultaneous. While the technology behind the Brick and Bullet is certainly a little more than just end user-level stuff, the campaign for the Brick and Bullet keeps things simple and straight to the point, perfect for performers who just want to know if the device will fix their issues. has set its goal at $35,000, largely to finish development of the Bullet.

The Perks. The Brick Ethernet switch will launch in September 2014 and backers who pledge $300 can get their hands on one. For those that want to get the complete rig for live digital audio, a Brick with two Bullets is available at the $850 tier in November, and the set can be custom engraved for $1,500.

The Potential. For performers, adding a Brick and Bullet setup to the stage can certainly make things easier to handle DIY digital audio. For a similar price however, it’s not too much to expect to be able to set things up using a standard analog setup with amps and cables. If it’s digital or bust, then there’s certainly nothing wrong with picking up these items to get the most out of a simple MacBook-style performance setup.