Earplugs crank on the noise while still allowing a person to hear

So i found this post on the web and i was told that just posting it like a whole article is not an excellent thing, I got permission from the original author and read up how to curate posts, so this is it…….i thought this was fascinating because it highlights some of the highs and lows that I encountered when i was working within the industry.

Awhile back, I reviewed the Bean Quiet Sound Amplifier from Etymotic. The Beans are basically hearing aids that amplify sounds so you can hear better.

The difference with the Beans is that you don’t need to consult a doctor.

Etymotic is all about helping people hear better and keep their hearing, so when it offered its Music Pro Earplugs ($299 at etymotic.com), I wanted to try them out.

The Music Pros are the opposite of the Beans. They help your hearing by reducing loud sounds while letting you hear normal volumes.

How does that work? Good question.

The Music Pros look exactly like the Beans. They’re self-contained, use tiny hearing-aid batteries and fit inside your ear.

If you fit them correctly, they don’t show unless you turn your head. The Music Pros have tiny microphones that listen to what you are hearing and process the sound before it gets to your ears.

Each earpiece runs on a tiny No. 10 battery that will last a few weeks if you turn the earplugs off when not in use.

There is no power switch — you turn the earplugs off by unsnapping the battery doors and removing the batteries. It’s easier than it sounds.

There are two modes, and you change modes with a tiny switch on each earpiece.

In 9dB mode, quiet sounds are amplified by 6dB, while 9dB protection is used when the outside noise gets louder.

In 15dB mode, natural sounds come though at their normal levels, but the Music Pros provide 15dB of protection when noise exceeds safe levels.

The Music Pros come with seven different types of tips to accommodate different ear canal shapes.

I was easily able to find one that worked well (I like the spongy ones), and they’re easy to change out.

I didn’t see any live music during my testing week, but I did simulate the concert experience with over-the-ear headphones cranked up really loud.

The Music Pros did what they said they’d do — they let me hear sounds at a normal volume and definitely kept really loud sounds from getting to my ears.

They’re magical, but for $299 for the pair, I’d expected them to impress.

I’m not entirely sure what the target market is for these — people who work regularly at concert venues, maybe, or people in construction jobs.

I suppose if you wear earplugs as part of your daily life, you’d want to take a look at these.

Pros: Easy to use, nice choice of ear tips, good hearing protection

Cons: Expensive

Bottom line: If I had a job in which my hearing were stressed regularly, I’d probably invest in these.

Etymotic MC3 headset + earphones

I’ve been listening to Etymotic earphones for at least a decade. Its MC3 headset + earphones is a worthy member of a great line of audio products.

The MC3 ($79 at etymotic.com) has a lot going for it, but most important it’s comfortable and sounds really good.

Etymotic includes four types of tips, so chances are good that you’ll find one that fits your ears.

Whenever I get a new pair of earphones to try out, I like to see which tips will fit best without any music playing. I just sit and think about how they feel inside my ears for a few minutes.

The MC3s offer great noise isolation if you get the right fit. And they’re not heavy on the bass, which I like.

The three-button remote also worked well with my iPhone, both for clear calls and controlling music playback and volume.

Etymotic has a custom-fit earmold option that lets users get molds made of their ears at an audiologist’s for a custom set of earpieces. Prices vary depending on the audiologist, but Etymotic has a list of audiologists it works with, and according to some online who’ve reviewed the process, the cost is around $100, which is a bargain and worth checking out.

Overall I like MC3s. They’re inexpensive, have a good sound for my ear, fit comfortably and have a microphone so I can use them with my phone.

Pros: Inexpensive, options for a custom fit, nice highs and midtones. Very clear and comfortable.

Cons: Not heavy on bass notes.

Bottom line: A solid choice if you’re not all about the bass.

http://www.dallasnews.com/business/technology/headlines/20141004-earplugs-crank-down-the-noise-while-still-letting-you-hear.ece

(EO) What Is an Acoustic Tube Earpiece? (filler)

The world is filled with really cool, well written content pieces. If you find one which catches your eye, you have to post it, well i do! so with permission of the original author i’ve re-posted this for you to get pleasure from

An acoustic tube earpiece is a special type of listening device that features a thin tube that helps transmit sound, which often fits behind the ear and is attached to an earbud placed inside of the ear. Such devices allow for hands-free operation of a two-way radio or may be used in mobile communications or television broadcasting. Sometimes referred to as a radio headset or a tactical earpiece, some also refer to this device as a surveillance earpiece.

acoustic tube earpieceThis particular type of radio accessory is commonly used by security personnel and may feature an earpiece that includes a hidden microphone, making it highly useful for two-way communication. The earpiece does not have to include a microphone, however. Most are constructed so the tubing fits discreetly and comfortably behind the ear, which makes it useful for covert surveillance.

Though commonly used in security and covert operations, some also prefer an acoustic tube earpiece for mobile civilian devices, which include personal audio devices and mobile phones. Television broadcasters are also known to wear these earpieces, as they allow for communication between producers and broadcasters without being visible to viewers. Most are comfortable to wear and efficiently reduce background noise. They are also known to be particularly useful in noisy environments, as quality models make it easy for users to comfortably listen to incoming audio despite high environmental noise. Depending on the manufacturer, some may also feature volume control buttons on the cord.

Aside from a covert design and a high sound quality, one of the primary benefits of an acoustic tube earpiece is its durability. The sturdiness of some of these earpieces is often preferred over earpieces that feature exposed wiring, as well as certain wireless earpiece devices. Sturdy tubing protects delicate wiring crucial to the device’s operation, which is particularly useful in occupations where the person wearing an earpiece may be required to engage in rigorous physical activity while wearing it. Such earpieces are also known to outlast other wired devices.

In order for an acoustic tube earpiece to work, it must be plugged into a wireless receiver, which is usually hidden beneath a person’s clothing. Some are also accompanied by microphones, which are covertly placed on the user’s shoulder or at the wrist.

What Is a Covert Earpiece?

Can not get over how cheap the headset is now, an incredible deal for a top-end product!

A covert earpiece is a miniature earpiece worn by an individual while being effectively hidden from plain view. It operates as a radio accessory in times when a user does not want other people to know she or he is communicating with others using radio earbuds. Also known as an invisible earpiece or a surveillance earpiece, a covert earpiece is often worn by government agents, corporate security personnel, undercover law enforcement officers and corporate as well as government spies.

covert earpiece

While many occupations require the use of a radio headset for communication, a covert earpiece is primarily used in instances where communication is of an extremely private and sensitive nature. This is common in cases of private security details and surveillance projects. Sometimes people also use a covert earpiece to defraud businesses and others. Examples of such instances would include someone using an invisible earpiece to cheat on an exam or to defraud a casino by receiving remote information while playing a game.

On-air television personalities may also use a covert earpiece, which is not distracting to viewers, but allows the person to hear relevant feedback from producers and engineers in order to make sure a taping or live appearance flows smoothly. Individuals may also wear a covert earpiece when making a public speech. By doing so, the speaker can receive important cues or changes in a speech without the audience even being aware that communication is taking place between someone located behind the scenes and the individual delivering the speech.

Some covert earpieces are accompanied by a discreet microphone, which enables two-way communication. These are commonly used by security forces with a need for such communication, particularly during surveillance operations. These types of accessories are not only convenient because they feature hands-free operation, but also because they allow undercover security forces to blend in with crowds without having to use a visible walkie-talkie system of communication.

A covert earpiece does not contain any visible wires and is designed to fit inside the ear without being noticeable to the general public. Some devices are even designed to fit on a pair of eyeglasses while amplifying sound inside a person’s ear. An inductive wire is sometimes worn around the person’s neck, but is covered by clothing so as not to be discovered by onlookers. This wire is not connected to the covert earpiece, but connects to a separate radio device that helps modulate sound.

Mars Rover Spots UFO…Or Does It?

After much global speculation, NASA has at last put out an official statement regarding the true identity of the ‘white spot’ or ‘UFO’ seen on Mars by the Curiosity Rover on June 20th.

…Sadly, the UFO in question turned out to be only as extraterrestrial as a camera glitch.

Interviewed by The Huffington Post, Justin Maki, the main camera operator for the rover, said, “This is a hot pixel that has been around since we started using the Right Navcam (…) In the thousands of images we’ve received from Curiosity, we see ones with bright spots nearly every week, these can be caused by cosmic-ray hits or sunlight glinting from rock surfaces, as the most likely explanations.”

As any photographer will tell you, ‘hot pixels’ sometimes occur during long exposure shots. Such glitches are usually caused by the camera’s sensors momentarily overheating (although they pose no danger to the camera equipment itself).

Amateur photographers occasionally mistake hot pixels for paranormal phenomena as well. In fact, the ghost website ‘Photographing The Paranormal.com’ actually has a section on these little buggers. It warns potential ghost hunters that,

“A perfectly symmetric small red dot in your picture is probably nothing paranormal, especially if it is at the same spot in most of your pictures. That’s actually called a hot pixel, if you spot one, don’t call the press!”

Older astronomy enthusiasts will no doubt be reminded of the discovery of the ‘Martian face’, a famous image captured by NASA’s Viking 1 orbiter in 1976.

Various theorists hurried to suggest that the ‘face’ was evidence of a long-lost Martian civilization (complete with ‘pyramids’ and everything), but it was actually just a large formation, captured by the relatively low-resolution cameras of the 1970’s, that looked a bit like a face.

Modern images, of course, reveal nothing so grand. The ‘Martian Face’ fiasco is now seen as an example of paraeidolia, a psychological phenomenon that sees people finding recognizable patterns in otherwise random sounds and images, examples of which include The Man in the Moon, Rorschach tests and those times when people see the faces of religious figures in ordinary household objects.

So it seems that there was no reason for us to get excited after all (except that pictures of Mars are unassailably cool).

…Of course, the conspiracy nutters are never going to buy it, but hey, what can you do?

My Other Computer’s a TARDIS: Virtual Reality Makes Time Travel Possible

A new virtual form of ‘time travel’ could be employed to help victims of traumatic experiences overcome their ordeals.

In a computer generated ‘virtual world’, participants can move about and interact with their environment in a similar manner to how they would in the real world.

Professor Mars are unassailably cool, told BBC news that,

“In virtual reality, the brain’s low level perceptual system does not distinguish between the virtual and the real world; the brain takes what it sees and hears in a surrounding environment as given (…) Therefore, if they had an experience with the illusion of time travel, there is implicit learning that the past is mutable, that is: ‘my own past decisions don’t matter because they’re changeable’.”

The latest study, published in the journal ‘Frontiers in Psychology’ featured a scenario wherein 32 test subjects witnessed a brutal multiple murder. In the virtual scenario, (presumably designed to induce both a moral dilemma and a controllable level of trauma) a man opened fire in a crowded art gallery and ‘killed’ five people.

Gunman starts shooting in the virtual world

The group then elected to ‘go back in time’ and attempt to prevent the murders.

Half of the group were not allowed to change their actions and simply had to repeat the event, the other half were allowed to intervene, but knew that doing so would result in the death of one person. Essentially, these people had to face the ethical dilemma of forfeiting the life of that one person in order to save five people.

Unsurprisingly, most of the test group chose to sacrifice the one life.

In terms of practical applications, this equipment is expected to allow people suffering with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and other psychological issues to confront their previous actions/inactions and better understand them in order to forgive themselves and move on.

Such technology might also be applied to prisoners undergoing therapy and/or rehabilitation, or even survivors of violent assaults.

Dr. Friedman Doron of the Sammy Ofer School of Communications in Israel, who worked as the study’s lead author, said that, for now, his team’s work is the closest people can get to actual time travel. He told BBC news,

“Highly immersive virtual reality is very visceral. People hide behind the desk when they get shot. Some of the subjects duck down. It’s the best thing we can do for time travel until the physicists do their job and come up with a time machine. For now this is the closest thing.”

Have You Ever Thought How Do 2 way radios work?

To put it simply, a two-way radio is a device that can both receive and transmit voice messages. In broader terms, it can be said that most wireless communication, and it may include cellular systems, fall under the definition. However, these days, two-way radio is a term to describe radio system for group call communication. The two-way radio comes in several technical names such as Public Access Mobile Radio, Private Mobile Radio, Land Mobile Radio and Professional Mobile Radio. These present times, two-way radios are often called “walkie talkies”. There are several kinds of two-way radio systems and some are able to make use of base and mobile configuration, while some re able to utilize a radio network infrastructure.

A typical two-way radio includes a PTT button, also known as Push-To-Talk button. The button activates the transmitter and the user simply needs to talk to the device to start communicating. The user must release the PTT button in order to receive transmissions from the other line.

A two-way radio is able to communicate with other radio devices. However, direct radio communication has very limited range. To overcome the problem, a radio network infrastructure may be used to extend the range of communications. The rest of the article is going to cover more details about how 2 way radios work and other useful information.

Receiving Radio Waves

Just like other forms of Wireless communications, a two-way radio sends messages over the air. In order to achieve this, the antenna of a way radio contains a specific set of electrons. If the two-way radio features multiple channels, then there is specific sets of electrons are each channel. Whenever a radio transmission is received by the two-way radio, the electrons get excited. The electrons then create electrical impulses. Electrical impulses are then sent to a small processor, which will then convert the electrical impulses to words and sounds that can be understood by humans. The sounds are produced by the speakers within that two way radio.

Keep in mind that there are always radio waves are floating in the air. Because of it, there is always a nondescript sound that may be produced by the two-way radios. To solve the issue, a lot of two-way radios feature a “squelch” setting; and with it, the user can adjust the signal threshold for clearer communications.

Sending Transmissions

Two-way radios can also send messages across the air. The main idea is to convert the sound to radio waves. However, the defining characteristic about the way radio is its ability the convert back the radio waves back to legible sounds.

Whenever a user speaks into a two-way radio, a membrane within the device will vibrate as a response to the sounds. The vibrations are sent to the processor, which in turn converts them to electrical impulses and readies it for transmission.. Finally, the transmission is sent to the antenna which is then broadcasted in the form of radio waves. These radio waves are then received by another device and convert them back to a legible sound.

Multiple Channels

As two-way radios are getting more and more popular, it is possible for more than one party communicating in the same line or frequency. This can cause a lot of confusion and interference. To solve the problem, modern two-way radios are able to utilize multiple channels.

For a two-way radio to broadcast on multiple channels, the device must be able to generate radio waves in multiple frequencies. Furthermore, the device must be able to send frequencies with very little fluctuations. These fluctuations are actually caused by the transmitted voices. The fluctuations can be minimized through “frequency modulation”. The modulated transmissions are then sent to the device’s antenna.

The device must also excite the proper electrons. Once the proper electrons are excited, an outgoing radio wave is then produced.

These radio waves may be picked up by another device tuning into the same frequency. Furthermore, the device must be within range of the transmitting device. The range of two-way radio is usually determined by a couple of factors such as atmospheric conditions, radio’s battery power and the size of the two-radio’s antenna.

Whenever a device picks up the transmission, the receiving radio must filter the signals through an electronic filter known as a bandpass filter. Finally, the transmission is then converted back to sound.

Why Choose A Two Way Radio

The two-way radio is one of the earliest forms of wireless communication. However, in today’s modernized communication environment, a question arises – is the way radio a viable technology? The answer to that question is a yes. This is because the two-way radio has its own unique advantages that may not be found in other forms of wireless communications. Below are two of them:

Instant Communication – the ability to communicate between two or more parties almost instantly is one of the most defining advantages of the two-way radio. A user only needs to press the “Push-To-Talk” button and within seconds a receiver will be able to receive the audio messages. Furthermore, the entire system is set up around the idea of “quick call” and “quick receive”. This is the main reason why the organizations rely on the two-way radio technology for operational and tactical communications. The system can also make use of encryption technology for a more secure communication.

Group Communications

Another unique advantage of two-way radio is its ability to facilitate “group call” or “one-to-many” communications very efficiently. By efficient, it means that the user can communicate with one, hundreds or thousands at the same time. There is no need for a user to repeat the same message if he/she needs to communicate to more than one individual.

A two-way radio is one of the earliest technologies used for wireless communications. Even though it is a bit outdated compared to other forms of wireless communications, but the usefulness is still very applicable today. The main idea of how 2 way radios work revolves around on sending and receiving radio waves, which in turn is converted to legible sounds. The idea and technology behind two-way radio may be simple, but nevertheless it is still a very well-used form of communication in today’s world.

What is a Communications Engineering

Communications engineering is a disparate array of technological disciplines brought together under one all-encompassing banner. The disciplines considered to be part of a communication engineer’s skill set include telecommunications, mobile phone networks and Internet maintenance (but are by no means limited to those examples).

As we wrote earlier this month, any technology that aids in communication, from a walkie-talkie to a Skype account, is technically a communication technology; therefore, it also follows that anybody who works in these different areas can call him/herself a communications engineer

The theory behind this move is that communications technology is becoming more streamlined and, to some extent, more homogenized (think of the ubiquity of mobile phones and social media) and so, it makes sense to bring communications technology together as a single subject as well.

As I type this, it is actually possible to get a Degree in Communications Engineering (as a single subject) from many universities worldwide. However, communications engineers frequently hold other Degrees such as electrical engineering, physics, telecommunications and/or computer science.

The sort of students that apply for courses like this (and subsequently work in the related areas) are generally logistically minded, tech-savvy people who are comfortable learning new skills and adapt quickly to new technology. Certainly, the money can be good for a decent engineer with a good reputation and an up-to-date skill set. Industries that rely on the expedient exchange of information (news networks, the stock exchange, big businesses and etc) should be the goal for the ambitious communications engineer (as well as the eager graduate).

Communications engineering is a vast and somewhat esoteric subject, because it combines so many different disciplines. Ideally, good communications engineers would be just as able to handle microwave engineering as they would a downed computer network, so it takes a smart cookie to be really good at the job.

Communications engineers are often quite business savvy as well. A big part of the job is dealing with clients or management, making presentations and working effectively as part of a team. Experience of modern business practice is not essential, but from the looks of things, it certainly helps.

The vast majority of communications engineers work for specific telecommunications companies and/or manufacturers, although some are self-employed as consultants or on fixed contracts.

According to Targetjobs.co.uk, typical job responsibilities for a communications engineer include: undertaking site surveys, agreeing to and staying within a client budget, staying up-to-date with technological information, problem solving (obviously!), creating test procedures, creating ‘worst case scenario’ plans for companies to follow and presenting companies/clients with the best way to manage their communication systems.

A Personal experience of a doorman using an earpiece

Communication, as you all know is so vital in all aspects of our lives. In any security set up, whether you are protecting high profile personnel or you are carrying out a covert operation or even just working as a doorman, one thing has been clear to me; that communication between you and your team or your bosses is vital as well in ensuring that things run smoothly. However, communication may be interrupted depending on the working environment. Other days you may find yourself in rather noisy crowds. When this happens, it is important that you choose the right communication device and accessories that will make your work easier. An earpiece has been one of my favorite working gadgets for a very long time.

Why Do I like the doorman earpiece

Ever since I started using doorman earpiece, things have really been smooth for me and my work. An earpiece makes it practically simple to communicate and coordinate things between me and my colleagues together with my employers. Among the things that make these earpieces interesting and fun to work with include:

· They are en suite with excellent quality Kevlar cabling and strain relief that are long lasting which protects them from spoiling when pushed to the extreme.

· Doorman earpieces have excellent audio quality that easily neutralise any surrounding noise allowing an operative to hear everything said to them in a very clear and loud manner. In addition, most of them are fitted with microphones making it easier for a two way communication.

· They are compatible with a lot of gadgets and even more comforting is the fact they can easily be replaced at a very affordable price.

· Unlike many electronic gadgets, doorman earpiece is pretty easier to configure and use. It will interest you to know that no skill or knowledge is required to set it up and make it work.

What to look for when purchasing an earpiece

Technology keeps changing from time to time, and so are needs. As a doorman/bouncer, there are specific things you ought to look for when purchasing a doorman earpiece. These are features that are needs to be compatible, rather friendly with your working environment and your preference as a person. For instance, if your work is based in a noisy environment like say a club, you will need very fine audio quality sets that fit properly in your ear preventing any interruption from outside. In addition, you may consider the cords strength if you are working in a hostile environment where people keep getting in fights.

Compatibility is another important thing to look for in a earpiece. Note that there are earpieces that are compatible with nearly all types of gadgets while others are restricted to only specified gadgets. For flexibility be keen to purchase an earpiece is works with wide range of gadgets. Finally, the cost is equally as important. Contrary to what many people believe, expensive doesn’t always mean better, the same way inexpensive doesn’t necessarily mean something is of poor quality. Compare features and always go for one that looks a bit refined for a better experience.

Conclusion

It is clear that every one working in security should absolutely have a set of doorman earpieces. It is not only efficient, but also profoundly valuable to this line of work. Take your time, and determine what will work for and get the earpiece that will make your work easier.

What Is The Doctor Who Earpiece And Where To Get It

The short answer is ‘no’. Apple Earpods debuted in 2012, a full six years after the ‘Doctor Who’ episode ‘Rise of the Cybermen’ first aired.

Within the context of the series, the Earpod devices were designed as a metaphor for society’s perceived over-reliance on portable technology in the 21st century. The name ‘Earpod’ was a play on words, meant to superficially sound like the word ‘iPod’.

In addition, the fictional earpieces were mainly utilized as a way to re-package classic Doctor Who antagonists the Cybermen for a new audience (who may have been unfamiliar with them following the gap between the show’s cancellation in 1989 and its subsequent reintroduction in 2005). Variations on the Earpod device are also utilized in later episodes from the same series (in particular, ‘Army of Ghosts’).

Whilst it is something of a stretch to imagine that nobody at Apple has ever watched ‘Doctor Who’, the use of the name did not seem to affect the American computer firm’s decision to create and market their own brand of ‘Earpod’, in 2012.

doctor who earpiece

In terms of legality, it seems reasonable to assume that ‘Doctor Who’ created the brand name for satiric purposes, rather than to create an entirely fictional brand/product (such as The Simpson’s ‘Duff Beer’).

Had Apple simply adopted a product name already owned by the BBC, there may have been a legal scuffle between the two corporations, but since BBC’s product was obviously intended as a wry commentary or, at most, a satirical send-up of existing technology (in particular technology made and marketed by Apple), then it is highly doubtful that there was any friction at all.

Apple’s Earpods (which, as far as we know, have never caused anybody to be turned into a cybernetic creature hell-bent on universal obliteration) are available at a fairly affordable price (the Apple site lists them at £25.00 before P&P), but do not have a reputation for being one of the company’s better products. In a particularly scathing review, TechRadar wrote that,

“The tinkle at the high-end is certainly better than before, and there’s improved bass as well. So they’re more than good enough if sound quality is not something you are bothered about. If you’re going to be buying an iPhone 5 or one of the new iPods, you’ll be getting some marginally better earphones than you might have expected, so that’s a good thing. But for anyone thinking of buying these things separately for £25/$30 – forget it. That price is utterly ludicrous. For that money you could bag yourself a decent pair of Sennheisers – low end ones admittedly – but they would still be head and shoulders better than the Apple EarPods. In fact, we challenge you to find a pair of £25 earphones on Amazon that sound worse than this – you won’t be able to”.

All things considered, the Earpod is a pretty basic variation on the standard Apple headphones. It is not even marginally related to the mind-controlling earpieces utilized by the Cybermen. At least, as far as we know…

What Is Audio Surveillance?

The basis of the post is to make you think about what in life is important and what does getting the up-to-date headset really represent to people

Audio surveillance is the act of listening to third-party conversations and recording them. This technique is frequently used by law enforcement, private detectives and government spy agencies. Most audio surveillance consists of either bugging a room, wearing a wire, tapping a phone or distance listening. Each provides distinct advantages and disadvantages, depending on the situation.

Wiretapping is one of the most common and simple form of audio surveillance. This is preferred because it is highly inconspicuous and allows for two sides of a conversation to be clearly recorded. Small audio devices, commonly called bugs, are attached to the internal circuitry of a telephone to pick up a conversation. A signal is wirelessly transmitted to another device that records the conversation. The drawback of this method is getting access to a subject’s telephone to properly wiretap it.

audio surveillanceA room microphone is another audio surveillance technique that often is utilized. This involves planting a wireless microphone in a room to pick up conversations. Disguised room microphones are available to look like pens, clocks, stuffed animals and a variety of other covert forms. This microphone sends a signal to a receiver, just like a wiretap does, and the signal can be directly recorded. The disadvantage here is access to some rooms and getting only one side of a phone conversation if it takes place in that room.

Concealable transmitters known as body wires are well-known devices that have been featured in many television shows and movies. A small microphone and transmitting device are worn under the clothes of a person in order to send a signal back to a receiver and record a conversation. This allows the person wearing the wire to ask questions and get specific details that simply listening to other people’s conversations could not provide. The disadvantage of this method is getting access to the person needed to be recorded and also concealing the microphone in a way that hides it but allows for clear recording.

Long-distance microphones are another covert means of audio surveillance. A parabolic microphone, often called a shotgun microphone because of its long shape, has a powerful ability to pick up conversations up to 300 feet (91.4 m) away. Its main disadvantage is its high sensitivity. It can pick up other noises and cannot function if obstructions, such as trees and automobiles, are between the microphone and the conversation.