Microphone technology is Siri’s next big hurdle

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Siri needs better microphones.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple, Amazon and Google are all in a battle to create the next great breakthrough with microphones in order to make their digital assistants more powerful.

While machine learning and artificial intelligence are getting all the hype lately, few industry analysts say microphone technology will play just as key a role in taking Siri and Alexa to a new level.

Gadget Watch: New gear for the beach, the bedroom and the kitchen

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Even the BeachSafe won’t save you if you leave it alone on the beaches of Barcelona, but it’s still a pretty neat idea. It’s a tote bag that folds out to make a seat for sitting on the sand. Slide your towel out of its compartment, fill that compartment with sand (for ballast) using the built-in scoop and secure the bag’s opening with a combination lock. It won’t stop anyone from making off with the whole thing, but I like the idea of a combo bag/seat, whether it’s safe or not. €60

Even the BeachSafe won’t save you if you leave it alone on the beaches of Barcelona, but it’s still a pretty neat idea. It’s a tote bag that folds out to make a seat for sitting on the sand. Slide your towel out of its compartment, fill that compartment with sand (for ballast) using the built-in scoop and secure the bag’s opening with a combination lock. It won’t stop anyone from making off with the whole thing, but I like the idea of a combo bag/seat, whether it’s safe or not. €60


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Blue Microphones New Nessie Mic Is Loaded With Good Stuff for Beginners

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Nestled amid the gentle rolling hills of my old stomping ground of Westlake Village sits Blue Microphones, little more than a half hour north of Los Angeles. There’re actually two lakes in the area: beautiful Lake Sherwood, and the grubby, man-made boating pond of Westlake Lake. Neither, to my recollection, has ever had a reported sighting of a monster.

Blue Microphones’s new USB mic is named “Nessie,” which I guess means now the area has at least one lake monster. Only in this case it’s the good, super-friendly kind of monster.

Rode Podcaster USB Microphone: You’re Going To Like The Way You Sound, I Guarantee It [Review]

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The Rode Podcaster next to an iPhone for scale.

If you’ve spent much time podcasting, Skyping, recording any kind of audio on your Mac, you’ve no doubt found its built-in microphone woefully inadequate. Well if you’re ready to toss down some Benjamins for an upgrade, the Rode Podcaster Microphone ($230) is a rich-sounding, easy-to-use option you should consider.

Hands-On with the Yeti Pro, the Most Versatile USB Microphone on the Market (Review)

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In 2009, Baltic Latvian Universal Electronics (Blue) released the Yeti, a wonderfully talented little microphone that many, especially many podcasters, took notice of then proceeded to fall in love with. The Yeti was beautiful, dead-simple to use, and very Mac friendly. Yeti was also the first USB mic to allow users to record in any one of four different polar patterns (four I say!) making it incredibly versatile. And now, with the Yeti Pro, Blue is making their hit mic even better.