Hey, let’s be honest, not everyone wants to wear a headset, and not everyone wants to use the speakers and microphones that come with laptops. And if you happen to be one of those people, then this blog’s for you.
Today, I’ll introduce you to a new business grade speakerphone from a very unlikely source; Audeze. Some might recognize this name as the company behind many professional audiofile headsets, and you’d be right.
But, Audeze has now entered into the business communications space with their release of the new Audeze Filter Bluetooth speakerphone.
In this blog, I’ll take you through the different features, and why this is an intriguing product, and whether it lives up the Audeze reputation, and whether it’s good enough to use on your important business calls.
-AI noise reduction with dual mic beam forming technology
-10ft microphone range
-Bluetooth 5.0, A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, BLE, SBC, AAC and aptX codecs
-Wired connection via USB-A or USB-C
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Reasons To Buy
+ Sleek aluminium build that makes a great first impression.
+ Optimized for clear calls/meetings and has a noise reducing microphone so your meetings are more productive with distractions around you.
+ Easy setup and works with leading conferencing applications.
+ Extremely portable (size of a mobile phone).
Reasons To Avoid
- This is a business device, and it’s not really meant for entertainment, such as listening to music.
Let’s start with First impression
As the saying goes; “you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression” So how does the Audeze Filter do in the first impressions department?
Taking it out of the box, I was impressed. It was packaged very professionally, and it arrived neatly tucked into a premium leather case with a magnetic closure. Across the board, this has a premium look and feel, and to me, it gave me the same type of impression as when unboxing a new iPhone.
And speaking of iPhones, when you lay the Audeze Filter on top of a new iPhone, it’s size is nearly identical. That means this thing is small, and when compared to a typical portable speakerphone, you’ll see that it’s significantly smaller.
Its small dimensions caused me to wonder whether or not this device can produce the kind of sound quality needed for use on important business calls. We did test that, and I’ll share the results with you here shortly.
The Audeze Filter speakerphone is constructed using a rich feeling, high quality metal case. It doesn’t have a cheap feel at all, and its finish is a nice satin black which gives it a clean, modern look.
You’ll also find that the speaker has a hinge that allows you to swivel it around so it can be pointed in the direction you want. So between the outer body materials and functionality, combined with the color, you’ll like how this thing looks.
Overall, as first impressions go, I highly doubt you’ll be disappointed in how this is packaged, and how it presents itself once unboxed.
What you can connect it to
The Audeze Filter speakerphone is designed to be used with computers and mobile devices. The connectivity is via Bluetooth, but one nice addition is the speakerphone has a USB C port, and it comes with a USB C cable, and USB A adapter. This means that you have the option to connect via Bluetooth, or hard wired via USB. That makes it versatile, and gives you a connection alternative to Bluetooth.
In order to have a more steady, stable connection, it’s better to connect via USB whenever possible. Bluetooth connections can be problematic, and having the ability to connect via USB is nice, especially for those times when you’re on very important calls.
So how does this thing sound?
The speakers aren’t designed for music
This is a business device, and it’s not really meant for entertainment, such as listening to music. You can of course listen to music with it, but the
sound quality won’t be up to high level music standards as some might want. But if you keep in mind what this device is designed for, then it makes its music audio shortcomings more acceptable.
The speakers are designed for speech clarity
The Planar magnetic speakers on the Audeze Filter are specifically designed to provide speech clarity, even at high volume.
As you know, many devices can sound distorted when the volume is set to higher levels. You won’t get that with this speakerphone because it’s specifically designed to provide clear, intelligible speech at any volume setting. And when using this on your important voice or video calls, having this level of clarity is helpful so you don’t miss anything that’s being said.
This speakerphone has some microphone features you don’t normally find on these devices. Here’s what I mean by that.
First, this speakerphone features an Ai noise canceling microphone that was trained to identify and eliminate 500,000 noise samples using on-the-edge technology.
It also allows you to select the degree of noise reduction. You have four different user selectable noise canceling settings that include:
- And High
Not only that, but the Audeze Filter allows you to select the area the microphone focuses on. For example, you can select:
- Or, wide angle
You might be wondering, why would you need an adjustment like that? Well, here’s how it could be beneficial.
If you’re on a call by yourself, for example, you’d want to have the microphone set to narrow. This way, it can bring all the microphone resources to bear on your voice, and only your voice, because there’s nobody else besides you on the call.
However, if you wanted to add a second person to your call, then you’d want to set the microphone to medium coverage. And more than two on the call would likely have you setting it to wide angle so that everyone’s voice is covered within the microphone pick up radius.
Having this level of microphone adjustments gives you the power to control the voices and sounds included on your call, and those you’d like to exclude.
The Ai beamforming microphone gives you a pickup radius that spans from 70 degrees up to a full 360, and a pickup distance is rated up to 10 feet.
Being that this is a wireless device, it would make sense to know something about the battery.
The Audeze Filter speakerphone comes with a battery that provides up to 15 hours of talk time. This is more than enough to get you through the busiest of days, and even several of them.
So you won’t have to worry about the battery dying on you in the middle of a call. And even if you forget to recharge the battery, remember, you have that USB connection option.
Background noise reduction - How’d it do?
Ok, so this is a small, compact, cool looking iPhone sized speakerphone that’s small enough to throw into a pocket or purse making it super portable, but how well does it remove noise?
Well, we tested it against the sounds of office noise, barking dogs, and of course our signature blender test.
Some would say that two out of three isn’t bad, and that’s how this speakerphone did.
It did a very good job at removing the sounds of office noise and barking dogs, but when it came up against that dreaded blender, well, it was very evident that it struggled.
First, it didn’t remove the blender noise to the extent it did the other sounds we threw at it. Secondly, and equally important, it couldn’t maintain the voice quality. When it was working to remove the blender noise, the voice audio quality became choppy and a bit distorted.
Without a doubt I’d give it a passing grade, but to me, it failed the blender test. Admittedly, and in all fairness, that is a very challenging test that most devices fail. So the Audeze Filter speakerphone has a lot of company when it comes to coming up short on the blender challenge.
I feel safe in saying that we don’t typically have a roaring blender next to us when we’re at work and on calls. The more common sounds we might expect, such as the office noise, and barking dogs, the Audeze Filter did a very good job.
So even though this speakerphone failed the blender test, I’d still give it high marks for its ability to remove the kind of noise we normally encounter in a normal business environment. And when you add the fact that most portable speakerphones are pretty ineffective at removing noise, well that makes this speakerphone shine all that much more.
Adjustability & Compatibility
The Audeze Filter can be adjusted directly using the touch sensitive buttons on the device, or you can download the companion App to have another convenient way to make settings adjustments.
And in terms of compatibility, here’s what you need to know about what it’s compatible with:
- Microsoft Teams
- Google Meet
- And more
- Bluetooth connectivity or via USB A / C
So as you can see, this portable device can be used with just about anything which makes it very versatile.