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Andrea Electronics Superbeam Array Microphone Bundle SUMA

by Andrea Electronics Corporation
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This bundle includes the following:

  • Superbeam Stereo Array Microphone
  • Stereo USB Microphone Audio (SUMA) Adapter
  • Built in PureAudio and DSDA Noise Cancellation
  • AudioCommander Software

The Andrea Superbeam Array Microphone: Enabling "The Freedom of Voice"

An effective, natural communication interface requires clear, noise free audio input. By ensuring highly intelligible, low noise audio source input (spoken words),a Andrea Electronics' digital microphone products and technologies enable more accurate and reliable communication as well as high performance speech recognition in noisy office environments. In the past, the only way to obtain a clear voice signal that provided the optimum level of communication and an acceptable level of speech recognition performance was to wear a headset. By wearing a headset, the microphone is at close proximity to the speakers mouth, thereby, forcing the voice to be the primary signal (the acoustical environment [noise] becomes insignificant when the distance between the microphone and the speaker's mouth is negligible). Our products and technologies enable a person speaking to be at a distance from the audio input source, freeing the speaker from having to hold or wear a conventional "close talking" microphone, while maintaining the same level of performance. We refer to this capability as untethered, "far-field" microphone operation.

One of the most significant barriers to speech recognition performance and, as a result, in speech recognition usage and popularity, is the high sensitivity to the acoustic environment and, in particular, to the surrounding noise in any real office or workstation. The only technically acceptable solution, until recently, was to use a headset; however, this made the user experience annoying, uncomfortable and inconvenient. Recent noise canceling microphone array product developments have enabled users to be untethered; however, these solutions are very expensive and, therefore, less appealing to an average user. Andrea Electronics, together with Analog Devices, has developed a groundbreaking solution: The Andrea Superbeam Array Microphone (the "Superbeam Array"). Analog Devices has developed an interface that allows the Superbeam Array to connect to the PC and run the necessary software instructions on the PC's processor. The Superbeam Array is a two-microphone (two-channel ) device that attaches to the top of any laptop or PC equipped with Analog Devices next generation SoundMax Cadenza software. The SoundMax Cadenza software is integrated with Andrea Electronics' PureAudio and DSDA (Digital Super Directional Array) noise-cancellation software, thereby removing the high costs associated with required memory and processing power from the microphone device (now powered by the PCs host processor).

Andreas PureAudio is a voice enhancement noise reduction algorithm that can detect non-voice signals and eliminate them from the incoming audio stream. PureAudio is very effective in reducing repetitive and stationary noises such as computer-fans, air conditioners, and other background noises. Andreas DSDA (Digital Super Directional Array) utilizes a two microphone array configuration which studies the signals that are coming from the two microphones in order to create a narrow reception cone. The array

behaves as a directional antenna that looks (or actually listens) to the voices that are coming from its look direction and ignores noises or voices that are coming from other directions, thus eliminating a large number of interferences, including neighboring speakers and reverberations.

The end result: freeing a speaker from having to hold, or wear, a conventional microphone with a very high-tech, low cost, sleek hardware accessory.

We developed the attached white paper in order to document the effectiveness of the Superbeam microphone when compared to that of the conventional alternative microphone products. In particular, we demonstrate that Andreas technologies enable far-field microphone operation that is at least equal to that of an industry-leading USB headset.

In the attached white paper, we demonstrate the effectiveness of our technologies through speech recognition performance results. We show that the Superbeam Array performs at least equivalent to that of a close talking microphone, even though it is used in the far field mode, providing the untethered experience desire by the average user. Speech recognition performance represents the harshest environment with which to benchmark microphone performance due to the high sensitivity of the application to the surrounding noise and acoustic environment. The microphone is required to eliminatem the noise but also be able to address the nature, location and intensity of the noise, the size and

reverberant quality of the room, the clarity of the speaker, and the microphone's capability to adjust to movement by the speaker during dictation. The speech recognition test results provide a quantitative

measure of relative microphone performance.

Although we used speech recognition results as a measure of relative microphone performance, the Superbeam Array improves the quality and intelligibility of the voice signal. Using communication applications such as VoIP, audio conferencing or videoconferencing, the improved intelligibility leads to a better understanding for the listener, thereby enhancing the overall end user experience.

What is the USB Superbeam?

The USB Superbeam is a bundle comprised of the following:

  • Andrea Superbeam Array Microphone
  • A Quick Start publication

Microphone Arrays - USB Superbeam Array FAQ

Do I need to install software for the USB Superbeam Array Microphone to work correctly? What is on the CD that comes with the Array?

Yes! You must install the Andrea USB Audio Software from the provided CD BEFORE plugging in the Andrea Stereo USB adapter. This is required to insure the Andrea Noise reduction software loads correctly.

We also recommend installation of AudioCommander to aid set up and use of the USB Superbeam microphone.

The CD includes:

  • USB Superbeam software installation
  • AudioCommander software installation
  • USB Superbeam Users Guide

Note: AudioCommander is not required for proper operation of the USB Superbeam Array Microphone.

Are your USB drivers Microsoft approved and digitally signed?

Yes. Our USB drivers have successfully passed Microsoft WHQL testing and are digitally signed by Microsoft.

How does AudioCommander work with the USB Superbeam Array?

AudioCommander offers centralized control of multimedia audio on your computer and enhances use of your USB Superbeam Array Microphone with:

  • Audio Wizard to set microphone levels to optimum
  • Playback and Record controls including the ability to "tear-off" individual controls and keep them conveniently on your desktop
  • Access Andrea Noise Cancellation features
  • Audio Record/Playback feature

I installed the USB Superbeam and now my speakers do not work. What do I do?

When you plugged in the USBD-2A it replaced your sound card as the audio input and output device. You can do one of two things:

  • Plug your speakers into the USBD-2A headphone jack instead of your sound card.
  • Change the sound playback device in Windows from Andrea USB USBD2-A to your sound card. This is done in Windows XP from: Start, Control Panel, Sound Speech and Audio, Sounds and Audio Devices and select the Audio Tab. Change the Sound Playback device from "Andrea USB USBD2-A" to your sound card device.
  • I installed the USB Superbeam and my speech recognition accuracy went down. What do I do?

    You need to rerun your speech training since you changed microphones.

    Where do I plug the Superbeam microphone into?

    The Superbeam Array Microphone plugs into the microphone input of the USBD-2A adapter.

    Can I use a headset with the adapter instead of the Superbeam Array?

    Yes, the USBD-2A adapter microphone input supports Andrea NC and ANC headsets.

    (When used with ANC headsets the TRS1 Adapter must be used for the microphone input.)

    Can the mic be placed anywhere else besides the monitor?

    Our testing has shown the "above the monitor" location to perform best for speech recognition software like IBM's ViaVoiceTM and Microsoft Office XP's built in speech recognition program.

    Other locations will work but may pick up additional noises.

    • The Superbeam Array Microphone can be placed on a table or desktop, but can pick up acoustic noise from a hard tabletop or desktop. If table or desktop placement is required, try isolating the microphone by placing it on a foam mouse pad or similar material. Make sure to point it to yourself.
    • The Superbeam microphone is sensitive, so can pick up keyboard clicking and mouse clicks. Try to keep the microphone away from these areas.

    Note: The Superbeam Array Microphone is designed for horizontal mounting only. Do not mount the microphone vertically or the noise cancellation feature will not work correctly.

    How far away should the mic be placed?

    For speech recognition software the microphone should be 12 - 18" from your mouth. For less demanding applications like Internet telephony and voice recording the range extends out to about 48". Remember to readjust the microphone level by using AudioCommander whenever you significantly change your distance from the microphone.

    How do I adjust microphone levels?

    The easiest way is to install Andrea's AudioCommander software (included on the CD with your USB Superbeam Array Microphone). AudioCommander includes an "Audio Setup Wizard" that steps you through the microphone level adjustment, automatically setting the optimum level.

    Alternatively, if you are familiar with Windows you can always manually set the "Record Microphone Level."

    Do I need to sit directly in front of the Array?

    Yes, the Superbeam Array is a directional microphone, so it needed to be "aimed" at you (the sound source).

    What applications does the USB Superbeam Array work with?

    The USB Superbeam Array Microphone works with any application that needs voice input.

    When I use Net2Phone, people I talk to tell me they hear an echo of their own voice, why?

    You are probably using your speakers. The sound from your speakers (the person you are talking to) is picked up by the Superbeam microphone and sent back to the person you are talking to (acoustic echo). Using headphones will remove the acoustic echo. The Andrea HS-75 headphones are perfectly matched for use with the USB Superbeam. There may also be "line echo" that is usually much lower in level, but will not be eliminated by using headphones.

    What PC's are compatible with the USB Superbeam Microphone?

    Any PC's that have USB ports and Windows XP, 2000, Me, or 98 SE are compatible with the USB Superbeam.

    Can I use the USB Supebeam with Windows 98 or 95?

    No, Windows 98 and 95 do not have reliable support for USB Audio.

    What is the difference between the USBD-2A adapter that is part of the USB Superbeam bundle and the Andrea USB Adapter?

    The USBD-2A adapter has a stereo microphone input and a stereo headphone (or speaker) output for full duplex operation. It includes Andrea Pure Audio and DSDA noise reduction software.

    The USB Adapter has a mono microphone input only. Output is from your computer sound card. The USB adapter uses default Windows and Mac drivers and does not include any noise reduction software.

    Can I use the USB Superbeam for recording music or musical instruments?

    No. The Superbeam Microphone and Andrea noise reduction software is optimized for voice only. We do not recommend it for recording music or musical instruments.

    Product Features

    Stereo USB Microphone Audio (SUMA) adapter is designed to support the SuperBeam stereo array microphone input only.

    SUMA stereo microphone input supports sample rates up to 48K for high quality voice input.

    Use with Andrea's AudioCommander software to optimize multimedia control.

    Note: Product only works with Windows XP. Vista software coming soon.

    Provides control of audio input technology, and features:

    • DSDA2 and 3 beam forming and PureAudio noise reduction software. Provides directional array microphone noise cancellation, designed to enable far-field (headset free) speech recognition command and control performance.
    • No Filtering: Provides unfiltered stereo microphone audio input for high fidelity stereo recordings.

    PureAudio is a noise canceling algorithm that enhances speech-centric applications by sampling
    an ambient noise environment and attenuating the noise sources around the desired
    speech signals, delivering a pure audio signal. Continuous and repetitive noise is effectively
    removed from the audio input, providing higher recognition rates and improved communications.
    Designed specifically to improve signal-to-noise ratio, PureAudio works best in canceling
    stationary noises such as computer fans, engines, tire noise, etc.

    Market Applications
    PureAudio enhances a wide variety of speech-centric market applications including desktop
    speech recognition, cellular, Internet telephony, videoconferencing, multi-player gaming,
    voice verification, voice chat, surveillance, automotive telematics systems, wearable computers,
    military and embedded devices. In essence, PureAudio can be applied to any audioinput.

    PureAudio can be embedded directly into an application or device, but more importantly,
    PureAudio is scalable to the user environment. Andrea Electronics can deliver an algorithm
    to cancel 8 dB of noise or 18 dB of noise, designed specifically to meet your application
    needs. PureAudio can run on a Digital Signal Processor (DSP), Pentium or any other PC

    PureAudio can run as an independent noise canceling algorithm for single-element microphone
    solutions, or enhance a host of Andrea Electronics' digital solutions including DSDA,
    (far-field Digital Super Directional Array microphone). Together with PureAudio, this algorithm
    offers an advanced system of increasing signal-to-noise ratio and providing an optimum audio
    input solution.Additional Product Information:

    DSDA Spec Sheet
    Superbeam Array Microphone Overview
    Superbeam Array Microphone Speech Recognition Performance


    Mp3Car will not provide tech support in regards to use and set-up of this product. Customers are expected to use the Mp3Car forums for assistance in these areas. Registration on the forums is easy and free.

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