The experience of using your headphone can sometimes become a little stressful if you become isolated from your immediate environment. Someone calling, the doorbell ringing, a baby crying and many other situations can all be missed because the music or audiobook you are listening to with headphones has isolated you from these sounds.
Now there is SoundOut! A neat app for your iPhone or iPod Touch 2G or higher. You can download the app from the store into your device and your headphone experience will change forever.
This is how SoundOut works. While you are listening to your headphones, SoundOut is listening to everything else using the integrated microphone on your headset or on the iPhone. When SoundOut detects a sound significantly louder than the general sound level in the area it mutes the music, then plays through the headphone the last moment of sound prior to the mute. For example, if someone in your house calls out “Charlie dinner time”, the music stops or mutes in the headphones, and you will hear a moment of “Charlie dinner time”, then a preset period of silence, followed by an automatic restart of the music.
If you make a loud noise into the microphone, you can temporarily interrupt the audio playback. This can be useful if you want to perform a task (such as thinking and taking notes) and you don't want to use your hands to manipulate the pause button or the play button.
You can also make a funny noise, and hear your favorite music interrupted by your noise.
SoundOut is adjustable to allow for a personal experience:
The first slider adjusts the volume of sound needed to activate the SoundOut; the second slider adjusts the length of time the SoundOut mutes before resuming normal playback.
Q: Why does my audio playback sound different on an original iPhone?
A: The on-board microphone of the original iPhone samples sound at 8 kHz, and in play-and-record mode (the mode SoundOut uses), audio playback uses the same sample rate as the microphone sample rate. To get around this difficulty, connect audio accessories which contain a microphone to the headset jack on the original iPhone By using a microphone attached to the headset jack, the audio sample rate should be significantly higher. A specific accessory example is the Apple Earphones with Remote and Mic, but there are other accessories that would probably work as well.
Q: How do you monitor the environment for sound?
A: When we monitor the environment for sound, we make up to two 30-second recordings that are examined for sound above a certain threshold. When SoundOut is terminated, we delete the 30 second recordings.
Q: Why does the SoundOut background become red and why does the title display “SoundOut Monitor Disabled”?
A: SoundOut was designed for use on a stationary surface. If SoundOut detects that the iPhone or iPod Touch is moving, the SoundOut monitor function is disabled. SoundOut monitoring will resume when the iPhone or iPod Touch remains still for a few moments.