Peex Review: I Remixed Elton John’s Live Show Using my Phone

Long have I envied—and despised—the parents operating the blending board at stay music venues. Slide the guitars as much as max, drown out the vocals, and sit again with a beer whereas the viewers strains to make sense of the music. Such has been my expertise, anyway. With my listening to on the decline (an issue impacting roughly 15 % of American adults), stay music has lengthy been a battle for me, with vocals, strings, and drums often converging into the audio equal of mashed potatoes. I jokingly blame the sound engineers, however a variety of acoustic components are liable for this. Even these with nice listening to not often rave in regards to the crisp audio at a live performance.

And that’s simply in your typical music venue. In a cavernous area setting, neglect about it. Basketball stadiums and ice hockey rinks are not often constructed with audio in thoughts, which leaves sound engineers no selection however to max out the quantity and hope for the most effective. What you usually find yourself with is a large number of sound waves bouncing off the partitions and into each other, resulting in a good worse music expertise that’s overwhelmed by reverb and echo. Good factor you’ll be able to simply take heed to the group singing alongside, proper?

Peex has an bold concept that goals to unravel all of this. The firm’s know-how is out there now, albeit on a single live performance tour: Elton John’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road swan track, which started September eight and can span greater than 300 reveals worldwide. (Peex offered me with two tickets to the September 15 present with a view to check the machine in a stay setting.)

To put it merely: Peex takes the stay audio feed and pipes it straight into your ears slightly than letting it bounce across the room and finally get to you. The killer function, although, is that you may customise your sound combine alongside the best way, pumping up the vocals if you wish to actually hear the lyrics, or drowning your self in bass in case you’re so inclined.

Peex rX (generally known as simply Peex) takes the type of a small gadget that dangles from the neck. Two earbuds snake out from the machine, finally making you look a bit such as you’re taking the audio tour at a museum. But except for an influence button, the unit has no onboard controls; you use Peex fully through an app in your telephone, after pairing the 2 gadgets through Bluetooth.

The important display screen of the Peex app is the place you spend just about all your time. For the Elton John tour (it’s customizable for every live performance), the primary display screen is cut up into 5 channels: vocals, guitar, keys, bass, and drums. A slider (every emblazoned with a tiny image of the performer) permits you to fantastic tune how a lot of that performer’s music you’re getting in your earbuds.

Your Song

In my testing, the ability of Peex grew to become instantly obvious as soon as the primary strains of “Bennie and the Jets” hit. With my earbuds out, the audio sounded simply as I assumed it might (even within the glowing new Chase Center in San Francisco): A mushy wall of noise reverberating in my cranium, lyrics understandable solely as a result of I already knew what they had been. But after I popped in my Peex earbuds, the expertise was instantly reworked. Even earlier than I began fidgeting with the equalizer settings, I discovered all of the devices had been tighter and scrubbed of echo, and, critically, Sir Elton’s voice rang out above all of them, accompanied by his crisp strikes of piano keys.

Once you begin fidgeting with the equalizer settings it’s laborious to cease. By “Tiny Dancer,” I had discovered the expertise benefitted even additional by pumping up vocals just a few notches together with keyboards, whereas leaving the opposite devices dialed again. As John has a whopping three percussionists on stage, comprising half the band, I rapidly realized this highly effective trio might be safely leveled down a contact.

If you need to get wild, you’ll be able to attempt turning one instrument all the best way up and tuning the whole lot else down to just about nothing. It’s not a full isolation of 1 channel such as you hear on this video, as the opposite devices are nonetheless current, simply within the distant background. But it’s nonetheless dramatic, letting you hear particular person guitar strings being plucked and the respiratory of the singer. Even on a track that doesn’t curiosity you, Peex provides you a lot to amuse your self with.

At danger of sounding an excessive amount of like a fanboy, there was merely no time within the three-hour live performance that I discovered the expertise of listening to the live performance with out the Peex earbuds to be an enchancment. When the group acquired particularly rowdy (as Elton John followers do, you recognize), the Peex system was a godsend, because the earbuds additionally work a bit like earplugs, successfully dampening ambient noise whereas retaining focus squarely on the PA system. I used to be pleasantly shocked that I didn’t expertise any tinnitus after the live performance.

I examined Peex throughout the world, from the ground to the higher echelons of the nosebleeds. Everywhere within the stadium, the Peex expertise was dramatically higher than that with out the earbuds in. In the balcony, the ambient sound was honest sufficient, nevertheless it felt like listening to the music coming from a celebration subsequent door. With the Peex earbuds in, the audio was the identical right here because it was simply ft from the stage: immersive and intimate, like I used to be having a personal viewers with Elton John and his band. In different phrases, the more severe your seats, the extra you want a gadget like this.

Tiny Singer

Peex has achieved some nifty technical methods to make all of this work. The system operates over an RF band, and the corporate has 5 transmitters positioned all through the venue to offer protection. A microphone embedded in every Peex unit captures the stay audio and determines how far every listener is from the stage. It then calculates how a lot delay to introduce when piping its personal audio feed to your headset with a view to remove any echo from the competing audio alerts. This all occurs stay and on the fly; you’ll be able to transfer across the venue freely and Peex will compensate for it with every step. (The solely catch: The audio doesn’t comply with you outdoors the seating space and into the bar or lavatory. In the hallways and stairwells, I rapidly misplaced the sign altogether.)


If I’ve some other grievance about Peex, it’s a minor one: The earbuds are one-size-fits-all and, whereas they do match pretty nicely, after an hour or so my ears began to get sore. I took the buds out for a few songs with a view to give my ears a relaxation, however at any time when Elton performed the hits, I used to be fast to pop the buds again in. Frankly, the dramatic enchancment within the music made it greater than value any bodily discomfort. By the top of the present, I used to be absolutely bought. If Peex is an choice at any future present I attend, I wouldn’t even contemplate going with out.

Peex continues to be getting began, and its enterprise mannequin is, in the interim, a rental one. For $15 you’ll be able to borrow the Peex headset for an evening. Considering you in all probability shelled out $200 or extra in your ticket, it’s a no brainer determination that I can’t think about any music fan would remorse. Hell, it’s cheaper than a can of beer on the Chase Center. Those value as much as $17. Not kidding.

I understand as I write this that Peex is a kind of issues that you simply actually must attempt for your self to consider, and in speaking to the few different concertgoers I noticed with the headsets on, they had been all finally as enamored with the know-how as I used to be. It could take some doing to get a vital mass of individuals onboard. The incontrovertible fact that it is out there solely at Elton John reveals in the interim makes {that a} problem. (The singer and his husband are minority buyers in Peex’s father or mother firm.) However, Peex appears to be engaged on each its messaging and its gross sales presence, with roving representatives struggling to hawk the unit like scorching canine at a ball recreation to hordes of oblivious concertgoers.

But for now, I’m simply completely happy they’re lastly giving folks a very good motive to be on their telephones throughout the present.

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