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Sponsored App Review: Clever Volume

February 9, 2016 - Written By Tom Dawson

Clever Volume is an Android app that wants to take the hard work out of being able to hear above your surroundings when listening to headphones. Clever Volume uses your microphone to hear what’s going on, and then uses custom algorithms to ensure that the overall volume never gets too loud, but that you can also hear properly. Users have some extra control here as well, by adjusting the graph of volume they can make it louder for certain situations and users can also create certain profiles for their different headphones, too. Clever Volume is designed to be as simple as possible, to ensure users know how to use the app to its best and not damage their hearing, while also drowning out the outside world.

There are two versions of Clever Volume available for download, a free version as well as a pro version. The free version features the main functionality for free, but the Pro version adds in the ability to change the volume graph more precisely and the ability to store custom profiles for different headphones. When users first open the app, sound levels will appear letting people know how loud it is around them.

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The idea of Clever Volume is to figure out the volume around you, and to generate an “optimal volume” which will give users a loud enough listening level to hear over the outside noises, but nothing too loud. One thing to note however, is that Clever Volume does not work without headphones.

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When Clever Volume is working its magic, there will be a notification letting people know it’s working in the background.

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Taking a look at the main screen, we can see that Clever Volume is using the microphone and its algorithms to exceed the ambient volume.

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There are some settings that users are able to tweak here as well, such as the Constant, which is neatly explained by the app.

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In my experience, I found that the constant would sort of raise the sensitivity of the overall algorithm, which in turn affects how loud the optimal volume gets. More than just adjusting the constant however, is the ability to change the sound graph, which controls how loud the optimal volume gets and how it changes as well.

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Clever Volume also allows users the opportunity to create different profiles for different headphones, name them and then choose them from the sound graph. This is a nice feature as a lot of different headphones can have different volume levels, unfortunately.

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Clever Volume sounds like an excellent idea on paper, but in practice, it’ll only be that useful for a certain amount of people. I don’t spend a lot of time in noisy environments, but even testing my speakers say, 3 or 4 feet away from my phone way louder than I’d normally have them recently in a really low “optimal volume” from Clever Volume. Of course, I can change this in the volume graph as well as adjust the constant to get higher volume levels out of the app. Still, I felt that Clever Volume was still too conservative in the levels that it was presenting to me as an “optimal volume”. Regardless, this is an app that a lot of users will find helpful if they spend a lot of time inside of very noisy offices or noisy work environments, and it does deliver on its promise overall.

Ratings

  • Speed (4/5) – Clever runs nice and smoothly and it works just fine on any Android device out there.
  • Theme (4/5) – The standard Material Design look and feel works well, and the dark black and orange color scheme stands out while matching the sort of colors we’d expect from an audio offering.
  • Features (4/5) – While perhaps not quite as useful in practice as on paper, Clever Volume does indeed get the job done, but it’s a little conservative in its optimal volume levels and requires a little more tweaking than we’d like.
  • Overall (4/5) – Clever Volume works well, but mostly in really noisy environments, a little ambient noise will cause a more conservative approach, but the user has ultimate control to tweak to their heart’s content should they wish to.

Pros

  • Only uses the microphone and a little math to figure out optimal volume levels, it doesn’t ask for much system resource at all.
  • Lets users decide on the final volume and tweak settings as much as they like to get the best output for their ears.
  • Custom profiles for each set of headphones makes it easy to use the app no matter what pair they’re using with their phone.
  • Easy to follow and understand for all kinds of users.

Cons

  • Needs to keep the phone awake to use the microphone, which can add to battery drain.
  • Often comes out a little too quiet for most scenarios, but users can of course tweak this to their liking overall.

With Clever Volume, users can make sure they can hear whatever they’re listening to over the outside noise, and where noisy environments are concerned, this little app has a lot on offer, and it does deliver on its promise. In my use it was a little conservative, but the great thing about Clever Volume is that it has all sorts of different tweaks and settings available to users to ensure they get the overall experience that they want. Free to download with an affordable pro version available as well, this is definitely something that a lot of music listeners at work should try out.

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