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TECHNOWATCH

THE GOODS : One Way You Can Lower the Volume

October 13, 1995|LYNN SIMROSS | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The new Koss QuietZone 2000 headphones can reduce background noise in offices, homes, airplanes and other places so the user won't hear droning and offensive noises such as computers, vacuum cleaners, lawn mowers and jet engines. The headphones don't drown out speech, but they will cut down the tone of even the most shrill colleague.

In a recent test at The Times, the QuietZone 2000 noise reduction stereophone system reduced both high and low frequency noise. Lightweight and comfortable to wear, they blotted out the hum of the air conditioning, as well as reduced the voice level of loud colleagues, making the voices seem to be coming from 10 or 12 feet farther away. Wearers estimated that the headphones lowered the sound level in the room by one-third to one-half.

Music plays through the headphones unaffected, just like a regular pair of stereophones.

According to developer Michael Koss of Milwaukee, the headphones have a tiny microphone in each ear cup that senses surrounding low-frequency noise. Information about the undesirable sound waves is transmitted to a processor in the pocket-sized control case. The first speaker pushes and the second pulls, creating "anti-waves" that are relayed back to the stereophone.

When the original sound waves encounter the anti-waves, the two counteract each other, reducing the irritating noises.

The QuietZone 2000 headphones ($199), which come with two AA batteries, fold into a compact bag for easy storage. Call (800) USA-KOSS.

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Whirlwind Experience: Got a gas guzzler in the garage? Check out the Tornado, a unique little device that helps most cars get better mileage and perform better. It can also lower harmful emissions.

The Tornado Air Management System is a stainless steel device that fits inside the air filter housing or air intake hose, depending on the type of automobile. It comes in a variety of models to fit specific vehicles.

The turbine wheel-shaped invention accelerates the flow of air into the combustion chamber of the engine, exposing more fuel and oxygen to the spark plug firing plane.

Jay Kim, president of Cyclone USA in Santa Fe Springs, has spent about 10 years developing the Tornado. The company says it has been tested by California Environmental Engineering (CEE), an emission test lab licensed by the California Air Resources Board. Road testing on three cars showed improved fuel economy from 7% to 24%.

Barry Barsamian, Fedco's tire center operation manager/buyer, gives the Tornado rave reviews. "In my 18 years experience as an automotive buyer and almost 30 years experience in automotive repair, the Tornado is the first device I have ever used that delivered instant gratification in terms of overall performance."

Barsamian's 1992 GMC Safari van got 20 miles to the gallon with the Tornado instead of the usual 18.2 mpg. His wife's 1989 Lincoln Mark 8's mileage per gallon increased from 22.4 mpg to 25.8.

The Tornado ($69.95) works with gasoline, diesel and natural gas powered engines and can accommodate most cars, vans, light trucks, RVs and motor homes.

The Tornado is available at Fedco, Galpin Ford and Auto Expo stores. Or call Tornado Air Management System, (800) 500-8880.

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