By Andrew Liszewski
Some people complain about the crappy music they play at restaurants, but they fail to realize it’s not always there just to provide a bit of ambience. Background music can also serve to keep conversations at a crowded restaurant private, which is what Yamaha’s VSP-1 is also designed to do, though on a much smaller scale. In essence it’s not that different from those Hammacher-esque white noise generators designed to make it easier to fall asleep, except that the 8 included sounds it plays, like babbling river, forest or even ‘urban clutter’ are specifically engineered to effectively mask other sounds like a conversation between two people.
In fact in the company’s the testing the VSP-1 was able to mask up to 89% of a conversation at best, and at its worst it was still able to block out about 48% of what was being said. And since it’s just under 9 inches tall, it’s not unreasonable to have a few of them working together to increase their overall effectiveness. Available sometime in April in Japan for ~$1,200 (¥105,000).