What’s the Deal With Bass Augmentation Devices—and Why Should You Care?
Wearable bass augmentation. Tactile bass experience devices. There’s a whole lot of names out there for this relatively new technology, but what it boils down to is the ability to experience music playback with club-like bass pressure—but without a set of huge speakers. Two new companies are bringing this tech to market right now, and it’s an exciting development in the DJ, production, and home-listening worlds, so today we’re going to show you what it is, how it works, and why it’s useful for DJs and producers.
So how does bass augmentation work? Basically, instead of a pair of massive speakers vibrating the air particles around you to make you feel the low-end of a bass-heavy tune, these bass-augmentation packs replicate that experience by vibrating your diaphragm (according to whatever sounds you’re playing through them, of course) through a series of transducers that come in contact with your back. It’s those frequencies below 100 or 200 Hz where the kick and the bass really vibrate your entire body in the club setting, and it’s your body’s vibration that actually allows you to hear that crazy low-end.
BIG BASS AT HOME
SubPac, which hit Kickstarter about a year ago, makes two bass devices: a wearable pack (the M1; $349) and a seat-based unit (the S1; $379), the latter of which you lean against while sitting in a chair. Simply plug a line out from your laptop or mixer into the unit, run your headphones out from there, and lean back so that its transducers come in contact with your back. When the bass rattles through you, it’ll forever change the way you browse tracks on Beatport, so that you can really hear how a track will hit without having to drive your neighbors crazy.
Producers might also find the SubPac S1 to be a useful addition to their studio arsenal. With it, you can A/B test your mixdowns for a better idea of what they’ll sound like when you play them out.
A NEW WAY TO DJ
There’s a handful of great ways for DJs to save their hearing as they get on in gigs, and both the SubPac M1 and bassAware ($299) wearable units can help on the stage. Not only will you be able to feel the same bass that the crowd you’re rocking is feeling, but it’ll allow you to keep your headphone volume down when you strap on one of these battery-powered backpack-style bass kits, making for a more pleasant experience for both your body and your ears.
MORE TO COME
Want to learn more about wearable bass technology? First, peep the video above, in which Ean Golden takes a quick-and-easy look at this game-changing format. We’ll take an even deeper dive in the months to come after we’ve had a bit more time to really test these pieces out, but what we can say right off the bat is that despite their somewhat goofy look, these high-tech bass devices really do deliver some amazing results.