bassAware Might Be the Coolest Invention Since Headphones

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Michael White might be a bit crazy.  I think that anyone that’s truly successful in the music business has to be, as conventional thought gets you nowhere fast.  His path to his latest venture has been completely unconventional; he’s been an attendee of Burning Man for the past 10 years and travels from time to time on a custom trike with subs on the back.  He’s built art cars and done custom audio, but has been fixated on the concept of a silent disco for the past few years.

If you’ve never been to one, you should.  Known mostly for their presence in the festival circuit, it’s simply an event where DJs play to a crowd without the use of speakers.  Every member of the audience has a pair of headphones on.  Michael started to throw his own silent discos in New York subway cars.  And after years of this unique experience, he decided there wasn’t enough bass for his liking.

He started developing bassAware, which is essentially a backpack that uses vibration to mimic bass.  And as this idea is handed to me I was incredibly skeptical.  It seemed like a gimmick, I wasn’t sold, and I said I didn’t want to have anything to do with anything that I couldn’t test out myself.  Less than 48 hours later, The VP of Marketing at bassAware, Damien, is strapping me to a unit at midnight in my Central Jersey home.

Now mind you, I am not your average consumer of music.  With the exception of my bathroom, very single room in my house has a subwoofer in it.  I have a competition sub in my car that literally prevents me from seeing out of my rear view mirror.  I like my shit loud and clean at all times.  I’m also 270 pounds, and had doubts that this thing would even fit on me.  Not only did it fit, but it worked perfectly.

Anyone as old as me can remember back to the late-’90s when bass shakers were a trend in car audio.  For those that wanted to experience the feeling of bass without damaging their ears, units were available to mount under the front seats.  The bassAware unit applies the same concept.  In a quiet room, you can hear a slight rumble from this unit.  But this isn’t a subwoofer strapped to your back.  It’s simply a device that emits bass-like vibrations.  And as someone who has enough kick in the trunk of their car to give a thorough massage, I found this device to be extremely accurate.

Scrolling through a selection of familiar bass-heavy tunes, I cranked the bassAware all the way up, and it felt like my back was against a giant speaker.  One one side is a control unit, where you can plug in the audio device of your choice.  There is also an output jack that supports any standard 1/8″ headphone.  There’s a knob where you can control the amount of vibration that the unit outputs, and a holster if you want to keep your phone tucked. It’s actually quite comfortable as well.  It’s light weight, and isn’t unlike getting a miniature massage.  I was thoroughly impressed.

DJs that are playing on horrible monitors can use this device to have an accurate idea of where the low end actually lies.  The average consumer can enjoy a different dimension of music without disturbing those around them.  Silent disco participants can have an added thump on their back as they dance.  And all of these lovers of music can turn it up a notch without doing any damage to their ears.  The battery apparently lasts more than a dozen hours, and the device will come with a charger.

In short, bassAware actually does everything it claims to.  I tested one of their five prototypes, and was satisfied with the experience before the team rattled off a list of improvements that will be made when this goes to development.  They have five days left on their Kickstarter, and look to be on track to reach their goal of $30,000 in less than 30 days to move to the production phase.  You can check the project here and back it if you wish.  There’s only a couple units left if you want to pledge enough to get your hands on this product before anyone else.  Out of 600 BassAware Holsters offered up on this campaign, only 29 are up for grabs as of sunrise today.  Check out the video below as well:

  • Martin Davis

    Sounds like an improvement on the Bone Phone (google it) – concept devised by Beethoven and first built in the ’70s

  • http://soundcloud.com/the-colonel-mc The Colonel

    Okay, so you can feel the vibrations. But what does that really add to the listening experience? I feel like this is the equivalent of a Wii controller–you feel it buzz, and that’s kinda fun, but it doesn’t make the actual game better.

    • AmericanSamuel

      I’m sure you can comprehend the difference between a little buzz in your hands, and your entire body resonating to your favorite music. I don’t know why I even commented on this– I assume you’re trolling. But whatever. :D

      • http://soundcloud.com/the-colonel-mc The Colonel

        Asking a legit question is now trolling? For all the detail of the article, there’s very little about the actual experience of using the damn thing other than it “isn’t unlike getting a miniature massage.” What does that have to do with making the music more enjoyable?

        Let me put it like this: I listened to Random Access Memories last night while your mom rubbed my taint and I still don’t like the front half of that record. ;)

  • Henry

    I can’t imagine seriously posting something like this.

    “Best invention since headphones” lmfao you guys are worse than FOX News

    • Mike Icon

      Having used one myself I can tell you this is no novelty. This is the future of sound. You truly feel immersed in the music unlike anything you can experience with headphones alone. I may even prefer it over big room sound systems. Great for dancing and feeling the music wherever you are or whatever you are doing.

      • AmericanSamuel

        lol, even having not used one, I can assure anyone that it’s not a novelty. I often wonder why so many don’t seem to grasp the true beauty and feeling there is in music. I am someone who ALWAYS has to have his headphones, and I find it conflicting that so many people are satisfied listening to their favorite songs through laptop speakers or earbuds. You are missing out! I am not a “social partier” (club-goer, etc) but I would get one of these products for myself, when I’m on my own, enjoying music and doing my thing. It’s a wonderful idea! I imagine anyone shooting it down is simply trolling, lol.

        • http://soundcloud.com/the-colonel-mc The Colonel

          Ah, got it: if you don’t agree with American Samuel’s uninformed opinion on things, you’re trolling.

      • Henry

        lmfao at thinking this is the future of sound. you must be a part of this crappy idea.

        • Mike Icon

          Mark my words, bookmark this page, and come back here a couple years. I wish I was part of this idea cuz it is going to make someone very rich. Knock it before you try it if you like… doesn’t effect me at all. I still want one.

  • Frank

    The SubPac = If you are into wearable bass, check it http://www.thesubpac.com

  • Martin Dagoberto

    one of my friends used to have one for the sega genesis back in the day! I’m sure this is an improvement, of course…

    “The Aura Interactor (1994) isn’t completely useless outside the realm of console video games. It’s a generally well-received device in virtual reality enthusiast circles, and it can help a deaf person to experience audio through the vibrations of its built in tactile transducer. Such a transducer, like a subwoofer for movement, turns low frequency sounds into physical momentum that thumps the player.

    The transducer came packed into a backpack-like vest that its manufacturer marketed primarily toward players of theSuper NES and Sega Genesis. The biggest problem with the Interactor was that it didn’t significantly enhance the experience of playing 2D console games like Super Mario World or Sonic the Hedgehog. Plus, at $159.99, it cost as much as an entire video game system itself.”

  • Know what’m talking about!

    sorry guys… but THIS is probably “the coolest invention sine headphones” https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=409743842482322&set=a.395087073947999.1073741833.389980804458626&type=1&theater

  • Dude
  • Dokk Tekk

    Would love to have this as part of my DJ gear.