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: