The SubPac is, according to thesubpac.com, “a high-fidelity portable tactile audio device that quietly and directly transfers low frequencies to your body.” It’s unlike anything I’ve experienced. I can’t say enough about how this thing is going to change the way I personally produce and mix music. Chances are, it will do the same for a lot of us from Beat makers to DJs, from audio engineers to the everyday consumer. Yeah, it’s a trip. Let me tell you how I stumbled across this device.
So, one day I came across this video featuring iconic producer Hank Shocklee of the Bomb Squad, producers for Public Enemy. In the video he spoke about this “game changing” piece of technology for producers and engineers called the SubPac. Cool stuff, but I don’t think I really knew what I’d just watched.
On another occasion, while cruising around twitter, I came across a Flying Lotus tweet that read “This thing is dope” with a tiny url link. I clicked the link and there it was again, the SubPac. I wasted no time reaching out to SubPac for a review unit but what I got was even better. I was invited to come down to the Los Angeles Film School to meet a few folks involved with SubPac while partaking in an actual demonstration of the SubPac itself. So Dope.
There I went down to the Los Angeles Film School on Sunset BLVD, in the old RCA Records building. I met with a very cool guy, Brian Wallace, who gave me a tour of the school. Once the tour was done we headed to a particular studio room. Apparently this studio space was originally built for Elvis Presley by RCA decades ago. Again, very cool.
When the SubPac demo began I sat in a chair where the SubPac was already set up. I put the headphones on and there was nothing too much happening. The volume on the headphones were at a moderate level. Then Brian turned the volume / intensity up just a bit on the SubPac. WOW! I totally forgot that we were in the old RCA building. This was indeed an “immersive listening experience.”
Shortly thereafter I began to played my own music, because I know this music best. It was as if I’d heard it again for the first time. It also reinforced the fact that I’d mixed my last album project pretty well. Still I cant help but to think that the process of mixing would have been so much easier with the SubPac. It felt as if I was in the club with my back against a huge club speaker.
I immediately realized the benefits of SubPac for my process of mixing and beat making. It’s incredible that I can feel those lows and mid lows without ruining my hearing (any further that is). I was totally amazed that the perception of volume was so great yet my ears were still really comfortable due to the reality that the volume of the music was rather low to moderate. The SubPac is an experience. An invaluable one in fact for those of us that bang out beats and mix at home until the wee hours of the night / morning. Your wife, kids, room mates, neighbors and your ears will thank you. Of course a few of them will likely try to still the thing for gaming or movie nights. I think you get the idea.
The SubPac is a product that will change the way we make and mix music. One of the biggest struggles beat makers, and any home based or electronic musician, encounter is taming bass and low frequencies. Most of us are not in acoustically treated environments. A device like the SubPac would help tremendously with situations like that. Also, for those of us that live in apartments and/or have room mates and families, the SubPac is a good solution. It allows you to feel your music in the way that you would usually turn up the volume in your monitors. Still, the reality is that your monitors or headphone levels will remain tasteful and discrete.
Not only is the SubPac a gem of a device for musicians, beat makers, DJs and so on, but there are apparently health benefits to kids with disabilities as well. The possibilities are certainly being explored at the time of the writing of this article. Similarly, the makers of SubPac are teaming up with “That Deaf DJ”, Robbie Wilde (http://thatdeafdj.com/) to co-brand and market his own line of SubPacs. I believe there is even some discussion regarding licensing the technology out similarly to how Dr. Dre Beats is now found in everything from cars to laptops.
The makers of SubPac are also totally married to the idea of developing greater opportunities for independent musicians through their efforts with SupportIndependentMusic.org. According to SubPac.com the idea is to “move people – closer to Music. We will do this by introducing a revenue sharing program to the Music community and developing physical centers for independent music, found on Support Independent Music.org.”
A moment ago I popped over to the SubPac Kick Starter page to see that it has reached and exceeded its funding goal of $75,000 with 7 days to go. So it looks like we’ll be seeing and hearing a lot more about SubPac in the days, weeks and months to come.
About the makers of SubPac…
SubPac is brought to you by StudioFeed, a social venture that supports independent music through technology development and community engagement. Our organization is made up of a cross-disciplinary team of engineers, entrepreneurs, artists, academics, architects and other stakeholders of independent arts. StudioFeed is rooted in community, accelerated by technology, and powered by the music ecosystem. We are located in Toronto and Los Angeles, with representatives in various cities around the world.