A Metronome on a Musician’s Wrist: Soundbrenner Pulse
It must be a well-known device that many pianists, guitarists or drummers are the proud owners of. The Soundbrenner Pulse has been in the market for a couple of years now. It was indeed a surprise when I learnt about this gadget. Timepieces have seen the birth of smartwatches, thanks to technology. But I never imagined that a metronome could one day be adorned by a musician. With technology, the possibilities of the unimaginable are endless.
Soundbrenner Pulse was engineered in Berlin by a team of entrepreneurial musicians, and is the world’s first wearable device designed to help musicians keep the beat and become better performers. The stylish wearable comes with two bands so that it can be worn around the wrist, arm or leg, allowing performers to feel the desired beat.
“Following the beat is fundamental to playing great music. It’s difficult for beginners and even for the most accomplished musicians who are aiming to achieve perfection. When you wear the Soundbrenner Pulse against your skin, you can literally feel and internalise the beat you want to follow, and it becomes the most natural feeling in the world.”
– Florian Simmendinger, co-founder and CEO of Soundbrenner and a pianist.
Delivering subtle yet precise vibrations that are easily felt on the skin, the Soundbrenner Pulse carries haptic (tactile) feedback up to six times stronger than vibrational alerts commonly found in today’s smartphones and smartwatches. This is made possible with Soundbrenner’s patented haptic driver, which can control an eccentric rotating mass (ERM) vibration motor that has a vibration amplitude of 6G (compared to smartphones and smartwatches whose typical vibration motors are rated 1G to 2G and deliver long, drawn out and weak vibrations).
The device is only slightly larger than a sports watch, and allows musicians performing solo or in groups to follow the beat without the intrusiveness of an audible metronome. Depending on the instrument and preference, the user can try it out at his/her own convenient location, whether it is in a home, studio or stage setting.
How it Works
With the Soundbrenner Pulse, there are three ways that musicians can set the beat they want to keep. The first is Soundbrenner’s unique BPM Tap feature (beats per minute) that enables musicians simply to tap the desired tempo onto the face of the device. This activates the capacitive touch sensor that captures the tempo while a proprietary algorithm translates the tap into haptic feedback in the form of precise vibrations. Alternatively, musicians can rotate the BPM Wheel surrounding the face of the device or use the Soundbrenner app to decrease or increase the number of beats — up to 300 BPM.
The Bluetooth-enabled wearable can be paired with a smartphone – thanks to the Soundbrenner app which offers various functions:
- Metronome — The Soundbrenner smartphone app is a highly accurate metronome that can be used as a stand-alone device when not in pairing mode. It lets musicians create their own custom rhythm patterns, customise accents, store presets in multiple set-lists and much more.
- Smart Music Coach — The app learns the musician’s practice behaviours and provides motivation to practice through the use of challenges and rewards. Musicians can set their own goals to personalise their approach to music practice.
- Rhythm Exercises — The app offers exercises specifically designed to help musicians develop a better sense of rhythm and help them enhance their speed, accuracy and endurance.
Other Soundbrenner Pulse Features
- Multi-Link — With the Soundbrenner Pulse, up to 10 musicians playing together and each wearing a Soundbrenner Pulse can use the Multi-Link feature to receive the same vibration/rhythm pattern in perfect synchronisation. One smartphone serves as the hub to set the beat for all of the devices.
- LED — For musicians who also want a visual expression of the beat, LED lights that surround the face of the Soundbrenner Pulse can be turned on to blink in sync with the vibrational beat and customised to glow in any colour. The lights can also stay turned off in discreet mode.
- Diameter of the face: 1.93″ or 4.9 cm
- Black casing; water-resistant, adjustable silicon straps in two lengths
- Motor: Advanced high-quality Eccentric Rotating Mass (ERM) vibration motor; rated 6G
- Charging station: Universal Micro USB socket to recharge the lithium polymer battery; (each charge lasts 5 hours; 1 hour to charge)
- RGB LED lights: Illuminate the logo and wheel in user-definable colours and flash to the beat
- User Input: Capacitive touch sensor for tapping interaction; Discrete-step wheel to finely adjust the BPM
- Connectivity: Bluetooth Smart™, compatible with iPhone 4S and newer, most Android
- Mobile Apps: iOS 8 and newer; Android 5.0 and newer
The Soundbrenner Pulse is available at http://indiegogo.soundbrenner.com and in music retailers at US$149 (S$207.26).