Have you ever listened to a music track that was slightly off beat? I have, and let me tell you, it's pretty awful. It's best described as mentally jarring and undanceable; and yet, it's an issue that is akin to nails on a chalkboard for anyone who loves music.
My boyfriend, Greg, on the other hand, tends to have a harder time with tuning his equipment. Small, subtle changes in tone get lost on you after a while, and with all the guitars he owns, it can be hard to keep tuning on track.
Recently, we were both gifted a new bit of tech called the Soundbrenner Core. This wearable is a gift for musicians who want to get better at their craft and spend less time tuning their instruments to perfection.
I figure, if it could work for both of us, it would be worth it for others to try. Here's what happened when we started to wear our Soundbrenners during practice...
I'll be honest. At first, I thought it was a pair of matching watches because they were so stylish. So did Greg! They just looked like regular smartwatches, and it was only until our friend pointed out the writing on the box that we realized it was a wearable for musicians.
The Soundbrenner Core is a four-in-one wearable that offers a vibrating metronome, a twist tuner that works on multiple instruments, a watch, and a decibel meter. In other words, it's a toolkit for all the little things that tend to be pretty hard to handle without help.
We charged them up, strapped them on, and gave them a test drive.
My boyfriend and I love to play music together, and that means that we tend to practice together, too. We decided that the first thing that we would try to uncover was how well the wearables work with their metronome function.
The function itself can be used a multitude of ways. You can actually tap a tempo on your watch if you want to, but personally, I just enjoy rotating the dial to match the BPM I want to use when I'm playing on my piano.
The beat, as well as the time signature, are listed on the top of the watch. When you're supposed to hit a beat, the wearable will vibrate. It's simple to use, which is awesome, considering that there are five year olds who are better at tech than I am.
Greg, being a natural beatnik, tapped out rhythms that he wanted to play. I think he liked doing that a little more than I thought he would.
Soundbrenner's gear also comes with an app that allows you better control over your work. We both downloaded it and synced up our devices to the app.
Woah. Holy vibrations, Batman!
When practice started, I had no idea what to expect with the vibrations. The manual said that it would vibrate on your wrist, which is awesome because I like to feel the music. However, I didn't realize how much I'd be feeling the music.
You know how you can feel a smartphone vibrate? If you're sensitive like me, then you already get a pretty good jolt. Soundbrenner Cores, though, are a whole 'nother animal. The vibrations on this were strong.
They are so strong, you can feel them even over the loudest subwoofer. I later found out that they are designed to be seven times stronger than standard woofers.
As far as concert ability goes, I was also impressed. I was able to switch from song to song fairly quickly thanks to the built-in set list function. The app made it even easier than I thought possible.
Then, there was the tuner.
The twist tuner in the Soundbrenner Core was really impressive, and by the way, it's magnet-based. This means that you get a more accurate tuning effect every single time you use it—and boy, did it show.
My boyfriend has eight electric guitars and two bass guitars. These take him, on average, about an hour or so to tune. We were able to use the tuner with ease. After about 20 minutes, all the guitars were ready to rock.
According to him, the saving grace on the Soundbrenner Core was the visual guide that helped him figure out when he tuned each string to perfection. So far, so good.
We also had a bit of fun with the decibel meter.
The decibel meter is meant to help you check volume controls and hopefully avoid transgressing a noise ordinance. Since we generally do our music work at home, we aren't exactly Slayer-level loud. That didn't mean that we didn't have fun with it, though.
We started to test it out by talking to find out how loud we were. Then, talking turned to shouting. Then, shouting turned to singing. I found out I can belt out tunes at about 90 decibels, which was probably a lot less fun for me than it was for the neighbors!
The coolest thing about the decibel guard is that it also tells you when your hearing is at risk.
Look, we all know the old trope about grey-haired rockers who have gone deaf because of all the concerts they played or attended. It's a legit thing; my uncle actually lost his hearing this way. I don't want to end up the same way!
That's why they have a decibel reader that also gives you a heads up when things are getting too loud for your ears' health. Oh, and Soundbrenner also gives you a set of ear plugs for those moments. It's a nice perk.
Of course, it also works as a watch.
You know how annoying it is to have gear that you can't really wear all the time, but looks so nice you want to wear it? Maybe that's just a "me" thing, but it has been an issue in the past. I started to wear my Soundbrenner Core as a watch day-to-day because it just looks so damn pretty.
The coolest part was being able to do our practices in "concert mode."
If you thought that the Soundbrenner Core was a "solo act" thing, think again. Greg and I were able to use the app to sync up our Soundbrenners together. This made playing our music a pretty flawless endeavor since we were both on the exact same beat.
The app even let us put together a setlist, which meant that we could go from song to song seamlessly. If we were part of a band, this would be pretty amazing.
Keeping in line with the "rockstar lifestyle," it's also party foul-proof.
I'm not going to lie, Greg and I both enjoy drinking with friends after a jam session. I mean, who doesn't, right? It seems like Soundbrenner realized this could be a thing. My friend spilled some beer on my wearable, and I almost felt like my heart stopped.
I wiped it off, and no damage was done. Apparently, these wearables are splash proof. Party on!
Yeah, we both love the Soundbrenner Core.
Greg and I are not professional musicians. We're just your typical dynamic duo who loves to jam out once in a while. Even though we're not pros, we can definitely see how real bands would end up falling in love with this, too.
This year, we're giving Soundbrenners out to our other musical friends. It's a gift that really does keep on giving.