New processor alters sound perception, meaning bigger bass at less decibels
Meet Masn’live, a sound processor poised to represent a revolution in sound interpretation. Compatible with any sound system, the processor allows DJs to play music at a lower decibel level. The device’s inventor, Spanish engineer Xergio Córdoba, told Vice that the technology is “as much about the physical soundwave as it is about how the brain interprets the same soundwave. It’s pure psychoacoustics.” He uses the example of listening to an mp3 player through headphones that are too small to reproduce a drum or a bass correctly. Instead, he says the sound is reproduced by something called evolutionary compensation. “It’s something that we use a lot in mastering and have applied to our system in order to accomplish what we were after,” he said.
During testing, the system was able to replicate bass frequencies that appeared more intense than the actually were. In a nutshell, the processor doubled the loudness of the bass without raising the dBA while simultaneously improving the audio impact and quality.
While the technology doesn’t prevent ear damage, it does help listeners’ brains perceive music louder than it actually is, a trait Córdoba thinks could help aid in hearing protection by minimizing listeners’ exposure to dangerous frequencies. The Masn’live system has already been tested by artists such as Joris Voorn, Jamie Jones and Lee Foss at real venues.
It seems the real benefactors of this technology might be clubs. Faced with noise complaints and limit laws, night spots and music venues might now be able to avoid penalties and fines for noisiness without killing the music.