I’ve spent the last few days trying to think of something to write about. Plenty of ideas came to mind, but none could be strung out into a full post. Anyway, long story short, here’s a few of the stirrings from the deep that impinged upon my cortex.
You may or may not have noticed how little I have to say about EEG. The reason is simple – it’s really not that interesting to me. After a burst of enthusiasm when I first acquired the Pocket Neurobics Pendant and BioExplorer, when I observed everything I needed to observe to confirm or correct the limited working understanding of mind/brain that I require, only occasionally now do I fish out the Pendant just for a play or to check out a new idea.
In my rarely humble opinion, AVS and neurofeedback are, apart from where clinically indicated, two different interests. The former deals more with subjective states, the latter with the objective. Only the broadest of generalizations, apart from the gross evidence of brain damage or seizure, can be drawn about the state of the mind/brain with an instrument with few channels and/or poor quality sensors/amplifiers. I ended up concluding that I could better assess states by “feel”. I suspect many new EEG users will find themselves doing a lot of messing around for very little purpose. Low end EEG is well suited to games.
If EEG is to be your new interest, get decent equipment. The Pendant is a good 2-channel device. More channels and a proper electrode net cap really are necessary to go beyond dabbling. You can use multiple Pendants. I have only played with other biometric applications sufficiently to choose BioExplorer over them. If EEG is of greater interest than AVS, BioExplorer will provide all the experimental and therapeutic flexibility you could possibly need with or without MWS. Its modular structure allows modules to be connected to process and display biometrics according to requirements. BioExplorer is suitable for processing any small signal – with the Pendant it can be set up to track heart rhythm (ECG), measure muscle activity (EMG) and monitor eye twitch for REM experiments.
These seem to be very popular to ask about. I only vaguely know one person who has had them and he sold them soon after he acquired them. The Photosonix white glasses are excellent. For my own purposes ColorTrak is pretty much useless as it uses a palette of colors rather than full RGB control.
It was Version 4 that I first fell in love with. Version 5 is better. There’s a bunch of new stuff and things that do what they did better. If you’re even remotely interested in playing with electronic music, Mu.Lab is the best free/inexpensive fully featured DAW that I am aware of. Like many such audio products, price has been kept down by excluding MP3 support (I forgot to mention this in previous posts – it’s an inconvenience, but working with WAV is preferable for high quality mastering and MuLab UL offers 32-bit mixdowns).
In Making Music, I may have left the impression that it is necessary to get plugins from all over the place in order to make Mu.Lab useful. Not at all – Mu.Lab is complete with a great range of instruments and effects, immediately sufficient. Apart from the supplied instruments and effects, Mu.Lab has a feature called MUX, the modular environment in which instruments and effects can be modified or created. I have put together MUX presets to add light encoding to music – email me if you download MuLab and would like to try the MUX preset.
As I did when I first became interested in AVS products, I have read all of the MuLab documentation and most of their forum. Reading forums is good – I find people asking how to do things that I didn’t even know existed to want to do. Leap-in-and-play is great for trying software out, but once a program is chosen it’s always worth putting in the effort to find out what is already known.
I have had a number of enquiries about this device. I have emailed the manufacturer and have received no reply.
Has anyone met a Psio or had any dealings with the company?
If anything more than free is too expensive and you want a decent AVS session creation tool, consider Gnaural. It provides graphical control of the volume, pitch, beat and balance (where applicable) of any combination of these tracks: 1 binaural, 1 audio, 2 isochronic, 1 pink noise and 1 each water drops and rain. Simple to use. Great for adding AVS to a bit of music or putting together a complete session. Down sides – not a lot of good quality sessions readily available, doesn’t support MP3 (usual for free/low-cost software), not overly pretty, odd UI. Up side – the price is right and it produces completely adequate AVS sessions. (Hint – if you want an AudioStrobe track, just use an isochronic track with the base frequency (pitch) set to 19,200Hz.
And that is that for now.
P.S. You will find a reader’s comments on the Psio here.