A quick look at the InnerPulse

This is going to be a very quick look, because the machine only just arrived today, Fortunately I had a bit of a break in the real work, so I’ve been able to sneak a good bit of time with the little beasty.

InnerPulse-02-LR

Photosonix have been around since 1981, and took the plunge into neuro-products in 1990. They’ve obviously been paying attention to what’s going on, because they’ve packed a heap into their mid-range offering (their range also includes the Luma10 and the Nova Pro 100).

They’ve gone with the enviro angle for the packaging – a very plain white box with a simple coloured sleeve, bearing the directive under the flap to “please recycle”. Inside one finds the InnerPulse, a pair of glasses, a pair of headphones, a patch cable, a serial cable and a manual. Apart from the diagrams, which look as though they’ve been captured off a webpage and printed on a laser printer out of toner, the manual is good. Very good, actually, with clear instructions and the most detailed session descriptions I’ve seen.

InnerPulse-01-LR

The machine itself shows just how deceptive web advertising can be – I expected a sleek, compact unit with sweeping curves. In real life, the unit is big – 145x90x20mm. That’s almost twice the size of a Procyon, but quite a lot thinner. The corners are only slightly rounded, so it looks almost like a small paperback. The build is mediocre. The battery cover only just keeps the 4x AA batteries in, bulging in the middle. The hole in the case for the power adapter (optional, 6V 300mA) looks as though it was chewed out by mice. A strange little piece of silver plastic (the same as the control panel) is stuck over an unused hole at the sockets end.

InnerPulse-Glasses-Front-LR

I was hoping to have the ColorTrack glasses, but as they cost as much again as the machine itself, I decided to go with the Standard glasses for a start. The glasses that arrived are the True White, which confuses me a little, as they are listed as Premium glasses. Whatever. Physically, the glasses are unimpressive – better than iLightz, about the same as L&S Synergizer. Unlike virtually every other machine on the market, this machine uses Common Ground glasses, so none of the other ones I’ve got lying around can be used. The headphones aren’t bad – they’re comfortable and they sound just fine. I dearly wish, however, that mind machine manufacturers would realise that phones with split cable entry are the root of all cable-tangle evil – it is a matter of natural law that every time you put everything down, by the time you pick it up again, everything is looped through the headphones. Please, oh please, start supplying single cable entry headphones (like the ones that come with the MindAlive machines).

InnerPulse-Headphones-LR

That’s it. I have no further criticisms. I really, really like this machine!

InnerPulse-Glasses-Back-LR

In use, the glasses have substantially increased my enthusiasm about White. They’re sticky-outy LEDs, but boy, are they bright. This is the first machine I’ve used that I simply cannot use at full brightness. It also gives a great demonstration of how varying the brightness changes the visuals. Like the DAVID, it has a socket on the glasses – no worry about damaging the cable at the connection point, Unlike the DAVID, which has 2.5mm plug and socket for the glasses, the InnerPulse uses a standard 3.5mm stereo connector – easy to find a replacement at any electronics shop.

The four-button/LED user interface confirms my impression that LCD alphanumeric displays aren’t a significant advantage – everything you need to do is easily done. Photosonix have pushed the envelope in how much information can be conveyed with a 3-digit 7-segment display – almost every possible segment combination has a meaning (download the manual and take a look!) In addition to the 7-segment display, there’s 7 discrete LEDs that provide status and selection information.

I mentioned in another post that I’d been playing some Photosonix sessions with Mind Explorer. My comment was something to the effect that if the InnerPulse renders the sessions as well as Mind Explorer, it would be a pretty nice machine. Well, it does. The sessions sound great, and what a variety. There’s 50 Sound and Light sessions, grouped neatly into Relaxation, Special, Meditation, Sleep, Learning, Energize, Create/Visualize and Entertain/Fun categories. When selecting sessions, you first select a category, indicated on the display by the best 7-segment impression of the category initial. You then up/down to the particular session within the category. There’s also 10 Breath sessions. These sessions simply have rising and falling tones, along with gently brightening and dimming lights, to correspond to inhalation and exhalation. It would be ridiculously easy to emulate these sessions with any machine or software, but I guess the big thing is that Photosonix just did it. The final four sessions are Improv – random based on theta, alpha, SMR or beta.

The few sessions I’ve already tried are as good as any of their type. The audio is very pleasing, using pulsed frequency, pulsed surf, pulsed chords, binaural beats, binaural beats with surf, dual binaurals and/or dual monaurals. Having a noise generator (surf) is a great touch. The lightshows are well designed and make good use of a feature similar to the iLightz – light/sound phase control, with the options of in-phase, left/right, front/back (lights then sound then lights…), cross, lights alternating or sound alternating. I believe this is the only machine that allows session time scaling – after pressing Play to start the 10 second countdown, pressing Select displays the session time, which can be incremented or decremented with the Up and Down keys (the time changes in preset steps).

I like a machine to have a manual mode, and the InnerPulse has a seriously kick-ass manual mode – Operator Controlled Session. Everything is accessible in real time from the front panel – beat, pitch, tone-type, ramps and sound/light phase. Unfortunately it’s a bit too much to hope that this could be done blind – with so many functions it is necessary to take the glasses off and have a look at the status LEDs as you flick through the options. Beat and Pitch can, however be done blind quite nicely.

The other controls are the on/off switch, which is easily overlooked, being a little black nubbins recessed into the case near the headphone socket. It looks a bit cheapo, but it works well and it’s unlikely to be accidentally pressed. The volume and brightness are on the side of the machine and are plain, simple analog thumbwheels – nothing clever, they just work.

When I was first looking at the InnerPulse (when I was in a snotty mood with MindPlace I seriously considered this machine) it had the AudioStrobe logo printed on it. When I saw that this one didn’t I quickly checked the manual and the website. All’s well, it’s a really, truly live AudioStrobe decoder and it does the job as well as the L&S or Proteus.

One the thing I don’t like about single colour glasses and the left/right flashing thing is that it’s really annoying if the left and right intensity don’t match. There’s a lot of good reasons why they often don’t – you have to pay extra for brightness-matched LEDs among others. The InnerPulse deals with this by having independent left/right brightness controls tucked discretely away in the Options mode. Also under Options you’ve got a choice of sine, square or phase-erase (random pulse width) for the glasses drive waveform, some custom tweaks for the Breath and Improve modes, and a Restore Defaults option for when you’ve created total chaos.

The preset sessions are cast in stone, but there’s space for another 25 sessions/250 segments. Additional sessions (the ones I’ve referred to before) can be downloaded free. You can also create your own sessions with the optional (US$39.00) L/S Designer software. I don’t have a copy just yet, but I’ll post an update when I’ve had a look at it. Sessions are uploaded to the InnerPulse with the free, downloadable, L/S Librarian program. Connection to a PC is via the supplied serial cable (the same as the Proteus). I’ve got mixed feelings about the USB/serial debate. Serial ports are getting a bit scarce on new machines, but they work without any fussing with drivers. USB ports, on the other hand, are everywhere, but you’re often stuck with operating system/vendor driver issues. USB-Serial adapters are cheap enough, but some just don’t quite work like a real hardware serial port.

Honestly, we, the AVS consuming public, are truly spoiled for choice. I started off giving relative ratings, but I’m going to give that up as a plain bad idea. The InnerPulse is a good machine. It’s really up to you to decide just what features matter to you – you’re just not going to end up with a bad machine, but on the other hand, you’re also not going to find all things desirable in any one of them.

It’s been a long day. I think I’ll take my InnerPulse to bed now, and as my mind is going to be still well and truly abuzz, I’ll give the TKO, Technical Knock Out, “high tech sleep aid” a go.

Cheers,
Craig

InnerPulse-Editor-01

P.S. I’ve now had a little play with the L/S Designer. It uses a very simple spreadsheet format with all functions neatly laid out. The graphical views don’t appear to be all that useful, except possibly for spotting anomalies. In many ways this editor is similar to the one that is available for the DAVID – straightforward and functional with no frills. The design of the InnerPulse and DAVID sound systems is obviously quite similar, as the sounds are all quite specific, whereas the Proteus and Procyon, being full synthesisers, have to be a little more arcane, allowing infinite flexibility in how you apply tone generation and modulation. Once again, very few people ever do more than dabble with their own session design, and the sessions supplied with the InnerPulse, and available on their website, cover most needs very adequately. The editor will do a perfectly fine job for those who do feel the need to do it their way.

Advertisements
Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Comments

  • Tyler  On March 25, 2010 at 3:07 am

    ey Craig,
    I was reading your AVS reviews on WordPress and your comments on the InnerPulse caught my attention. I’ve been meditating for a long time but haven’t been able to reach some of the deeper states of consciousness that I desire. That being said, I’ve been looking into AVS and arrived at the InnerPulse as a good option. In addition, the representative at their company highly recommended their ColorTrack glasses for enhancing the experience. Would you be able to offer any suggestions to me on this purchase (as my first AVS device)? In you post you mentioned that you had just purchased the InnerPulse so I’m curious to hear any updates and more about your experience.

    If you have time to respond, I would greatly appreciate it!

    Thanks,
    Tyler

    • CraigT  On March 25, 2010 at 6:44 am

      Hi Tyler,
      I’ve chosen the Procyon as my most used machine. The Innerpulse is a good choice. The big thing between them is that the Procyon is a true full colour machine, whereas the Innerpulse with Colortrack glasses is a many-colour mapped machine. If you decide on the Innerpulse, I would suggest you just go with the standard white glasses – they are a real standout in the “white LED glasses” category.
      Cheers,
      Craig

      • Tyler  On March 25, 2010 at 11:57 am

        Thank you very much for you quick reply Craig!! I looked into the Procyon more closely and you have me convinced. The big reason I liked the Innerpulse was the availability of additional mediation program downloads on their site. But with the AudioStrobe capability, I should have plenty to choose from. I doubt I’ll get much into the programming side of the Procyon but it is nice to know that I have that option. It is also nice to know that they have a good support staff if I need help. The only thing I was disappointed on was the lack of an AC adapter. I would think that this would be something that should be standard. I could try an aftermarket USB/AC adapter but I’m afraid that it might fry the electronics. Anyway, not a big deal, I’ll use a good set of rechargeable batteries.

        Have a good one,
        Tyler

      • CraigT  On March 25, 2010 at 12:08 pm

        You won’t be disappointed by the Procyon sessions. Team it up with Neuroprogrammer and you’ve got all the basic sessions you could ever need (now, “want” is another matter :). The Procyon can be powered off any standard USB power pack. I use the one that came with a Motorola cellphone. It is also powered by the PC whenthe USB is connected. Using Audiostrobe from a computer with the USB connected to the computer is not usually too successful, as most PCs and laptops seem to have a grounding problem between their USB and Sound circuitry – either one is fine, but not both to the same device at the same time.
        Cheers,
        Craig

  • Tyler  On March 30, 2010 at 8:26 am

    Thanks for your recommendations Craig! I ordered the Procyon. I’ll have to look into the Neuroprogrammer software more fully. Do you use the software for behavior modification? I’m also looking forward to hearing more about the PreSage biofeedback system from Mind Place. That could be very useful if it works well. In addition to the behavior modification options on the Neuroprogrammer, does the software come with some any preset meditation programs? Anyhow, I’ll definitely investigate the software more fully. It looks pretty interesting. Thanks for the Motorola power pack suggestion as well. That would be good from a convenience (and cost) standpoint.

    I really appreciate your advice!!!

    Have a good one,
    Terence

    • CraigT  On March 30, 2010 at 8:41 am

      Good choice!
      Most of my AVS use now is “personal exploration” – finding out what’s going on between my ears, why I do what I do, what makes me who I am.
      I started with Neuroprogrammer and was hooked – the supplied sessions met all my then needs, but I was amazed at what else could be done. I’ve since moved almost entirely to Mind Workstation. Download the free trial of Neuroprogrammer and have a play with the sessions yourself.
      I wouldn’t hold breath waiting for the Presage. If you want to give biofeedback a go, grab a Thoughtstream and use it standalone, or just witht he tone playing through the Procyon.
      Cheers,
      Craig

  • Joe  On August 16, 2012 at 3:55 am

    Confused. Procyon or InnerPulse? Want it for Meditation and Hypnotherapy. Was told the Color track glasses made the InnerPulse the choice. Thoughts?

    Thanks,
    Joe

    • CraigT  On August 16, 2012 at 8:25 am

      Hi Joe,
      I favor the Procyon due to its true full color operation however I haven’t had the opportunity to use the ColorTrak glasses.
      Cheers,
      Craig

  • kike  On November 21, 2012 at 1:42 am

    Craig, I like the Procyon because the glasses have three independent LEDs in a session can for example turn on the red light stays on while, also light green light, then go off with the red light. This creates excellent visual with AudioStrobe. I wonder if the colored glasses of Inner track press are like Procyon with independent LEDs or if instead turn on and off all at once. Also like to know if InnerPulse has isochronic tones and alternating different LEDs for stimulation of each hemisphere. Its goog AudioStrobe the inner decoder in the press?.

    • CraigT  On November 21, 2012 at 5:34 am

      Hi,

      You can download the Innerpulse and Colortrak glasses manuals and all will be made clear.

      http://www.photosonix.com/index.php/2012-03-18-13-36-09/manuals

      Cheers,
      Craig

      • Kike  On November 21, 2012 at 7:33 am

        I have downloaded the manual, but my english is not good. Im not sure if the led glasses are like the glasses of Procyon.

      • CraigT  On November 21, 2012 at 7:48 am

        I haven’t met the ColorTrak glasses in person but my impression is that they use a selection of preset colors and sequences rather then independent RGB control. The Innerpulse definitely doesn’t have 3-color control like the Procyon.

        Cheers,
        Craig

      • Kike  On November 21, 2012 at 7:53 am

        Thanks, Is difficult find a substitute for My broken Procyon. For me the best opccion would be The mindlights with the microbeatmini. But its too much expensive for me, and I would like to trie something new but with audiostrobe. Do you know if Mindplace, make a new machine soon?

      • CraigT  On November 21, 2012 at 8:27 am

        Have you contacted MindPlace about repairing your Procyon? It is still the most “interesting” AudioStrobe device. I don’t like to speculate on what might be released or when.

        Cheers,
        Craig

      • kike  On November 21, 2012 at 9:15 am

        Yes I contacted with mindplace but the shippings from spain, more repair costs is almost like a new Procyon.

  • David  On December 31, 2012 at 3:53 am

    Hi Craig,

    I just found your site, it has excellent info, thank you! I had a couple questions. Do you have any experience with the Luma-10? I bought this machine about a year ago and have been using it off and on. I used to own a PR-2 (similar to the nova 100) about 20 years ago and this was my favorite machine, but the price tag on similar units was too high for me this time around. I’ve been enjoying the Luma-10 somewhat, but just don’t get the same effect from my machine as I did years ago. I started using light and sound machines when I was around 16 (now 35) and I think my brain waves were just 100% pliable at that age as my experiences were truly astounding. These days the sessions are relaxing, but I rarely feel like I go anywhere deep, and certainly don’t get as interesting imagery as I used to.

    One of my main concerns has been that the photosonix ‘lightweave’ technology, or possibly the pulse width interval/waveshape of the luma-10 is perhaps different than my previous machines and that this might contribute to my different experience. Do you have any experience with their Lightweave technology or thoughts on the overall effects of pulsewidth intervals/wave forms? As I understand it, back in the day more square wave’s were used but over time people decided that more brainwave harmonic cross stimulation was occurring from squares (say stimulating at 12hz led to 24hz and 48hz stimulation as well) and so people gradually moved to sine waves instead. But I have also read an older paper somewhere that said that square waves actually caused greater entrainment because all of the photoreceptors were stimulated at precisely the same moment causing greater synchrony and force to the entrainment effect.

    Ok, I’m kind of rambling here but I would love to hear your thoughts on this! I’m in the Detroit area and would like to find a location to go and try some other machines but this technology is now non-existent here as far as I can tell. (One of my first jobs was working at a clinic that offered light and sound machine and flotation tank sessions in addition to massage therapy, but they’ve long since closed).

    Thanks much for your excellent web site!

    David B.

    • CraigT  On December 31, 2012 at 8:26 am

      Hi David,

      Always pleased to have provided something useful.

      I have only used the InnerPulse from Photosonix. Fine in every way but not a machine I use often.

      Altering pulse width, phase, etc. are common techniques. I haven’t seen any evidence that the waveform makes much difference apart from sine being the smoothest and square the roughest. Tweaking such things is more aesthetic than functional. There is almost nothing authoritative that expresses an opinion on the matter. There’s a debate between David Siever and Robert Austin about the relative merits of incandescent versus LED lightings, centred around the slow response of the incandescent limiting stimulus range, and the speed of the LED which purportedly created problems due to harmonics. This resolved itself by the market making tiny incandescent lamps.

      It’s possible that you’ve used the sessions sufficiently to not find them interesting, in which case another device, or the use of Audiostrobe, should provide a bit more life. It may also be time to consider new methods and objectives.

      I’ll look forward to hearing

      Cheers,
      Craig

  • Anonymous  On February 7, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    The innerpulse is the best sounding machine I have tried, but the glasses are not bright enough, I have the green ones, any ideas where to get better ones?

    • CraigT  On February 7, 2013 at 2:29 pm

      Try their white ones – excellent imagery.

      Cheers,
      Craig

  • Anonymous  On February 8, 2013 at 2:52 am

    Excellent, thanks Craig, I also have a Proteus which has much more vivid LEDs and a comprehensive synthesizer, but the actual sound quality of the Innerpulse is a lot richer. BTW I really enjoy your blog and insights, I think AVS is a very interesting subject and your blog is BY FAR the best resource on the subject.

    Thanks again 😉

    D

    • CraigT  On February 8, 2013 at 6:50 am

      The Proteus is one of the brightest devices around. The audio is another matter – the Proteus and Procyon use true synthesizers whereas others, I am assuming from the character and limited selection of sounds, wave players.

      Thank you for your very generous compliments.

      Cheers,
      Craig

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: