A layering technique…

There have been a number of discussions on the Transparent forum about layering of rhythms. Many of them arise from claims by various vendors that they have developed sophisticated, advanced, unique, patented, etc. layering techniques whereby benefit X is delivered Y-times more effectively than any other.

I have no idea what these people know or think they know, or think they’ll be able to get away with implying they know. I know what I have done with sound and light, and I know how I have responded. I have also read enough to have a reasonable idea of whether my observations are consistent with observations elsewhere, and whether there is at least the suggestion of a mechanism by which the experience could occur. I have also seen what I have seen of my own EEG under a wide variety of conditions.

A few of the techniques or measurements have been tried with one or two others – nothing to strongly support my views, but nothing to outright dispute them.

With that disclaimer firmly in place, I am going to describe one method of layering rhythms such that the sum is greater than the whole. This is not the only effective method I have found, nor is it the most compelling, but it is the easiest to set up and make sound good.

First, decide on the target frequency. If you don’t need inductions, this could be the main frequency throughout the entire session. At this frequency you will use a highly compelling entrainment signal and provide the main light control. A rough indication of “compulsion” (most to least)… pulsed noise, pulsed tone, sine modulated tone, monaural beat, binaural beat, spacial or pitch modulation. Obviously the impact of any of these can be varied enormously by the many other parameters associated with them.

Set up this single track as you wish in NP2 or MWS. Depending on the entrainment type, go nuts with balance/autopan (NP2) or pan/3D placement (MWS). Take care with echo or reverb – this is a whole bunch of repetitive events that are very hard to keep track of! Have the track rise and fall in volume to signify where in the session’s process you should be – pitch can be used likewise.

Set up additional tracks at half and/or twice the main track’s frequency, using a substantially less compelling entrainment types and different pitches. At appropriate points in these tracks (when you think a mental shift would make sense, when you think enough time will have passed for a type of thought to be completed before shifting to higher awareness, or a point grasped at higher awareness before return to deeper states), insert a fast step (step length about 0.1 minutes) change to twice/half target (the opposite side), stay for 15-60 seconds, and fast step  back.

If using MWS, add a few ambience generator tracks to cause single events at times 0.25x, 0.125x target frequency. Add a few more events at completely random intervals. There is scope for enormous creativity here! 3D positioning in carefully calculated room sizes and rates of motion can turn sounds into notes. Again, be careful of echo!

In my experience when there are two distinct rhythms,  it will be the higher frequency of two similar pitch/wavetype signals that dominates, and the most compelling where the two are of similar frequency.

For the best results, think carefully what you want to “do” during the session, rather than plotting what you want the session to do to or for you. If you choose your AV environment wisely, you will be able to accomplish all manner of mental feats that would otherwise be difficult, time-demanding or plain impossible, feats that can manifest quite dramatically in changed behaviours in the outer.

Have fun! And by the way, if you’re using MWS to play with this, be prepared for the time when MWS will no longer play your session – you’ll have to export in order to listen to your creation. Save often – MWS might hang, it might crash, or it might just skip and hiccup its way through. This is no reflection on MWS – I’m absolutely gob-smacked at the amount of calculation going on with some of my random, multifrequency, multispacial pieces. A whole lot more computing power would make a difference, but I just ain’t got the green to buy real-time processing.

Much of this work is towards what I am now declaring The Holy Grail of AVS – seamless transitions between the states associated with beta, alpha, theta and delta, leading to a technique whereby this may be achieved at will.


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  • Darren  On January 21, 2014 at 11:01 am

    I know this is a really old post, but hopefully you will still see my reply. In the above article, you state that pulsed noise seems to be the most effective form of auditory entrainment (for you). I was just wondering if you would mind sharing the parameters that seem most effective. I’m looking for info such as type of noise (white, pink, brown etc), whether any modifications were made to the noise (Pitch changes, any frequency ‘tweaks’ such as bass and/or treble boost or reductions), modulation depth (in percentage %), and type of modulation (if it’s anything other than a standard 50% square wave).
    I have lots of reasons for wanting to utilize various forms of entrainment to help in reaching a ‘trance’ state, but I suppose that I’m most interested in things like OBE, lucid dreaming and accessing the unified field (as it pertains to consciousness). I’ve had quite a few experiences with all of the above without any sort of entrainment, but all occurrences were spontaneous and unintentional and usually happened in the middle of the night. I understand most all of the published theory and science behind AVS / entrainment, and I’ve found (made myself, purchased, or downloaded) a few audio tracks that were at least somewhat effective. I’m experimenting with all sorts of different methods and techniques, and my goal is to find out what is the most effective technique (auditory in this case) to help me achieve the trance state I mentioned earlier, at any time I choose instead of the spontaneous, unexpected experiences I’ve had in the past.

    I really enjoy reading your website, and I’m grateful for any insight you may have on the matter.

    • CraigT  On January 21, 2014 at 11:22 am

      Hi Darren,

      Thanks for being around.

      White noise, as brutal as can be tolerated, has some remarkable effects. If using AudioStrobe or SprectraStrobe it is necessary to use a low-pass filter to chop off everything above about 15kHz to ensure that the noise doesn’t trigger the lights – unless you want the noise to trigger the lights, which is a perfectly good trick that I use often.

      For trance, noise can be continuous – pure brain-blanking. Or in the alpha-theta range. Exactly where depends on the state you desire – alpha will leave you with greater awareness and recall, while theta can be more dreamlike and harder to return with knowledge of the experience.

      Trance/meditation is often better with more subtle stimulus, rather than “powerful” beats. A soft “whooshing” theta sine modulated white or pink noise can be very pleasing. Depending on the software you’re using, modulating bands within the noise spectrum can work very well.

      Movement of the noise – 3D, panning or pitch shifting – can be captivating.

      Combining these techniques allows creation of synthetic surf, wind, rain, etc. Synthetic “nature sounds” are useful in that they can be crafted and controlled, with or without surprises as found in nature.

      Ultimately I can offer no meaningful guidance. Every session I write does something differently. Each “does it” more or less for myself or for others.

      The brain is the core of our individuality – finding reasonable crossover/similarity is a challenge for commercial session authors, particularly when writing for personal exploration.

      Everything is worth trying at least twice.


  • Darren  On January 21, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    Thanks a lot for your input. I’ll keep these things in mind as I experiment further. Your comments did leave me with another question. I’m assuming that all of the experiences that I’ve had have occurred while I was in a theta or delta state since they happened during the night. What types of things might one experience with an effective alpha session? I do try to meditate regularly, and I’m guessing that I’m usually reaching the lower alpha / high theta ranges because of the hypnagogic type imagery I often get, however brief they may be. I see things like flashes of light, colors, various shades of black crossing my “field of view”, and the occasional “real” scene (usually a person or place, a lot of random trees for reasons that I have not yet been able to figure out).

    I’m well aware that all ‘non physical’ experiences are highly subjective, but I guess I’m trying to ask you what sorts of things can be experienced, or learned while in an alpha state that one may not be able to recall if experienced in a theta state.

    Thanks again for your time.

    • CraigT  On January 21, 2014 at 5:32 pm

      Hi Darren,

      Theoretically you’re asleep or otherwise unconscious during delta – any experience, such as dreaming suggests visits to theta along the way. This, of course, is a little bit arbitrary as there isn’t a rigid line where theta becomes delta and the significance of measured the presence of delta in experienced meditators hasn’t, to my satisfaction, been determined.

      Basically it goes like this…

      At just below 10Hz, eyes closed, the relaxed state will begin with detached awareness. Your brain will be working pretty much as normal, but it will be occupied by internal input rather than external. As the alpha state deepens, critical thought diminishes and novel/creative thoughts increase.

      As theta is entered consciousness diminishes and the mind throws up any manner of things to play with – some useful, some not so much. In any case, the deeper the contemplative/meditative state, the more unusual the experiences tend to be, but the harder they are to retain – dream recall techniques can be helpful.

      The types of experience I recognize are:

      Hypnagogic, which are pure phenomena that can occur any time around wake/sleep border – I am aware of no use for these phenomena, but they can be quite spectacular and/or alarming.

      Contemplative (alpha) where I can dispassionately review past and present, free from mental chatter and circular thinking.

      Meditative (theta) where I can either fill my mind with something to the exclusion of other things, or open up to deep inspiration.

      High theta/low alpha is well suited to creative, deliberate thought, answer seeking and resolution of complex non-technical issues – theta gives access to the deeper realms of memory, while alpha makes it easier to remember what happened.

      Theta, particularly the low end, is where the weird stuff tends to happen. OOBE is where I have the total sense of being elsewhere, sometimes being aware of my unconscious self as distinct from the “me” that is having the experience. Lucid dreaming is where I can clearly recognize that I am in a dream world, but I am in more-or-less complete control of my interaction with that world – recall of lucid dreams is often surprisingly vivid. I have found lucid dreaming useful for playing out possibilities – not easy to induce, but if you head for sleep with theta and keep a question in mind as you drift off, the subsequent dreaming might run on from your last thoughts. Usually lucid dreaming is induced by using delta sleep induction interspersed with theta bursts. Nightmares tend to hang around in this range.

      Two key points…

      Your mind can only work with the raw material it has – I have been able to determine near-zero probability of any extra-normal external input. Ordinary input from the surroundings, such as a TV in the next room can definitely influence the content of an experience.

      Garbage in-garbage out – it is very easy to reinforce fallacious beliefs and flawed knowledge and to acquire, by various suggestion/affirmation/hypnotic techniques, some very dubious mental constructs. A healthy mind cannot maintain two incompatible “truths” – the doublethink required by some “self development” systems relies on a mind with low self esteem and high gullibility.

      Having sufficient general knowledge of the nature of your universe is essential to getting value from time in the lower states of consciousness. Every “new” idea needs to be tested against established knowledge. Failure to do so invites what are known in some circles as “demons” to play with your mind (this is, of course, simply your own self-deception).

      Alpha/theta/high delta can be fun, interesting, exciting, enlightening, inspiring, informative. It is also potentially hazardous – depending on your mental constitution, preparation and intent.

      Thank you for your excellent questions. I hope I have provided satisfactory answers – but I am just me and this is a pretty bizarre bit of the mental landscape.

      Personally I prefer contemplation/meditation – the weird stuff is too hard to reliably reproduce and the outcomes are usually difficult to interpret.

      Safe journeys!


  • Darren  On January 23, 2014 at 8:31 am

    Thanks for that very informative reply.

    I understand and agree with pretty much everything you said. While I really enjoy the “mind awake, body asleep” state – which I assume would be theta – at night, I can’t say that I’ve really had much experience with a level of alpha awareness that I thought was of enough value to remember. But your words about an alpha state of ‘contemplation’ have me wondering if I’ve been working too hard on achieving the lower theta states, when I really should have been paying more attention to an easier to attain alpha state. Attempting the lucid dreaming/OOBE stuff is fine for a few nights a week, but it would be nice to be able to work on something useful meditation-wise that can be done pretty much anywhere, any time of the day.

    I’ve always had this insatiable hunger to learn as much as humanly possible about whatever thing that happens to be in the forefront of my life at any given moment (My wife likes to say that it’s some sort of mental disorder. She’s probably right). But as you know, there aren’t any textbooks for this stuff, and pretty much any type of ‘data’ that may be available is purely subjective at best. I guess I’m really more interested in the physics, and other ‘tangible’ scientific aspects of the whole thing than the potential spiritual implications. I’ve seen things written about the unified field/unified consciousness, highly accelerated learning and creativity that I would like to access, but I’ve yet to really experience any of those things.

    I suppose I need a bit of a paradigm shift to change my way of thinking in regard to what I’m trying to achieve during my meditation (or whatever you want to call it) sessions. Come to think of it, I’m really not sure what it is that I’m trying to achieve. It’s tough for me to wade through all the New Age/Occult//Hindu/Buddhist/other religious gobbledegook to find some real objective answers or opinions on what can be accomplished through meditation/altered states. I always try to be as thoughtless as I possibly can, to avoid ‘drifting’ off into daydreams and such, but maybe I should stop doing that and let my thoughts go where they will.

    Well, thanks again for taking the time to post all that helpful information, and please don’t feel obligated to respond to my ramblings. I think most of this reply was directed at myself anyway.


    • CraigT  On January 23, 2014 at 10:24 am

      Hi Darren,

      You’ve touched a critical point – “deeper” is not always, and usually isn’t, better. Most of the things that happen in the lower registers, if anything happens at all, are phenomena of little value beyond amusement. Emulated or shortcut meditation is a joke, so much more so packaged “enlightenment”. Even the descriptions of such things are largely fantasy. Hence I consider alpha/theta contemplation to be a much more attainable and thus useful objective.

      Unfortunately I have found telling anyone anything to be pretty much entirely futile – without a common foundation, I might as well be speaking Martian. In self-evolutionary and spiritually related fields it’s all gobbledygook. The moment a person offers guidance for money they have destroyed their integrity, if material wealth is suggested as a desirable outcome they are dishonest and immoral. The moment such information is purchased, any value it may have had vaporizes. Obviously there’s some exceptions, but it’s pretty safe to say that any “guru with a plan” has an agenda that doesn’t include your well-being. Of course, some are quite up front about that – Crowley has a way to get anywhere you want, but he makes it quite clear that the process and the outcome will probably be quite unpleasant. “Self-improvement” I consider to be a play into the hands of the dehumanizers. “New-physics” I consider to be total scam – if the word “quantum” is used without proper qualification as to whether it is being used as a generic for a generic “unit of” or refers to quantum physics, it’s just confusing. If it is referred to physics, it’s almost certainly nonsense, salted with enough near-accurate information to fully deceive.

      I will happily charge money for things, time and technical knowledge – I will not accept payment for access to my understanding and wisdom. False humility is a number one killer of progress. If you’ve done what you’ve done, learned from it and can apply it to new situations, then you have understanding and wisdom – two essential, but not sufficient, elements of enlightenment.

      You might also find the YouTube material by Alan Watts useful. “His “Fear of Enlightenment” talk is excellent.

      Thank you for taking time to consider my replies – you have facilitated one of my favorite pastimes – ranting at length about the falsity of our world.


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