Large Can, Soft Cushion Comfort

Recently I’ve been caused to write a lot of audio-only sessions. My session designs usually have intrinsic light control within the audio, so it’s interesting to have to discount the contribution visual stimulus makes to responsiveness.

Writing an audio-only session that delivers as much consistent impact as an AV session isn’t easy. A good lightshow can conceal many weaknesses. Undistracted by the pretty lights, the mind will more readily wander, and will often be less tolerant of the stimulus that is necessary to make audio stimulus objectively effective.

As far as I can tell, there is no session that will not benefit from headphones. The more comfortable and the more private the better. A pleasing discovery is that the Roland SH-300 cushions are so compliant that they can be worn with MindPlace Ganzframes without the slightest sense of one diminishing the comfort of the other. As they both have cable entry on the same side, it is also very easy to cable-hook your way out of cable tangle hell. (secret for sleep induction – place AV source above head in sleep-place, take a length of elastic slightly shorter than the distance from AV device to correctly worn glasses/phones, connect same to cables near AV device at one end and near headset at the other, tie a sufficient length of ribbon to tie onto the cables near the headset and to end secure under the head – once asleep almost any movement will allow the headset to lift away from the head – also useful in stillness exercises).

Audio-only is astonishingly effective when you get it right. Audio-only also offers access to a physiological sensory structure unique in its intrinsic discernment and placement in the “interrupt priority” of the human CNS. Herein is veiled a very special session design tip that for reasons apparent I cannot elaborate.

I’m going to answer honestly another usual question. Is Mind Workstation worthwhile? Ummm, yes. But not absolutely for everyone.

If you wish to engage in leading-edge commercial session design it is non-optional. There is nothing else available that does what it does, and what it does is make sufficiently simple the design of highly precise, compelling, coherent individualised or generalised audio and/or visual stimulation.

If you are convinced of the advantage of AVS in your life, and you are willing to put in some serious learning, then Mind Workstation is an incomparable tool for sculpting mindscapes glove-fit for any purpose you may have.

If you have the spare cash and a reasonable natural affinity to techy stuff, Mind Workstation is one-helluva good toy.

Unless you are serious about bio-/neuro- feedback, MWS is not good value for its included sessions – they are excellent, but NP3 represents better value for plug-n-play. In this respect, NP3’s BioOptimisation is looking to be the most satisfactory introduction to biofeedback yet offered. On informal trial, and subjective experience, Thoughtstream driven BioOptimisation is more compelling than EEG driving for achieving relaxation.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Win 7 has got some seriously bad mannered default settings. Two that have seriously impacted my AVS pleasure are… its instinct to reboot after update even if something like MWS or iTunes is actively running. This one requires a quick trip to Control Panel/Windows Update/Change Settings and selecting the next option after “Automatically Install Updates”… its poor judgement about when to suspend USB. Having the M-Audio Fasttrack revealed that a USB sound device will probably lose interest in doing anything useful roughly every twenty minutes from a device restart. The fix is in Control Panel/Power Options/Advanced Settings/Change Advanced Settings/USB Settings/USB Selective Suspend Setting Disabled. [Note 1 May 2010: The Fasttrack will drop out on some machines even with the suspend option changed. A better fix seems to be to connect the Fasttrack via a powered hub.]

The technical revelations come to you from todays attempt to throw myself into the merciful peace of an AVS session. Bill Gates is not your friend in your search for peace.


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