This Is Your Music … And This Is Your Music On Brainwaves.
Mind Stereo: A Software Review
Download the Demo
I’ve checked out a lot of mind-tweaking software over the years, and… well… to be honest, they’re usually over hyped, awkward to use, and don’t really do much, *if* they even run at all. Some seem to work, but turn out to be so technical that I lose interest before figuring out how to use them.
Mind Stereo from Transparentcorp is a pleasant exception. It does what it promises, and it does it simply and smoothly. MS takes your music, adds brainwave entrainment features to it, then and spits the tune back out at you through your monitor, headphones or speakers.
Brainwave entrainment may be a mind-numbing phrase, but it’s a pretty simple concept. The brain produces and processes a lot of electricity, in wave-like patterns — thus, “brainwaves” . The frequency of the waves varies according to the person’s activity and state of mind; calm, active, meditative, etc.
The nifty part is that it works in reverse… when exposed to wave-like rhythms, the brain will sync up and fall into step. It matches the new wave frequency, and creates the state associated with it.. ie, relaxed, energetic, and so on. That’s why certain types of dance music and dance-floor lights can put you in a sort of trance. Entrainment is a well proven and researched subject, so and I’ve used entrainment for relaxation, meditation, and treating those gawd awful headaches I’m prone to.
But getting back to the software…
The interface is a media player much like those you’re familiar with. To combine your music collection with brainwave entrainment, you can select a session from a preset list, or build one yourself.
Options include binaural beats, a number of sound filters, pitch modulation, and light stimulation (through your computer monitor or LED glasses). There’s even a way to add files with affirmations and hypnotic suggestion under the music.
Best of all, you don’t have to understand what all of that stuff is, in order to use it. Mind Stereo comes with a reasonable number of presets, including relaxation, sleep induction, and increased energy.
The music visualizations are my favorite part — as you can tell from all the screen captures in this post. I’m a sucker for eye-candy. When the flashes are turned on, the visualizations become an active part of the entrainment process. You can control the color, intensity, and sensitivity of the flashes, which I appreciate as I tend to be a bit photo-sensitive.
As for shortcomings?
There were times when the changes to the sound aren’t as subtle as they could be, especially on vocal tracks. Instrumentals or nature tracks did best – Celtic bagpipe tunes worked great with everything, since bagpipes have a natural warble.
I had some strange distortion effects through the equalizer, and I am not sure if it was me, or the program. I do wish the equalizer had come with the usual preset options – I’m lazy and have never bothered learned how to set an equalizer on my own.
And because it supports DRM, you can’t record the modified sound files or export them to an MP3 player. There may be a way to record the results through a third party program, but I haven’t tried it.
On the positive side…
The program works, work well, and works intuitively. It works fine as a media player, with plenty of bells and whistles including playlists and internet radio. The interface is clean, intuitive, customizable, and Web2.0 pretty. An excellent help file comes with the program, covering the software and the basics of brainwave entrainment. And did I mention I love the visualizations?
I’m impressed by way Transparent Corp presents itself – as a company interested in solid, useful brain-entrainment applications that work together well, rather than the new-age hypefest I’ve become so accustomed to from other companies. Their blog speaks well of them: http://www.mindupdate.com/
So check it out…
Download the Demo (and don’t forget the free visualization pack).
The demo is nearly fully functional, works for a 2 full weeks, and there is a 90 day refund policy. Considering that it’s a fully functional media player as well as a mind-toy, I think it’s worth the 39.95 registration fee.