The SubPac by Studiofeed is advertised as “tactile audio device that quietly and directly transfers low frequencies to your body, allowing you to feel music”. The device needs to be in contact with your body and then transfers the low frequencies to the body in a dynamic and accurate tactile representation of the sound while the original signal is maintained to your headphones or external speaker system. It doesn’t separate the audio’s frequencies into lows versus mids/highs like a traditional sub-woofer crossover does and it doesn’t use bass enhancement effects.
History And Models
The Kickstarter campaign ended as early as 2013 and was over-successful with >100,000$ collected. The first prototypes were made by hand, which was of course, pretty expensive – hence they started the crowd funding to bring the production to another level and be able to deliver the SubPac to the whole world. It’s manufactured in the USA and Canada.
The first model was called S1 and released in 2013, followed by the M1 that was released also in 2013. The S2 was released in November 2014 and the M2 finally in March 2016.
The “S” models are used to mount on your studio seat while the “M” models indicate that they are “mobile”, i.e. wearables for the urban jungle or while on stage.
Specs And Promises
The SubPac claims to connect you to music in an innovative way that makes you feel the music instead of hearing it. Since it’s quiet, you can have a club-like experience of the bass without disturbing anyone. The SubPac sports a frequency response of 5 Hz -130 Hz, which should make any bass lover happy. It is made in the USA and Canada and ships with the right plug for your respective country; the weight is around 2 kg (depending on the model). Use it with any Line-In and headphones or speaker setup. The intensity is adjustable.
If you still can’t imagine how this experience could be, an interesting analogy is that it’s like “headphones for your body”. Music listeners will love the massive bass experience that is not upsetting your neighbors. And as you probably know, a lot of producers work at night (having constantly issues with people living around them) – they will now get a better picture of what they’re doing although the volume is turned down and soft.
The S2 uses new materials and a slightly changed design for an enhanced vibratory field and maximum contact. The control box is slimmer now, the control cable is more flexible and the strapping has been reworked. The battery is said to run for up to 8 hours and the Bluetooth 4.0 input comes with A2DP streaming.
Real World Reviews
Since the device is out already in its second version, there are a lot of real world reviews out there. As an example, let me direct you to the friends of digitaldjtips.com (“All it took was to turn the bass way down after a few minutes of listening, though, to realise that this thing is an awful lot of fun. I immediately turned it back up again and found myself strutting around the studio really enjoying the music in a way I’d never experienced with only headphones on before.”), and this review found on reddit.com (“Honestly, it’s like experiencing music for the first time. It directly affects the way you listen to music. A fellow redditor once described it as “having a giant ear strapped to your back”, it’s almost exactly like that. It’s as if I’m hearing and feeling another dimension of sound.”) – the Amazon reviews also speak for themselves. Of course, there are already YouTube videos about calibrating the SubPac or setting it up with Ableton.
Yes, we need to talk about it. We could not find a M2 below 399 Euro and an S2 below 365 Euro. That’s. A. Lot. Of. Money. And since it’s kind of a new idea and everybody seems to be happy with their device, you barely will find one on selling platforms. So I would assume the customer base recruits from professionals at the moment – or the type of crazy tech lovers like us. Actually, we’re saving money for it right now! 🙂
To be honest – I wasn’t impressed by the idea of strapping a “vibration thing” on my body. But it seems that all real world reviews share the same feeling that this thing is dead cool. Ok, I’m curious now and hope I will one day have the chance to try this thing out!