June 22, 2018 / 3:26 AM

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New Sound Processor Doubles Bass of EDM, Other Genres Without Raising Decibels; What It Means for Genre


Many of the problems that EDM music faces, at least from an instrumental perspective, might be fixed by Masn'live, a new sound processor developed by Spanish engineer Xergio Córdoba. The device takes bass and other sound waves and leads the listener to perceive them as much louder than they truly are.

"[It's] as much about the physical soundwave as it is about how the brain interprets the same soundwave. It's pure psychoacoustics," Córdoba explained to Vice. "It's something that we use a lot in mastering and have applied to our system in order to accomplish what we were after."

According to reports, Masn'live was able to nearly double bass frequencies of music without altering the number of decibels it produced. In short, listeners perceived the music for being louder while it actually remained at the same volume.

In the short run, this could be great for audiophiles, who want to listen to loud music without damaging the quality of the music (the basis for the "volume wars" and for most everyone who hates Rick Rubin).

The implications could be much more important for Skrillex than just helping him produce cleaner recordings however. The uses of Masn'live could help improve two of the major complaints tied to EDM more than other genres. One, music that in actuality produces lower decibels while not affecting the actual "loudness" of a performance could mean that clubs and venues may receive less noise complaints as a result of EDM shows. Red Rocks in Denver is among many that have come up with new policies due to the long-range effects of high bass levels.

The second, and theoretical at this point, benefit is that the technology can be used to develop music and speakers less damaging to the human ear. If you've been to a show of any kind, you know that if you don't use ear buds, your hearing may suffer for the next day or so, and possibly forever if subjected to constant abuse. Córdoba told Vice he believes his development could help prevent hearing loss if applied at more concert venues in the future.

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