Musicians have been using metronomes for millennia to keep them on beat. From early pendulums to the click tracks used in audio recording, they’ve helped everyone from beginning piano players to orchestras to metal bands play at a consistent tempo.
The metronome recently got another upgrade that brings it squarely into the 21st century. The Soundbrenner Pulse is a smart, wearable metronome that connects to your smartphone and offers a new way to stay on rhythm.
What It Does
An audible click can take away from hearing the music and could get lost in the mix if music’s played at a high volume. Wearing headphones that play a consistent click could also make it difficult to hear exactly what you’re playing. One solution is to use a visual such as a light that flashes on beat, but this too could be distracting and look unprofessional during a performance.
Soundbrenner’s answer to this problem was to use vibrations to keep the beat. The pulsations are similar to those a smartphone produces, but are seven times stronger, so musicians can still feel them even over the vibrations loud music creates.
So you can feel the vibrations while you’re playing, just strap the device to your wrist, ankle, chest or wherever’s most comfortable for you.
The device also has a light that flashes in rhythm. You can change the color of this light, or turn it off entirely. You also have the option of turning on a sound. You can choose between woodblock, shaker, digital and cowbell, or opt to go without audio.
How It Works
The Soundbrenner Pulse connects to your smartphone, which you can use to control the metronome through the companion app. From the app, you can adjust beats per minute (BPM), time signature and subdivisions, as well as customize the vibrations to make them either stronger or subtler.
You can also save your rhythms for songs and even create entire setlists, so you can quickly switch between tracks during live performances.
If multiple members of your band or other musical ensemble have a Pulse, you can synchronize the devices via Bluetooth, so everyone stays on the same page. It’s easy to see how this could help groups of musicians play tighter and more in sync with each other.
If you want to quickly adjust your settings mid-performance, you can also control them via the device itself. Tap your fingers on the screen in rhythm to set a tempo, and then twist the knob on the outside of it to adjust the BPM up or down. You can also use the twist function to switch between songs.
You can also use your phone to set a rhythm. Shaking it will start a standard beat of 120 BPM in 4/4 time. You can also use the smartphone app as a metronome and have it play a sound or flash a color to the beat.
While Soundbrenner offers plenty of easy-to-use options for adjusting BPM and other settings, you can’t set it to change between rhythms automatically during a song. So, if you have a song with tempo or rhythmic changes, you’ll have to manually adjust the device or forgo using it for that tune.
You can order the Soundbrenner Pulse from the company’s website for $99. They ship worldwide, as well as offer a 30-day guarantee and a one-year warranty. You can download the app for free on iOS and Android, even if you don’t have a Soundbrenner metronome.
If you’re a drummer, you may want to invest $30 in the company’s body strap. It’s longer than the standard strap, which allows you to wear it anywhere. Some drummers have trouble wearing the metronome on their wrists or ankles, and prefer somewhere like the chest or shoulder where the vibrations are more pronounced.
Metronomes, a staple tool for musicians, got some serious upgrades with the Soundbrenner Pulse. The metronome is now more high-tech than ever and adds vibration to the rhythm-keeping methods of sound and visuals.
Image via Soundbrenner