Playing on time is very important for musicians. It is a basic knowledge that the tempo must not change. Musicians around the world are using metronome as a guide for playing in time. These are audible sounds or should I say “clicks” that they hear as a guide.
However, one cool idea of a company called Soundbrenner is to use a vibration instead of a sound to help musicians play in time. As a musician, I found this interesting and amazing. Feeling a vibration instead of hearing a sound, which is harder because of the volume of the instruments when playing, is much easier to play with.
The Soundbrenner Pulse is the revolutionary device they have designed to provide timekeeping using vibration. But is it really that good? Is this device worth of your time? Let’s find out.
Disclaimer: I am not paid to endorsed Soundbrenner. All of the statements below are my honest review and opinion
My Rating: 4.2 out of 5
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Key features of Soundbrenner Pulse:
- LED flashes in sync with the vibration
- Different duration and strength of the vibration
- Different straps (Long and short) for wearing anywhere in the body
- USB Charging
- Tap Tempo
- Can sync 5 Pulses in one smartphone
- Can be controlled in an app (Android and IOS)
- DAW support via MIDI (Mac only)
- Program your own rhythms
- Connect via Bluetooth
- 6 hours battery life
- Synchronizing 5 Pulse in one smartphone is useful for a band
- Creating your own rhythms for unusual time signature
- Vibration and Light as a guide for timekeeping
- App can be used even without the Pulse, Pulse can also be used without the app
- No BPM indicator in the face of Pulse
- Getting used to the vibrations may take a while
What’s in the box
The Soundbrenner Pulse has beautiful packaging. It is done professionally and you can see that this is properly sealed just like the iPhone. It comes with the Pulse itself, a charging dock, USB charger, User Manual, two straps (long and short) and a Soundbrenner Guitar Pick.
Turning on and off the Pulse
Of course, after unboxing the Pulse, you might want to try it right away. To turn it on:
- Rotate the ring in the device by 1/4 in either direction. The logo in the middle will blink
- Put your two fingers, not just the fingertips, for two seconds. The logo in the middle will glow white and you might be shocked for the first time because you’ll feel a strong and long vibration
- It’s on and ready to go.
- Tap two times to Play/Pause
- Twisting the rings clockwise will increase the BPM, while twisting counter clockwise will decrease the BPM
Turning it off is the same procedure. Turning it on after unboxing may also not work for some because some Pulse has no charge, so in case your Pulse is not turning on, it may be because it has no charge.
Vibration vs Sound
The traditional metronome uses sound to guide musicians in time. The Soundbrenner Pulse is using vibration as a guide. In my opinion, feeling the vibration of the beat is a better way to stay in time rather than hearing it. I’m also not a fan of in-ear monitors with click tracks because the clicks are hurting my ears when used for a long time.
However, getting used to vibrations take time because it is different that I’m used to. Some people spent days or hours just to get used to it. There are also some who gave up and said that this device is not really useful. But it will be up to your preference. I believe that if you give time to it, you’ll get used to the vibrations.
Using Pulse without the app
Some people doesn’t want to use their smartphone when using metronome because it takes time to change time in it. The Soundbrenner Pulse works fine without the app so you shouldn’t worry about it.
Changing time is easy. Twisting the rings of the Pulse can either increase or decrease its time. One thing I don’t like is that there is no BPM indicator in the device itself. I hope Soundbrenner will fix that in their next updates.
Tap Tempo is also integrated in the device. Just tap 3 times on the face and it will track the speed of what you just tapped in.
Where to wear it?
Anywhere. Yes, it depends on where you are comfortable. The straps included are designed for wrist (short), biceps and thighs (long). However, the three recommended positions are not good enough for drummers because their arms and limbs are always moving and you might not feel the vibration.
Fortunately, Soundbrenner provided a solution by introducing a body strap. Many drummers find this position way better than any other position because their body is not moving during play time. It is not included in the box so you will shell out some bucks in order to have it.
I would also want to tell you that the straps are sweat-proof. It will not smell even if you play for a long time.
Battery is designed to last for 6 hours. So you won’t need to worry about it even if your practice or gigs took a longer time than what you expected. However it will take at least 2.5 hours to charge it
The Metronome App
The Metronome by Soundbrenner is the name of the app that used to connect the Pulse to the smartphone. It is free and easy to use and both available in Android and IOS.
The app is self-explanatory. Playing the metronome is easy just like the other free apps out there. However, this app is designed to control the Pulse so there are some features that you might want to see.
One thing I like is that you can CHANGE THE STRENGTH AND DURATION OF THE VIBRATION. This is really useful for me because when playing fast, I would like to feel a short but punchy vibration rather than the long one. And when playing a slow tempo, a long and subtle vibration really helps me a lot. It is controlled in the app itself.
You can also change the color of the lights depending to your preference. But if you are distracted by this, you can also turn it off in the app.
If you are also worried that you might change the BPM when you are playing, you can lock the tempo from the app. Even twisting the rings or tapping the face of the Pulse, nothing will happen.
Synchronizing 5 Pulses in one Device
This is another feature that I really like in Pulse. When in a band, you don’t need to have different smartphones controlling the Pulse and having the same starting time might be hard to do. But when everything is controlled in one device, every Pulse used by the musician will play simultaneously making sure that you all have the same BPM.
Programming your rhythms is easy
There are certain songs that have unusual beat and time signatures. The Metronome app is capable of programming your own rhythms so that you can play that odd groove and still play in time. You will not worry anymore in keeping time because every time signature can be created in this app.
This is also compatible with DAW particularly in Ableton Live and some other DAW via MIDI. Here is a guide on how to connect your Pulse to DAW.
Should you buy it?
Yes! It doesn’t hurt to try it for practice, especially if you haven’t try playing with metronome. Playing in time is one of the most important, but neglected, skill in music so having a vibration, instead of sound, as a guide for timekeeping, this is one of the best device you can use.
You don’t have to worry anymore in dealing with clicks in your ears if you don’t like it, which is sometimes, you can’t hear it anymore because of the volume of other instruments. While this device can still help you even if the volume in the area is too loud.
This is one of the many things you need in your music career. If you are a guitar player, then I also have a list of other guitar accessories that you might not have right now but definitely needed in your career. I recommend that you check it out later.
My Final Thoughts
Timekeeping using vibration is a cool idea by Soundbrenner. Getting used to it may take a while because we are all inclined in audible cues for timekeeping. I love this device and it will surely help you too, to play in time. And if you haven’t played with metronome yet, this is a sure way to learn how to play in time.
If you have some questions regarding this, please leave a comment.
The Soundbrenner Pulse Wearable Metronome Review
Playing on time is very important for musicians. It is a basic knowledge that the tempo must not change. Musicians around the world are using metronome as