You are getting sleepy
March 20, 2004 5:53 AM   Subscribe

SBaGen is software (Windows, Mac and Linux) that generates binaural beats - interactions between sound waves that mess with your brain, to induce sleep, relaxation, activity, and allegedly even hallucinogenic states. SBaGen relies on text-file presets (although it comes with dozens of files to experiment with) but if you want a "quick start", there's also the Windows-based Brain Wave Generator.
posted by Jimbob (15 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

I've been waiting and waiting for something like this. I'm so pleased that there is a MacOSX version as well.

I've got to watch the kids now, but I'll try to report back with my findings later on.
posted by n9 at 6:15 AM on March 20, 2004

I haven't tried programs these yet, but I've been using the same approach with a feature that's bundled in Cool Edit 95 (a wav file editor) for a couple of years now, and I get really great results from it, very similar to that in-between place where you're dreaming but self-aware.
I'm not susceptible to hypnotism or the other consciousness manipulation things I've tried, so I didn't really expect much from it, figuring it to be a placebo effect situation. I was plesantly surprised at how intense the effect can be.
posted by dong_resin at 7:18 AM on March 20, 2004

I've used brainwave generator to fall asleep to, and I must say that the results were pretty good. I usually toss and turn for about and hour before each night before dozing off, but while using this on my laptop with a pair of headphones I was able to fall off after about 20 minutes. The concentration ones are pretty good too.

Unfortuantley the Feraliminal Lycanthropizer doesn't work properly because the programs don't actually produce subauditory tones but rather use two out of phase tones to trick the brain. One of these days I will invest in some hefty subcabinet speakers and subs and my plan to take over the world will be complete.

Muah ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Dong_resin, I would have to say that it's definately not the placebo effect. The research on brain wave effects is pretty straightforward, it's known that resonance freqencies can affect the brain, mood and body tissues, so far as even rupturing the cell walls of living things.

There was an article I read some time ago (unfortunatley I wasn't able to Google it) about a factory near a residentail neighborhood that was creating subauditory noise. The people in the area started developing headaches and other emotional ailments until someone discovered the noise and its' source.

The programs are cool, but I can't wait to put together a stereo PA that does the real thing.

More stuff I found about ELF (extremely low frequencies) here and resonance effects here.
posted by daHIFI at 8:41 AM on March 20, 2004

Glad someone finally decided this was FPP worthy :) - i have been studying the effects of ELFs and incorporate them into the design of my songs, along with some other psychoacoustic phenomena [i record music as my user name]. There is definitely something to this, and i think it'll be a long time until we really figure out just why certain frequencies resonate more than others. The first article i remember being really blown away by discussed 'schumann resonances' (not the actual article, but sums up what i'm too lazy to type myself)... basically these frequencies are what the entire planet has been observed to resonate at. The BWGen program includes a schumann resonance setting, but i've had better luck programming my own, as it seems much simplified in this program. All a bit Titor-esqe, i know. Big ups for tossing the Feraliminal Lycanthropizer in the thread too - as it definitely shows the extent of which this was believed to really work... whether there really was any basis to the claims that it really caused people to go into orgiastic fits of rage or sexual mania are really still up for debate, in my mind. Maybe those uptight people in the past were just waiting for an excuse to go crazy?

Binaural beats are also used visually [sometimes in conjunction with audio], in those weird sets of glasses that oscillate at different frequencies in products like this... i've only used the 'Proteus' briefly, but it seemed that the audio did just as much as the visual+audio combination did.

daHIFI: I think the phenomenon you're describing is widely known as the "Taos Hum". There are plenty of results when googling it, too. There was a segment on it on the SCIFI Channel's 'Sightings' that summed it up well, with interviews of those that had to move away because it affected them so adversely. Interesting stuff, in any case.
posted by phylum sinter at 9:18 AM on March 20, 2004

How much of this "effect" is placebo? Has anyone done double-blind tests with non-binaural controls?
posted by meehawl at 9:28 AM on March 20, 2004

shouldn't that be double-deaf testing?
posted by knutmo at 3:34 PM on March 20, 2004

I just did SBaGen's "Focus 15" setting - the programmer claims it makes "2 hours feel like 3 minutes" and that's not too great an exaggeration. I lay down and had it playing for what felt like 15 minutes, and when I got up it was an hour later! Left me feeling quite relaxed.
posted by Jimbob at 4:10 PM on March 20, 2004

A lot of these programs have presets imitating the CDs and such sold by for example Monroe Institute (Hemi-Sync®&tm;©). Yet another reason not to buy said CDs :P "Focus" levels are the Monroe Institute's "levels on the astral plane" that you can travel to out of body (OBEs are really hypnagogic [half-asleep] hallucinations, which binaural beats can of course help stimulate)
posted by abcde at 6:03 PM on March 20, 2004

Thanks a lot, by the way. As a mind explorer (with only minor interest in drugs and none in spirituality - an unusual case) this is just my kind of thing (BWGen seems kind of weak in comparison)
posted by abcde at 6:09 PM on March 20, 2004

There was—wait, still is!—an old DOS program called Mind Synch that does the same thing. I can remember downloading it from a local BBS to try out the SoundBlaster my dad had just bought for the 386. I had probably read some article in OMNI about biofeedback, because I was pretty psyched that I'd soon join the Zen masters in thrilling Theta-wave concentration. And if the Theta waves improved my ESP and intuition, as the documentation suggested, well that'd be even cooler.

It took about five hours to generate a 10-minute .VOC file. I listened to it the next day after school, half expecting that I'd wind up tripping my balls off. The end result sounded like somebody tuning a shortwave radio. It had just about the same effect on my ESP abilities, too.
posted by eatitlive at 7:55 PM on March 20, 2004

I gotta say, I can definitely feel something unusual happening in my brain when one of these sounds starts.
posted by kindall at 3:13 AM on March 21, 2004

As some of the text points out, kindall, when you first start a sound it's not going to be "in sync" with your brain. If you play a "6hz" deep sleep sound when you're wide awake, your brain has to slow down to adjust to it. I found it particularly jarring the other way around - playing some of the more "active" sounds when I'm tired sounds very weird and disturbing for the first few minutes while my head gets in sync with it - after that, it sounds quite nice.
posted by Jimbob at 3:24 AM on March 21, 2004

This is the sort of thing I'd love to experiment with by making my own (alpha->theta is what I want) but I don't know the theory and don't get how the numbers used by the program relate to the Hz of the tones, let alone how those Hz relate to that of my brain.
posted by abcde at 6:46 PM on March 21, 2004

Jimbob: 6hz is theta, drowsy/dozing, no? Not deep.
posted by abcde at 6:54 PM on March 21, 2004

Scratch that comment about not understanding, btw. The notation was simpler than I was taking for granted.
posted by abcde at 7:45 PM on March 21, 2004

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