With only standard white earbuds in, listening to music from my phone, my body is still rumbling like it would standing at crowded concert venue. The bass, or low end, isn’t just audible it’s pulsing through my bones. Each bass drum kick is making a bigger difference than it ever did before because the music is flowing through Woojer.
Plugging headphones into the small rectangular hardware and then a cable into an audio source filters the low frequencies to rumble your body the way a 10-foot speaker might. As crazy as it might seem, it does work. The question Woojer begs, however, is whether all of its requirements are worth the results it produces.
Conceived as a Kickstarter project, Woojer managed to pass its $100k funding goal, implying a certain demand of curiosity. What’s it like to walk around listening to music as if you were at a concert and actually feeling the music? It’s an interesting proposition.
Woojer, itself, is silent. That means that once you’ve connected it in-between an audio input and output, you shouldn’t hear it. You will definitely see it though. The first hurdle the device faces is that it’s cumbersome. Even standard wired earbuds and headphones are becoming a hassle in the age of expanding wireless Bluetooth connections. Let alone wearing more plugged in cables.
If you keep your phone in your pocket, for instance, you’ll have one cable protruding there, connected to the Woojer which might be on your hip or in the middle of your chest; and then a cable from there to your ears. The tangled implementation is a sight in your private home, but it might be awkward enough to keep you from using it out in public.
Despite how it looks, it does work. It’s polyphonic transducer converts audible noise into tactile inaudible vibrations and sends the rumbling through your body. The interesting thing about Woojer is that its vibrations on your hip or chest trick your ears into thinking the sound is louder than it is—possibly better sounding as well.
With the Woojer in the perfect placement on my hip, and the app turned up, the vibrations in unison with the music was an amazing experience, if not completely addicting. It has the potential to change how people listen to music. When I wasn’t using it, I found myself thinking more than once, I wonder how this song would sound (or feel) using Woojer. Unfortunately it’s specific placement needs and other demanding requirements ultimately keep Woojer as more of a novelty for dedicated enthusiasts rather than a mainstream music device.
The very first time I tried Woojer I had it magnetically attached to the front of my shirt. Touching it I could tell it was on and working, but I didn’t really feel any impact. Reading through the manual, Woojer can be placed anywhere, but the spots the company suggests are on the hip, the lower spine, and the sternum. None of the spots really provided the kind of rumbling I was looking for until I listened through Woojer’s app. Even then, it was only on my hip that it seemed to work well. Otherwise it felt like it just wasn’t hitting right and all the vibrations were being lost.
There’s definitely an element to Woojer that will depend on the individual user which makes it hard to gauge its overall usefulness. It did work for me, but to get the most impact, I had to be standing with it on my hip in just the right spot.
Woojer is a piece of hardware which only needs to be charged in order to work. There’s no algorithm powering the unit or anything like that, but it does have an accompanying app that can be used if you want.
After not having much success the very first time using Woojer and reading the manual, I discovered it had an app. I downloaded it, picked a song, turned up the rumble level, and my eyes began to open wide. Boosting the low end with the app was like night and day. Suddenly I understood why someone might want this experience.
The app is nicely designed and works well, but it has a huge limiting factor. It can only play back local music on your device. This may not be a huge issue unless, like me, you stream most of your music from Spotify, Rdio, or Beats—if so, the Woojer app becomes less useful. This isn’t a fault of the Woojer app, just a result of how iOS works.
It’s a free app that only adds to the experience, so if it you don’t end up using it, it only adds to the hardware experience.
After feeling the rumbling Woojer provided on the first song I was hooked. The added feeling makes the music come alive, just like a live concert can do. It’s instantly addictive, however, there are just a few too many obstacles to make it a no-brainer buy.
Assuming you can get good placement of the device on your person, you’ll have to come to grips with wearing it out in public—there might also be considerable time spent trying to conceal cables.
A cool concept, with a cool experience, which is just waiting for more technology to make it a bit less conspicuous.