Even freeform jazz musicians need to keep time. You could opt for a stomp-based rhythm machine like the excellent BeatBuddy to help keep your playing tight when no-one else is around, or even go old school and plump for the click-click of a metronome. Soundbrenner has updated the latter with the Core, a wristwatch-like wearable that vibrates to mark time.
Germany's Soundbrenner already has some pedigree in the vibrating metronome space, thanks to 2015's successfully crowdfunded Pulse. The next generation of that smartwatch-like device is the Core, which the company is also crowdfunding – this time on Kickstarter.
"Today's music tools are so bad, that we don't use them as often as we should, ultimately making us worse musicians," said Soundbrenner's Florian Simmendinger. "Instead of using nothing or compromising with basic apps, you can now have the best professional tools always with you at the convenience of your wrist. Any place, any time. It's the first device that actually gets out of the way, instead of in the way between you and your music."
The Core is a 4-in-1 wearable comprising a vibrating metronome, a magnetic twist tuner, a decibel meter and an everyday timepiece.
The main advantage of a metronome that vibrates rather than clicks is that it can be used in a noisy room. The function can be used on its own or in sync with up to 10 other Core devices, perhaps worn by other members of the band or ensemble. The dual mineral glass-covered OLED display is topped by a capacitive touch sensor for on-device setup of tap tempo, time signatures, subdivisions and accents.
The Core twists off from its base and can be magnetically attached to stringed instruments like a guitar, bass, uke or violin – on a metal tuning peg housing perhaps. It has a built-in piezo contact microphone that picks up vibrations rather that sounds so, again, musicians can use it in noisy environments. The outer eight section LED ring indicates pitch by changes in color.
Unless you want to end up like Pete Townshend, you need to be aware of how much noise is flowing down your ear canal so you can respond appropriately. The Core means that your decibel meter is always to hand.
And finally, the Core can also serve as a basic smartwatch, with push and call notifications from a paired smartphone available as well as the current time and date. As with the Pulse, the Core can be paired with an iOS/Android app over Bluetooth 5.0, which offers musicians the opportunity to create custom setlists and tap into advanced customizations.
The Core comes wrapped in a polycarbonate/aluminum or stainless steel body, IP66-resistant to water and dust ingres. The straps are interchangeable, and battery life is given as up to three days if used for 30 minutes per day.
Soundbrenner has launched the Core project on Kickstarter today, and it has already zoomed past its campaign target with 44 days remaining on the clock. Pledges start at US$139 and, if all goes to plan, shipping is expected to start in March 2019. The video below has more.
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