We took the Musical Vibrations equipment on the road to Scotland recently. We wanted to test out our plans to make vibrotactile feedback an assistive technology option at live events, for music fans who are d/Deaf.
We set up the Musical Vibrations equipment just behind the main front of house (FOH) mixer. If the performance had been performance signed or captioned on a screen, we could have easily set up at the front, near the stage and used audio feeds from the monitor mixer. That way users would have been able to experience vibrotactile feedback and performance signing in the same area.
We took four audio signals from the kick drum, snare drum, bass guitar and guitar from the sound system mixer and connected them into our system and out to four vibrotactile foot shakers. Each shaker presented the audio signal from a different instrument.
We then asked hearing participants to try the system to see how comfortable they were using it, bearing in mind that the equipment is used with bare feet! As you can see, the most comfortable way of using the shakers is from a slightly raised seated position.
To do this we needed to get the following teams on board:
- Sound system hire company and engineer, to provide some audio feeds from the main mixer.
- Bands to agree to us having access to their raw audio feeds and for them to be confident that we were not recording audio for future sale.
- Venue and promoter to give us access and passes as well as space for the kit.
- Someone to tell the audience what was happening at the back of the hall so people would come over to try it out.
We feel that we managed to cover all bases and prove that the concept works from an audio engineering, safety and space point of view. We are very excited about the future for the technology in giving another live music access option for music fans who are deaf.
Music fans who are d/Deaf
We are now ready to invite music fans who are d/Deaf to try the Musical Vibrations kit out at a live music event.
We need to find out:
- How the experience of having four separate vibrotactile sources from different musical instruments enhances the experience of being at a live music event
- Whether using the equipment from a slightly raised position and with bare feet makes users feel self conscious such that it presents a barrier to the use of the equipment and, if so, what we can do about it
- If using the equipment is comfortable to use over the duration of an average live music event
- The best language to use in an instruction manual so that the equipment is easy and safe to use if you’re using it for the first time.
If you’re a music fan who is d/Deaf and you are interested in working with us on this exciting project, please get in touch at MUSVIB
Bands, labels, publishers, festivals, venues, engineers, touring sound hire companies
If you’re interested in working with us on this exciting project, please get in touch at MUSVIB
Thanks to the following people, bands and organisations, without whom this could not have happened!
- Attitude is Everything for retweeting our plea for a live music event to try the technology at.
- Chris and Caroline McCarron from SoundSenseEvents, who put the wheels in motion and ran around like crazy getting people down to try the kit out and telling literally everyone they knew about it!
- All the bands who played at Shuffle Down, including Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5, Dead Man Fall, DopeSickFly, MT Doubt and The Nickajack Men
- Rikki and Laura Toner, venue management at the Dobbie Hall and especially to Rikki, who modelled the system for the photo
- Jim and Alan from Central Audio and to Mick the engineer for being so accommodating with levels. We also used a raised stage block of theirs so we didn’t have to cart ours up to Scotland.
- Pete and Liam from Video Illusions Scotland for playing the video we made with SignKid on the main LED screen.
- Presenter Katie G who came up and tried the system for herself and promoted it to the audience through the night.