Musicians regard live performance as the most authentic way for listeners to connect with their music. Yet, the vast majority of listeners experience their music through digital recording. Though modern digital media can accurately reproduce the sonic properties of a performance, the physical sensation of the sound is often lost. In 2016, Berlin-based Lofelt sought to remedy this with the Basslet – a small wrist-mounted, silent subwoofer that “delivers bass straight to your body, offering a powerful music experience anywhere you go.” We can hear a fairly wide range of sound pitches with our ears, but we can also feel a range of lower-pitched sound as vibrations through our skin. It’s these low-end, bass sounds pumped by concert speakers that physically connect us to the music we listen to live. It’s these same vibrations that the Basslet reproduces in order to recreate that physical, tactile sensation of the music.
While the first dynamic speakers were created back in 1925, headphones and speakers have continued to evolve in design and technology since they became more mainstream in the late 30s. Much like how headphones allowed for portable, personal stereo sound, Lofelt is the first to present a subwoofer in a wearable, casual form factor.
Looking ahead as more of our mechanical devices are replaced with digital solutions, Lofelt sees that the human desire for tactile feedback – being able to feel the flick of a switch – will persist. They present a future in which our physical connection with our devices and media won’t disappear with ever-increasing digitization.