What are Brainwaves?
To understand how sound can be used to deepen the meditative state, it helps to first understand what's happening in the brain during meditation and how it's measured. The human brain fires an incredible array of electrical signals, day and night. And depending on what we are doing and how we are feeling, these electrical signals, or "brainwaves," arrange themselves into certain identifiable patterns.
The Brainwaves of Meditation
For example, when we are sleeping, our brainwaves are longer and slower. And when we are exercising, they are shorter and faster. At any given time, our brainwave patterns are perhaps the best measure of our state of consciousness. And because meditators have been so widely studied over the years, scientists have a generally good idea of what is going on in their powerful brains as they sit and practice.
The Design of Deepereum™
With this in mind, we engineered the program to mirror the natural brainwave patterns of a highly advanced meditator, with alpha waves, theta waves, and delta waves on offer. You can learn more about brainwaves and their basic characteristics from the charts on this page→. Pro Tip: Generally speaking, we recommend either alpha or theta waves for most users. Delta waves are a bit more difficult to entrain, especially for those new to the technology.
We have included options for three track lengths, 10 minutes, 20 minutes, and 30 minutes. It should be noted that, because this is a sound based meditation program, it does take several minutes for the brainwaves to respond to the audio technology (more time for beginners, less for advanced users).
For the majority of users, 5-8 minutes is about the minimum for that to occur. If we had to recommend an "optimal" track length, it would be 20 minutes. Most users find this to be the "sweet spot" on the "time per day -> meditation benefit" curve. If 20 minutes per day is too much for you, then no problem. Many users see great meditative benefits from just 10 minutes per day. Choose the track length that works best for you.
Higher Quality vs Faster Loading
This option determines the basic audio quality of the meditation track. The "higher quality" tracks are encoded at the highest possible MP3 bitrate (320 kbps), while the "faster loading" tracks are encoded at a (still) very good bitrate (192 kbps).
Generally speaking, we recommend always trying the higher quality option first, and if you run into any streaming problems (i.e. interruptions, stopping/starting of the track, etc) then you can switch over to the faster loading option. No need to worry if the faster loading option is the only one that works for you, as the quality is still plenty to see excellent results (and especially popular among mobile users).
PureTone vs Harmonic MultiLayering
This option indicates if the entrainment waveform is built upon one carrier frequency (PureTone), or multiple carrier frequencies (Harmonic MultiLayering). While we won't go into (quite complex) music theory here, you can learn more about how/why this is done by googling "fundamental pitch," "overtones," and "harmonic series." The Harmonic MultiLayering option is built upon "perfect octave" ratios, which as a side note, have been referred to as the "basic miracle of music." The PureTone option is popular among users interested in "experiencing" a particular carrier frequency (i.e. 528 Hz, 417 Hz, 432 Hz, etc.) in its purest form. You are welcome to try both options.
Binaural Beats: What are binaural beats and how do they work? Put simply, when two slightly different tones are introduced, one per ear, after a certain amount of time the brainwaves will mirror the difference between the tones. For example, if a 200 Hz tone is played in your right ear and 190 Hz in your left, after a few minutes your brainwaves will naturally entrain to the difference between these two tones (200 - 190 = 10 Hz). In this case, with 10 Hz being an "alpha" brainwave, assuming successful entrainment has occurred, we could say, with confidence, that the first stage of meditation had been achieved. Known by the scientific community as the "Frequency Following Response (FFR)" effect, this response forms the basis for brainwave entrainment.
Enhanced Binaural Beats: Many binaural beat users find that, assuming that maximum binaural beat integrity is maintained (very important!), a far deeper meditative state can be achieved through certain upgrades to the audio. For this reason, we have included two advanced binaural beat options:
Vertical Modulation: With this feature implemented, the waveform will resemble more of a monaural beat than a binaural beat. However, unlike a monaural beat, the left and right audio channels are delivered to each ear separately (meaning that it's still binaural, of course!). Many users find this extra modification to be especially hypnotic (versus standard binaurals), and therefore, very helpful for deep meditation.
Horizontal Modulation: Instead of a static left/right volume (as with standard binaurals), the horizontal modulation feature rhythmically oscillates the volume from side to side, ear to ear. Assuming maximum left-right binaural beat audio is maintained (as done with our program, this is very important!), many users find this feature to be especially hypnotic and therefore, like vertically modulated binaurals, very helpful for deepening the meditative state.
Whether it's standard or enhanced binaural beats, you are encouraged to find what works best for you!
Monaural Beats: Unlike binaural beats, which work by introducing a slightly different tone to each ear (and later combined by the brain), monaural beats are mixed into one sound (in the open air) and combined by the ears - before reaching the brain. Monaural beats are more discernible (noticeable) than binaural beats, and form the basis for musical cords. You can see the basic difference between the generation of a 10 Hz (alpha wave) monaural beat and binaural beat in the chart below:
Sidenote: Binaural beats played over open air speakers automatically become monaural beats!
Isochronic Tones: In simplest terms, an isochronic tone is a pulse of sound turned on and off quickly and evenly. Compared to monaural beats (which have a more smooth and flowing sound quality to them), isochronic tones have a much sharper and steeper sound quality to them. Because of their extra intensity (as compared to other entrainment methods), most people prefer to listen to isochronic tones at a lower volume. For those who wish to jump right into isochronic tones, generally speaking, we recommend using monaural beats before working your way into this stronger entrainment method. This is doubly true if you are new to this technology.
Headphone Note: Because they both work to a certain degree without headphones, isochronics and monaurals offer a bit more flexibility than binaural beats.
The first chart below illustrates the basic waveform of a monaural beat and isochronic tone at a 10 Hz frequency (alpha brainwave), respectively. The second chart illustrates the basic delivery of binaural beats vs monaural beats.
Combo: For achieving maximum meditation depth (through this sound technology), some have theorized that a multitiered, multipronged entrainment approach to be the best approach. The "Combo" option was created with this idea in mind. Instead of just one type of brainwave entrainment mode controlling all carrier frequencies at once (as with the other options on the interface), this feature allows each carrier frequency to have its own respective entrainment method (whether binaural beats, monaural beats, or isochronic tones). The distinct and pleasing quality of the combo method's sound makes it a natural fan favorite.
Note: The "Combo" feature is only available when the "Harmonic MultiLayering" option is enabled (and disabled when "PureTone" is selected).
What are Cymatics?
Perhaps you've seen one of the recent viral youtube videos demonstrating the power of "cymatics." In case you haven't, a sand covered metal plate and soundboard are the lone ingredients in this simple yet impressive experiment. And as the experimenter adjusts the frequency (measured in Hz) to certain levels on the audio spectrum, in response, the vibrating sand would "magically" arrange itself into near perfect geometric patterns. It was the incredible uniqueness and beauty of the "snowflake-like" or "crystalline" patterns (at their respective Hz frequency) that made the experiment so compelling.
Sound & Consciousness
While the experiment possibly raises more questions than it answers, it does provide some powerfully illustrative evidence to the idea that all sound is (NOT!) created equal. And that, just perhaps, certain sounds vibrated at certain frequencies can indeed impact consciousness in certain ways. With that in mind, for the purpose of building a sound based meditation program, we have chosen frequencies that are most popular among the meditation community, frequencies built upon the most solid mathematical foundation, frequencies that are most resonant / congruent with their respective soundscape, and frequencies with the most compelling scientific and anecdotal evidence.
Which Carriers are in Deepereum™?
Disclaimer: While our program does include some of the most popular frequencies, including the Solfeggio tones (including the popular 528 Hz tone), and much of the 432 Hz / 444 Hz scale, we make NO claims as to what these sounds can or can't do (like many on the web like to do). This field of research, that is, how certain sound(s) vibrated at certain frequencies can impact human consciousness in certain (perhaps very positive) ways - is largely new, and therefore, largely unexplored by science.
Having a variety of carrier frequencies (and entrainment techniques) to choose from has an added benefit, immunity to "habituation." If you find that your meditation routine has gotten stagnant, simply switch to another carrier profile (Hz). When it comes to breaking through meditative plateaus, variety is often the key.
As to the design of our program, the initial release includes a spectrum of 30 carrier frequency profiles, with 3-5 options per soundscape. Generally speaking, we recommend simply choosing carrier profiles that sound the most pleasing to you.
Tones Loud or Soft?
This is the "Soundscape" to "Entrainment Tone" volume ratio (not the overall volume ratio). With this setting, you can choose the loudness (or quietness) of the meditation tones with respect to the foreground soundscape volume. Note: Many users new to the technology will "crank up" the tone volume so that they can focus their full attention on the sound. This can be counterproductive to the goal of entering a meditative state.
Generally speaking, the ideal setting for the tones is what's best described as a "background" volume, with the attention firmly focused on general mindfulness meditation principles (sensations of the body, the ebb and flow of thought, the inward and outward flow of the breath, etc). While the sound is designed to deepen the meditative state, perhaps the best tip we can offer happens to be a bit of a paradox: the LESS you focus on the sound and expect it to "do something" - the MORE the sound will work and the deeper your state of meditation. Indeed, when it comes to attention on the entrainment tones, less is more. The audio technology certainly does not need to be loud to be effective.