A mastering engineer from Spain has invented a system that can crank up the volume without annoying the neighbours.

Masn’live is a processor that inserts into any sound system, enabling DJs to play loud music at a lower decibel level. The technology is “as much about the physical soundwave as it is about how the brain interprets the same soundwave. It’s pure psychoacoustics,” inventor Xergio Córdoba told Vice.

“It’s like when you listen to an mp3 through headphones and there’s a drum or a bass, but the headphones are too small to reproduce it correctly. This is instead done by evolutionary compensation. It’s something that we use a lot in mastering and have applied to our system in order to accomplish what we were after,” he added.

Córdoba said his team knew the system could work when they achieved bass frequencies that appeared more powerful than they actually were. “We were able to double the loudness, while still maintaining the same dBA, as well as improving audio quality and impact.”

Masn’live could be big news for clubs that face regular noise complaints from residents. Last year a campaign was launched to try and protect venues from being shut down by killjoy neighbours.

The system could also be useful for hearing protection, thinks Córdoba. “It doesn’t prevent ear damage but what it does is it helps your brain perceive music as if it’s louder than it actually is and, in that way, it minimises exposure to damaging frequencies.”

The system has already been tested by several big name DJs, including Ellen Allien and Joris Voorn who tried it at Sonar, Jamie Jones at Teatro Arteria in Barcelona, and Lee Foss at the Egg Club in London.



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