SOMA Laboratory Quantum Ocean

Nice - thanks for a more detailed description of your experience.
Loved this " I have vandalized the doors of perception and been satisfied."
I’m looking forward to get dug into mine when it arrives.

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Thanks Needles, I am relieved to know that I won’t be the only Quantum Ocean Liner out here, crashing into chaosbergs on my lonesome.

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I will report back as well. I appreciate all of your experience stories. Mine has been stuck in the mail system since Feb 28th.

I think we all know by now that the QO isn’t really a musical instrument, but this isn’t really music, so we good.

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Nice! Also super interested in hearing the QO alone–no fx, no other instruments. Ten minute piece of the QO alone? We can handle it!

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Hey,

I received my QO a few weeks ago and have been meditating with it and making some notes on the soma forum here.

It’s been a really fun and fascinating journey with it, and really useful for finding some headspace amongst the crazy times we’re currently in. It’s definitely paid for itself already.

I have the Lyra8 and purchased this as a meditative instrument after finding a lot of the gear I use for day job as a sound designer was giving me anxiety. It has been great to have a set of sound making devices that can really help you let go.

I indeed also ripped my QO apart and started to try and figure out and reverse what was going on in there, but the more I research, the weirder and more personal the connections and synchronistic associations.

Last night for example after translating some of the russian pseudoscience papers about torsion fields, it took me to this strange article about a drilling station con, that is literally where my childhood home is and where my parents still live. :confused:

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Here is 10min of straight up QO:


This is the unmodified 24/96 file, recorded with MixPre10 II on battery power, nothing else hooked up. QO volume was full on with 18dB gain on the preamps in line mode. You will hear a couple glitches after 8min. I have heard this in my previous dives with just headphones. I think it must be from some EM interference in my environment. First half is standalone, second half is touching the sensitive pads. I must confess I was tired and not feeling very “tuned in” when recording this. I don’t hear a difference between the halves when listening back.
Screen Shot 2020-03-24 at 11.36.50 PM
As Vlad says in the documentation, you won’t see much on the screen when you analyze the sound. Not sure if this upload will be shrunk beyond recognition, but I do find occasional areas of faint horizontal lines on the spectrogram, here between 2k and 1k, sometimes with “harmonics”. They usually appear to be low spots, which to me is the most interesting thing about this little exercise. Is antisound the trick? Noise sgraffito?

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My Lyra has a center position on the AND OR switch in the LFO. This turns off the LFO but it allows the mod knobs to all feed back into each other when the oscillator pairs are switched to LFO FB CV. No triggering is happening here, just mod feedback and playing with the mod knobs. With the right frequencies and mod amounts, you will get these beats. In other settings it makes interesting chaotic drones which you can hear at points in the video.
Not all Lyras have the center position, but J Bowman says you can get the same effect by setting both LFO knobs to one extreme (forgot which).

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Interesting–I really like the sound of the QO. Lately, I’ve developed a thing about different qualities of noise–both audio and video, including tuning old TV’s to different frequencies. Also didn’t notice any big differences between halves, but I was working and listening–so will try a deep listen. Appreciate you taking the time to post this–thanks!

I didn’t notice nearly as many of the hidden microsounds as before when making or listening to this recording. So far this phenomenon seem to have more to do with my state of mind than what the box is doing. Also it could have something to do with the AD conversion. The MixPre is a superb high resolution recorder (the best I’ve used personally), but even so I felt like something was lost listening to the QO through it.

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I’ve been using it for about a week. I am approaching right now it as a tool, something like a using a mantra or metronome or prayer beads, ignoring the pads and any kind of intellectual analysis. I’ll hold off judgement until I experience or don’t experience shapes and colors and emotions in the noise. Then I’ll look at the other exercises.

So far I am able to make myself sense layers and shapes and patterns in the noise, but it takes a good amount of concentration and is difficult to sustain.

It’s been an interesting experience I definitely want to continue. As with meditation it makes all the difference to be able to quiet one’s mind, you’re not going to get far without that.

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sustained concentration is easier with a relaxed mind. In Buddhist meditation it is called Samatha.

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My Lyra-8 doesn’t have the centre position, but I can get the LFO to lock, as shown here:

I have found I can get fast attacks playing the sensors using hand creme, having the Hold knobs close to their bite point, making sure I get full contact on both sensors etc., but that’s another topic - sorry for the diversion, I am interested in the Quantum Ocean, like all Soma products!

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I’ve been peeking at this thing trying to decide still whether I really like or am extremely put off by it…

I love subtractive synthesis, exploring different noise sources, very slow small subtle changes. Not to attack those who are into it but I find the whole psychic/esoteric thing extremely unappealing. At best to me it is silly marketing hype like “long lost masterpiece by unknown weirdo from Exotic Location”, or maybe mildly amusing like watching Secret Life of Plants.

I’ve done quite a bit of stuff over the years using noise sources basically with nothing but filtering and shaping things very slowly, and when you are tuned in and as the ears fatigue and adjust you can hear some really wonderful rich things. So I do like the idea of opening up people to listening and to listening to wider band noise and texture in a detailed way, and I suppose if you want to consider that as a meditative practice then cool, its a way in. I also see a big appeal in being able to sit there and do that without having to “play” anything, or without having to record it first and it having more potential for variation and interaction (assuming the pads are in fact actually wired into the circuit in a functional way) than your typical white noise machine. I’d love to know more about technically what is going on and would find that far more interesting than pseudoscience, like what type of circuit is the main noise source and from there is there any potential for filtering or accenting frequencies, interference, forms of clipping or distortion, etc. I love the idea of small scale tools for focused or deep listening, and if someone finds some form of meditative or spiritual fulfillment out of that I see that as not being very different from whatever music making you feel good. But the presentation of this at worst makes me hesitant to look at the thing any further because if it isn’t just marketing I don’t like the idea of funding the promotion of pseudoscience like homeopathy or people like Rupert Sheldrake.

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The pads are wired into circuit in a way that can potentially cause audible changes. You can demonstrate this by connecting an out pad to the collar of the power switch via alligator lead. This produces an easily audible change, primarily a drop in level, and the effect is stereophonic depending on which pads are patched. Using the device as intended with ESR on the order of MOhms, any changes are not clearly audible.

Not in any easily audible way at least without outside help. I haven’t tried injecting a signal yet, but it’s been fun as a noise source for downstream processing. If you haven’t, please take a listen to the file I uploaded. That is roughly the extent of modulation you can expect using the box by itself and/or touching it: microscopic if any at all.

I think homeopathy is an interesting comparison, because we know through the scientific process that it doesn’t work the way it’s intended to, however it sometimes does “work” through a mental process that we only somewhat understand: placebo. QO exists in a similar place, the interface between the conscious/unconscious mind and the human body. Listening to QO can definitely put me in a different state of mind, so in that sense, it “works”. If anyone can explain the scientific mechanism by which this happens, I’d love to read their rigorously peer-reviewed paper. I suspect that Vlad can’t, otherwise he’d be up for a Nobel. I have to agree that his What the Bleep Do We Know presumptions about quantum entanglement and consciousness are very off-putting.

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Thanks for the info on the pads. I did check out the recording and the spectrogram, and it is interesting. I feel being able to make something where the changes are JUST noticeable enough if you are actually focused on listening is great, and I’d consider finding that fine of a line a nice accomplishment in and of itself, albeit one that maybe 10 people in the world appreciate haha.

I get what you mean regarding placebo effect, and I can accept that when its being pushed in that direction- meditation assistance, so on. Its walking that kind of fine line that I find so touchy I suppose. For example I don’t want to completely write off that there is nothing we can learn from looking at things like Ayurvedic or Chinese or other forms of traditional medicine. I suppose for better or worse the west’s adoption/adaption of Yoga for physical and mental health being the most prevalent example. But at the same time you get a booming bogus cure industry. I think living in what feel very much like post-truth times where something like Ancient Aliens’ type quackery starts as stoner entertainment and slowly works its way into actually being considered a viable truth for some is disturbing. Given how often these things get tangled together its a slippery slope down to the more dangerous side with anti-vaxxers, things like Pizzagate, qanon BS, so on. I like the idea of buying a personal use instrument, but the pseudoscience feels like either irresponsible marketing to me or like buying orgone crystals off ebay, neither of which I’m down for. Or perhaps I’m taking that way too seriously.

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Seems harmless so far, pending reports of what’s in the Kool Aid at https://somasynths.com/zanzibar/

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Any more field reports on this? While I am not likely to explore the pseudoscience presented, it seems interesting as an immersion / meditation device.

I like this a lot! :raised_hands:

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Me too. I enjoyed the sound file above, I found it best listening at quite a quiet volume. I felt I could hear all kinds of things then! Really tough to quiet my mind. I should learn to do it better, so I’m interested whether this will help or whether any old white noise app might be enough.

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