Bass for Miles Part I

How SubPac Changed His PC Gaming Experience Forever

ManyMilesAway, a.k.a Miles Stratton is a dedicated PC Gamer. He's also the son of Russ Stratton, (VP of Audio/Video Systems at the Los Angeles & Orange County Audio Society) and a dear friend of mine.  Russ is also a diehard audiophile and fellow music addict. Through my OccupyHifi On-The-Road adventures, and more importantly, through their kindness, I landed at the Stratton household while saving for my own place down here in Los Angeles. Miles and I ended up talking about gaming, and it turns out he's a dedicated PC gamer. He expressed interest in purchasing higher quality headphones for his gaming rig. He told me he purchased these "Steel Steries Siberia Elites" and their sound was "fine" - but the "long-term quality wasn't up to standard". He was already planning on getting a better microphone, and ended up with a Blue Microphones Yeti USB recording mic, a swing-arm and pop filter. I was impressed with his decision to go with a quality Blue USB mic for gaming, and the moment I saw a picture of his main rig (he's got another gaming rig at his fathers house) on Facebook I knew he wasn't jokin' around. Miles is serious about squeezing the most out of his gaming experience.

As we were discussing different headphone options and price-points, I realized my SubPacs might add another dimension to the sonic aspects of his gaming. I mean, who doesn't like bass with their explosions right? Also: Miles wouldn't have to compete with his fathers loud stereo reference system during game-time! So, he grabbed the soon-to-be-released M2 backpack and disappeared into Fort Miles for a few tank battles to get a feel for the tactile bass system experience. 

He came back with a smile from ear-to-ear, and his feedback offered far more than I could've ever imagined. He excitement was kinetic, and I was overjoyed to see it, and listen to his insights from the gaming perspective. I was psyched to hear him describe how the M2 not only enhanced the sonics while gaming, but in fact made him a better player. This concept was new to me; as I haven't played video games for years. Plus: The games Miles plays today are so realistic, at times it seems more like he's playing in an interactive movie than a PC gaming environment.

After hearing him describe how his experience changed so drastically because of the introduction of the SubPac M2 (and later, S2 - the SubPac that straps to the back of a chair) I was fascinated. I knew we had to get this into Occupy. Sure, this isn't a gaming site, but listening to Miles talk about how the tactile bass system changed things for him on such a fundamental level, I felt obligated to share his experiences! So, with that said:

Fort Miles - Complete with tricked-out gaming PC, dual-monitors, Blue Microphones' Yeti USB microphone (plus pop filter & swing-arm). He's currently shopping for higher-quality headphones, so he's using my Monster DNA Pro over-ear dynamics in the meantime, with Double Helix Cables Molecule headphone lead. We'll be speaking with Miles soon as he dives into the wonderful world of headphone amp/DACs! 

Hey there! This is Miles! As Mike stated, we started this whole thing after I expressed an interest in buying a new pair of headphones.  Knowing that Mercer had great experience in this field I asked him what I should get.  Well one thing led to another and I eventually found myself sitting in my trusty red chair with what i can only describe as a very comfortable Camelbak strapped to my back.  But as soon as I clicked that battle button (playing War Thunder) the whole experience changed...

The first thing I noticed was the feeling of the engine.  As I scanned the environment for targets I couldn't help but feel the Continental V12 vibrating with excitement as it was ready to go.  Something I had always heard while driving my trusty M60 Patton but something I had never actually FELT.  So I picked a route to a position and gunned the engine.  I arrived at my destination just in time to encounter my Russian counterpart; a T54 Main Battle tank.  This was the first time I ever fired the gun with the subpac and the feeling was unlike anything I had ever felt.  The concussion of the gun was something that I had never been able to feel before.  I could feel the tank's suspension absorb the recoil as it moved back into battery and ready to receive the next dose of freedom in the form of an Armor Piercing round.  My first round penetrated the front of the opponents armor and cooked off his ammunition rack, causing the tank to shoot fire out the commanders hatch like a blow torch, followed by an explosion that blew the turret clean off the vehicle.  The best part about this, I could actually feel all this happening!

The next incident was a demonstration of how I believe that this can help add to ones situational awareness during a game.  Shortly after tasting first blood I went out in search of more commies to deliver the good news to.  I found my next victim in a variety of ways, the first being his rate of fire.   Russian Self Propelled Anti-Aircraft vehicles tend to have a very low rate of fire.  And have a steady thump, thump, thump.   I not only heard his 37mm gun thumping away but I felt the concussive blasts from his gun originating right behind me! I swung the vehicle around just in time to see this guy doing what we call in the tank world as the Circle of Death.  Where a vastly more maneuverable  vehicle drives around a less maneuverable or disabled opponent shooting them in the flanks or the rear where their armor is thinner or nonexistent.  It was only because of the subpacs sensitivity to the distances involved between us that I was able to judge how close he actually was. 

This product is completely new to me as a gamer but I feel that it has great potential to completely transform not only the atmospheric experience, but also your experience as a player!  So I am pleased to announce that I will be demoing the Subpac for as long as SubPac allows me (or, I'll convince my father to buy one for me for Christmas) along with other new gear like a new headphone amp and other accessories.  And with that I will pass this back to Mike to announce the next part of this series:

Can you see why I was so excited to hear Miles describe his gaming experiences with the SubPac S2 and M2? Even if I tried, I couldn't describe what that would be like, as I'm no PC gamer - and why even try, when I've got Miles sitting right next to me? However, this has opened my eyes to far more possibilities and implementations for the SubPac Tactile Bass System - such as car stereo and movie theaters. In addition, the SubPac crew are already working on projects with deaf children! Imagine that - giving a deaf child the opportunity to truly feel music for the very first time. We're living in incredible times for audio. So I wanna toss Miles a question for now, and keep your eyes peeled for Part II! You never know, Miles and I are exploring all sorts of ideas for our upcoming columns (like, perhaps, a podcast, or maybe something even more immersive).  Here goes:

Michael: You were so pumped when you came outta your room following your first experience with the SubPac (utilizing the up-coming M2 backpack). You mentioned to me that "this could be huge"! Where would you say SubPac should aim their gun-sights initially when it comes to the world of gaming?

Miles: The first and foremost thing that comes to mind is intensity.  Gamers need to FEEL their game not just listen to it.  When I say intensity, I mean the way that the SubPac Kidney punches you in the back when a detonation shakes the ground I should experience the concussion you know? I feel it more-so than ever before, as a matter of fact - I didn't feel it before. But I think there's still room for improvement here. However, using a SubPac has completely changed my atmospheric awareness - therefore enabling me to react accordingly in situations where my headphones would've left a gap in my ability to perceive certain distances of sound in relation to my position in the game-space. I would've also said comfort, but I feel that SubPac has absolutely nailed it in that category!

Mihael: Thanks Miles. I'm so excited to explore this new sonic frontier in PC Gaming with you. I'm looking forward to hearing about more tank battles, skirmishes, and perhaps maybe a dogfight or two in the future? Until then: Feeling Is Believing (and I stole that from!