* Please note author's name is not Frank, it's a turn of phrase.
An Introduction to OmHarmonics and Mindvalley
OmHarmonics is a division of new-age group Mindvalley, originally from America and now based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. They purport themselves to be the revolutionary future of meditation, and have seen a niche for developing new technologies and teachings to facilitate beneficial mind states and lifestyles.
Their central claim is one of empowerment through education, in order to – as the central slogan of Mindvalley dictates – “Be Extraordinary.” They build app companies such as Omvana (which facilitates audio aids for meditation) and Elula (for self-development education), and health and fitness platforms like Zenward (for yoga). In doing this, they attempt to flex their central agenda of global education transformation from infancy to adult levels.
These versatile educational practitioners are promoting a new wave of audio aids for the practice of meditation. An important part of their range of tools is in engineering sounds touted to grant higher focus and concentration, expand creativity, increase problem-solving capabilities, assist in pain control, eliminate limitations and enhance your learning capacity.
Obviously these claims are pretty lofty and it's easy to be critical of such things. So let's get (constructively) critical and check out the product. For the purpose of this review, let's remember that the central facility of such operations have triggered and brought out the best in people who focus on positive results. Any personal criticism that I may have and that you may read is in order to deliver a multi-faceted review.
Beforehand, you might need clarification on what the audio technology is that we're reviewing here…
What's the Ish Here? What Exactly Is the Product, and How Does It Work?
The sound technology used is Binaural Beats. If you're a regular reader you'll know all about this technology, but if not, here's the low down: Binaural beats are designed to work through your headphones and play two different frequencies into left and right ear. They are then detected by your brain and translated into a third frequency, which is equated by subtracting the two frequencies.
This frequency then resonates with your natural brainwave patterns, which also operate a certain frequency, depending on level of activity your mind is in. To explain this in numbers, frequencies are measured in Hertz (Hz). When your brain is in deep sleep or in a meditative state, it's operating at what's known as a theta state between 4-8Hz – a very low frequency. For comparison, beta (active and cognitive mind state) brainwaves operate between 14000-40000Hz (or 14-40KHz).
With binaural beats, you may have the left ear frequency playing at 205Hz, and the right one playing at 200Hz. So, the residual hertz is 5 Hz, and this frequency residue is the product your brain actually hears and resonates with, which is a theta wave for meditative purpose. This process is called brainwave entrainment. Binaural beats may have overlays of unrelated ambient soundscapes, to enhance the atmosphere and experience.
So This Is Just Straight up Binaural Beats Like You Can Buy from Other Stores, Right?
Not quite. To top this, OmHarmonics promotes a system that works above and beyond the likes of simple binaural beats technology with Multivariate Resonance Technology (MRT), which “guides you intro a state of profound relaxation by aligning your senses with audible heartbeats and breathing sounds.” Now to be frank here, I have no idea what this even is. Sometime I might have a look into it and be able tell you more in another article, but to be honest, there's no real proof for this that I can find.
In this respect, I must admit I feel there's aggressive marketing of the OmHarmonics site, beyond that of which I'm used to seeing in my much-loved brainwave entrainment space. But this is why Mindvalley has gone from crappy eBook company to multi-million dollar outfit in rapid time.
There is an ultra-strong sales component that you have to deal with, which you may feel the product is less than zen after having to tolerate the corporate machine marketing here. Marketers apparently know what's up, but some of you may feel intimidated by their enthusiasm. Perhaps they're reading this and may wish to take a note. I'm being constructive here. 😉
Put your game face on. You know exactly why you need the product, but they're trying to help you with the assumption you don't know about the beneficial properties on offer. I guess you could call this level of marketing passion if you're not cynical. Me, I would say it's expensive advertising that shows the product is already quite successful through sales generation in order to afford the advertising.
Crunch Time! – The Test
I was given a free trial of the program, which included quick 15-minute versions of each audio, and included ‘The Balance: Level 1 , which you can download in exchange for your email address on the front page. I was expecting the usual resonating binaural frequencies, but was rather surprised at the composition. It just doesn't have the oomph you get with the likes of the BBM or Ennora stuff, for example.
I have to be honest, at first I scoffed at this as a binaural beats enthusiast, to me it seemed like generic and outdated chill music. Okay, I have to remember game face. I have to remember that the overlay is just for harmonic purposes, so as to mask the sometimes-discomforting nature of the steady humming of the main guts in frequency, which some people don't like – but I love.
Over the 15 minutes, the binaural frequency components were applied in and out of listening range. The music overlay still tended to interrupt the core of the frequencies. However, I certainly felt more relaxed and all the better for it. It wasn't mind-blowing, but then I'm over entrained and a tad immune at times. But in short, OmHarmonic's range of music is more entry level and something I would associate with listening to during a yoga session.
Comparison to Other Brands
So yeah, for me, someone who is used to listening to raw tones and BB tracks where the tone is very audible, I felt like there was something missing at first. The aforementioned brands and typical BB stuff usually has the foundational frequencies prominently audible.
Hardcore binaural enthusiasts and audiophiles will prefer this, because heavy emphasis is placed on the frequency response process rather than trying to create a “lovely” musical composition you can get attached to.
But I feel this is the intention here. It's aiming at new-comers and those who like it in-between, so to speak. In a way, this is like the pop-music brand of the brainwave entrainment industry. And some pop music is good….
Potential Purposes for OmHarmonics' Soft Style
As mentioned, OmHarmonics' range of audios are less confronting than the majority of binaural music out there. They would be perfect for any sort of relaxation therapy, for chilling out and relaxing in general. You could creatively use these audios wherever you want to create a relaxing atmosphere, or where focus is required, depending on the track you're listening to.
What Do You Get in the Package?
Each audio track comes in 15 and 30 minute packages for short and long sessions. The various tracks are designed for different times of the day – entitled…
- The Start of the Day
- The Focus
- The Spark
- The Balance
- The Deep Rest
These different tracks resonate at different frequencies to coincide with different brainwave types for the different times of the day.
Okay, Quit Screwing Around, How Much?
This package is sold as a whole for $149. You'll receive mp3 format of the highest 320kbps quality. For the hard copy CDs, you'll pay an extra $150 ($299 all up). You get the five above-mentioned tracks in their 15 and 30 minute versions, a bonus ‘3 Most Important Questions' video and .pdf, and an unconditional 90 day money-back guarantee. If you're short, you can pay in two installments. If you're getting CDs, they will be shipped to you anywhere in the world.
So What's My Honest Summary Here?
I'm not a fan of the hard sell of Mindvalley; it takes the integrity out of the industry. But I do feel the effects of Omharmonics, even if for a geek like me it's a lighter vibe than some of the other programs I listen to. Though I must say I enjoy lighter recordings like “The Focus” for when I am working, or just need some music for contemplation.
So if you're a beginner to this brainwave entrainment stuff, or not really into tracks with a heavy frequency hum rumbling underneath the soundscape, then this is a set of audios that you'll enjoy. Who doesn't want more relaxation combined with more productivity these days? OmHarmonics is clearly filling a gap in the modern marketplace for those by providing a nice coping tool for those with high-pressure lifestyles. Good stuff.
Let me know what you think.