Earbuds and headphones can only immerse you so far in the music-listening experience. What they lack is that sensation of being there when live music happens, of feeling the bass rolling through your bones. Woojer, a wearable subwoofer, aims to fill that void by picking up the bass vibes from your music player (or video or gaming audio system) and translating them into physical pulses you can feel against your body.
Woojer started life as a successful Kickstarter project, handily surpassing its $100,000 funding goal. The gadget costs $99 (about £63, AU$114) and is now available for anyone to order. I got my hands on a Woojer. It's a compact device that fits in your palm, and it feels sturdily made, which is a good sign for a device that makes its living by shaking.
I connected the Woojer to my Moto G, hooked up a pair of Etymotic Research earbuds, attached the device to my shirt and opened up an FM radio app to test it out with a variety of different music styles. Naturally, bass and drum-heavy tunes really made a distinct impact, but I got surprisingly good results from '80s hair-band rock, as well. That intro to AC/DC's "Back in Black" definitely works well with some personal subwoofer power behind it.
Perhaps the most entertaining aspect of using Woojer is finding your sweet spot (or spots) for wearing it. You can use either the clip or the magnetic attachment to place it on your belt, under your shirt, on a boot or even on a cap to feel the groove against your skull. My favorite places were clipped to my belt near my hipbone or placed directly against the top of my sternum. Though Woojer can be set to three different levels of intensity, I settled on leaving it on high for maximum effect.
Woojer may be best experienced when you're holding somewhat still. Walking around seems to distract a little from the sensation, though it's still noticeable, especially if you have it cranked on high. It's not just for music. Woojer also adds an extra element of sensory immersion when used with video, making watching "The Avengers" on a little iPad screen feel more like being in a real theater.
Probably my favorite Woojer-enhanced song is Spinal Tap's "Big Bottom," a thundering bass song that really benefits from the gadget's good vibrations. It's as close as I'm ever likely to get to experiencing a Spinal Tap concert, so I just closed my eyes and silently yelled "Go, Nigel, go!" as Woojer amplified the low end. If you're "All About That Bass," then the Woojer could end up being your best body-shaking bud.