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TUCoPS :: Wetware Hacking :: Others :: mgvsth2.txt

Mind Gear vs Theta - Mind Gear's response to Original Post


George's reply to my original post

Originally posted to the Mind-L mailing list 6/28/95

 As President of Mind Gear Inc., I want to address a number of incomplete,
 misleading and somewhat inaccurate statements made by Andrew Clayton (Rhygin
 the Rudie) concerning the Voyager XL and the Mind Gear Product line.

 >                            MIND GEAR VS THETA
 >This posting is in reference to the many recent comments on the Mind Gear
 >line of machines.  Mind Gear offers a nice product, especially in their
 >XCELR8R II.  The programmability feature is useful and fun; helping you
 >design programs just right for your needs.

 The writer makes a very important point about programmability in that
 everybody reacts to these devices (and their L/S sessions) differently. This
 is why having a system that allows users to design programs "just right for
 your needs" can be CRITICALLY important... not just "fun & useful."

 This is also the reason why our program descriptions ARE lacking in
 great detail. We only provide very general comments about each of
 our programs (e.g. relaxing, creative etc.). If it were as simple as saying
 run program X and you will reach Shangrila, we would all have
 retired a few years ago. In reality, everyone responds differently to a
 given frequency and/or program with some preferring Alpha frequency
 programs,others Theta, and so on. Still others will find a "magical" or
 "Window" frequency to which they personally resonate and which can lead to
 very special states of awareness. This is why it is so important to have a
 digital display that ALWAYS shows the specific frequency that is being

 The Voyager products do *not* have digital displays.
 >However, Mind Gear is seriously lacking in some vital areas.  The number one
 >weakness is the sound quality of the machine. I've found the SLX sound so
 >poor as >the be an annoyance.  The SLX offers no binaural sound (as far as
 >I'm aware), a major reason for using L/S machines in the first place.

 The SLX does, in fact, have Binaural sound built-in to the machine. It is
 apparent that the writer has had only a very limited exposure to the SLX
 system. I do agree that the sound quality of the SLX is not as good as the
 PR-2X or the XCELR8R but remember that it costs less than half the price of
 the Voyager XL and is intended as an entry level system. Additionally, most
 people use L/S systems while listening to tapes, so the tones blend into the

 Finally, the Voyager System that I have has a very obvious and annoying
 electronic hiss or squeal that needs to be masked with some external sound

 >The XCELR8R II offers better "quality" and binaural sound but is still
 >limited in complexity and tone variance.

 I am not sure what the writer means by 'complexity and tone variance" since
 we offer 4 different tones (they are single tone, white noise, pink noise,
 and Binaural sound). Additionally, we have 36 different levels of pitch by
 which the single tone and Binaural sound can be adjusted. These are in half
 note increments so that you can know the exact pitch (sound frequency) that
 being generated. This is just another example of why a digital display is

 >The second weakness of the Mind Gear machines is the inability to use
 >Polysync >tapes with sessions.  You can play music through the XCELR8R II
 >not in >conjunction with L/S programs; a very wonderful feature.

 Music (even the music on a Polysynch tape) can be played with ANY of our
 systems in conjunction with ANY of the built-in L/S programs!! The user is
 not limited to the one L/S session that was specifically made for the tape.
 Once again, I would like to emphasize that no two people react to a L/S
 session in exactly the same way. Suppose you find that you like the audio
 portion of the Polysynch tape, but dislike the L/S program. You're out of
 luck with the Voyager.

 BTW, another claim that is made for Polysynch tapes is that they are EXACTLY
 synchronized to the L/S session that is downloaded just prior to the music
 beginning. This is just plain false. As I am sure we all know, ALL tape
 player transport mechanisms are not alike. Each has a Wow & Flutter tolerance
 that makes it impossible for them to be perfectly in synch with the light
 pulses. This also assumes that the L/S session starts exactly when the music
 does. The writer neglects to say how frustrating downloading a Polysynch
 tape can be since the volume levels, equalizer settings etc. need to be JUST
 RIGHT or guess what?

 This does not mean that the Polysynch tapes don't work. In fact, I'm sure
 there are some that are very good. It simply means that they may be no more
 effective than a favorite tape used with a another L/S session.

 >Also, I've found the XCELR8R II programs all very similar and find myself
 >wishing for more variance after extended use.

 I am at a loss to understand this comment since anyone that has an XCELR8R
 and has looked at the actual graphs (frequency vs. time and phasing) can
 clearly "see" that this is just not TRUE! Furthermore, both the XCELR8R and
 the PR-2X have, in addition to the 50 preset sessions, an INFINITE number of
 new programs called "AUTOPILOT," each targeting a different band of
 brainwaves ( ie beta, alpha, theta....). When any of these programs are run,
 the system automatically generates a NEW & UNIQUE L/S session targeting the
 particular band that was selected. These provide a virtually unlimited
 number of L/S sessions which can also be stored (up to 10) as the user
 decides. This randomness allows the user to "create" a special L/S program
 without actually having to custom program a session.

 >The last weakness is the lack of good documentation.  Although I acknowledge
 >Mind Gears excellent tech support, their manuals for the machines leave much
 >to be desired.  The program descriptions are limited and (as far as I'm
 >there a few to no learning tapes designed in conjunction with the L/S

 I agree that our documentation needed work. That is why we have just
 rewritten it. Having said that, I do not want to mislead anyone into thinking
 that we now have lengthy descriptions of all our programs. WE DON'T, because
 the more we would say the less accurate and misleading we would be. Again,
 no two people react the same way to the same program. It is up to the
 individual users to experiment with the different programs to discover what
 works best for THEM. We provide all the tools necessary (e.g. display of
 frequency, phasing, etc.) for users to arrive at their optimal settings.

 >The Mind Gear is also a very heavy machine due to its lead acid battery
 >(if you choose this option when purchasing).

 I wish the writer would be more specific. We have 3 different machines and
 this comment sounds ambiguous and/or uninformed to me. I say this because the
 XCELR8R & PR-2X come standard with a lead-acid battery, so this is not really
 an option, although, I suppose, I would remove it for those that can't handle
 the weight ;-). Each of these systems weighs in at 2 lbs-4oz. Unless you're
 travelling ultralight, you'll hardly notice it. The SLX has the option of a
 rechargeable battery and weighs in at 1 pound-3 oz. with the battery
 installed. Much of the weight IS due to the lead-acid battery which we chose
 over Ni-Cad batteries because they are SIGNIFICANTLY better. Not only do
 they not get a "memory" (a common problem with ni-cads) which reduces their
 useful life, they also have a lot more capacity, so you don't have to
 recharge as often as with other systems. Additionally, both of the "very
 heavy machines" come packaged in their own custom carrying case to
 facilitate transport without having to resort to pulleys, cranes or
 forklifts ;-)

 >The Voyager XL machine offers much that is missing in the XCELR8R II
 >(save for programmability).  The missing programmability feature is
 >compensated for by excellently written and documented programs.  Nearly
 >all sessions offer accompanying tapes or CDs and more programs can be
 >downloaded.  Also, many of the programs were written by PhDs and prominent
 >persons in the psychotech world.  The Polysync feature is a very nice

 Mind Gear has well over 150 Clinicians (mostly PhDs and some MDs) using our
 systems on a daily basis in their practice with very impressive results. We
 have good reason to believe that we lead the field in clinical applications!

 >However, the most noticeable feature of the Voyager XL is its sound quality.
 > The Voyager XL produces very pleasant chord like sounds with great sound

 I am willing to provide both an XCELR8R and a VOYAGER XL system to any
 QUALIFIED & INDEPENDENT Electrical Engineer for the specific purpose of
 analyzing the sound output of each machine on an oscilloscope and reporting
 back to the group their findings on the QUALITY of the sound output as
 measured by "noise" content and accuracy of the sine wave produced by each

 L/S systems are not designed to replace or act like musical synthesizers and
 ALL the systems on the market only provide very basic sound capabilities. If
 you want complex sounds and symphonic music, plug in a CD or tape- that's
 what the external input is for.

 >The overall experience of the Voyager XL is much smoother and pleasant than
 >the XCELR8R II.  However, the Voyager offers fewer choices in light color
 >than the XCELR8R II.  Also, the Voyager doesn't offer digital readout.  The
 >Voyager makes up for these with its other strengths however. Finally, the
 >Voyager XL is smaller and much lighter than the XCELR8R II.  You should try
 >a few machines before purchasing.  If you can't try one, I'd suggest the
 >Voyager XL.

 I accept that the writer, personally, finds the VOYAGER XL smoother and more
 pleasant. Different strokes for different folks. Again, everyone responds
 differently to a given set of stimuli. Whatever works for "you" is the right
 answer. However, I do not agree that the Voyager compares favorably against
 either the PR-2X or the XCELR8R simply because it has a thicker manual, can
 use Polysynch tapes, and weighs a little less. I know for a fact that it
 does *not* have better sound quality as determined by an oscilloscope. This
 does not mean you may not like what you hear better... just that from a PURE
 sound standpoint there can be no argument.

 Finally, a few points that the writer omitted to make in his comparison:
 1) All Mind Gear Systems have the ability to be operated manually. You can
 set it to any frequency you wish along with whatever phasing you would like
 to try.
 2) Both the PR-2X & XCELR8R are two-user systems so that you can share the
 3) They have pulse width (duty cycle) adjustments allowing precise control
 of the stimulation. This is a very interesting parameter to play with.
 4) All Mind Gear systems allow for the time of a program to be adjusted 
 in 5
 min. increments.
 5) The XCELR8R is the only L/S that can connect to a PC! This allows users
 to acquire new L/S programs from our WWW site or via diskette.
 6) Only Mind Gear systems have the "AUTOPILOT" feature.

 Thanks for listening to my (somewhat longwinded) side of this discussion.
 I would also like to take this opportunity to personally thank all Mind Gear
 owners for their continued support and comments made to this list in the
 past. Please be assured that you have one of the VERY BEST L/S systems made
 in the world today.

 Any one with comments or questions are encouraged to call me toll-free at
 800-525-MIND (6463).


 George Szeless
 President & Chief Thinker
 Mind Gear, Inc.


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