i-Dosing with ValhallaFreqEcho

The Internet has been buzzing today about the phenomenon that has been dubbed i-Dosing. As reported in Wired, News 9 of Oklahoma City has recently run an expose about i-Dosing within local high schools, and the efforts of administrators to stop students from downloading and playing these “digital drugs” over their iPods:

The idea behind i-Dosing is that the user listens (via headphones) to audio tracks or YouTube videos that have been encoded with binaural beats. As I explained in a blog post a while back, the idea behind binaural beats is that separate frequencies are presented to the left and right ears. The resulting difference frequency is generated by the brain directly, as opposed to any physical mechanism. The standard theory is that the beat frequency between the left and right ears can be used to induce a similar rate of EEG activity. However, the Wire article explains that audio tracks are now being used in an attempt to simulate the effects of specific drugs:

Those who want to get addicted to the “drugs” can purchase tracks that will purportedly bring about the same effects of marijuana, cocaine, opium and peyote. While street drugs rarely come with instruction manuals, potential digital drug users are advised to buy a 40-page guide so that they learn how to properly get high on MP3s.

In my earlier post on binaural beats, I explained how my free plugin, ValhallaFreqEcho, could be used to produce binaural beats that can be hear with any source material, instead of the synthetic tones used in most YouTube binaural beats demonstrations. ValhallaFreqEcho is based around a frequency shifter, where all the frequencies in the output can be shifted by a fixed amount of Hz. For the binaural effects, the plugin should be used in stereo mode, as this results in all of the frequencies in the left channel being offset from those in the right channel.

However, in my discussions of ValhallaFreqEcho, I neglected to discuss the roots of the binaural effect in psychological warfare. The use of a frequency shifter to generate binaural beats dates back to the late 1960’s, when the signal processing division of MKULTRA collaborated with scientists at Bell Labs to create an algorithm that could generate binaural beats at specific frequencies to be used for brainwashing. As the Wire article and News 9 reporters have suggested, the CIA found that specific drugs could be mapped EXACTLY to specific binaural beats. The information was not declassified until the late 1990’s, and was first publicly revealed in a signal processing journal, which I came across when researching Hilbert networks. The article was reclassified in 2003, and is no longer available in any public archives.

The following list is taken from the formerly declassified document, and has been translated to ValhallaFreqEcho settings. All settings assume the following defaults:

  • Mix: 1.0 (100% wet)
  • Delay: as short as possible
  • Feedback: 0.0
  • LowCut: 50 Hz
  • HighCut: 10000 Hz
  • OutputMode: stereo

WARNING: Proceed with caution. If this blog post is gone in the next several days, it is fair to assume that it has been discovered by the State Department, and the information contained within has been reclassified. All of the below settings match the Shift settings of ValhallaFreqEcho, and will produce binaural beats of 2x the Shift frequency listed (corresponding to the original binaural beats from the formerly declassified document):

  • LSD: 3.4 Hz
  • Psilocybin: 3.7 Hz
  • Peyote: 3.83 Hz
  • Opium: [REDACTED]
  • Methamphetamine: 9.8 Hz
  • Nicotine: 7.6 Hz
  • Valium: [REDACTED]
  • Vicodin: [REDACTED]
  • Marijuana: 5.2 Hz
  • MDMA (Ecstasy): 2.7 Hz
  • Alcohol: 1.3 Hz
  • Cocaine: 9.72 Hz
  • Yage: 4.3 Hz
  • Percocet: [REDACTED]
  • Robitussin: 1.11 Hz
  • Ebene: 2.871 Hz
  • DMT: 3.14159 Hz
  • San Pedro Cactus: 1.618 Hz
  • Adrenochrome (“the blood of a wig”): 27 Hz
  • Nitrous Oxide: 501 Hz
  • Reds: 43 Hz

UPDATE: I had to take a few of the numbers out. Apparently this blog got some unwanted attention.

About the author:

Sean Costello is the "algorithmic reverb plugin wizard" [citation needed] at Valhalla DSP.

Comments (9)

  1. Sean,

    There was an important addendum to this document that your post is missing. Parents need to be informed.

    Mountain Dew & Dungeons & Dragons : 666 Hz

    Love the plug-in and looking forward to the new stuff. Also thanks for the intro to Harmonia!

  2. I skipped over this a couple of times (I keep checking back to this blog to see if there’s a PC version of Shimmer yet *cough*) and never really paid attention to the post. Now that I’ve read it in its entirety, I second High Voltage… DMT as Pi. That’s hilarious!

  3. I did a little “tune” using the space drone (NI Reaktor) and ValhallaFreqEcho. I start out at 20 hz and then over 3 minutes bring it down to 5 (Theta). At 9:30, we bring you back out to a nice relaxed Alpha (10). It’s pretty relaxing. Half the time I listen to it I fall asleep! Hopefully it’s not because it’s totally boring. Give it a spin… I didn’t see an upload so I’ll email it to you. Feel free to pass it on and/or provide feedback.

  4. OK, I need to make something clear at this point: I made up all the numbers in this post. It was intended as a humorous response to the “moral panic” in the press when this issue hit the news several months back. I thought that having Pi and Phi as two of the numbers was a pretty big giveaway. Plus, “reds.” I should have thrown in “brown bombers” or “blue boobies” as other drugs.

    This isn’t to say that binaural beats can’t have SOME effect. I certainly have found myself in a “trancey” state when listening to ValhallaFreqEcho over headphones for too long. But feeling a little spaced out is far different than being able to dial in specific drug effects. Seriously, that idea is flat out BULLSHIT, and I’m surprised that anyone in the media took it even halfway seriously.

    The whole I-Dosing issue reminds me of the idea that was popular in the early 1990’s, that the repetitive beats of techno music was inducing a trance state in listeners, due to “auditory driving” and other such ideas. This theory can be traced back to the “strange mechanism” concept, that was very effectively refuted by Gilbert Rouget in “Music and Trance.” In pretty much every case looked at, there are other factors at play. For the ceremonies studied by Rouget, there is a strong cultural tendency towards trance states as part of a religious experience. For rave culture, I think that the drugs might have a little more influence on trance states than a four-to-the-floor beat at a specific tempo.

    1. well, sean, it’s been several years and i want you to know that i actually spent the last 15 minutes calculating the exact value i need to set an automation knob within ableton to control the internal Shift setting to Pi.

      I found out that it’s close to 13 on the 1-127 knob when the range for the knob mapping is between .657840163 and .65794072 …

      Thank you so much for this experience

Leave a Comment

Rules of the Blog

Do not post violating content, tags like bold, italic and underline are allowed that means HTML can be used while commenting.