Listening in the dark is a surprisingly different experience than listening with visual stimulation. Sure, the sound is exactly the same, but by eliminating visual distractions, we hear differently. That's why some audiophiles prefer to listen in total darkness. Turning the room lights off gets you almost there, but even the small distraction of the little power-indicator lights on your electronic devices can be enough to give your eyes something to focus on.
The Musicmask was developed by Corly Bedacht at Acoustic Projects in Amsterdam. He said, "The idea for Musicmask came about during a meditation session in a darkened room. The music played sounded particularly spatial. When the light was switched on later, the spatial effect was diminished."
The Musicmask is essentially a blindfold, but one that allows you to keep your eyes open. Construction quality isn't lavish: it's made with matte black plastic, foam inserts, and an adjustable Velcro strap, but I found it comfortable to wear for hours at a time. Yes, you can duplicate the Musicmask "effect" for free by shutting off the lights and covering all the tiny lights on your equipment, or making your own blindfold, but it's a little harder to make one that lets you keep your eyes open. One thing's for sure: you won't be able to multitask when you can't see! You won't be texting or surfing the Net when you're in total darkness. All you can really do is listen to digital music. LP playback requires more hands-on participation, but you can easily slide the Musicmask up onto your forehead when changing records.
Listening with the Musicmask (or in total darkness) you focus on the music and hear more details in it. I listened to the Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" with the Musicmask and heard things I've never noticed before. I loved the way Paul McCartney's bass lines locked in with Ringo Starr's drum patterns on "Fixing A Hole," and the swirling, psychedelic tape loops on "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!" were more intricate than I'd imagined. I'm more aware of subtle shifts in the stereo image, soundstage depth, and very quiet background vocals while listening with the Musicmask.
Musicmask is sold direct from the Netherlands with a 10-day money back satisfaction guarantee and retails for $44.95.