Porter and Davies' bone conduction monitoring devices have been something of an open secret among drummers for a couple years now, and at NAMM 2012's Media Preview event we got a chance to talk to Tim Porter about his company's plans to bring a new, low cost version of the device to the United States.
Like the various headphones and hearing aids (and the prototype mobile phone) we've seen, the BC Gigster sends sound to the internal ear through the cranial bones. Unlike the aforementioned devices, however, in this case sound is sent through a series of transducers in the seat of a drum stool. Sound is sent through your posterior, up through your body, and eventually to your inner ear. We had a chance to play with one, and it definitely worked as advertised: the thing delivered a very clear sound (not just the vibration) through your body, with all the subtleties and nuances being preserved. The traditional setup calls for a kick drum mic only (the instrument that gets most easily lost in the on-stage mix), but in reality an entire mix can be sent to through the device.
The BC2 (which features two inputs, flight case, and the seat) is currently available in the UK for £799 (roughly $1,200). The BC Gigster, which is pretty much the same except it only has one input and comes sans flight case, is UK only as well, and priced at £599 (about $925). According to Tim, the US release details are still being hammered out, but the Gigster will come in at under $1,000. There is also a rack mount version in the works, at a price to be determined.