Let’s talk about… Kama Muta


Not to be confused with Kama Sutra, unless of course you're having a 'night with Barry White'...

Having recently returned from the annual trip to the High-End Audio show in Munich most people are writing a show review, but to be honest I didn’t find much to write about.

Yes there were a few new products although I could have read about those from the industry specialists who produce excellent coverage. For me the show is a chance to catch up with friends and have 1-2-1 conversations with people from other parts of the world – and that’s why I attend.

One thing that it brought home was the hard work that people put in, not only in setting up their space, but the stamina required to be on your feet for four days plus.

I have supported SoundKaos at shows when they have exhibited at Munich, Warsaw, Zurich, Brussels and here in the UK, at the excellent North West Show (Cranage Hall). My role is mainly meet and greet, take questions, and hand out the Swiss chocolate! This does however give me time to ‘watch the room’.

Foot tappers and the amount of time people spend in the room actually listening rather than box ticking and picking up any brochures is my assessment method. I do this at other shows too, as in my opinion it shows how much people are engaging with the sound – even in show conditions.

One thing I have noticed only with SoundKaos (and one other brand) is a level of extended emotional engagement. We’ve had people literally in tears when listening to (I guess) a trigger track and at one show, after a particularly long track, five unconnected people in one row all stood up at the same time – fully engaged…

We’d had conversations about how you might describe this elevated emotional engagement in marketing terms. Clearly you cannot make statements like “so good they’ll make you cry” and it’s been a challenge to find the right words – until now.

I came across the term Kama Muta, probably from listening to BBC 6 Music when someone described the emotional feeling from watching a movie and how it’s the background music that intensifies the emotional response – Bingo!

So for reference purposes let’s see what Wikipedia has to say.

Kama Muta (Sanskrit: काममूत ‘moved by love’) is an emotion described as ‘being moved’, ‘heart-warming’, ‘stirring’, or ‘being emotionally touched’. It is a primarily positive emotion which is experienced as a feeling of buoyancy, security and warmth in the chest, and may be accompanied with goosebumps or tears.

Another description someone gave me is that, for certain brands, you do not listen with your ears but with your heart.

OK, so we are taking a generic term and applying it to audio systems but why not? It has become a ‘destination’ for me in a world of technical audio excellence and I’m done listening to equipment – I want to be moved by the experience of the sound.

If you want to know when you are experiencing Kama Muta a website by the name of ‘kama muta lab’ has kind listed a few of the ways in which you may experience Kama Muta

“When kama muta is mild, it just feels a little warm and fuzzy. If you feel more intense kama muta, you may notice

  • a warm or other feeling in the center of the chest;
  • moist eyes, tears, or weeping;
  • chills, thrills, or goosebumps;
  • having a lump in your throat or being choked up or, making it difficult to speak;
  • a deep breath or pause in breathing;
  • an exclamation such as awww;
  • moving one or both hands over the center of the chest;
  • afterwards, feelings of buoyancy (lightness) or exhilaration.

However, many people experience just one or two or a few of these in many instances of kama muta.”

So there it is. Finally a way to describe the sound I look for when building a system. It’s not easy to achieve and will certainly vary by person so won’t apply to everyone in all situations.

However you’ll know when you get there and, just in case you are having a night with Barry White, you may need the other Kama….