Contemporary marketing copy is awash with buzzwords targeting the self-obsessed millennial’s mindset and thereby seeking to part him from his disposable income- everything must be “bespoke”, “tailored”, “curated” to his finicky tastes. While this can reach the height of absurdity when applied to cold pressed juices or woven flax baby onesies, there is merit in applying a degree of this borderline obsession with customization to something that actually warrants it, like the highly variable, personal experience of sexual pleasure.
There was a time when the stalwart Hitachi Magic Wand’s two-speed toggle was the pinnacle of sex tech. Fortunately, technological advances in the last few years have permitted sex toy manufacturers to offer next-level customization in terms of form (e.g. Je Joue’s fabulous G-Kii that adjusts to better angle toward an individual user’s g-spot) or alternately function (e.g. the award-winning We-Vibe IV that allows for the creation of custom vibration playlists through an iOS app).
Like most only children, however, this humble reviewer never really took a liking to compromise. Fortunately, a new cutting-edge vibe, the Crescendo (from UK-based manufacturer MysteryVibe) appears to assimilate all the best features and qualities of the leading vibes on the market while allowing for exceptional customization of form AND function (it also doesn’t hurt that the thing has more motors to rev than the Grand Prix…). So what the hell does Crescendo do and what ingenious minds are responsible for its creation?
The Mad Geniuses at MysteryVibe
MysteryVibe began around 2008 when its founders (representing a deep bench of talent from Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Sharp, Canon, Philips and Deloitte) were impressed by a promotional video for the Nokia Morph –a concept combination phone and wearable that would have been malleable enough to take different shapes to suit different uses. They agreed that a similar concept could have wide-ranging applications, including hyper-tailoring pleasure devices to different individual’s bodies. Following several years of exhaustive research to validate the concept for an app-controlled, variable-form, multi-motor vibrator (featuring work by women at every stage from industrial engineering, to design and marketing), MysteryVibe formally launched in 2014 as part of an incubator sponsored by leading industrial design firm Seymourpowell.
Despite facing many of the financing hurdles other companies in the space encounter, MysteryVibe was able to secure a number of successful rounds of financing, including as the first adult toy company on crowdfunding site Born. Buzz around MysteryVibe and the Crescendo was further amplified following their appearance at TechCrunch Disrupt in New York City last year. In an industry that is largely starved for innovation and where quality can be hit or miss, it isn’t difficult to understand why MysteryVibe’s professed approach to creating “personalized and immersive experiences in the bedroom” through cutting-edge technology garnered so much interest. But is the hype justified?
Unboxing it verges on foreplay- the sleek black external packaging smoothly gives way to reveal Crescendo atop a soft quilted carrying case with satin tie. Then the double take happens, as attentions hone in on the slender, ridged, very turquoise device itself (for a fleeting instant I was sure a factory error had sent me an Avatar cosplay ovipositor by mistake or something). The Crescendo bears limited resemblance to other vibes out there- the closest shape analogue I can conjure is the Venator-class Star Destroyer ship from Star Wars.
Anyway, one must keep an open mind so I set to investigate. The Crescendo features seven segments, housing six independent motors between them, and all linked by six articulated joints capable of bending and holding form in either direction. This unprecedented flexibility allows the Crescendo to assume an immense variety of shapes, including but not limited to “I”, “U”, and “S”. The broader end of the toy also hosts two raised ridges ideal for clitoral stimulation.
Women more accustomed to or preferring more …substantive toys might be disappointed by the slender lines of the Crescendo, but what it may lack in that regard it more than compensates for in an ability to tightly hug any form and deliver targeted, layered sensations. Moreover, Crescendo's absence of a wider, more-phallic form means that the device is likely more accessible to people of a broader range of preferences, anatomies, and orientations. Lastly, the device’s outer material is made from supple, high-quality silicone which also ensures it can withstand the number of bends each toy will experience in its lifetime (though it should only be paired with water-based lubes).
The real magic starts when you sync the device with the dedicated MysteryVibe app (currently only available for iOS). Through a beautiful, intuitive interface the app allows you to customize a rotation of up to six vibration patters to wirelessly wing over to your Crescendo via Bluetooth. To help you chose, the vibration patterns are helpfully evoked on the app by pulsating circles and corresponding tones that convey which of the six motors are currently engaged and at what intensity for a given pattern.
Pre-loaded vibrations include a wide variety of options to explore, from “Mad Max” – a pattern that engages the motors in the middle and at either end at a high intensity, to “Random Delight” which frankly feels a lot like having a piece by Phillip Glass performed, well, inside you. ...But in a good way. The company has even announced that future iterations of the app will include the ability to sync the device to music.
Once you’ve loaded your “playlist” onto your Crescendo, two intuitive sets of buttons allow you to switch between vibration patterns and to dial vibration intensity up or back (though contrary to MysteryVibe’s promises the powerful motors become something less than “discretely quiet” as you inch intensity levels up).
With a 4GB built-in solid state memory (that’s more than the original iPhone for those of you keeping score), you’ll be hard pressed to run out of room for all your vibe files. While the device can be used independently, it goes without saying that the app also opens up a range of possibilities if you cede control to a partner (within Bluetooth range, that is). Crescendo is also induction charged (each charge lasts about two hours), and thus has no vulnerable batteries or ports to keep it from being fully waterproof in the bath, shower or wherever else.
Unconventional aesthetics aside, at the end of the day the Crescendo is a supremely elegant, powerful, versatile vibe unlike anything we’ve seen out there. More importantly, it’s deeply heartening to see companies like MysteryVibe at the vanguard of sex tech putting great minds to work developing quality products that actually accommodate the varied and various tastes and preferences real people with real bodies have.
While MysteryVibe's batch manufacturing and distribution of the Crescendo is currently fairly limited, it will soon be available for widespread retail- including in the Unbound online shop! Keep an eye out so you can see what all the buzz is about...