What are isochronic tones – A complete guide

what are isochronic tones
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If you have been following our series of articles about binaural beats, it is likely you have come across the term Isochronic Tones

Both can be used for similar purposes - to stimulate the brain.  Like binaural beats you can use isochronic to help you focus on a task or improve study techniques.  Or you can use them as a sleeping aid or to relieve anxiety.  However, how they achieve the result is different.  

In this article we will delve deeper into what exactly are isochronic tones and how they work

Looking for a quick answer?  Use our Jump To menu to navigate quickly to find what you are searching for. 

What are isochronic tones audio?


A piece of audio created with the purpose of training your brain to reproduce a specific brainwave frequency. 

The isochronic tone is a single tone that pulses on and off quickly. 

You can listen to the isochronic tone on its own.  However many prefer to combine it with music and other audio as they find isochronic tones raw and harsh.

We measure the rate at which the tone is pulsed in Hertz (Hz).  The speed (or Hz) of the isochronic tone will determine what frequency at which it will entrain the brain (or mimicked).  

When you change the speed of the isochronic tone, and therefore the resulting frequency, you can change mental and physical state.  As we mentioned earlier, individuals can use isochronic tones to enhance mental awareness, higher states of meditation or even reduced anxiety. 

Now you know what an isochronic tone is, let's see how it works.  And more importantly, how you can use it to benefit your life. 

How do isochronic tones work?

how do isochronic tones work

We briefly touched on how isochronic tones work when we mentioned the words 'brainwave entrainment'.   

The speed at which it sets the isochronic tones can influence and manipulate brainwave activity.  They call this brainwave entrainment - when the brain responds to an external stimulus - isochronic tones.  

When you listen to isochronic tones, the brain matches the brainwave activity to the speed (Hz) of the tones.  

This is important for two reasons. 

  • we know how to adjust our brainwave activity, and
  • we know which frequencies are optimal for different states of alertness.

Look at the table (below) on the States of Alertness and the equivalent Brainwave Frequencies. 

Frequency Range



0.1 to 4 Hz

Best for deep sleep, pain relief and entering unconscious mind 


4 to 8 Hz

Best for REM Sleep, meditation and creativity


8 to 14 Hz

Best for stress reduction, positive thinking and sped up learning


14 to 30 Hz

Best for laser focused attention and high level thinking and problem solving


30 to 100 Hz

Best for high-level information processing and memory recall

Now imagine you have an important exam or deadline approaching.  Next time you sit down to study or work, try listening to an audio file with isochronic tones in the BETA frequency range.  Not only will it help to reduce distractions from the surrounding environment.  It will entrain your brain to become more focused.  

Isochronic tones - Do they work?

For someone new to the community, it is easy to see why they may be skeptical about the authenticity of the claims.  I mean, how can sound make you more focused?  Or achieve a better quality sleep? 

Thankfully there have been a few studies conducted to test these claims.  Let's take a look at some of the results. 

  • One such experiment is a study conducted in 1981 by Arturo Manns, a scientist at the University of Chile.  He noted a significant increase on the electromyographic (EMG) activity when patients exposed to external stimuli (isochronic tones). 
  • Studies conducted by Huang and Charyton (2008) concluded that just one session of such stimulation may be beneficial for immediate states of memory, attention, stress pain and migraine.  
  • Wahbeh, Calabrese, and Zwickey (2007), also Brahmankar (2012), reported a considerable decrease in anxiety levels.  It also raised level in the participants' life quality and overall wellbeing, following an entrainment program.  

It is important to note many studies also combined the isochronic tones with visual stimuli in their experiments.  Whilst it was challenging, we tried to isolate the experiments that only used audio stimuli in their tests. 

As you can see from the results, entrainment techniques can influence brainwaves activity. 

How effective will vary between individuals.  We recommend using a trial-and-error approach to find which works best for you.

If you are concerned about any side effects, we have compiled a list of FAQ's related to user concerns.  

What are the benefits of isochronic tones?

Now that we know what is going on inside the brain, let's take a look at the benefits and how to use isochronic tones.

Benefits of isochronic tones
  • 1
    Improve Focus and Higher levels of cognitive ability
    We mentioned this benefit earlier in the article.  By accessing the Beta frequencies, your brain will function at a higher level.  Not only will you think better, memory improvement.  And have the mental stamina to focus for longer.    
  • 2
    Anxiety and stress relief
    It is known that when under stress you experience a rapid heartbeat and higher levels of brainwave activity.  Now you can use isochronic tones to decrease the speed of your brainwaves.  In doing so, you will create a sense of calmness and physiologically induce your body to relax.  
  • 3
    You can use isochronic tones to help you attain a state of meditation.  By slowing down brainwave activity to the lower Delta ranges your mind will slow down.  You will also have the added benefit of using the tones as a point of focus.  Leading to fewer distractions and easing the transition into a meditative state.  
  • 4
    Improved Sleep 
    Another popular benefit from brainwave entrainment is the improved sleep quality.  Isochronic tones are also helpful when you are struggling to get to sleep.  When you find you cannot fall asleep you are most likely experiencing high brainwave activity.  By using isochronic tones to slow down your brainwave activity, you will find it easier to fall asleep (and stay asleep).  You will also be able to block out any surrounding environmental noise.  

What equipment do you need?

Unlike binaural beats, you can listen to isochronic tones over a speaker.  

This is because isochronic tones use one tone to influence brainwave activity.  Whereas binaural beats makes use of two tones that require headphones to deliver the beats to separate ears.  

You may notice some isochronic tone stores insist on using headphones for entrainment.  The reasoning behind this is they will intensify the effect of the isochronic tones.  You will also find there will be less distortion in the frequency ranges.  Finally, if you use noise-cancelling headphones, they will reduce environmental noise, resulting in fewer distractions.  

Where to get isochronic tones

Awareness of isochronic tones is increasing, so finding them is not as difficult as it used to be. 

However to find quality isochronic tones you still need to know what to look for. 

You can use Youtube to find some audio that includes isochronic tones if you are curious about how they sound.  We do, however, recommend if you are going to be using them for the long term you source professionally made isochronic tones. 

We have had positive experiences with The Unexplainable Store.  They have plenty of positive reviews and seem to be popular among the entrainment community. 

Alternatively, if you are still on the fence about whether isochronic tones are the right fit for you, we recommend using the Amazon Unlimited Music Service.  They have an enormous store of music available to listen to, including many tracks that include isochronic tones.  

In Conclusion

If you haven't already tried isochronic tones, we hope by now you feel confident in the positive changes they can make in your daily life.  
We also have a series on binaural beats - an alternative entrainment technique.  You can check out the binaural beats series here. 

If you liked our article Isochronic Tones - What are they and how do they work? please feel free to share it with anyone you feel can benefit.  Simply use our share icons.  

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