Thursday, March 26, 2009

Basic Audio coding Lecture

And a great companion to Academic Earth is the new Google EDU section, with more videos of university lectures. The Indian National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning channel is particularly full! Check Basic Audio Coding for nerdy digital audio stuff.

Academic Earth: Vibrations and Waves

After having been alerted to Academic Earth recently I've been checking out some of the lectures available... MITs Vibrations and Waves series is particularly interesting for musicians and synthesists...don't let the equations put you off!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Do you prefer the sound of MP3's over wavs?

Appearently each new generation of juves prefers the sizzling sound of MP3 a little more than the last. Pumping rawk, hip-hop and pop all benifit from the stereo smearing, reduced top end and added noise that MP3 gives a thing. Johnathon Berger, professor of music at Stanford, gives enrolling students an informal blind test to see which formats they prefer. He has them listen to a variety of recordings which use different formats from MP3 to ones of much higher quality. "He described the results with some disappointment and frustration, as a music lover might, that each year the preference for music in MP3 format rises." - read the rest of the article HERE.

For a while now engineers have had to mix for crappy laptop speakers, ipods ear destroying open back budphones, and lower rate online formats like myspace and other 128kbit sites. I guess it's a sign of the times and while this may infuriate and annoy some I can't wait for the next format to arrive and the MP3 was better arguments to start. I can just imagine them justifying their taste by making reference to the stereo smearing, added noise, phase distortion,and reduced top end as what made MP3 special.... 

Suzanne Ciani on 3-2-1 Contact

Veteran sound designer and synth nerd Suzanne Ciani explains sound, synthesis and music on 80's childrens TV show '3-2-1 Contact'. Ya can spot some nice bits of kit in this including an Oberheim and Prophet V.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Passion Massive Passive

Ronald Passion has released a freeware mastering EQ plugin (VST, Windows only) based on the Manley Massive Passive EQ, a super high end piece of mastering kit. Get it and his other freeware plugins (EQ and Preamps) here.

Monday, March 09, 2009

An Instrument a Day

Experimental musician Ranjit Bhatnagar has been making an instrument a day for the month of February (as part of the Thing-a-day challenge) and you can read/see/hear about em on his blog. Some great stuff there! (including the disturbingly named 'Baby Shaker')

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Rashad Becker talks Mastering

Nice interview by Robert Henke (of Monolake) with Rashad Becker of Berlins 'Dubplates and Mastering' a vinyl cutting and mastering studio we've been lucky enough to visit. A wide range of topics are covered, from the technical and artistic considerations of mastering to the need for impartiality in mix/mastering engineers. Masterclass stuff.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

I know it's stupid!

It's an easter egg found on a HP ScanJet 5P. It's stupid but still kind of cool. The scanner uses a stepper motor so you can speed it up or slow it down to create pitch. There's another guy HERE trying to use stepper motors for expressly musical purposes. 

I found a bit more info on using stepper motors for music... not sure why I bothered but I just like seeing music coming from things that weren't specifically designed for music. "Unlike most other motors, a stepper motor's shaft doesn't rotate continuously; instead, it turns in small increments (steps). The stepping action makes it easy to rotate the shaft by a precise and repeatable amount, something that can be difficult with other types of motors. Many consumer electronics/computer products, like printers, scanners, and fax machines have stepper motors in them."

Maybe the laptop won't feel as lonely on stage anymore. You could bring along a few of his office buddies the printer, fax machine and scanner and really get that party started ;) 

Monday, March 02, 2009

Township Funk-remix stems

I came across these whilst browsing the new BleepBeta site...stems of individual elements from DJ Mujava's 'Township Funk' track that's been working up dancefloors lately. Offering parts of tracks in a kind of pick-n-re-mix bag has only been done commercially by a few artists so far Radiohead probably being the most high-profile. Never mind just downloading the track you like from an album, now you can download that _killer_ snare or drum groove!

One thing they don't mention (on the site anyway) is what the licensing is for these stems. What happens if you want to release your remix using these stems? Certainly in the case of the Radiohead stems this was not permitted, although many artists are ok with release under one of the Creative Commons licenses.

Is this an example of the digitally enabled, track vs. album culture taken to the extreme? Let's hear your comments...