Category Archives: Audio Technology News

Star Trek Vs Gravity Sound Design

While doing a bit of research for my report assignment on sound design, I stumbled upon how the sound design department is required to make choices either of artistic or scientific nature. This is often a dilemma in Sci-Fi films, where entire scenes are being supposingly shot in space. Space is Vacuum. Empty. No air, no nothing. Sound waves its impossible to travel without that mean. So,

NO SOUND IN SPACE!

Then, how come all those movies have laser blasts, explosions, spaceship noise audible on them? That’s because the artistic nature supersedes the scientific. It just sounds better and some times more realistic than reality itself!


The Sound of “Star Trek”

The “Star Trek” sound team including Supervising Sound Editor Mark Stoeckinger, Supervising Sound Editor Alan Rankin, Sound Designer Scott Gershin, Sound Designer Ann Scibelli, and Sound Designer Tim Walston talk about the approach and sound design behind the eleventh film based on the Star Trek franchise directed by J.J. Abrams.


How the sound masters of “Gravity” broke the rules to make noise in a vacuum

Sound designer Glenn Freemantle and re-recording mixer Skip Lievsay reveal the film’s sonic secrets. A film in which the audience would hear sound effects the same way the characters did. In space there’s no air to transmit vibrations, so that means total silence — unless you’re touching something and your body itself serves as the conduit.

Glenn Freemantle: It was at that point that we decided to do the sound design from the perspective of touch through vibration, and contact, in the whole film. Right from the beginning. We did that type of thing that you see right on that first little temp mix. Obviously we went and elaborated, and we shot loads and loads of stuff and you know, tried to refine the whole thing, but that was the beginning of the concept.

Source: theverge.com, vimeo, slate.comsoundworkscollection.com

Multitracks for Practice

New to the audio Industry? Want to create a showreel? Got all your new shiny software and really want to get your hands on it but you have no tracks? You were hopping to use your recordings to create a portfolio and realised they are just horrible?

Well, here are some very helpful links with access to a wide variety of multitracks!

Improve your skills gaining experience mixing.

  1. The Mix Academy (plus monthly videos, tutorials, community & more)
  2. Dueling Mixes (plus monthly tutorials, webinars & more)
  3. Cambridge MT (huge archive)
  4. Mix Notes (bundle of six genres)

#KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED FOR DESKTOP #VINYL CUTTER

2014 has been an incredible year for vinyl. Sales in the UK are at an 18-year high, vinyl-only boutique labels are popping up everywhere, and now we have the Desktop Record Cutter (DRC) poised to hit the market, allowing users to cut high quality vinyl at home for a relatively affordable price.

The DRC allows users to press their music onto wax in a matter of minutes utilizing what the company calls a ‘turn-key’ stereo cutting technology. Created by Australian inventor Paul Butler Tayar and his Machina Pro team, they are trying to raise a mere $10,000 AUS in order to expand the infrastructure of the project, create more machines and drive the price down from it’s current sum of $6,500 AUS per unit.

“The goal amount reached will dictate pricing,” notes Tayar on their Kickstarter page. “This is the most exciting part to us, if we all get involved, we can make the DRC more attainable for everybody.”

While Vestax threw their hat into the ring years ago with the VRX-2000, a machine that was loved by some but came with a hostile price tag, the DRC could make the splash that its predecessor failed to. With vinyl being where it is today, the obvious market is up-and-coming, small distribution imprints looking to keep their production in-house, and wealthy DJs with an insatiable white label fetish.

For more information on the specific workings of the machine visit the Kickstarter page.

[Image: DRC]
Source: http://mixmag.net/words/news/kickstarter-campaign-launched-for-desktop-vinyl-cutter

UK annual vinyl sales hit 1m for first time since 1996

UK annual vinyl sales hit 1m for first time since 1996

Vinyl sales in the UK have passed the one million mark for the first time in almost two decades, the Official Charts Company has confirmed.

Last year’s total was 780,674, and with the main Christmas shopping period still to come, this year’s figure could rise to 1.2m by the end of December.

Sales last peaked over the million mark back in 1996.

Vinyl sales in the UK have passed the one million mark for the first time in almost two decades, the Official Charts Company has confirmed.

Last year’s total was 780,674, and with the main Christmas shopping period still to come, this year’s figure could rise to 1.2m by the end of December.

Sales last peaked over the million mark back in 1996.

“We have entered an exciting best-of-all-worlds era where there is space and scope for all kinds of music to be discovered and enjoyed in every type of way, including on vinyl once again,” said BPI’s Gennaro Castaldo. “Many of us assumed it had become an obsolete format, but while the flame may have flickered, it never quite went out, and we are now seeing a burgeoning resurgence in demand led by exciting new acts such as Royal Blood that is likely to keep vinyl on our high streets for many more years to come.”

Official Charts chief executive, Martin Talbot, added: “In scoring the biggest opening week for a vinyl album this millennium, Pink Floyd’s The Endless River illustrates the British public’s renewed love for this format, which is on course to become a £20million business this year – an incredible turnaround from barely £3m just five years ago. This resurgence also underlines music fans’ continuing fascination with the album.”

Compared to the ten per cent share of the music market accounted for by audio streaming, vinyl’s increased sales still show the sector as relatively niche, with a share of just two per cent.

Topping the 2014 year-to-date chart are Arctic Monkeys with their fifth Number 1 studio album, AM (pictured), followed by Jack White, with Lazaretto, at 2.

Pink Floyd’s The Endless River sold over 6,000 vinyl copies in its first week on sale, making in the fastest-selling vinyl album of the century so far, and the third best-selling vinyl of the year to date.

Royal Blood’s self-titled debut, which in August became the fastest-selling rock debut in three years, is at 4, followed by Oasis – the only act to appear in the 1996, 2014 and current Top 10 best-sellers – with Definitely Maybe, at 5.

by Adam Savage

Original Source: http://www.audioprointernational.com/news/read/uk-annual-vinyl-sales-hit-1m-for-first-time-since-1997/07695

How speakers make sound

An A M A Z I N G representation of how speakers emit sound. Usually “audio people” are aware of  the functionality of loudspeakers but the rest of the world doesn’t care as long it works. The truth is, very few manage to have a look inside a speaker, and as most are non transparent, they are just a box that plays music.

Speakers (also called loudspeakers) push and pull surrounding air molecules in waves that the human ear interprets as sound. You could even say that hearing is movement detection. So what makes a speaker travel back and forth at just the right rate and distance, and how does that make sound?

View the full animation on: http://animagraffs.com/loudspeaker/

Creation by: Jacob O’Neal

Vinyl and Stylus at 1000 x Magnification

Here’s a neat image of a record and a stylus at 1000x magnification. It’s pretty incredible to see the etched grooves on the record up close and how they interact with the needle. I’ve always known how record players worked, but seeing the process magnified like this is way cool.

The photos come from Microscopic Images on Twitter.

Below, a record being played under a microscope:


Via Kottke

Source:
Posted by Tara McGinley on http://dangerousminds.net/

Does Bitrate Really Make a Difference In My Music?

This is an article by Whitson Gordon I read the other day on LifeHacker. Contains some really useful information about audio quality. Worth a view.

Q: Dear Lifehacker,
I hear a lot of arguing about “lossless” and “lossy” music these days, but I’m having a hard time getting straight answers. Does bitrate really matter? Can most people tell the difference between high and low bitrate music files?

A: We understand your frustration. While you may have some idea about what bitrate is, the “can audiophiles really tell the difference” argument has raged on for quite some time, and it’s hard to get people to drop their egos and actually explain what these things mean and whether they really matter. Here’s a bit of information on bitrate and how it applies to our practical music listening experience.

What Is Bitrate?

You’ve probably heard the term “bitrate” before, and you probably have a general idea of what it means, but just as a refresher, it’s probably a good idea to get acquainted with its official definition so you know how all this stuff works. Bitrate refers to the number of bits—or the amount of data—that are processed over a certain amount of time. In audio, this usually means kilobits per second. For example, the music you buy on iTunes is 256 kilobits per second, meaning there are 256 kilobits of data stored in every second of a song.

Does Bitrate Really Make a Difference In My Music?

The higher the bitrate of a track, the more space it will take up on your computer. Generally, an audio CD will actually take up quite a bit of space, which is why it’s become common practice to compress those files down so you can fit more on your hard drive (or iPod, or Dropbox, or whatever). It is here where the argument over “lossless” and “lossy” audio comes in.

Lossless and Lossy Formats

When we say “lossless”, we mean that we haven’t really altered the original file. That is, we’ve ripped a track from a CD to our hard drive, but haven’t compressed it to the point where we’ve lost any data. It is, for all intents and purposes, the same as the original CD track.

More often than not, however, you probably rip your music as “lossy”. That is, you’ve taken a CD, ripped it to your hard drive, and compressed the tracks down so they don’t take up as much space. A typical MP3 or AAC album probably takes up 100MB or so. That same album in lossless format, though—such as FLAC or ALAC (also known as Apple Lossless) would take up closer to 300MB, so it’s become common practice to use lossy formats for faster downloading and more hard drive savings.

The problem is that when you compress a file to save space, you’re deleting chunks of data. Just like when you take a PNG screenshot of your computer screen, and compress it to a JPEG, your computer is taking the original data and “cheating” on certain parts of the image, making it mostly the same but with some loss of clarity and quality. Take the two images below as an example: the one on the right has clearly been compressed, and it’s quality has diminished as a result. (You’ll probably want to expand the image for a closer look to see the differences—look at the fox’s ears and nose).

Does Bitrate Really Make a Difference In My Music?

Remember, of course, that you’re still reaping the benefits of hard drive space with lossy music (which can make a big difference on a 32 GB iPhone), it’s just the tradeoff you make. There are different levels of lossiness, as well: 128kbps, for example, takes up very little space, but will also be lower quality than a larger 320kbps file, which is lower quality than an even larger 1,411 kbps file (which is considered lossless). However, there’s a lot of argument as to whether most people can even hear the difference between different bitrates.

Does It Really Matter?

Since storage has become so cheap, listening to higher-bitrate audio is starting to become a more popular (and practical) practice. But is it worth the time, effort, and space? I always hate answering questions this way, but unfortunately the answer is: it depends.

Does Bitrate Really Make a Difference In My Music?

Part of the equation is the gear you use. If you’re using a quality pair of headphonesor speakers, you’re privy to a large range of sound. As such, you’re more likely to notice certain imperfections that come with compressing music into lower bitrate files. You may notice that a certain level of detail is missing in low-quality MP3s; subtle background tracks might be more difficult to hear, the highs and lows won’t be as dynamic, or you might just plain hear a bit of distortion. In these cases, you might want to get a higher bitrate track.

If you’re listening to your music with a pair of crappy earbuds on your iPod, however, you probably aren’t going to notice a difference between a 128 kbps file and a 320 kbps file, let alone a 320 kbps file and a lossless 1,411 kbps file. Remember when I showed you the image a few paragraphs up, and noted that you probably had to enlarge it to see the imperfections? Your earbuds are like the shrunken-down version of the image: they’re going to make those imperfections harder to notice, since they won’t put out as big a range of sound.

The other part of the equation, of course, is your own ears. Some people may just not care enough, or may just not have the more attuned listening skills to tell the difference between two different bitrates. This is something you can develop over time, of course, but if you haven’t yet, then it doesn’t particularly matter what bitrate you use, does it? As with all things, go with what works best for you.

So how high of a bitrate should you use? Is 320kbps okay, or do you need to go lossless? The fact of the matter is that it’s very difficult to hear the difference between a lossless file and a 320kbps MP3 (though you can run this test to find out if you can hear the difference). You’d need some serious high-end gear, a very trained ear, and a certain type of music (like classical or jazz) to hear the difference. For the vast majority of people, 320kbps is more than adequate for listening. You don’t need to pain yourself with finding lossless copies of all your favorite songs. Photo by Marcin Wichary.

Other Things to Consider

Does Bitrate Really Make a Difference In My Music?

All that said, lossless file types do have their place. Lossless files are more futureproof, in the sense that you can always compress music down to a lossier format, but you can’t take lossy files back to lossless unless you re-rip the CD entirely. This is, again, one of the fundamental issues with online music stores: if you’ve built up a huge library of iTunes music and one day decide that you’d like it in a higher bitrate, you’ll have to buy it again, this time in CD form. You can’t just put data back where it’s been deleted. When possible, I always buy or rip in lossless just for backup purposes, but I’m a little overly obsessive—MP3 is a great standard, and it isn’t likely to change anytime soon, so unless you plan on converting your music at a later date, you’re probably fine just ripping or buying in MP3 format. Photo by Charlotte L.

All of this is merely scratching the surface of the audiophile’s challenge. There is of course a lot more to talk about, like variable bitrate and coding efficiency, but this should provide a simple introduction for the uninitiated. As I said before, it all depends on you, your hearing, and the gear you have at your disposal, so give it a shot. Compare two tracks side by side, try out some different audio formats for awhile, and see what it does for you. At the worst, you’ve spent a few hours listening to some of your favorite music—and isn’t that what this is all about anyway? Enjoy it!

Sincerely,
Lifehacker

P.S. Many of you undoubtedly have your own views on the subject, whether you’re a bitrate-hungry audiophile or if you belong to the “if I can hear it, it works for me” philosophy. Share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comments.

Originally found in: http://bit.ly/1pg4Zg6

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