Science v’s music: Nigel Stanford

The disciplines of science and audio come hand in hand within my daily MSc life and as most academics know demonstrating many audio processes as a practical example, i.e. displacement, decay and other general wave behaviours can be difficult. So when I came across Nigel Stanford’s Cymantics: Science Vs music, I became engrossed! Not only the visual uses of sound representation, but its aesthetic application, teachers’ pay attention, this is a fantastic and factual way to encourage the next generation into the wonderful world of audio.


Constructive and Destructive Interference Pt.1

This week while editing a drum track on Protools, I decided to import some previously recording kick-drum samples to add a bit more ‘punch’ to my audio.

This procedure sounds simple enough, as many of you know importing audio isn’t exactly ‘Maxwell’s theory’, but its how you manage your new audio that can lead to some trick and sometimes-surprising turn of events. The result of this unusual occurrence with adding numerous sound waves together is called Interference, and it can be split into two categories:

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“I had rather attempt something great and fail, than to attempt nothing at all and succeed” – Spreadable No.2

My second attempt at a spreadable artefact is another video: Black Friday 2014, Downfall Parody.  Using the Jonah Berger’s exhibit of ‘STEPPS’, I have concentrated on Triggers, Public and Social currency as elements to prompt audience participation and distribution. These elements are purposely atypical of the first video, to distinguish how a serious film is contemplated in comparison to a humorous work.

Take a look at the short film, see what you think, and by all means, feel free to share it 😉

Here is a break-down of the ‘STEPPS’ I have chosen and why: Continue reading

Spreadable media: ‘little steps, big achievements’

I have recently addressed the topic of spreadable media in reference to a couple of projects I’m currently working on, so it’s about time I divulged into the topic further.

The concept of spreadable media is habitually a misunderstood concept; mainly due to modern marketing and commercial distribution in an every expanding digital world. The key factor to spreadable media is circulation; which is an aspect predominantly due to audience perception and participation. This can’t be forced upon audiences, with excessive distribution; it has to encompass key elements that cause people to share, consequently giving audiences influence of the publication itself.

This is concept has become a major contribution in modern-day marketing and using specific ‘steps’ both businesses and social media enthusiast can enhance media circulation. Jonah Berger, the author of ‘contagious: why things catch on’ demonstrates clear principles that drive media to spread using the human aspects of marketing:

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Spreadable media- Monty and friends

A project I’m currently involved in is spreadable media, were I have to create several artifacts that could possibly spread over the Internet.

My first attempt is a realistic view at Antarctic wildlife and the cruel nature of hunting. To expose this video I decided to play on the exposure of the recent ‘Monty the penguin’ John Lewis advert; which is currently trending world wide on youtube and over UK terrestrial television. Although this isn’t a parody of the advert, it uses similar, key features, such as the use of penguins and song to prompt a comparison from the advert to reality; hopefully leading to further exposure of a genuine issue.

Throughout the next few weeks I will analyze the videos progress, but counting its view on youtube and tweets or re-tweets on twitter.

Why not take a look:

Tips from the experts: An afternoon with David Hamilton-Smith

This week I was extremely fortunate to be in the company of David Hamilton-Smith; renowned recording engineer, dubbing mixer, sound supervisor, producer and manager. If that wasn’t impressive enough; my colleges and I got a chance to hear him share his experiences from his time working at Olympic Studios with the likes of The Rolling stones, The Eagles, The Who, Eric Clapton, Sir Paul McCartney and many other greats. From Live music recording to television and film post production, David has done it all, and has many comical stories alongside his progression in the business.

In addition to these wonderful tales, David was kind enough to pass on some very simple, yet highly significant advice which I feel honoured to pass on to those studying or looking to study sound at a professional level: Continue reading

Loudness war: The ’death magnet’ of modern music

With modern day music manufacture, being an ever so competitive pursuit, the idea of mastering a track ‘louder’ in the hope of supplementing further stimulus, or shall we say ‘pleasure’, to the listener is a subject many producers deliberate . The habitual question smeared all over the internet between audio enthusiasts will always remain the same, for now at least: Is music getting louder?

The short answer is yes, the ‘loudness war’ is a well-known occurrence between major labels, were tracks are excessively compressed with levels increased to give a perceived attribute of ‘pop’, ‘high energy levels’ and ‘excitement’. A recognised example of this was Metallica’s 2008 Death Magnet Album release; causing uproar of criticism from both audio professionals and fans over its distorted and ‘noisy’ manner. Furthermore, it has even been discussed that the ‘Guitar hero’ version is significantly quieter than its CD counterpart, and when the levels where matched the game version was ‘cleaner’. Continue reading

Compression: a simple take on a missunderstood practice

I have recently been spending time in analogue and digital studios working on post production for a rather unusual animation. This is only my second endeavour in live studio recording, with the first being a rock band a few years ago. Although the projects are completely different, many of the same principles apply and compression is defiantly one of them.

Compression is the process of reducing the dynamic range of an audio signal, by lowering the loudest parts of signal and boosting the quietest. This is usually done for correctional reasons, but in some cases experimental. Although compression is almost necessary in most mixdowns, the best way to moderate its use to make sure recoding techniques are executed to a high standard. Sometimes this isn’t always accomplishable as not everyone has unlimited studio use, expensive mics and artists with lengthy studio experience, so developing a understanding for compression practises can define a ‘tight’ track from a ‘noisy’ one.

So let’s look at the five parameters of compression: Continue reading

Signal Pathways: “The Journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”- Lao Tzu

This week I’ve been trying to get my head around signal pathways; an essential, transferable skill for those working in the Audio/video industry. Whether one is working on a MIDI interface, synchronising Video and audio, or working in a studio; knowing where our signal is going and what is happening to it is paramount.

Before I get knee deep in type’s digital or anologue signal to be sending from one machine to another I thought it would be nice to know a basic outline of what is happening in a simple analog studio setup. When we want to record vocals and add that little touch of reverb we need to know where to send the signal and where to send its effected return, therefore knowing the fundamentals can make mastering that track as easy as Pi.simple

Once we have a basic outlook at how signals are sent and returned, they can be used to our advantage.