Tag Archives: Technology

The Deflavorizing Machine

Stereophile has an article up about how Digital is killing music. (I see these like every week or so)

“A few engineers talked about superstar vocalists who record literally hundreds of takes of a single song, then leave it to the editors to assemble from these a single “perfect” performance, a fraction of a second at a time (footnote 1) Pardon my snark, but imagine how much better records by James Brown, the Beatles, or Led Zeppelin would have been had they had Pro Tools in the 1960s and ’70s. Sadly, it’s a tool that some artists can’t resist using to the point that there’s nothing left of the original performance.”

For me, I still think some of the best recordings are live. Michael Brecker is way better live. The Buddy Rich big band? Live is the only way to go. Thad Jones? Yep, live. Something about the sound, and maybe the mistakes or glitches that happen. Those are the things that make it better. Sinatra singing perfectly in tune? That would be better? Hardly. Or maybe Cannonball, Charlie Parker, or Coltrane having a flubbed note fixed? Or a squeak removed digitally? That would be better? Nope.

Heck, I think we have too many tools in the tool box nowadays. Using less EQ, Compression, AutoTuning would be the way to go. When I do my student CDs, I don’t auto tune it, I add minimal EQ, and a slight room reverb (since we are recording close mic’d). That’s it. Even though I have a TON of plugins, and could use Melodyne to fix the pitch. But every time I hear a new CD, usually smooth jazz but sometimes straight ahead, I hear way too much reverb and compression. Probably some auto-tuning in there as well. Pity really.

Double Slide Controller…..why?

“Developed by composer and researcher Tom├ís Henriques, the instrument mixes computer music software, sensor technologies and flexible hand/arm gestures to generate rich, complex sounds.” My question is why? So we can do more Zen type music? Why do all these “demos” of new controllers and stuff always have like an atmosphere drone? I would have been impressed if this guy busted out some changes and played a chorus or two of “Autumn Leaves” or something. But no, we get F-ing drone Zen music. Another Eigenharp type device. Whoohoo!

Misa Guitar

Ok, forget that Eigenharp Alpha. What Akai needs to do for the next EWI is something like the Misa Guitar.

Engadget describes it as “Essentially a MIDI controller, the Misa guitar has 24 frets and a large multifunctional touchscreen, which you can use to interface with the appropriate software on your pc.”

Ok, now someone get on putting a large, 10 inch by 2 or 3 inch touch screen on something you can blow into. That would be amazing I think.

MP3 Compression Explained

Found a very interesting article about how MP3 compression came about. It is, at times, rather techie, but very interesting none the less.

But what is MP3? The usual explanations usually take one of two forms. The long version, available in technical papers, is written in jargon and filled with math. The short version, often used by newspapers and nontechnical periodicals, simply states that the process eliminates parts of sound not normally heard by the human ear. But this one-sentence description raises more questions than it answers for any reasonably tech-savvy reader: how does it find those unheard sounds, and how does it get rid of them? What’s the difference between the different bit rates and quality levels? If you’re anything like me, you’ve often wanted to know the mechanics of MP3, but not to the point of writing your own encoder.

Gibson Launches Self Tuning Guitars

Engadget is reporting that Gibson has launched a line of self tuning guitars.

Gibson’s Powertune system has been in the works for quite awhile, and although there are other axes out there that claim to tune themselves, only a Gibson will do for some. Reportedly, the firm is readying a “new line of instruments” that are equipped with the system, which includes “an additional set of pickups mounted underneath the strings that are used specifically for the tuning process.”

Whoa. That is pretty neat stuff. Wonder if Steinway will do something like that with pianos….

PG Music JazzU

PG Music has a new product out, JazzU

JazzU offers all students of Jazz — players, teachers, arrangers, and Jazz lovers – an invaluable computer-based resource for the study of Jazz music with top instructors and players. JazzU faculty members are professionals whose credentials embrace both formal study and a wealth of experience as performers on the bandstand, the concert stage, and in the recording studio. For the student, JazzU offers the insights of top professional musicians and teachers who combine an appreciation of the rich Jazz tradition with the ability to play and teach in all styles and genres – Traditional, Dixieland, Swing, Bebop, Latin, Modern, Fusion, and beyond.

For $50, it sounds like a good deal. The only thing that it lacks, it seems, is a way to evaluate how you played them. Programs like Teach Me Piano do this, and they are brutal. But it is an effective way to get better.

Apple Logic Studio

Today, Apple announced it’s Logic Studio. Not only did they pack a ton of features into an already feature rich product, they dropped the price to $499. Amazing. There are new features such as mainstage, five Apple Jam Packs, more software instruments, and thousands of other sounds. Plus, you get Soundtrack 2, which is an excellent sound editor (at least that is what I hear from my Final Cut nerd friends).

I think I might have found where that $100 Apple Store credit is going now….Wonder what the next version of Digital Performer is going to do to match this….

UPDATE: 09/12/07 by E: A couple of other sites have some first impressions about Logic Studio.

Will post more links as I find them.

Interactive Video Tutorials

Sometimes, you need to get help with stuff. Mostly, it seems nowadays people need help with tech stuff. Finale, Sibelius, Protools, Digital Performer, etc. What if you could, for a small fee, have access to an expert guiding you through these and other programs? You can. HowAudio.Com offers a growing number of online tutorials. They have a woodwind section, a Protools section, a Digital Performer section, and more. There are some samples that you can view to get a taste of what the tutorials are like. $19.99 a month for all of the tutorials. Interesting stuff!

Yamaha’s Tenori

Yamaha has a new thing out, called the Tenori

Media artist Toshio Iwai and Yamaha have collaborated to design a new digital musical instrument for the 21st century, TENORI-ON. A 16×16 matrix of LED switches allows everyone to play music intuitively, creating a “visible music” interface.

Check out a video of it

Create Digital Music also has an article about it.