I tried this test once, took a lunch break, came back and tried again. Totally different results. Mainly, it taught me that I mostly don't want to listen to this music, and The Killers are a victim of the Loudness Wars.

This is the Only Thing You Need to Know About “Hifi” Tidal Streaming

So, in case you haven’t heard yet, there’s a new “hifi” streaming service called Tidal. Don’t waste your time watching the weird press event with Madonna and Daft Punk, congratulating themselves like they’re at the Grammies. Don’t let yourself be mesmerized by the desaturated music video in which Jay Z’s friends all get together to drink champagne and talk about “making a stand.” Don’t worry about the European startup that made the tech, or sweat the pricing. Don’t even hand over your credit card in order to start a free trial. No, the only thing you need to do is …

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digitalwaveform

Last Chance to Help Moog Foundation Teach Art of Sound Science in Schools; Why it Matters

Science and art, physics and music, come together and come alive in one place. You know where. Photo (CC-BY) Mikael Altemark. We’re here today not just because people like synths, or electronic music, or even music itself, but because the advancement of technology depends on kids learning about science and math. That was certainly the history of Bob Moog himself. What he got as a student opened up the doors to the knowledge and interests that gave the world Moog synthesizers. Dr. Moog himself long credited his education – as a youngster at Bronx High School of Science in New …

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Fun with Waves, As Videos Reveal Guitar String Movement – and iPhone Shutters

At bottom, a strobe and high-speed camera accurately represent the way in which a string is moving. At top, a video taken with an iPhone camera distorts your sense of how the string is moving by capturing instead images of standing waves, caused by the rolling shutter on the device. The video isn’t wrong – it’s just showing you beautiful visualizations of standing waves that make visible how the shutter works on the camera more than they do how the guitar works. Full disclosure: I love waves. Analog, digital, acoustic, we’re talking vibrations in sound (and other substances, as well …

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paperrecordplayer

A Record Player Made from Paper, as the FlexiDisc Lives; Thanks Be to Pythagoras

It’s not in any way digital – we’re in paper and needle territory – but clever design transforms packaging and notecard into playable music device. Create Transducer Music, anyone? Designer Kelli Anderson concocted a novel approach to the wedding invitation for her friends Karen and Mike: turn the paper invite into a playable sound device. The couple even made and recorded their own song for the occasion. (The story of the individuals is worth mentioning – Karen advocates for the rights of makers and coders and Mike is a Grammy-nominated engineer.) The device itself plays music without electricity or circuits. …

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ua8

Modeling Analog in a Digital Age: A Conversation with Universal Audio’s Chief Scientist; Gallery

A vintage Studer tape machine lies in the workshop of Universal Audio. How do you translate that analog logic to digital form? And what does it tell us about what analog technology (or recording in general) means? Let’s ask a scientist. Behind the scenes photos courtesy Marsha Vdovin. Comfort and creativity – the mystery of what makes certain vintage gear so appealing remains. There are few people closer to the meeting place of digital and analog, reason and sentiment, than Dr. David Berners. He’s the chief scientist for Universal Audio, responsible for modeling in digital software form the characteristics of …

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Your Hearing, According to MP3: Sounds for Humans, Played for 10^450 Years

The miracle of human hearing goes well beyond audiophile snobbery over “high fidelity,” or the machinations of sometimes-arbitrary, designed-by-committee industry specifications. But, in the context of my rant about perceived myths in audio, what can we hear, really? And how much perceptible sound can you squeeze into an MP3? For his master’s thesis at the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Kyle McDonald investigated the deeper, existential issues behind common digital audio specifications. The question: what if you could play every single distinguishable sound that the MP3 specification can accommodate? (For the technically minded, that means …

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NPR Piece: Global Warming Makes the Ocean Louder

A really striking piece in NPR today, via Gina Blaber’s Twitter (thanks, Tim O’Reilly): Humans Turning Up Volume In Oceans [NPR “Science Out of the Box”] A new report shows the way in which sound travels through the ocean has been impacted by global warming. A growing community of artists are working in media like sound to address environmental challenges. But it seems the planet is making some “sound art” of its own. Curious to hear what people think of the report.

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Serious iPhone and iPod Touch Apps: Real-Time Signal Generation and Analysis, DMX

Amidst some of the gimmicky options, some serious tools are making their way to Apple’s mobile platform. Case in point: Faber Acoustical, a developer of audio analysis and acoustical tools for the Mac, has new iPhone apps for generating and analyzing signals. SignalScope is a real-time spectrum analyzer and oscilloscope. Interestingly, it’s not just for sound – you can even analyze signal from the built-in accelerometer. That should make this a prized educational tool. You can zoom in and pan analysis displays with multi-touch gestures and save images to the iPhone photo album. US$24.99. SignalSuite is a signal generator with …

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The Joys of Synthesis, with Suzanne Ciani and 3-2-1 Contact

Matrixsynth points to this gem, from the US educational kids’ program 3-2-1 Contact, produced by Children’s Television Workshop. (I can’t think of any science programs today for young people quite like it, sadly. Ordinarily I’d hold off for Matrix’s wonderful Week in Synths, but I just can’t wait on this one. Good Sunday evening watching.) Suzanne Ciani, the synthesis pioneer, multi-Grammy nominee, and composer of everything from New Age music to classic 70s jingles and sound effects (including the distinctive synthesized Coke-unbottling sound), explains the fundamentals of acoustics and synthesis in terms children could understand: A Prophet figures prominently, but …

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