Acoustics on the Road: Phase Cancellation and Your Car Muffler

Two things most people don’t care to understand: physics and how the heck your car works. But you’re different. Why, you probably already know that phase cancellation occurs when a sound source is delayed slightly (by a real-world reflection, or in recording and mixing), so that two coherent waveforms of opposite phase are superimposes and cancel each other out. (Er, in plain english: one wave’s crests cancel out the other’s troughs and vice versa.) Now, did you know this principle is what keeps your car’s exhaust from making a racket? How Mufflers Work [Howstuffworks] Basically, the muffler is a chamber …

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Rope and Sound: Tensegrity as Musical Instrument [Updated]

Rope and Sound is an installation that uses rope tension to control sound. Pull on a cord, and the change in tension triggers electronic thuds and mellow chimes. The trick is conductive fibers braided into the rope; as the tension changes, the conduction of the rope changes, as well. I got a chance to try out the installation at New York’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. The show is up through October 30 and well worth a visit if you’re passing through town. The installation is beautiful and the concept brilliant, but the sound aspect was somewhat disappointing. The sounds themselves …

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Before Radar: Acoustic Locators

Before the invention of radar, you'd need a large dish or horn to track sounds of your enemy. "Acoustic radar" (aka "acoustic locators" or "sound mirrors") captured sound via large dishes or walls, or steerable horns not unlike the cones on early record players. Douglas Self has a reference guide to this curious technology with links as part of his Museum of Retro Technology. (via near near future) Check out the fluidic gramophones, too! I know what you're thinking: could you sample the sounds captured by such a dish? I leave it up to our UK readers to head over …

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Build Your Own Neuron Patches

Hartmann is making its MODELmaker software free to software Neuron VS users, so they can take their own samples and convert them to Hartmann's fascinating Neuron format. Huh? What? What did that just say? Erm? Imagine a synth package that uses new adaptive algorithms to create new sonic morphing possibiltiies, and you're beginning to scratch the surface — Hartmann's Neuron package does that, and now instead of being limited to preset samples you can add your own. See their site for more. CDM is working on a review as part of our soon-to-be-launched Reviews section. If we can devote enough …

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MetaSynth 4 Arrives (OS X)

At long last, one of the most beloved and unusual Mac sound creation applications has made it to OS X, with vastly expanded features. The brainchild of Bryce creator Eric Wenger, the first version of U&I Software's MetaSynth was popular with the likes of Aphex Twin for its far-out, one-of-a-kind sound production and the ability to generate audio by painting or importing pictures. This builds on that tradition: Completely new Image Synth architecture for creating sounds from images with new signal sources and plenty of other changes Image Filter 'room' that takes all the features of Image Synth and applies …

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