discrete music


Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Free VST Plug-ins from MDA

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I was just playing around in Live with the MDA VST plug-ins (also available as AUs):

MDA VST Plug-ins

So far I’m impressed; they sound pretty decent.


Written by jeffvautin

2009.11.13 at 9:00 am

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127th AES Convention

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AES127So it’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to post here, but I just got back from a weekend of AES and I need to report on the happenings.

I made it down Thursday night and stayed until the end of the program on Monday: four long days at the convention and a great time catching up with friends both living in New York and visiting for the show.

If you haven’t been to an AES convention, they’re broken up into two distinct parts: a trade show, with equipment designers and manufacturers showing off their new products, and a technical session, where industry professionals and research can share their recent work.  Usually you can cover the trade show in a day, though this year it took a lot less time.  Through some combination of the economy and industry politics many manufacturers did not attend; I think the most conspicuous absence was Digidesign, since they usually have a huge booth with half hourly product demos.  For me the highlights here included the Shure booth, where I got to check out their new ribbon mics and visit with old colleagues, and the Grace Design booth, where they were showing off their new 500-series preamps.

The technical program was a little quieter than usually, but much more lively than the exhibit floor.  Some of my personal highlights were the Max for Live presentation, the Headphone and Earphone Measurement Tutorial, David Berner’s presentation on emulation of analog hardware in DSP, and a number of papers I had a chance to catch.

I’m planning to write a bit about some of the presentations I saw, so stay posted.  Also, hopefully this will be the beginning of a more regular posting schedule.

Written by jeffvautin

2009.10.16 at 9:00 am


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I just stumbled onto this site the other day.  PS3SACD.com is a guide to the models of PS3 that support SACD playback, their availability, catalog, and mods to improve the audio quality.

Interestingly, none of the mods are circuit based.  They all have to do mechanical modifications, which will affect the resonance modes of the disc.  This improves laser tracking, but what if skipping isn’t an issue?  What sort of improvements will you hear?  I raised this question a while back, while discussing BluSpec discs.  It’s looking like I’ll need to dig into it a bit.

Written by jeffvautin

2009.07.17 at 6:00 pm

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2009 Art of Record Production Conference

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The 2009 Art of Record Production Conference is happening November 13-15… at the University of Glamorgan, Cardiff, S. Wales.  While that may be a bit of a trip, it sounds like it’s going to be a great conference.  Pete Waterman, of Rick Astley and Kylie Minogue production fame, has been confirmed as the keynote speaker.

The 2008 conference was held in my backyard, Lowell, MA.  It was a fantastic opportunity to make some new connections and get some new ideas: the perfect way to spend a weekend.

Art of Record Production

Written by jeffvautin

2009.07.10 at 3:00 pm

Play Track by Track

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PlayRolling Stone published an interview with Moby today about the tenth anniversary of Play.  It’s an interesting read, but it’s more emotional than technical, unlike the Clarity Track by Track analysis I linked to recently.

Highlights: Moby’s least favorite tracks are my favorites, and he explains the reason for two mixes of South Side.

“Play” 10 Years Later: Moby’s Track by Track Guide to 1999’s Global Smash

Written by jeffvautin

2009.07.03 at 8:00 pm

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Clarity Track by Track

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Clarity Live

Clarity Live

One of my favorite records, by far, is Jimmy Eat World’s Clarity.  I know every note, from the organ and snare drum opening of Table for Glasses to the last loop in the perfectly evolved Goodbye Sky Harbor.  I was able to get tickets to see them on the Clarity X10 tour at the House of Blues in Boston, and I’m glad they’re releasing a live album from the tour.

I was poking around on their website the other day and fell into a gem: a track-by-track set of notes and comments by Jim Adkins (guitars, vocals) and Zach Lind (drums).  Among the highlights are the inspiration from Low for the opening, the drum machine magic in 12.23.95, and the epic drum production of Goodbye Sky Harbor (two tape loops, one speeding and one slowing!).

Clarity Track by Track

Journal of the AES – May 2009

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The May AES Journal just dropped, and there are a few articles that look intriguing.  The first is a measure of objective speech intelligibility that will work with perceptual coding algorithms – definitely something needed since STI fails with perceptual coders.  They recommend some amendments to the ITU standard to handle the perceptual encoders.

There’s an article discussing the optimum bandwidth for AM and FM broadcasting.  For speech and classical music listeners preferred lower bandwidths of 5-7KHz – it seems that the lower bandwidth reduces noise from nearby channels.  For listening to ‘highly compressed’ music, like rock, most listeners could not tell the difference between 7 KHz of bandwidth and 10 KHz of bandwidth… interesting.  I’ve been observing the same thing recently: many people just don’t pay attention to the content above 8 KHz.  It’s a shame – I think that’s my favorite part.

For loudspeaker designers there’s an article about the impact of heating in the voice coil of speakers, and the impact it has on sound level and damping.  The result, as expected, is compression of the output, but the frequency response was also impacted by the damping changes.

Journal of the AES – May 2009

The 127th AES Convention is going down October 9-12, 2009, back in Javits Convention Center in NY!

Written by jeffvautin

2009.06.19 at 4:00 pm