OK, maybe the name of the contest, "The Audiophillie Music Awards for Excellence in Recorded Sound" is a little intimidating. If that's what's holding you back, rest easy; record some tunes from an unsigned band, or your uncle playing Grateful Dead tunes on a banjo and you could win. A recording of a tuba playing "Smells Like Teen Spirit" might be a contender.
Sound bar speakers generally only appeal to a small portion of home audio buyers. If you've got a large budget, minimalist ethos, appreciate sound quality--but not enough to insist on a pair of standalone speakers--a sound bar speaker fits your niche.
The KEF HTF8003 doesn't offer anything radically different from the competing models available, with a long tubelike design and glossy black finish. Its sound quality with movies was among the best we've heard on sound bars (although it doesn't do any virtual surround effects), but music fans will want something more substantial.
As usual with … Read more
Those awful glasses may doom 3D TV.
What with all the advances in technology they still haven't eliminated the glasses people have been using to watch 3D movies since the 1920s. "Avatar" and "Alice in Wonderland" may use vastly more refined 3D techniques, but the glasses remain. Some people get headaches, dizzy, or even nauseated watching 3D. There are exceptions, but most 3D films haven't matured past the gimmick stage.
No matter how you look at it, 3D TV is an expensive proposition. You'll need to buy a new Blu-ray player, new TV, and possibly a new receiver. Oh, and don't forget to factor in the cost for extra 3D glasses for family and friends.
Worse yet, after you've made the substantial investment in new hardware there's not a lot of 3D content to buy or see. Put those bucks in better-sounding speakers, and you'll have a vast assortment of choices to dazzle your ears right away. Surround sound may be imperfect, but you can hear it with just your own two ears; no special "ear goggles" are required.
So instead of investing in 3D TV, take those dollars and buy better speakers or a new receiver. That's an improvement you hear with every movie you watch and music you listen to. It's simply a smarter way to spend your money.
What is 3D sound? True 3D sound would involve height, width, and depth speakers. Stereo sound produces width, and surround speakers produce depth. What about height? My experiences with the only available height systems--Dolby Pro Logic IIz and Audyssey DSX--didn't do much for me, but I'm not giving up on the height dimension entirely. Pro Logic IIz and Audyssey DSX were designed to work with any surround movie. Maybe we'll have to wait for movies mixed to provide genuine height information to get three-dimensional sound.… Read more
There are two Oscar categories for best sound: best sound editing and best sound mixing. The sound editor designs and pre-plans the sound for the film. If it's a special-effects movie like "Avatar," the sound editor supervises the crew charged with creating the film's soundscape, including all of the sound effects.
Sound editors and mixers are the Rodney Dangerfields of the film biz; they don't get any respect. Look for their names at the very end of the credits, way, way down there with the caterers, hair stylists, and dog wranglers. Yet their mission is near impossible: create a seamless soundtrack that is, in fact, constructed from thousands of sonic fragments.
It's a colossal multichannel jigsaw puzzle, except a lot of the pieces don't fit. It's the mixers' soundtrack machinations that thrust the audience into the reality of the film they're experiencing--the subterfuge totally works--most viewers believe they're watching a literal record of what the camera "saw" and what the microphones "heard." Depending on the type of movie you're watching, most, sometimes 90 percent of the sound was recorded after the film was shot.
The mixers typically work on 15- to 20-second sections of a film, running the sequence over and over, constantly tweaking the balances. They might get hung up on a single music cue for 2 hours. Movies still run at 24 frames per second, and each frame of picture might have hundreds of sound elements. There are background tracks (traffic, wind noise, etc), specific effects tracks (gun shots, birds chirping, etc), foreground dialogue tracks, background dialog (for crowd scenes), plus lots and lots of music tracks.
Music mixing always requires finesse, moving the music in relationship to the picture as little as two frames can completely shift its impact on the scene. Moving a bar here, a downbeat there--it's all about how the music blends with the effects and dialogue--it's easy to lose it. Changes in the music's equalization, balance, and volume can change from picture cut to cut.
Mixing a film is a highly technical endeavor, but at the end of the day, it's not a nuts-and-bolts medium, the film has to feel right. Picture editing dictates the internal rhythms, but sound pushes the film; it has all the little engines that make things happen. It's what gets you caught up in the emotions of the story.… Read more
Apple has released a small update to their Pro application support, which addresses problems with memory leaks, odd scrolling behavior, and misplaced interface element.… Read more
Mario & Friends Lite is a soundboard app--that is, a sound-effects player--featuring over a dozen sounds from popular, old-school Nintendo games like Super Mario and Legend of Zelda. Unfortunately, the App Store currently lists this app under Games, not Entertainment. Make no mistake: it is not a game.
This is the Lite version of the full Mario & Friends app (which has more than 60 sounds), so you get just a handful of sounds, some just a second or two long. Examples include fun, iconic effects like Street Fighter's classic "Hadouken!" or the bouncy Mario 1UP trill.… Read more
MixVibes' Digital Vinyl System is a mobile and studio DJ mixing software package that enables you to control digital music files with a turntable or CD deck, or both, with or without specially time-coded CDs or vinyl records. To take full advantage of the DVS's unique capabilities users need the special discs as well as an audio interface with two inputs and two outputs, such as an internal or external sound card, audio interface, or MIDI controller with a USB, PCI, or FireWire connection to your PC. But even without its special features in play, it's a good … Read more
This show is about one of the categories for the Academy Awards: visual effects. This year, there are three films up for awards in the visual effects category: Avatar, Star Trek, and District 9. We're going to be talking with Russell Earl of Industrial Light & Magic. Russell was co-visual effects supervisor for one of those films, Star Trek, and also worked on Transformers, Pearl Harbor, Pirates of the Caribbean, and two of the Star Wars movies.
Also joining us is CNET writer Daniel Terdiman, who covers digital media, culture, and gaming for the Geek Gestalt blog on CNET.Subscribe with iTunes (audio) Subscribe with iTunes (video) Subscribe with RSS (audio) Subscribe with RSS (video)
Show notes and talking points… Read more
Getting paid for digital downloads from iTunes, Amazon, or other stores is pretty straightforward. The artist or label submits songs for download, perhaps through a distributor like TuneCore or The Orchard. Each time a user buys a download, the store takes its cut, the middlemen take their cut, and the artist gets the remainder.
But there's another potential source of revenue that a lot of artists are missing out on: streaming Internet music. This includes thousands of standalone Internet radio stations, personalized radio services like Pandora and Slacker, and broad-based distributors like MediaNet. Here in the United States, a … Read more
There have always been good- and bad-sounding recordings, and advances in technology haven't really tilted the balance all that much, but they've changed the playing field. Musicians and bands no longer have to go into a high-priced studio to make a decent recording. If you fancy yourself as any kind of recording engineer here's your chance to strut your stuff.
The Audiophillie Music Awards For Excellence In Recorded Sound contest is hosted by The Audiophiliac and my friends Jeff Bakalar, Wilson Tang, and Justin Yu over at The 404 podcast. Winners will receive either a Monster Turbine Pro Gold or Pro Copper in-ear headphone, a review on this blog, and we'll play the winning songs on The 404. There will be six winners in all.
This isn't "American Idol"; we're not looking for the next Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood, it's all about the recordings' sound quality.
I like natural-sounding recordings, ones that sound as realistic as possible. Voices should sound like voices, guitars like guitars, etc. You could record your tunes in your bedroom or basement; low-tech, uncompressed, unprocessed sound quality is a plus. Or make yours in a great-sounding space like a church, concert hall, or club.
I wouldn't rule out recordings made on an analog cassette deck (but the entry must be on CD). Or use a portable digital recorder like the Zoom H2. Or your laptop.
Point is, you don't need a lot of expensive gear to make a credible entry, just skill and knowledge of what good sound sounds like.
But I also love recordings that don't bear any relationship to reality. The creative use of effects and processing that take the sound to another level are just as welcome. Go nuts and push the boundaries. Make a sound I've never heard before.
Music categories range from rock, blues, folk, soul, jazz, acoustic, and world music.
The Audiophillie Awards, selected solely by the Audiophiliac, will be reviewed in the Audiophilac blog, and winners will receive (1) set of Monster Turbine Pro Gold or Pro Copper in-ear headphones. Approximate retail value is $399 for the Turbine Pro Copper, and $299 for the Turbine Pro Gold in-ear headphones. I'll review the winners here, and we'll play the winning songs on The 404.
To enter this contest you need to (PDF link) download, print, and complete the contest entry form, which you can also get it from The 404 .
Read the full contest rules to enter after the jump.… Read more