Oh My Tracks
The other day I was searching for a particular album and neither Spotify or Grooveshark had it. Then I discovered it on another music steaming site called ohmytracks (that's oh my tracks, not ohmy tracks). The really good thing about it is the comprehensive list of genres.
Beatles - isolated tracks
There seems to be a lot of these around on Youtube nowadays. I guess once the multitrack master leaves the studio then the cat is out of the bag (if one additional copy was made from each copy at the rate of one per year then there would be over one billion copies out there by now). Just type "Beatles deconstructed" or "Beatles isolated tracks" into the Youtube search engine.
Software for drawing stage plots is available from here. Virtually anything you can think of can be added to the stage from the menus, including mics, and there is an input list window. To think that in my day it was done with pencil and paper...
This is Your Brain on Music
Neuroscientist and musician, Daniel Levitin discuses why we understand music, or why we even bother with it. He fails to be conclusive as he tries to ratify musical perception with evolutionary theory, but it is an interesting read all the same. His (and other) research has made significant headway into mapping the brain musically (using scans), but mapping the mind musically (or any other way) is still a long way off. I found the chapter titled "What makes a Musician?" a highlight. Here he looks at what exactly constitutes 'expertise'.
Universal Mic Clip
Some inventions are just waiting to happen. Take the case of mounting microphone clips to a stand (or boom arm). There are two "standard" thread sizes: 3/8" and 5/8" (which has the finer thread). Anyone who uses mic stands has experienced a difficult moment when the stand is one of these and the clip is the other. In theory the problem is solved by using an adaptor, but Murphy's Lay says you will not have one on hand when you need it the most. The other problem is that they tend to either work loose, or get so firmly stuck that they cannot be removed without damaging something. I think that gaffa tape was actually invented as a workaround for this!
Proel make mic clips that have a great idea: the fitting is tapped with both 3/8" and 5/8" thread, so it will screw on to any stand. Problem solved. Of course it is not truly universal, as some mics have their own special clips, but for all occasions when a general clip will do, Proel get my vote.
Quicktime Player X
Since Lion (OSX 10.7), the Quicktime Player application has changed. Gone is the preference window - very strange, and it makes it difficult to set things such as telling it not to play two songs at once. All is not lost, however, as there are some enhancements. For starters, the trim function is present. This was only available on the Pro version of Quicktime 7 (which is worth keeping as not all files will play in the new version).
There are also extras: video files can be rotated or even flipped. This is really useful if any filming was inadvertently done 90º off normal. Then there is also Screen Recording which can include audio. This makes it easy to create a video of anything you want to show on screen - it doesn't have to be a big production: uses include making a simple 'how to' to send to a friend, or sending a video of when a problem occurs to your IT dept.
Incidentally, Quicktime Player is a misnomer; both versions can record video or audio.
Lately I have been teasing out how best to record drums without actually using a drum kit. In the process I evaluated four free drum plugins. You can read all about it here.
A prototype of this microphone was unveiled at the AES show in 2009. It works on the principle of a soundwave altering a 'smokescreen' which is read by a passing LASER beam. It seems that the idea has not progressed to be a commercial reality. Meanwhile, Optoacoustics do have a product that uses a similar (but more practical) idea. Their Crystal mic sends a light from a LED into the mic, which is then returned to a photosensor. The diaphragm interferes with the reflected light, modulating it wrt the sound. Advantages are no EMI, and very long mic cables can be used.
Audiosite is 3 years old
Indie Music Manager
InGameNZ have made an online and iPhone software game that allows you to se if you can manage NZ music acts (from soloists to bands). They received $287,000 of taxpayers money from NZonAir to produce the game. Some musicians have already decried it as insulting. So...helpful or just a gimmick? Time will tell.