Charlie Brooker has written an interesting article in The Guardian. It is actually about drugs, but he makes a comparison to newspapers, saying:
"It's perhaps the biggest threat to the nation's mental wellbeing, yet it's freely available on every street – for pennies. The dealers claim it expands the mind and bolsters the intellect: users experience an initial rush of emotion (often euphoria or rage), followed by what they believe is a state of enhanced awareness. Tragically this "awareness" is a delusion. As they grow increasingly detached from reality, heavy users often exhibit impaired decision-making abilities, becoming paranoid, agitated and quick to anger. In extreme cases they've even been known to form mobs and attack people. Technically it's called "a newspaper", although it's better known by one of its many "street names", such as "The Currant Bun" or "The Mail" or "The Grauniad" (see me – Ed).
In its purest form, a newspaper consists of a collection of facts which, in controlled circumstances, can actively improve knowledge. Unfortunately, facts are expensive, so to save costs and drive up sales, unscrupulous dealers often "cut" the basic contents with cheaper material, such as wild opinion, bullshit, empty hysteria, reheated press releases, advertorial padding and photographs of Lady Gaga with her bum hanging out. The hapless user has little or no concept of the toxicity of the end product: they digest the contents in good faith, only to pay the price later when they find themselves raging incoherently in pubs, or – increasingly – on internet messageboards."
How very true. I would add that if newspapers are like drugs, then TV is hard drugs. The difference is that we can at least somewhat discern fact from fiction in the print media. This is because we have to engage our brains a bit to read text, and also because we have to form our own meaning from the text construction. These (positive) barriers between us and the message allow us to filter the information, but they don't exist in the case of TV. We simply absorb the message. It involves no real brain action, so we tend to just accept it as is. That would be bad enough, but there is a greater danger. TV news producers have come to identify that moving picture impacts much more powerfully on our senses than print, and they work it for all its worth. Slick editing has overtaken proper journalism to provide a sensation that we are getting real information, when in actual fact it is mostly BS. The way this works is to provoke an emotional response from us, rather than a thinking one. This is exactly the same psychology used in movies, where it is used to the viewer's advantage. With news, this should not be happening - it is manipulation. The TV news should have this subtitle: "this news SHOW is presented for you entertainment only. Viewer's are advised to look elsewhere for unbiased, well-researched news material."
You can read the entire Guardian article here.
Avid have designed a new plugin format for Pro Tools 10. It is called AAX (Avid Audio Extension) and you can see the video about it here.
I came across this in a Gearslutz forum, and being an audio engineering tutor, it certainly resonated with me. The person asks what is actually quite a good question, but then reveals a lot about his/her attitude as well. I was impressed with how concise and appropriate the reply from XsergeantD was.
Before going off to conquer the world (well, Europe, at least), Christchurch's one and only Sleeping Dogs are playing at the Dux Live on June 22nd. Sleeping dogs.
I came across this website, which has information about some of the large format recording consoles. So far it seems mainly about SSL desks, but hopefully it will grow (with more on the Neves etc, and less ads). There is an interesting page about a 32 channel custom built console.
This DAW is available for download here (Mac or PC), and here's the best bit: it's free.
In Jan. last year I mentioned that there were rumours about a new studio in Christchurch. They seem to be true. The name of it is Quicksand. From what I gather it includes an SSL Duality console. So far there is no website, and the Facebook page still has "New recording studio in Christchurch New Zealand *watch this space* ". Such secrecy...
Hi fi is defined as accuracy in an audio reproduction system. In other words, how close the end result is to the original. For most of last century hi fi was the ultimate quest for both audio designers and practitioners, but somehow we lost our way. Today a lot of the hard-fought battles to achieve improvements in sound quality have been forgotten, and even discarded. So we have ended up with a bizarre situation where the gains of hi fi can be readily observed in livesound technology, but the reverse has happened with recording technology. Here, the quality has actually gone down thanks to inferior playback devices such as mp3 files, laptop speakers, mini stereos, earbuds. Meanwhile, at the recording stage there are improvements such as 192KHz sampling, 24 bit depth, more accurate monitor speakers, and so on. Clearly there is an imbalance here, and it has got to the point where it is really academic as to whether such improvements are worthwhile for popular music. Since the 60s, Pop music (including virtually all contemporary styles) has really fallen outside the definition of hi fi. Since the music is artificially made (using sound FX, deliberate distortion, electronic sounds, unnatural spaces etc) there is no performance point of reference. This is not to say these styles ignore the concept of hi fi completely, but they certainly do not obey it. So, it seems absurd that engineers spend so long on GearSlutz forums and the like, discussing the finer points of very expensive equipment. This is very much a case of the industry serving its own needs - the engineers, and the equipment manufacturers. The public doesn't care, and while all this is going on the loser is music. Look at the music of the 60s (both pop and rock). The hi fi-ness of many songs/ albums is quite low by todays standards, but the music still shines through.
I would make a different case for classical music. Here there is a coherent performance to reference the recording to, so faithfulness to sounding like that is the mark of the project.
One of these. If you are handy, Livid also sell DIY versions so you can make a custom controller.