Bernie Krause has just published a book about 'biophony', which is the study of the sounds animals make. For decades he has been documenting these. He has a website called Wild Sanctuary. Yes, this the the same person who, with Paul Beaver, introduced the Moog to pop artists in the 60s. Their 1970s album 'In a Wild Sanctuary' is well worth a listen.
the loudest animal
For its size, this bug produces the loudest sound of all the animals. And at 99dB this little guy sounds way above his weight (lions and elephants can sound 115dB, and whales 126dB).
How does he do that? - with his penis.
The full story is here.
Down Under, Down Under
If you are wondering why it has been a bit quiet on the blog lately, it is because I have been away in the Australian outback. Yes, there really is a lot more to Aussie than Surfers Paradise. Anyway, speaking of quiet - we stayed underground in Coober Pedy. This seems a bit odd, but in a mining town in the desert where temperatures can reach 45º C it makes perfect sense. Over half the townsfolk live underground. Here is a picture of the hallway to our bedroom. The bathroom is above ground, and at this depth (about 6m below) the place is not just unusual to look at, but also acoustically interesting. If anyone is down there making noise the sound reverberates (just like in a bathroom), but most of the time we were the only ones there and it is dead quiet - there is absolutely no background noise so it is exactly like being in an anechoic chamber...until someone speaks (then you notice how live the sound is). Quite different to anywhere else.
Most studio control rooms are now recording into DAWs. Some have converted from analogue to DAW, while newer ones began with a DAW. In either case a decision has to be made about where to place the computer monitor(s). Here are some solutions that actual studio have implemented. All these control rooms operate as tracking rooms!
Here are two more ways of doing it. They both look like reasonable solutions until the acoustics are considered.
audiosite now has five Forums: Music, Audio Engineering, Electronics, Sound, and Anything Else. They can be accessed under the Contact menu.
Trevor Cox has published a website that identifies interesting sound locations (both natural and man-made) around the world: http://www.sonicwonders.org/
I bought these recently on TradeMe for $15. The brand is Tokumi and I had never heard of it but It turns out that they still manufacture headphones (somewhere in SE Asia). They have a 2ch / 4 ch switch on each side, and the seller mentioned that switching didn't seem to make any difference. When I got them it was obvious what the reason was - there was only one plug. Once the Quad thing had died someone must have decide that they were worth converting to stereo by wiring the front and rear drivers in parallel. I tried them out wired like this and they actually sounded quite good - spacious, but lacking treble. The mids are slightly honky, but I don't think damping the drivers was considered back in the early 70s. Back in the days, I was quite keen on Quad and experimented with several QS and SQ systems, as well as discrete 4 ch (on a Sony Quad tape machine, I never had a CD-4 system).
The McGurk effect is an illusion where if a listener hears 'ba' but sees lips saying 'ga' the listener will perceive the sound as 'da'. It is a powerful illusion that does not break down even when the listener is aware of it. While McGurk's study was confined to speech, I wonder if all the graphic information we are processing when mixing music on a DAW is not having some effects on our aural perception. Or maybe the visuals provide overload and simply distract us from listening at our best. Maybe I'll do a thesis on this one day.
I upgraded from Fuzzmeasure 2 to 3 and it seems to have a bug. No plot is generated if a single sweep is used for the test. It will work if the average is set to 2 or more. Not such a big thing, as each doubling of sweep count improves the S/N by 3dB.
A psycho-acoustical conundrum
Imagine you want to recreate an acoustical environment that simulates outdoors. Outside (and away from any buildings, hills etc) there is nearly no reverberation. To recreate the same sounding space indoors we need to have an anechoic chamber, which will absorb almost all the sound. The strange thing is that this type of room sounds very unnatural to us, whereas we are completely comfortable with sound outdoors.