- Recently, I was asked about IEM's. Having never used them, I did a bit of searching for info, and also asked a few Livesound Engineers what they thought of them. Here is a comparison table summarising my findings:
In Ear Monitors
Radio history resources
Just came across the website of American Radio History, which documents the history of radio, TV, and FM broadcasting. The URL is http://www.americanradiohistory.com
There are lots of resources on radio and TV, as well as some associated topics (books, magazines, and articles).
The Sound of Interstellar
Last week I went to see the movie Interstellar, mainly because I had heard something was up with the way the sound was done (mainly criticisms).
It is a long movie and like most sci-fi the plot gets too thin to be believable at times. However the movie holds together really well overall and the proof of this is not getting a sore bum after sitting watching for just under three hours.
A large part of creating the right illusion in a movie is due to the sound and the sound design of Interstellar is remarkable. Whereas most modern action movies have used lots of gratuitous sound effects, each sound in Interstellar is carefully considered to add to the movie's story. This includes a pipe organ being used predominantly for the music, and silence for the outside the spacecraft shots. Foley, atmosphere, SFX, music, and dialogue are all well done, but at times not what we have come to expect. For example the organ is quite loud at times, total silence is used, tiny Foley sounds are present, and some dialogue is blurred into the other sounds. The net effect of this way of doing the sound is that it makes the movie seem more real, so I say well done.
HD audio - PONO
Recently I was asked "what is the best way to clean vinyl records?" It was something I had never done because until lately all my records were bought new and I kept them immaculately. Since buying some second hand records I needed to do the washing so today was my first attempt. After reading about how others did it, I concluded that an actual wash in warm soapy water is just as good as using alcohol, other chemicals, or special cleaning devices. Here is how I did it, I...
1. chose a record with noticeable surface dirt and noise (one that is replaceable!)
2. filled the laundry tub with warm water (don't use hot - it will buckle the LP)
3. added 3 squirts of dishwashing liquid (the biodegradable, gentle on hands type)
4. made a cradle for the LP out of wire
5. put the LP onto the wire (through the centre hole)
6. rotated the LP several times while washing with a micro-fibre cloth
7. rinsed off with cold water
8. removed the record from the wire and put on a lint-free towel on the table
9. gently patted the label with a paper towel to dry
10. left it supported on a V shaped piece of cardboard to dry (this only took 10 mins)
result: the visible dirt (dull areas etc) was gone. When played there was still a little surface noise, but the pops and clicks were all gone.
Update: I have now done my first batch of 15 dirty records. The process above worked fine, the only difference is having enough towels laid out for this number of records, and since I was doing a lot I skipped the part where the LP sat on a card - I just left them on the towel (don't forget to turn them over so both sides get completely dry). I have two copies of some titles so in some cases I washed one only to compare. As stated above, washing cleans the record. On some there is still noticeable surface noise, but generally there is an improvement. What washing cannot do is fix damaged grooves (whether caused by incorrect playing or rough handling), and scratch noises appear worse because the rest of the track is quieter.
"Everything Was Right: The Beatles' Revolver" is a two hour internet radio program hosted by Paul Ingles in which musicians, writers, and Beatle fans explore what made Revolver one of the top rock albums of all time.
If that has whet your appetite there is also "The White Album Listening Party: Revisiting The Beatles' Top-Seller", a three hour exposé of The Beatles aka The White Album.
NZ made computer
I just discovered that there was an 8 bit computer made in NZ in the early 1980s. It was named the Poly and you can read about it here. I remember going on a Z80 microprocessor course around then and programming it to do things like light chasing. The idea was to use it as a programmable controller, instead of hard-wired circuits. Nobody was talking about personal computers at that stage! By the mid 1980s that had all changed.
This is from a product sheet (for ECC83 valves) made in China: 12AX7A,7025 is the same with 12AX7 and ECC83 in function, electric parameter, and it is the super of low yawp, and is adapt to use in plus amplifier as first grade.
As you can see it looses a bit in translation. I really like this bit " it is the super of low yawp". No point having too much yawp.
This reminds me of the Japanese in the 1970s, when the manufacturing ability got a bit ahead of the translating ability. After about 20 years the transition of Japanese only -> Japanese-English -> English was complete. The Chinese will probably do it quicker.