Sunday, May 10, 2015

PIP microphone tests

Audiotalaia omni PRO

Here are the results of a microphone test I performed with some compact electrets and my small Olympus recorder. Read on for a description of the test. Download the files (link near the end) so you can reach your own conclusions. I trust this will be of value for those making similar decisions.
Friday, May 08, 2015

On the Occasion of the UK General Election

YIELD

The UK has been doomed since the Second World War, which the country lost to the USA. Recall that rationing only formally ended in 1954, and had repercussions far after. (See "Government Cheddar" for an intriguing history.) The country now has no basic industry or sustainable means of economic existence, instead relying on two mechanisms for survival. It is these that define the contemporary "empire".
Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Sonic Vigil and the search for accidents

David Stalling

Sonic Vigil is a group durational improvisation, held annually in Cork. See my last post for a list of the organisers and this year's participants (some of whom I will picture here). In this article I will describe my approach to improvisation in general, and this event in particular. This will lead into technical discussions to be posted later.
Monday, May 04, 2015

Sonic Vigil 9 Thanks and Photos

Sonic Vigil 9 perspective view, St. Mary's Church

Saturday last saw an incredible crew of musicians and sound artists gather in Cork, for the ninth annual Sonic Vigil. This six hour event is scheduled by a computer programme, so that every musician plays for a total of one hour, but doesn't know in advance who will be playing with them. Attentive listening and great sensitivity in sound production is required for this to work in any way, shape, or form.
Tuesday, April 14, 2015

SendEmail automates boiler-plate email messages

Last week I needed to email out marks to my students. How to automate a bulk email project? No doubt the Internet will turn up hundreds of spyware-infested programmes of dubious lineage and intent, all designed for just this purpose.

So I turned to Python. Because if I write my own code I can trust it to do exactly what I wish, no more, no less. And so memories of Paul's first Python programme came flooding back... ah, sweet nostalgia! If you have no idea what I am talking about here, read Sunday's article. In it, I presented the minimal four line Python snippet that sends email. In this article I will develop that core into a fully-functional command-line application.
Sunday, April 12, 2015

Python... and a letter to an editor

Python, the programming language, seems to be in the news more than usual. Or perhaps it's just the "Python For Beginners" article in Communications of the ACM that got me thinking. The article seems unreasonably critical for one ostensibly promoting the language. And so, for the first time, I've written a letter to the editor of that esteemed journal. More on that in a moment.

If I think through all of the technologies that have made my life easier and better, the first one that comes to mind is, quite naturally, the Internet. The second is Python, created by Guido van Rossum. Allow me to reminisce for a moment.
Saturday, March 21, 2015

"Meditations on Light" by Simon Whetham

music for solar eclipse


Simon Whetham is a sound artist whose work covers a wide range of activities, from installations to compositions to workshops. For a long time now I've avoided hearing much of his music, perhaps because I always had a feeling that it might be uncannily close to my own work. But now, following on the solar eclipse, it seems somehow appropriate to share my review of this particular excellent release.
Saturday, March 07, 2015

Portable Audio Recorders 2015 Update

INTRODUCTION
Some of my most popular posts on this blog have concerned digital audio recorders. Between 2008 and 2010 companies released a steady stream of new models, utilising 24-bit A/D and SD card storage. These recorders were a godsend to those of us interested in field recording, since now we had access to smaller, more efficient, and less expensive units. It is no coincidence that field recording has flourished in the last five to seven years. This is enabling technology.

Most of the new recorders were targeted at the high SPL regime of band practice, live music, or interviews. Their microphone pre-amps were designed to withstand high signal level without distortion, but tended to be relatively noisy at low input levels.

My goal was to determine which models were fit for field recording. I bought several and borrowed others. I read extensively across all available information sources, some of which I list at the end of this post. Ultimately I made a choice perfect for my own practice, the Olympus LS-5 (or LS-11, or LS-10, all variants on fundamentally the same recorder). My detailed articles and comparison tables enabled others with different priorities to make their own decisions.

I've been rather silent on this topic in the last few years, for the simple reason that there have been no outstanding break-through in this area. Nonetheless, recent discussions on social media make this a good time to update my comparison table. I'll also pull together a list of historical articles, since they contain much information that is still useful.
Saturday, February 14, 2015

radioCona from Ljubljana

Zmajski most 1
Earlier this year I was invited to be part of radioCona, the "temporary project radio for contemporary arts" that is based in Ljubljana. Starting this Sunday, for five days, radioCona will broadcast on the FM bands, starting exactly at nightfall. "This is the time when the atmosphere is no longer filled with the fine sunlight, when the sun reaches 18 degrees or more below the horizon."

My composition "Caged Birds (Augmentation)" will be heard Monday. This is based on a dawn chorus, but there is something nice about it being transposed to the night-time. I believe that this is now the fifth country in which this composition has been presented.
Saturday, January 31, 2015

The 3TB problem, or: where did my drive go?

internals

Have you got a large hard drive (3 TB or more) that shows up as a much smaller one when you go to use it? Read on for a free solution that works under Windows 7 and likely many other 64-bit operating systems.