Thursday, October 03, 2019

Now is the time to buy AKG cans

Public service announcement for all my European heads. AKG Studio Headphones are currently massively discounted at Thomann.
Saturday, August 31, 2019

Ultraportable laptops from Dell and Lenovo

Before continuing with this article, be sure you have read the first and second entries in this series.

To recap, I will be specifying ultraportable laptops (under 1.5kg) with small screens (under 14"), 16GB RAM, and a reasonable collection of ports. I will avoid units with speciality video cards and touch screens. Prices will be provided from eBay sellers of refurbished units. The goal is to find a bargain in an older computer, since these are just as powerful as anything released today.

I have personal history with laptops from Dell (2 models), Lenovo (2), HP (1), and ASUS (2). But I cannot be said to be an expert in this field, only someone adept at compiling information. From this experience I will only consider Dell and Lenovo units.
Saturday, August 31, 2019

Buying a Laptop for Audio Production - Part 2

In my last article I laid out the problems and constraints involved with buying a laptop for audio production. In this article I will continue by describing hardware constraints and my purchase methodology.
Saturday, August 31, 2019

Buying a Laptop for Audio Production - Part 1

I regularly get asked to recommend hardware, and so have recently been looking once again at the annoying world of laptop computers. This article will summarise the state of the art and make certain recommendations for those who want a portable audio workstation.

The assumption here is that such a laptop will supplement, not replace, a desktop computer. For this reason I am most interested in small and light computers, realising that they can be connected to external monitors and audio interfaces for increased usability.
Sunday, July 14, 2019

Audio Recorders July 2019

It's been some time since I have updated my digital recorder comparison. Though much has changed in the meantime, I have continued to recommend the Olympus LS-10 and LS-11 (basically the same unit), alongside the Sony PCM-M10. But none of these models have been on the market for years.

It's time to reconsider! So read on for my updated recorder comparison table.

Friday, May 03, 2019

Timeline of audio devices

As a by-product of my research, I have compiled the following timeline of audio devices from numerous sources. Accreditation here is not meant to deny previous contributions, including those obscured by the historical record. In fact, one of the reasons to put this together is to highlight the variety and proliferation of this idea that sound can be recorded and even played back. We take it for granted today.

1850 Claude Pouillet (1791–1868) publishes Notions générales de physique et de météorologie à l’usage de la jeunesse, a book which contains visual representations that have subsequently been reproduced as sound.

1857 The first sound recording device, the phonautograph, is invented by Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville (1817–1879) in Paris.
Friday, May 03, 2019

Talk Talk cover versions

Here's another post in the wake of Mark Hollis' passing. Four cover versions I found that might intrigue you.

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Mark Hollis and Talk Talk rarities

This article compiles the extant rarities from the career of Hark Hollis (1955-2019).

First, if you are unaware of this music, you are in for a rare treat. I am not going to repeat here the story of how a synth-pop group with rare sensibilities morphed into one of the most incredible expressions of pure music imaginable. Instead, just obtain the following catalogue. I've even indicated my suggested purchase order, which defers the first rather slick albums until after you've heard the masterworks.

5. Talk Talk: The Party's Over (EMI, 1982)
6. Talk Talk: It's My Life (EMI, 1984)
1. Talk Talk: The Colour of Spring (EMI, 1986)
2. Talk Talk: Spirit of Eden (Parlophone, 1988)
3. Talk Talk: Laughing Stock (Verve, 1991)
4. Mark Hollis: Mark Hollis (Polydor, 1998)
Friday, April 26, 2019

Monarch versus Extinction Rebellion: iconography

Monarch is a secret government organisation that studies kaiju in the film series that incorporates "Godzilla" (2014), "Kong: Skull Island" (2017), and "Godzilla: King of the Monsters" (2019). These films are predicated on an ecological theme. Godzilla is a primordial creature who feeds on radiation, returning to the surface world to restore the so-called "balance". It is unclear what the symbol itself represents, but it could be the wings of a butterfly. Or, indeed, Mothra.
Thursday, April 11, 2019

Black hole image and science reporting

Many times I have wanted to write about the atrocious way in which science is misreported by journalists, how this is complicit with capitalism, feeds an anti-science agenda, and confirms conservative biases. You wouldn't think that the astounding new images of the M87 black hole would be the place to start. And indeed it's far from the worst example. But maybe it's useful to consider for precisely that reason.

Journalism is fixated on the story. It needs to turn a chaotic world of interactions into a simple, linear narrative that an eight-year-old can follow. But your life is not a story. It is not linear, with clear demarcations of good, evil, and so on. A moment's consideration will realise that no life is a clear progression from A to B, because even if this path is indeed one of the "journeys" (another word journalists love) you are "on", that's far from the only dynamic.
Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Mark Hollis (1955-2019)

I happened across Talk Talk as they released their first EP, Talk Talk, which included the single "Talk Talk" (their second). I wasn't expecting much from the linguistic paucity displayed in these titles. But the band's brand of synthpop had a lush core, anchored by Paul Webb's roving bass. Lee Harris' drums were more inventive than most. Hollis contributed a lot to the melange, his mellifluous singing molding the presentation into something worth returning to.
Friday, January 04, 2019

Towards a Platial Phenomenology of Sound

Place-bound and time-bound in evening rain
And bound by a sound which does not change,
Except that it begins and ends,
Begins again and ends again

-- from "Human Arrangement" by Wallace Stevens

In English we have a simple adjective, "spatial", that means “of or relating to space”. But there is no similar word that means “of or relating to place”. This article will briefly explain why space gets so much attention in Western philosophy, while place falls by the wayside. I will conclude by proposing the neologism "platial" as a useful corrective.