Topic: Professional sound production
Kane Kramer is a British inventor and businessman. He is credited with the initial invention of the digital audio player, in 1979.
- "Kane Kramer is credited with inventing the digital audio player in 1979" | 2012-10-21 | 68 Upvotes 27 Comments
The loudness war (or loudness race) refers to the trend of increasing audio levels in recorded music, which reduces audio fidelity, and according to many critics, listener enjoyment. Increasing loudness was first reported as early as the 1940s, with respect to mastering practices for 7" singles. The maximum peak level of analog recordings such as these is limited by varying specifications of electronic equipment along the chain from source to listener, including vinyl and Compact Cassette players. The issue garnered renewed attention starting in the 1990s with the introduction of digital signal processing capable of producing further loudness increases.
With the advent of the Compact Disc (CD), music is encoded to a digital format with a clearly defined maximum peak amplitude. Once the maximum amplitude of a CD is reached, loudness can be increased still further through signal processing techniques such as dynamic range compression and equalization. Engineers can apply an increasingly high ratio of compression to a recording until it more frequently peaks at the maximum amplitude. In extreme cases, efforts to increase loudness can result in clipping and other audible distortion. Modern recordings that use extreme dynamic range compression and other measures to increase loudness therefore can sacrifice sound quality to loudness. The competitive escalation of loudness has led music fans and members of the musical press to refer to the affected albums as "victims of the loudness war."
Pink noise or 1⁄f noise is a signal or process with a frequency spectrum such that the power spectral density (energy or power per frequency interval) is inversely proportional to the frequency of the signal. In pink noise, each octave (halving or doubling in frequency) carries an equal amount of noise energy.
Pink noise is one of the most common signals in biological systems.
The name arises from the pink appearance of visible light with this power spectrum. This is in contrast with white noise which has equal intensity per frequency interval.
- "Pink Noise" | 2019-09-27 | 10 Upvotes 4 Comments
A Shepard tone, named after Roger Shepard, is a sound consisting of a superposition of sine waves separated by octaves. When played with the bass pitch of the tone moving upward or downward, it is referred to as the Shepard scale. This creates the auditory illusion of a tone that continually ascends or descends in pitch, yet which ultimately seems to get no higher or lower.
An audio format is a medium for sound recording and reproduction. The term is applied to both the physical recording media and the recording formats of the audio content—in computer science it is often limited to the audio file format, but its wider use usually refers to the physical method used to store the data.
Music is recorded and distributed using a variety of audio formats, some of which store additional information.
- "Timeline of audio formats" | 2018-08-17 | 45 Upvotes 17 Comments
The Wall of Sound (also called the Spector Sound) is a music production formula developed by American record producer Phil Spector at Gold Star Studios, in the 1960s, with assistance from engineer Larry Levine and the conglomerate of session musicians later known as "the Wrecking Crew". The intention was to exploit the possibilities of studio recording to create an unusually dense orchestral aesthetic that came across well through radios and jukeboxes of the era. Spector explained in 1964: "I was looking for a sound, a sound so strong that if the material was not the greatest, the sound would carry the record. It was a case of augmenting, augmenting. It all fit together like a jigsaw."
A popular misconception holds that the Wall of Sound was created simply through a maximum of noise and distortion, but the method was actually more nuanced. To attain the Wall of Sound, Spector's arrangements called for large ensembles (including some instruments not generally used for ensemble playing, such as electric and acoustic guitars), with multiple instruments doubling or tripling many of the parts to create a fuller, richer tone. For example, Spector often duplicated a part played by an acoustic piano with an electric piano and a harpsichord. Mixed well enough, the three instruments would then be indistinguishable to the listener.
Among other features of the sound, Spector incorporated an array of orchestral instruments (strings, woodwind, brass and percussion) not previously associated with youth-oriented pop music. Reverb from an echo chamber was also highlighted for additional texture. He characterized his methods as "a Wagnerian approach to rock & roll: little symphonies for the kids". The combination of large ensembles with reverberation effects also increased the average audio power in a way that resembles compression. By 1979, the use of compression had become common on the radio, marking the trend that led to the loudness war in the 1980s.
The intricacies of the technique were unprecedented in the field of sound production for popular music. According to Beach Boys leader Brian Wilson, who used the formula extensively: "In the '40s and '50s, arrangements were considered 'OK here, listen to that French horn' or 'listen to this string section now.' It was all a definite sound. There weren't combinations of sound and, with the advent of Phil Spector, we find sound combinations, which—scientifically speaking—is a brilliant aspect of sound production."
- "Wall of Sound" | 2021-10-22 | 69 Upvotes 50 Comments