Monday, March 13, 2006

Week 2

  • Practical 1 - Audio Arts - Stereo Micing [1]
Today we reviewed 3 different mic polar patterns from omni, cardioid, and figure 8. We also talked about 3 different mic techniques. The main points covered were:

- Spaced Miking gives you a false sense of a stereo image because of a missing middle pickup.

- X/Y Miking isn't good in a live scenario, but good for studio work. A possible application is miking drum overheads.

- Mid/Side (MS) technique (the new technique covered) is great for recording grand pianos. This configuration consists of an omni and a figure 8 mic in a coincident configuration with the hard side of the figure 8 on the bottom end of the piano and the soft side of the figure 8 facing the top end.

David also emphasised that every recording is different and that you need to move your head around and use your ears to find the best mic placement.

I can't wait to try the new MS technique on the EMU grand piano. I've always had difficulty getting a really good sound from this piano so I'm eager to hear the results.
  • Practical 2 - Creative Computing - Introduction to Supercollider [2]
Like last week, this week was also an introduction to Supercollider, yet this time we got to open the program up and see how it works. We covered the Post Window, the text format (Rich Text Format), a simple program, how to navigate the program through hot-keys, and the difference between real time and non-real time code execution.

The 'post' window is like the 'Max' window in Max/MSP. It displays the technical information of the program.

Christian pointed out that the RTF text format is an unclean file format in that it adds a lot of invisible garbage to the code through formatting. However this extra formatting makes it easier to analyse the code through colour coded text.

The first program we learnt to code in Supercollider was how to print the phrase "Hello World!" - I could barely contain my excitement, though it was good to become familiar with the conventions of the code. Here is the code:

"Hello World!".postln;

Isn't its simplicity delightful?
  • Music Technology Forum - Presentation - Introduction; Artist Talk [3]
This week's presentation was occupied by the Composer and Sound + Visual Artist, Warren Burt. He begun his presentation by outlining his life from childhood till now. The second hour was filled with juicy details about his current performance for the Adelaide Fringe Festival. Initially I tried to take notes on everything in his life, but eventually I gave up because I realised I probably wouldn't have enough ink in my pen to finish all the notes. His life so far has definitely been a highly eventful one. Many of his art projects have been collaborative in nature including dancers and visual artist alike. His art pieces involve general wood/metal work, electronics, and computer controlled presentations.

The strongest impression I received from his presentation was that to be versed in multiple areas of engineering can greatly broaden your creative expression. In particular, I'm referring to electrical and computer systems engineering, but also general skills in wood and metalworking can be helpful. I can only imagine what results would come out of knowledge in other areas such as physics, chemistry, or biology.
  • References
    [1] Grice, David. 2006. Practical on Stereo Miking on Stereo Miking. University of Adelaide, 7 March.
    [2] Haines, Christian. 2006. Introductory Practical on the Supercollider Program. University of Adelaide, 9 March.
    [3] Burt, Warren. 2006. Presentation on the life of Warren Burt and his current work. University of Adelaide, 9 March.

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