Welcome to Audio Anecdotes

Three VolumesAudio Anecdotes is the title of a community contributed Audio Cookbook in the spirit of Andrew Glassner‘s classic Graphics Gems series.

Please read our article solicitation, and topics list, to get a better idea of what is coming and how you can help.

If you are interested in contributing articles (see author’s guide), have questions or suggestions please contact me, Ken Greenebaum!

Sound is such an important part of our lives, and should get more attention in the computer space (in user interfaces, games, data mining, etc.) This book fills a wonderful void in providing a lot of small, introductory articles, useful for anyone interested in computational sound.
Perry R. Cook, author of Real Sound Synthesis

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Have been away so long…

Well, not technically away, but between Pandemic’ng, releasing Pro Display XDR (based on my EDR technology), Apple Silicon based Macs, introducing EDR to the World at WWDC, and some other things I can’t talk about quite yet, I haven’t had time to share things audio here 🙁

However there is news to belatedly announce!

AudioAnecdotes is finally available in more affordable Kindle, and PaperPack versions!

Please share with those who might find inspiration or a spark of joy in these pages.

All the best for the Holidays and New Year! Please be safe, I think we are in for a bumpy ride.

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Great Visualization of Fourier Transform

Grant Sanderson AKA 3blue1brown posted a great video visualization of the Fourier Transform. I would have loved to have encountered this when I first began exploring its mysteries in the 1980’s (when I could only find droll texts on the subject)!

Grant visually explores decomposition, winding, motivations for use of the complex plane, and the inverse transformation (however was a little disappointed that they chose not to mention the original thermodynamic motivations).

I plan to share Grant’s videos with my 7 year old to lay the groundwork for new ways to examine the world.

I am also excited to explore manim, the author’s python based animation library used to create the graphics in this and other of his videos.

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‘Here’ no evil

I am very disappointed to learn of the dissolution of Doppler Labs and the discontinuation of their Dubs passive hearing protectors and highly innovative active Here One bluetooth ear buds.

Doppler created a new product category for a consumer product designed to augment normal people’s hearing. To pull this off requires solving many audio engineering challenges including providing ultra low latencies, beam forming microphone arrays, active noise cancelation, etc.

They further successfully petitioned for legislation to dramatically open the hearing-aid market to over the counter device sales.

I am most disappointed by the loss of products that might have been.

There have been a number of article written about Doppler’s Fall, including a message Doppler posted to their customers.

It is perhaps telling that apparently acquisition talks stalled and there is no buyer for the company, products, employees, or IP.

My best wishes for future innovation from Doppler staff, hope they land well, and for Doppler customers who took a bet on the future and get to experience an imperfect early whisper.

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Schlieman Flow Visualization of actual sound waves

We have all seen sound waves visualized on oscilloscope or even spectrum analyzer screens, but how often have we seen actual photographs, or even better video, of the three dimensional compression and rarefaction that is sound propagating in the real world?

NPR’s skunk bear has a great video both demonstrating and explaining Schlieman flow visualization of actual sound waves as captured by high speed camera. You can see the tremendous compression caused by a stack of books falling or the much weaker wave caused by a hand clap.

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Entrainment (for the New Year)

I just saw Ikeguchi Lab’s awesome demonstration of 100 metronomes becoming synchronized via mutual entrainment (the metronomes are arrayed on a hanging platform to facilitate) and thought this was just the thing to share as we say farewell to 2016 and look forward to 2017. Let’s collectively make 2017 a healthy, happy, safe, and prosperous year!

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Had a good if commercial Maker Faire

I have a bit of an odd relationship with Maker Faire. I love the great people behind the Faire at Make Magazine/O’Reilly (and hope their recent troubles have been overcome), and the Makers themselves; am amazed by the tremendous community support as countless thousands attend Maker events, now around the world, with their children, the next generation of Maker, in tow. However I can’t help but be more than a little sad as the event has steadily retreated from the bastion of hard core independent geeks of the earliest event(s) to first become a little theatrical with burning man performance art and related trappings of steampunk and the like, followed by a shift toward children and education (but who can complain about that?), and most recently a huge shift from independent Makers presenting their research and project to corporations, and startups selling their brands or wares.

Over the years many fascinating Makers have either stopped returning or have dumbed down what they have brought. I am somewhat at fault myself having not hosted a booth for a second (third?) year after bringing one audio related interaction or another for the preceding three.

Complaints aside I did come away with a lot of new ideas, easily making the entry fee a great value even if I wasn’t able to see the entire show having spent half the day enjoying the Faire through my daugter’s fresh eyes.

Next postings will be about interesting  people, companies, products or discoveries from Maker Faire 2016.

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Maker Faire 2016

Regretfully I won’t be hosting a booth again this year at Bay Area Maker Faire 2016 but I will be attending and would to see and hear from you all. Let me know where you will be and what you are most excited about!

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Bluetooth over MIDI

The Moog Model 15 Modular Synthesizer app has me looking for a Bluetooth over MIDI solution (Apple incorporates native MIDI over Bluetooth LE support in iOS9: spec, tech note for app developers). I want to skip over the kludgey USB-MIDI-Camera Connection dongle stack to interface my old Roland keyboard to the iPad (replacing the ancient Yamaha CBX-T3 General MIDI Synth I have used forever).

Considering the mi.1 produced by quicco sound, a Japanese startup seems to be composed of old hands from Roland and Yamaha who introduced the mi.1 as their first product in a successful IndieGoGo campaign a while back. Like the size and self powered operation but am concerned about latency (the mi.1 FAQ states an additional 8.4ms latency over wired MIDI; not insignificant (see Derek DiFilippo‘s Audio Anecdotes Vol 1 article on perceptual audio latency) especially when added to the base wired MIDI latency, latency of the synth app, and latency of the app/coreAudio audio output.

From the original current loop interface, through MIDI over Ethernet, to now wireless MIDI over Bluetooth, MIDI is the standard that refuses to go away!

What are your experiences with MIDI over Bluetooth?

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Moogaliscious Moog Model 15 reborn as iPad App

A friend just forwarded me this YouTube demonstration of what looks to be an incredible new app from the developers of animoog; a polyphonic replica of the Moog Model 15 the classic 1970’s era analog Moog modular synthesizer designed for touring which has recently been put back into limited production for the not so modest sounding sum of $10,000.

While their animoog app was a fun introduction to analog synthesis the Model 15 synthesizer lovingly reproduces the actual instrument with every module, knob, and patch cable.

The app makes significant use of Apple’s Metal framework to render the user interface on the GPU freeing CPU for simulating analog audio. Apparently the developers are investigating using metal to accelerate the audio signal processing too.

Digitally simulating analog synthesis isn’t easy (naive digital implementations alias maddeningly and fail to produce the exquisite swept frequencies of the analog synthesizer). The developers mention use of over sampling which might get them part of the way there.  I would love to learn more!

In the mean time enjoy these Moog synth tracks, and for a simple introduction to Virtual Analog Synthesis checkout Phil Burk‘s article Bandlimited wavetable synthesis in Audio Anecdotes Volume 2.  For references to the current literature see Jussi Pekonen‘s Brief History of Virtual Analog Synthesis.

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Received my Doppler Labs Here T-Shirt

But I really want the device!

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