Blog Archives

Degree Results…

Hello All,

Just a very quick post, I am delighted to announce that i have graduated from Bournemouth University with a 1st Class BSc (Hons) Degree in Music and Audio Technology. My CV has been updated appropriately, and you can find my CV here. Additionally, I was presented with the ‘Student of The Course’ certificate for the three years of study. Additionally, Media interest had picked up on the Twinthesis Project, and it has been featured by The Telegraph, and various local BBC Radio Stations, A feature has also been produced for BBC Radio 4′s Today programme and will be broadcast soon.

As always, i’d like to thank you for visiting my site, and i hope you enjoy some of the interesting and innovative projects you’ll find me working on. I am now actively looking for employment within the audio, software programming, social media, or education sector. So please download my CV here.

Sam

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Welcome, from FODI 2011…

[caption id="attachment_214" align="alignright" width="225"] iResponse at FODI 2011, Bournemouth University[/caption]

If you’re reading this, I’m assuming you’ve been directed here either by me, or by scanning my QR code at the Festival of Design and Innovation. In either case, Welcome. I’m glad you’d like to know a bit more about me, and the projects i’m working on. Feel free to browse the site, you can find my CV (I’m currently looking for employment!) and examples of my previous work, etc.

The project I’ve been exhibiting at FODI 2011 is the ‘iResponse’ iPhone application, more release information is available here. Once FODI is complete, I will be uploading the promotional materials and examples demoed at the show for you to download and experiment with. Currently the application is still in development, but release is scheduled towards the end of this year (2011.)

Another project I’ve been working on, and has become quite popular in the media recently is ‘Twinthesis’. This is a synthesiser which is powered entirely by data from Twitter in real-time. The synthesiser takes data from the 20 most recent tweets at any different time, and maps each character of a tweet to various tones, hums, and bleeps to create a unique sonification of that tweet. The synthesiser is built within the Max/MSP architecture and is available to download here.

That’s all for now, I hope you enjoy the site. Please feel free to contact me, either by email, twitter (@Sammio2) or using the built in form here. This site will be regularly updated with progress on my work and various project ideas that I am starting and hoping to work on after graduation.

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Synthtopia features Twinthesis

Twinthesis has been featured on Synthtopia, take a look here: http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2011/03/15/twinthesis/

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Posted in Press & Media

Press Release from Bournemouth University

UPDATE: Official Bournemouth Uni Website Updated: http://bit.ly/kp0ODy

Further Information: Charles Elder, Press & PR Manager

(tel): 01202 961032   email: press@bournemouth.ac.uk

17 June 2011

 

How does your room ‘sound’? New app can help!

The creator of the ‘Twinthesiser’ – the unique web-based software which turns posts made on Twitter into real sounds – will present his latest project as part of the 2011 Festival of Design and Innovation at Bournemouth University.

Sam Harman, who is just completing his BSc (Hons) in Music and Audio Technology, will demonstrate his new iPhone application as part of the Festival which opens for a private view on Thursday, 23 June before opening to the general public on Friday, 24 June.

Sam’s iPhone Impulse Response Application is designed to capture the acoustical characteristics of a room, (otherwise known as an impulse response) which can then be duplicated through a computer. “It’s really designed for musicians, audio technicians or acousticians but the application makes it easy for anyone to use,” Sam enthuses. “Previously it’s required a lot of microphones, cables, laptops, etc but now you can just do it all on your iPhone and then plug-in to your computer and use the data collected by the application to make any audio on your computer sound like it was being performed or recorded within the room or environment that you’ve captured.”

Earlier this year, Sam introduced the world to his ‘Twinthesiser’ which he designed to “explore the ‘sound’ of twitter, in an attempt to sonify the human randomness being generated on the service.”

Through the ‘Twinthesis’ software, Sam has assigned each character its own distinctive tone. The software then accesses a Twitter feed every 30 seconds or so, selecting the top 20 tweets at random and repeats it to produce a kind of rhythm or ‘symphony’ of high pitched bleeps and deeper humming sounds.

“The Twinthesisier can then go through the tweets a character at a time to produce a sort of melody,” says Sam. “In time I hope we could get to the stage where it could pull data off Twitter at more than 100 times every second and this would produce a sort of global symphony.”

“Theoretically the application could be configured to draw data from Facebook or Twitter or from any other source of random data,” Sam continues. “You could also apply the engine to groups of people so you could take the tweets from one country and compare them with the sound of tweets from another country.

“It could become a sort of worldwide controllable instrument, which I think is really cool,” Sam concludes. “There are limitless things you can do.”

“Sam’s work on Twinthesis along with the audio application he developed for the iPhone is a perfect example of the brilliant work that our students in Music and Audio Technology are able to deliver,” says Dr Alain Renaud (title). “His work, along with other students, blends creativity and complex technologies, to ultimately deliver products that have a commercial potential in the field of Creative Technologies.”

BU’s BSc (Hons) in Music and Audio Technology gives students an opportunity to apply electronic and computer technologies to create contemporary music and audio. Students from the degree will join other emerging designers and innovators from BU’s School of Design, Engineering & Computing to display and demonstrate their creations at the 2011 Festival of Design & Innovation.

Open free to the general public from Friday, 24 June to Monday, 27 June on the University’s Talbot Campus, the 19th annual Festival – sponsored by B&Q, the UK’s leading home improvement retailer – will showcase over 170 designs and prototypes created by talented final year students completing undergraduate degrees in Product Design, Industrial Design, Design Engineering, Fashion & Textiles

(from BU’s partner institution, Wiltshire College, Salisbury), Interior Design, Computer Aided Product Design, Sustainable Graphics & Packaging (from BU’s partner institution, University College Yeovil) and Music and Audio Technology.

Further information on the 2011 Festival of Design and Innovation at BU – including opening times, exhibits and travel directions – are available on the Festival website: www.festival.bournemouth.ac.uk

 

Further information about the Twinthesis programme can be found at Sam Harman’s website – http://samharman.com/2011/03/twinthesis-twitter-powered-synthesis/

 

To hear the Twinthesiser ‘in action, please visit – http://soundcloud.com/theharmonizer/twinthesis

 

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Twinthesis : Twitter Powered Synthesis

Twinthesis is a MaxMSP patch I designed to explore the ‘sound’ of twitter, in an attempt to sonify the human randomness being generated on the service. This post is a quick overview of the synthesis engine, as well as a quick video outlining the features and concepts behind the patch. You can then download the synthesiser as a Mac application.

 

The aims of this project, are to create a synthesiser capable of both additive and granular synthesis using live tweets to generate and manipulate the sound. The synthesiser currently calls twitter once every 30 seconds, so a new tweet is used to generate the sound every 30 seconds. The synthesis engine, has an element of performance to it, and can be used to create experimental music. An example of experimental music created by the synthesis engine is here:

Twinthesis by TheHarmonizer

A full scientific paper and report can be downloaded about twinthesis, detailing aspects of how the patch works, and certain constraints of the project in it’s current state. Please note, this synthesiser is still in development and can be considered an experimental BETA version as released below. On a Mac the sound defaults to the ‘core-audio built in output’ at the moment.

Download – Scientific Paper / Report

Download - Twinthesis Application (Mac OS X Only)

As always, I appreciate all your interest in this project and am more than happy to answer any questions you may have, either in the comments below or via the contact page. I am also willing to share the MaxMSP patches upon request.

Many Thanks once again for reading!

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Klang Ultrasonic Speaker

Klang Ultrasonic Speaker

These new speakers are currently being prototyped by Bang & Olufsen, dubbed the ‘Klang’ speakers they offer the ability to listen to music as loud as you want without disturbing anyone else. Sounds interesting, so how do they claim to work?

Essentially, they use a 30kHz frequency to beam an ‘audible wave’ to a single point. As we know, humans can only hear within a frequency range from 20Hz – 20kHz. The 30kHz wave produced here is above our audible threshold, hence ‘ultrasonic’. But these speakers work by exploiting the ultrasonic wave and splitting into three parts. This effectively produces an audible wave encapsulated by two inaudible waves. The sound will only be heard when it hits an obstruction (your ear for instance) and the encapsulation is broken.

This technology could potentially change the way we are able to use and interact with sound. For example, a sound wave could be directly transmitted to the ear, without being affected by any room modes. Thus potentially enabling us to hear sound, without it being ‘coloured’ by an acoustic environment. One of the other possibilities of course is a much more vivid stereo listening experience, akin to that of headphones, which in turn would enable binaural recordings to be heard properly through a set of speakers.

An interesting development in the industry, and one to keep an eye on in the future!

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C++ VST Vibrato Plugin

VST Vibrato Plugin

The following project was to fully design and implement a vibrato plugin for Cubase using Steinberg’s VST SDK. The plugin is programmed in the C++ language and is provided here for you to download. You have the option of downloading just the .dll plugin file (which is all you need to use the plugin), but I have chosen to provide a version which contains the source code project (Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 format) and the initial algorithm modelling (in MaxMSP format).

The full download also contains the VST SDK 2.4 but is referenced to locally, so you should not need to install and configure the SDK to view the working project. Please note that the SDK is completely owned by Steinberg, and I have not made any modifications to the development kit for use within this project. Below are the links to the downloadable files, including the software manual for the plugin.

- Full Download (Including Plugin, Source Project, and SDK)

- Plugin Only (Just the .DLL file)

- Software Manual

To install the plugin for use within Cubase, simply copy the file “Vibrato.dll” to the following Directory…

"C:\Program Files\Steinberg\Cubase Studio 5\VSTPlugins"

This directory may be different depending on your current operating system or version of Cubase. Please see the software manual for more detailed system requirements and installation instructions. This work was produced as a second year assignment for Bournemouth University, please feel free to use the example and learn from the source code but please don’t try and pass it off as your own work.

As always, thank you for your interest in my development work. Any comments, suggestions, or feedback are always welcomed in the comments below or via the Contact Me form.

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RMS Amplitude Investigation: Professional vs Amateur recordings.

This report is an initial investigation into the differences in RMS amplitude between professional and amateur recordings. It was an investigation I conducted in my second year of studies at Bournemouth University. It had been mentioned to me by many industry professionals that the use of compression to boost a tracks volume was becoming more and more apparent in modern day studio recordings. I wanted to find some proof of this, and so i undertook the study comparing professional and amateur recordings. The investigation is available to view and download below.

PDF Format - RMS Amplitude Investigation

Please feel free to use the investigation and reference to it if applicable, but do bear in mind that this was produced as part of a university assessment and certain constraints were applied, these are detailed fully within the document. Finally, this report should be viewed as a preliminary investigation only, due to the small sample sizes used for analysis.

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What is Sound?

This post will cover the very basic rules of sound. One of the most important things to realise is that if you do not know the basic definition of sound and how it works, you’re career as a sound engineer will be very limited! So without further ado, What exactly is sound?

A sound is generated by vibration. Any moving object can cause sound to be created, and this sound is transferred by the vibration of air particles around a given object. Think of it as the ripple effect you get if you drop a pebble into some water. The same thing happens with the air around the source of a sound. The image below should help to visualise this.

So these ripples, are actually more commonly referred to as sound waves. To understand how sound waves are plotted on a graph we must first look at how the air particles are affected by the source of the sound. If you look at the image above, you can see the ripples clearly, and you can see the spaces in-between the ripples. If we think back to the water example, the ripples actually contain more water than the spaces in-between them, creating the visual affect you see above. The same is true of the air particles affected by the source of a sound, except of course there is no visual effect.

It is at this point important to note that sound waves, and ripples in water are technically different. Ripples within water are known as transverse waves, where as sound waves are actually longitudinal waves. The difference being that in a transverse wave (water) the particle displacement is perpendicular to the direction of wave propagation, whereas in a longitudinal wave the particle displacement is parallel to the direction of wave propagation.

So, air particles will bunch together at the height of the wave, and move further apart between the peaks of the wave creating alternating high and low pressure. This is known as compression (bunching together to create high pressure) and rarefaction (moving apart to create low pressure). This is the fundamental reason that we are able to hear sound.

The diagram above shows the compressed (or condensed) air as the darker, more dense specs that correspond with the peaks of the sound wave. The rarefaction can be seen as the more sparse lighter specs corresponding with the troughs of the sound wave. These specs represent the number of air particles, but it is important to note that it is NOT the air particles that are moving, it is the disturbance. The individual air particles are simply oscillating back and forth from their original position (known as their equilibrium).

So, these waves of alternating high and low pressure are what travel through the air, at a speed of ~340 meters per second, towards your ear. We will talk about exactly how these sounds are captured in more depth in a later post, both by your ear and by a microphone. But for the sake of completeness, your ear has a drum with a very fragile membrane stretched across which moves in and out according to the alternating air pressure. Your brain then receives this signal as an audible sound. Again, this is an incredibly simplistic explanation of a very intricate and complex process, so more information on this will be coming soon.

I think this post sums up the very basics of what sound is, so I shall leave it there. You must remember that sound is a very complex thing so I will try to cover things one small step at a time. Next post I will go into more detail about sound waves, and the various properties and elements that eventually translate into a pitch that you can hear.

For now, thank you very much for reading. If you see any mistakes or have any feedback, I cannot encourage you enough to let me know in the comments below or to my twitter account @sammio2

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