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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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Posted in Informative, Press & Media

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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Posted in Portfolio

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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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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Posted in Portfolio