February 25, 2011

The Science of Audio: Codecs, Robot Composers and The Best Turntable Ever

Fish Fry - February 25, 2011

by Amelia Dalton

In my Fish Fry this week, I research the grooves of the most expensive (and awesome) turntable ever built, examine the reality of audio IP in today’s consumer-driven market and check out some groundbreaking tunes created by a robot. Also this week, I offer up yet another fantastic nerdy giveaway.  

If you like the idea of this new series, be sure to drop a comment in the box below. I appreciate all of your comments so far, and we will be working to enhance the Fish Fry each week - as long as you're watching.



Watch Previous Fish Frys

Fish Fry Links - February 25, 2011

Caliburn Turntable

Bryon Moyer’s article: Sound Systems - A look at the world of audio IP

Music Genome Project

Emily Howell

Emily Howell on You Tube

DAC 2011

Microchip Explorer16 Development Board



Total Posts: 4
Joined: Dec 2010

Posted on February 28, 2011 at 10:54 AM

It's an odd mix of emotional reactions that strikes me when reading about the Caliburn Turntable. At first read, the mechanical engineering and vibration analyses were just amazing, starting the chorus from Ferris Beuller's Day off, “Oooooooohhh Yeaaaa!  Beeauuuuuuuutiful!”

And then I read on, that they are using this equipment to repeatedly PLAY the records.  Cue Darth Vader:  “Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!”

Of course, if there is something “Wrong on the Internet” it must only require one of my posts in the right forum to set the world straight and completely change that company's direction.  But how do you tactfully tell these people that their work is brilliant, but that they should have invited someone with a “Tread lightly, I can replace you with a small pile of JK-flipflops.” t-shirt to their chalk talk long ago.

A 24-bit ADC, doing Mhz sampling on a 60 minute LP, may take up 10.8 Gigabytes of space for storage, prompting a “Holy HiFi!” from others fraught with '70s trivia memes, but when we consider that we can store 185 of these albums on a $90 2TB drive, it would seem to prompt a “Who really cares?”  The point is to stop dragging a high hardness (say.... 10 Mohs) object across a low hardness object (say... Durometer Shore D of 65) and pretending you're not ruining all the subtle nuances you just spent 350 THOUSAND dollars bringing back to life.

Once you have your unplayably huge files that's where all the fun begins. After all, isn't the point to be able to sit down at your Linux prompt and type:

cat WS_Here_I_Go_Again.24flac | first_play_tape_hiss | marantz_8b_tube_distortion | \
add_-32dbm_license_plate_rattle | flac_16_conv > /media/16gb_sd/car_tunes/01_so_very_cool.flac

And take our microSD key out to our perfectly restored 66 Mustang, zip up our barely fitting letterman's jackets, kick back in our gas-scented bucket seats, cue the theme song for misunderstood bad boys/girls, and pretend for one moment, in perfect audio fidelity, that we were the cool kids in high school?


Kanaka Varanasi

Total Posts: 6
Joined: Jul 2010

Posted on March 02, 2011 at 2:20 PM

Great concept. Gives some idea about what's going on latest technology. Thanks


Total Posts: 24
Joined: Jan 2010

Posted on March 03, 2011 at 8:21 PM

Add Bluetooth support
to previous project
Just starting to play with kit

Explorer sixteen
Microchip Development
nerdy giveaway

Birkie vacation
ski marathon dropout reason?
Frostbitten fingers!

Emily Howell
classic music without depth
not Wagner Haydn

Music to my ears
Dalton karaoke?
Can we hear it soon?


Total Posts: 20
Joined: Nov 2010

Posted on March 04, 2011 at 12:43 AM

So here we have an age old battle,
Between natural man and modern machine,
Each now lost without one another,
Yet we're still caught up inbetween.

Mankind can't easily deal with problems,
We can't simply unwire and reboot,
We need counselling, peace and quiet,
While machines just run troubleshoot.

A machine has a memory as big as space,
When it's too full it can simply wipe clean,
While mankind may not possess such a quality,
We can understand what they truly mean.

Mankind invented fire, medicine, the wheel,
Without us there wouldn't be machine!
But how far would man of prospered,
If the industrial revolution hadn't been.

A machine feels no emotion,
No pain, there's no tears without eyes,
Though mankind may suffer sometimes,
Machine will never know love, lust or surprise.

Mankind look at him being surprisingly,
When watson win the jeopardy,
And he knows more then us,
Life really advancing or creating buzz.

By the way i like machines and so Microchip Explorer16 Development Board smiling

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