some of my favourite songs:

Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Poor Quality Sound: Now Standard!

Saturday, August 23rd, 2008

In my last post I talked about how the quality and natural dynamics of music is being destroyed through digital software technology that allows unnatural processing of audio.

But there is a much greater threat to the quality of audio that has been the subject of my thoughts for some time now: The way we listen to sound.

Back in the 1970’s the quality of sound recording technology, production techniques and playback systems reached a pinnacle with some of the most incredible music and sound humanity had ever known, and this became further fine tuned in the 1980’s. Brilliant, rich full spectrum sound that went beyond the range of human hearing, but influenced the richness of the sound through frequency harmonics that enhanced what we could hear with our ears.
Two things initiated the downward spiral that has led us to where we are today: The Walkman and the CD.
Very briefly, the walkman influenced music lovers to listen to music on crappy little earphones, and the CD chopped off audio at 20kHz without researching the influence of harmonics above that hearing range on sound we do hear. This is why vinyl records really are better sounding than CD’s in many ways.
From there, the convenience of sound gave way to clarity, and quality until we come to the present day world, of massively widespread use by the majority of music and audio listeners of terrible sounding MP3’s played on the worst possible sound producing devices humanity has ever experienced: earbud iPod headphones, computer laptop speakers, and cel phones! And this doesn’t even begin to cover the music and production tools and techniques prevalent with the trend of do it yourself computer production.

To a producer like myself who has spent over a decade mastering the subtle art of trying to perfect music and sound, this trend is devastating to say the least. And if you ever compared how music sounds on a really nice hi fi stereo system (you know like the ones they used in the 70’s) with a computer laptop speaker, it would make you nauseous. You lose something like 80% of the sound! But that introduces another problem- people don’t really know what sounds good and what doesn’t, maybe because they have become so used to listening to terribly reproduced sound, in my humble opinion and experience.
(Just as a benchmark, and cost is by no means an accurate measure, if your speakers cost less than $500, they are probably cheap garbage that sounds terrible!)

This has brought up all kinds of questions for me with regard to what I do as a profession… Why create great sounding 24 bit 96kHz audio if it is going to end up at 80% of what you created? For the 20% of people that like good sound?
My only answer is to become more involved in the film industry side of audio production as a sound designer, since at least sound is formatted and reproduced in higher fidelity than with music. So that is what I have gradually been doing. A film I worked on last year is hitting the theatres in September here…

I truly feel for the future of music in an environment where it is so under appreciated. It makes me wonder what the future holds for someone in a profession like myself and wether or not there will even be the need for professional producers and engineers if no one can really appreciate or notice their efforts.

For those of you reading this who don’t really know what I’m talking about, you don’t know what your missing!

The way audio was meant to be heard...

Feelings For A Machine

Saturday, July 5th, 2008

I’ve always been intrigued with the concept of having personal feelings for a machine. I’m not sure what sci fi experience started it, probably Star Wars, back when my parents took me with them to see it in 1977 in the theatre (yeah, that’s right, I’m kinda old). Then again with Blade Runner. I became fully aware of my fascination with feelings for a machine with the Kubrick/Spielberg movie AI which despite much hatred amongst most who viewed it, I loved. I vowed to see everything that Haley Joel Osment acted in since that movie. I also studied the idea further in the book “The Age Of Spiritual Machines” by music technology genius and futurist, Ray Kurzweil, who’s philosophies I only partly agree with.

It requires true talent for a director to make you have feelings for a machine, and they’ve done it again in Wall-E, the latest hit from Pixar. I was amazed at how the movie not only gives you empathy for a machine, but makes you forget your watching animation despite it being sci fi.

So another brilliant hit for Pixar (Disney’s just along for the ride), so that makes, what NINE hits? Every single movie Pixar has made has been a huge success. How can they sustain that when all the major studios fail?  If you ask Bob Lefsetz, he’ll tell you it’s because of a dedication to, a focus on, only one thing, quality.  EXCELLENCE! They don’t copy others, they don’t use cliches, they want nothing but to be the very best at what they do, and so they are. One could say it’s easy in a world overrun with mediocrity and people who are satisfied with making a quick buck. But it also takes the will and creativity and desire to do something a little different from everyone else, to take risks, but put your all into it, your best.

Will and Creativity are two things that have been sorely lacking in the music industry for some time. And that’s exactly what it desperately needs right now. But things are changing fast (unless you work for a large music corporation.)

a new way to perform and compose music

Sunday, January 27th, 2008

Check out the latest and most popular design for electronic composers to perform music, it’s called the Monome:

[youtube F0A8xR8ieek nolink]

What you can’t see in this video is he has it hooked up to a laptop with different instruments, loops and patterns prepared. I understood how it worked after seeing it because i have used step based sequencing, but that’s only one of many uses of this seemingly simple but extremely sophisticated device…

[youtube LuV9Eg6HC34 nolink]

Moving closer to a paperless world

Sunday, November 4th, 2007

For many years now, I have been trying to move toward a completely paperless world.
This is hard in a world that loves paper. Many people love paper because it’s tactile and they can feel it and see it. Not me. I hate little pieces of paper all over the place, and trying to organize and make sense of it all. I got a phone many years ago that allows me to write everything in it. All my notes are digital, I can sync the phone to the computer and vice versa, and all these notes can be modified and organized digitally and archived. I can copy and paste, and edit without having to re type things.

So that is just in terms of notes and general use of paper, it goes far beyond the unnecessary use of trees. I’m not even going to get into purchase receipts, 3 words: tax time nightmare.

But there is another use of paper that annoys me to no end: Checks. The whole idea of writing, sending and depositing paper checks for business transactions seems to me so 20th century. It is the only reason I use a bank machine. I am even thinking of giving clients incentives to use electronic means of payment, and attaching links (to my now electronic invoices) to pay electronically. I know big businesses won’t go for this in the near future.
Would you use electronic methods of payment if you got 1% off your bill? I would love to get your feedback on this. Paypal and similar tools are very easy to use, even if you don’t have an account.

So if you use paypal, please let me know I would love to pay you this way, and I would do it for free!

Do I want the world to progress faster than it is ready to? Maybe, it’s all about simplifying life for me, is that so wrong?

Cool new audio technology

Monday, October 29th, 2007

Lately I’ve been making a lot of dark and intense non music related posts on here. What can I say, we’re living in the middle of the decline of the old world order… So here’s something more music and sound related!

There is lot’s of great new music and audio software out now, and I need to update in order to use the new version of my multi track host software (It uses multiple ‘plug in’ softwares that run within the main application to expand on it’s capabilities)

One of the most exciting is the new audio restoration software from iZotope, ‘RX’.
There has been a lot of amazing audio software that has blown my mind over the last 10 years, but this is something else – it can remove background sounds from audio without destroying the sound you want! Like removing a car beep from an interview, or filling in bits of sound that is missing from a recording! That’s right, it analyzes audio nearby the missing chunk and fills in the missing data. Like science fiction, but it’s real.

Listen for yourself to the RX Restoration video demo or the audio demos on the right if you have less time.

This is amazing stuff, and I am adding it to my arsenal in case you or those you love want some miracles worked with your audio.

12 Ways to Use Facebook Professionally

Sunday, September 23rd, 2007

A lot of people are using facebook lately. It really has social networking down to a science, and I can’t tell you how many people tell me their addicted. And not just my 15 year old nephew, mom and dad are on their too (well, not mine, but you know what I mean…). That means more and more, facebook is being used professionally, and it has become much more important in your business and career to the point where smart employers are even checking out prospective hires on facebook to see if they are company material.

Here is a link to a useful article:
12 Ways to Use Facebook Professionally:

I’ve added my own facebook link on my blogroll, but I have to limit my time on there… that thing is the ultimate time killer.

The Future Of Modern Music Creation

Friday, August 24th, 2007

Some of you have seen this before, amazing stuff that is way beyond how I make music despite the fact that I use the latest commercially available technology and software. It’s called the ‘Reactable’ System from Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona Spain. If you don’t understand the basic principles of how modern music is made, you will probably have no idea what you are seeing in these videos:

Basic Reactable Demo 01:
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Basic Reactable Demo 02:
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Live Performance with Reactable:
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Imagine having one of those in your home with some guests, now that’s my kind of party!

Progressive artists like Bjork are already starting to use this technology…

More Info here at the official website:

My massive page of amazing links

Wednesday, August 15th, 2007

I just posted a new massive page of amazing links that I use in my music business 2.0 class and that I often recommend to clients I am working with. Most of these links I have tested and or use myself, and they are some of the best resources I have found. So take advantage of my hours of research and enjoy!

Jarome’s recommended links for Multimedia,Music Business, and Web 2.0 applications

All I want to do is share my favorite music…

Thursday, August 9th, 2007

It’s been annoying me for some time now that all the previews for music online are less than a minute long, and usually even only 30 seconds – not nearly enough to get a good idea of a song never mind like it enough to but it. And if you have diverse music tastes and want to share that music with other people, you would have to send them to all kinds of different websites, who has time for that?

I figured with all the wonderful and powerful web 2.o applications for music out there,
one of them would enable me to do this simple aim of sharing my current favorite songs with friends and people I’m working with. So I signed up with, Last.FM,, facebook, and the iTunes music store, and wasted a bunch of time checking out all they could do. I started with 5 songs from the last 20 years, some brand new top 40, some older, some obscure. All these sites either didn’t have *all* the songs I wanted to share, or if they did have them, some songs only allowed a 30 second preview. 30 seconds is like a slap in the face to the music lover. It’s just an insult.

A large part of the problem in being able to ‘legally’ achieve my simple aim to share music with friends is that record companies prevent this from happening because they don’t understand the new music 2.0 movement and the concept of ‘giving consumers what they want’.

The only application I found that showed some promise in my efforts to promote commercial artists is Simplify Media‘s free beta iTunes Music sharing software. It let’s you share any music you want with any other iTunes user who is also running the simplify media software and has set up an account. I just tested it with my friend Elika all the way over in Beijing, and within seconds of connecting, she could play in real time any non protected MP3 I shared with her, even those encoded at 320k!

In some ways It’s not an ideal solution since your friends would have to download and configure the software to listen to your shared music. It would be better to just be able to go to a social networking site and select FULL length versions of any song and send a link to someone of your playlist. But since the music industry won’t yet allow that, Simplify Media is still very cool and may avoid me having to share my music ‘illegally’ which I was prepared to do if I had to. Try it out, and then let me know when you have it installed and I’ll invite you to my playlist.