Showing posts from March, 2011


Recently I've been thinking of ways in which portable media devices have changed our perception of music. 
I read something about Jonathan Berger, a music professor at Stanford, about a little test he puts his incoming students through at the start of every year. He gives them a variety of music to listen to and then asks them to rate the songs in terms of highest and lowest quality. What he's found is that the mp3 formatted songs are on a steady incline to becoming most favorable over the other songs with superior audio quality. So this is kind of strange... Even music students would prefer the compressed, low bit mp3 sound vs. a song with much more dynamic range! Uncompressed audio on a CD has a bit rate 12 times as much as an average mp3! It seems as if the "mp3 player" (and it's stylishness) has had an inadvertent effect on our generation of music listeners. Perhaps we've become so accustomed to the lack of quality that our ears have tuned out the imperfec…

Aural Architecture

A general knowledge of physical acoustic properties is definitely an asset to anyone involved in sound related work. An interesting place to start could be acoustic concert halls and the science behind the aural - architectural relationship.

    Wallace Sabine designed Boston Symphony Hall in 1900 which was the first Music Hall built with acoustic engineering principles applied to it's architecture. His calculations on ideal reverberation time laid the foundations for architectural acoustics. Today, additional factors outside the realm of sound dispersion/physics are considered such as the subjective preferences of listeners and performers.
    Things like Initial Time Delay Gap and Clarity Index are taken into account and used to measure direct and reflected sound. A direct sound is a pure tone without any audial pollution. An orchestra depends heavily on direct sound for added clarity to the listeners however reflected sound can add richness to musical tones. Reflected sound c…