Wednesday, 19 September 2007

mtf - week 08 - physical computing and aesthetics

We (John Delaney and myself) did the appropriate building and connecting during last weeks actual forum ie controlled note on/off for 3 oscillators from cubase.

I don't have any evidence whatsoever, but hopefully John will post something soon[1] and I'll use one of his pictures :)

This physical computing exercise was quite cool - combining this with some sort of envelope controls and it'd almost be a real synth - bass line mania !!
I did notice that the circuit made a lot of noise, unfortunately I just remembered and have yet to ask anyone why - or even for that matter do a bit of experimentation.

As to the instrument aesthetics, I've got to say I think most of Reed Ghazala's instruments are a bit unsightly (I may be exagerating a bit when I say most:).
I think it is good that he got nicely carried away, but I'm a bit of the put it in a simple structure and there you go.
I'm willing to admit that if I'd done this for the length of time he has I wouldn't be surprised if my instruments were just as garish.

I'd quite like to mount mine in a cardboard box, but I think the idea of a clear plastic bottle should work and whilst not being as perhaps exciting as it could be, will suit my idea of aesthetics quite nicely thank you very much.


pp 131-146. Reed, Ghazala 2005, Circuit-bending : build your own alien instruments, Wiley
Publishing, Indianapolis.

Haines, Christian. Music Technology Forum workshop. University of Adelaide, Computer Lab. 13 September 2007.

Tomczak, Sebastian. Music Technology Forum workshop. University of Adelaide, Computer Lab. 13 September 2007.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

cc - week 8 - live 2

In the dim distant days of the mid 90's, I used M[1]. This had a time warping feature as a simple graph (known as time distort), nowhere near as powerful as the Live feature...

Above are two different warp versions of a sample. Combined with a pitch shifting envelope I made this particular sample sound quite different, in terms of timing and duration and melodically.
Here is a little sample of the two loops, each repeated twice.

With the drum loops, the warping combined with the warp mode and pitchshifting (global and envelope), make for nice glitchy drum sounds.
This I combined with the follow actions creating a few 4 bar repeated phrases, which make it much easier to manage the liveness.

I appreciate much the sample manipulating features in Live.

The restrictive aspects is quite interesting. The limited effects are not such an issue because of the afore mentioned manipulating features, giving an amazing amount of variety out of a simple sound. And the limited matrix of potential clips, is not necessarily an issue when aiming for 45 seconds of sound, but with a bit of keen editing one could easily introduce a single clip of mulitple drum loops warped and manipulated extensively.


Haines, Christian. Creative Computing week 08 lecture. University of Adelaide, 13 September 2007.

Ableton 2006, M-Audio Enhanced Edition Owner's Manual, Ableton.

Monday, 17 September 2007

aa - week 8 - amplitude modulation

well little luck with making anything useful la AM sounds ie "sounds that mimic natural or
human-made sounds".[1]

had a lot of fun with modulating the modulators though.
Spent a bit of time on a scaling constant distance style AM, had to find the cent to freq ratio, but never felt i really understood whether it was doing what i wanted it to.

Then when mucking about with self modulation, I decided that a divider on it would be great ie pitch shift.
So a short delve into the spectral bidules reminded me of what FFT actually does ie average out frequencies.
This left me wondering what other options there were - I didn't want to use a seperate oscillator because I wanted feedback !!
Alas I decided that it was so much easier using a seperate oscillator and putting a divider onto the freq output of the note extractor, and it was - now my next excitement will be how to effectively change the wave type's of multiple oscillators simultaneously.

Anyway, my bidule featured AM and RM, with a fixed frequency and a moving frequency, and a sort of self modulation - which with the divider worked very well as a scaled movable modulator as well.

bidule is at :


[1] Haines, Christian. Week 8 - Sound Generation - AM Synthesis.

Haines, Christian. Audio Arts week 08 lecture. University of Adelaide, 11 September 2007.

"Chapter 3 - Loose Modeling Techniques". Miranda, Eduardo. 1998, Computer Sound
Synthesis for the Electronic Musician, Focal Press.

Reid, Gordon 2000, Synth Secrets - Part 11: Amplitude Modulation, Sound on Sound.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

mtf - week 7 - physcal computing 2

blah, can't get the maxruntime to recognise or initialise or whateverise the serial port on home computer :(

worked last week,

serves me right for trying at home- will keep workn at it..

anyway, again I'm thinking this is non-stop potentail. At first I was a bit dismissive of basically building a novel sound generation device and then conrolling it with a computer. I was a bit thinking this was overkill and just not necessary.
Why wouldn't you build something and then just play it, OR just play with a computer and not mix the two.

However I have inadvertently come to the pont where I see my former thoughts a tad small and whatever that word is where you are a bit limited.

I'm not really sure how all these exercises we've done tie together, or how they can be tied together - eg trigger a sound and change the pitch so will have to read the exercises again and consider.

I'm not convinced I'm interested in using this tool with my proposed instrument - to a major extent I'm more excited about playing it real time and not lugging more gear around than I have to, but will give it due thought...


Haines, Christian. Music Technology Forum workshop. University of Adelaide, Computer Lab. 6th August 2007.

Tomczak, Sebastian. Music Technology Forum workshop. University of Adelaide, Computer Lab. 6th August 2007.

note - How do I reference these readings?
individual exercises -
Exercise 1 - Victorian Synth.pdf
Exercise 2 -The STIC Insecticon.pdf
Exercise 3 - STRIC Insecticon.pdf
Exercise 4 - Genetic Mutant Insecticon.pdf

Monday, 10 September 2007

aa - week 7 - basic synthesis

First going into studio 4, I made some Enoesque ambience :)

Second time, I took the Roland SH-5 to studio 2 and made Doctor Who noises, I spent a while but that's all I could make.

One thing I noticed was the non equal tempered keyboard. Does it ever play semitones ? It did make stuff sound more Doctor Who though.

It was very hard to make "natural" sounds, perhaps if I'd thought about it more it might have been easier.
But it just seemed that every time I made a new sound it just sounded like Doctor Who.



Haines, Christian. Audio Arts week 07 lecture. University of Adelaide, 04 September 2007.

White, Paul. 1994, Sound Foundation - A Synthesis Primer Part 1.

White, Paul. 1994, Sound Foundation - A Synthesis Primer Part 2.

mtf - instrument design

I've had minimal luck with toys. They've been too limited, and a couple are now too busted.
As such I propose to bend a cassette walkman.
Creating a new device - The Wobbly Man... or something like that :)

By changing the voltage to the motor I can change the playback speed/pitch, and even reverse direction of the tape.

This will be controlled/played by either a) a pot, controlling the variable voltage ouput of a regulator
and/or b) the thick pencil line on a piece of paper controlling variable resistance.

I will have multiple tapes each with unique sonic characteristics giving an array of potential playback timbres.

The instrument will consist of the walkman itself, a voltage regulator as created (or attempted) in week 5, and a pencil and a piece of paper.
I have yet to discover exactly how to integrate the pencil and piece of paper.

As for packaging, I plan to mount it inside a clear plastic drink bottle - giving the needed rigidity for such things as patch leads and also a lovely view of exposed wires.

Sunday, 9 September 2007

related to audio arts - sound synthesis

i Have collected a few VSTi analog emulations. Given that we are now playing with the real ones, I thought I might just post some links : P

This is an emulation of
"Performer Synthesizer and Modulator.
Made by Ionic Industries, Morristown, New Jersey.
Built in 1973."

this Page features a number of synths and effects.
-the Neumixturtrautonium, a copy of a synth made in the 1930's (curiously ignored by Mark Carroll in his lectures : )
- a copy of a Roland SH-3a.
- an amalgamation of some Yamaha synths such as the CS-60, CS-80 and GX-1. - oh, these ones aren't all free :(

and this one, not quite analog at all... but very versatile routing of sections, has 3 osc 3 lfo 4 env per voice (and more). all the modulators can be routed anywhere...
and i had an ESQ-M, and loved it to bits (it did have analog filters on all the voices )

Friday, 7 September 2007

cc - week 07 - live live

Well again, I have an amount of familiarity with the software to be used, so I jumped in.

I did an amount of pre-preperation, in that I played around for a while, then had some effects and loops pre-arranged before recording.

Example being the following envelope of the rez on the filter effect on track 4 (amusingly enough, Live occasionally seems to mix up the parameter names in some effects - probably the VST's themselves - in this case, the rez, is the cutoff).

I'm not sure how my version of 'Live Lite 6 M-Audio Enhanced Edition' differs from the university version, but I could use one VST effect and two Live audio effects.

I also played with the starting times and loop points of the samples.

Also setting the quantise to various values and restarting samples so they were not necessarily in time - I think I first started doing this to emulate badly beatmixed records :)
This is quite obvious at the beginning.

Once I had recorded an arrangement, I couldn't help myself doing a tiny amount of neatening :) Changing some volumes so they weren't too outrageous, also a bit of deleting to get it below 5 minutes.

And for good measure, I inadvertently decided to keep a semi-disco version.

In this version I mapped scenes to the keyboard, and played them this way.
I found this conflicted with other real time mouse editing, in that it changed the focus to the clip attached to the mapped key.

I did quite an amount of re-editing on the arrangement to neaten, shorten and make funkier (probably about 1 1/2 hours worth) - 90% of the ideas in this came from the 'live' version. I just did this because it was 9 minutes, and once I got started I couldn't stop editing :)

This example I bounced down two tracks so I could extend the 'bass' line at the end, so there are 5 clips effectively playing (on four tracks still), this also freed up an effect slot which I used to master compress - still working within limitations :)

Haines, Christian. Creative Computing week 07 lecture. University of Adelaide, 06 September 2007.

Ableton 2006, M-Audio Enhanced Edition Owner's Manual, Ableton, viewed 07 September 2007.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

f - week 6 - arduino

Had a bit of fun getting the arduino to work on my home windows machine.
After a few software problems, got it running OK !!

It's great, I didn't do anything withit , but conceptually it's great..
I don't know about the programming side of it, but ... it's great.

The possibilities of the arduino are vast. I really can't say anything but it's great. I've always been excited about the idea of an interface to the real world from computer land. And using this to do all sorts of random things, like controlling motors to controlling sound...

Anyway, about the assignment.

For exercise 3, Horus, I used two pots. One was a 1M and the other 1000k and they both worked fine. I was a bit curious about the way the controllers attached to unconnected analog inputs used the input from the preceeding analog input, but after a bit of reattaching the pots to various of the analog inputs I decided that it just happened to work that way :)

Haines, Christian. Music Technology Forum workshop. University of Adelaide, Computer Lab. 30th August 2007.

Tomczak, Sebastian. Music Technology Forum workshop. University of Adelaide, Computer Lab. 30th August 2007.

cc -week 6 - more humanising

more of the black sabbath.
this time with eq and more effects.

I also went through and manipulated the note timing a bit more, added a slight amount of pitch variation on the snare, and pitch bending on the bass.

The main thing I'm impressed with is the changing of the timing on all instruments, and the minor pitch variations on the bass.
From when I played bass in a dub band, the slight variations in pitch through sliding to a note, pulling off of a note. And the slight timing difference between the left and right hands all provided slight inspiration for this weeks manipulations.

bass straight - bass 01.mp3,

bass manipulateded - bass 02.mp3 . At the moment the flash player is pitching this file up, but it seems to work if you go to the site below and just download it.

nib further humanised.mp3,

Haines, Christian. Creative Computing week 06 lecture. University of Adelaide, 30 August 2007.

Monday, 3 September 2007

audio arts - week 5 - Interaction Design and Sound

I opened a jar of jam today, and noticed again the pop up safety seal feature
- when the jam is initially put into the jar, I assume it is done as a still hot product, so when the lid is sealed it creates a low pressure area inside the jar. This effectively holds a little 'button' in the middle of the lid, down. When the jar is opened, the pressure equalises and the little button pops up with an audible click - very satisying, and you know the the jam should still be good to eat :) Free from tampering and airborne bacteria.

This is good design, it is not in anyway intrusive, or does not effect the jam experience.
Very functional, I think as far as form is concerned, perhaps the size of the pop-up section which would affect the volume/pitch of the pop. The pop feature is not necessary at all, it exagerates the opening experience, without the pop it would be a little hiss as an inrush of air takes place - from my research the pop feature is more on food products that would have required cooking, and so would have a vacuum seal, and are at risk of spoiling.

also I considered the new public toilets, a sealed environment for your grafitti-ing pleasure.
These toilets feature a voice over accompaniment that describe where you are in the security process ("door locked" etc), and various features available. Whilst the features are also described by buttons in braille, having them illustrated audibly will at least prepare any blind person for the adventure of feeling their way around for the appropriate buttons.
There is also musical accompaniment ("what the world needs now" - a classic bowel movement inducing tune), no doubt to make sure you stay reasonably relaxed, yet aware of where you are. I have never stayed in one long enough, but at some point assumably there would be a warning voice to say that the doors are about to automatically open.

The audio feedback is a generally spoken affirmation of your action. It is direct feedback that also explains which button you may have just pressed.
To a person with good vision, this voice over/music can be annoying and annoying. The voice itself featuers a slight slap back echo to potentially give it a more natural feeling.
But to a visually challenged (blind) person perhaps this continual audio commentary is useful.

The interactivity starts with the door open button, accompanied with a flashing led to display its current occupancy state, then everything apart from dropping your trousers is done by button pushing - not real buttons however, but those that you just touch and possibly work through measuring inductance ? The buttons are not satisfactory as far as buttons go, so some response is good for a personal satisfaction thing - but as these buttons have fairly obvious response (toilet flush, door open) the reponses are a tad overwhelming.

Obviously the first example would take a fraction of the technology required for the second - the automated toilets have been waiting a while for technology to be cheap enought to build these :)

Haines, Christian. Audio Arts week 05 lecture. University of Adelaide, 26 August 2007.

"Chapter 1 - What Is Interaction Design?". Saffer, Dan. 2006, Designing for Interaction:
Creating Smart Applications and Clever Devices, Peachpit Press.

Lord, Max. 2004, Why Is That Thing Beeping? A Sound Design Primer, - viewed 01 september 2007.