26 April 2011

And you thought acoustics was only for concert halls!

by National Council of Acoustical Consultant

We expect our indoor environments – from home to school, from office to entertainment venue – to “sound” a particular way. The office should be free from distractions. Concerts and live performances should be dynamic and clear for every seat in the house. Industrial workplaces should not damage our hearing. Acoustics plays a pivotal role in the comfort and enjoyment of our everyday lives. Acoustics is equally important outside the buildings where we live and work.

With urban growth and industrialization have come increased public concerns over noise issues relating to transportation, industry, recreational facilities, and all types of development. Good acoustical solutions may go unnoticed; poor acoustics will be recognized immediately.

As our awareness grows, so do rules, regulations, and even confrontations over sources and control of noise. The acoustical consultant combines both Science – technical expertise and practical working experience and Art – insight, innovation, and creativity to shape the sound of our environment.
  • Acoustics — The physical science of sound and vibration. The acoustician seeks to understand and quantify the production, control, transmission and effects of sound.
  • Sound — Any audible vibration transmitted by longitudinal pressure waves through a material medium, such as air or water. The perception of sound is called hearing.
  • Noise — Any sound that is damaging, undesirable, or interferes with one‘s hearing of a desired sound.
  • Acoustical Consulting — An applied science dealing with acoustical issues in real-world settings. The acoustical consultant blends precise measurement, objective standards, and mathematical modeling with the practiced art of problem solving, creative design techniques, and a highly subjective human sense - hearing.

07 April 2011

Is Analog Audio Equipment dead or still kicking and alive?

These days, high tech and complicated audio system are mostly in digital domain. Although analog audio equipment is still around they are less popular. The main reasons are because of features. Digital equipment has more features, lighter, small in size and very convenient to use. On the other hand analog equipment is heavier, big in size and less features.

Digital equipment is made of either hardware or software based or both (a combination).

As an example, the digital audio mixer, Presonus Studiolive series, it is small in size, many features built in such as 31band EQ, Effect processor and many more that you can insert to all channels mic and Line input. It is a combination of hardware and software digital audio system.

Another example is your home PC. The PC can be configure as virtual guitar power amplifier i.e. Studio Devil Virtual Guitar Amplifier. All you need is an electric guitar, audio cable, quality loudspeaker and good sound card installed in the PC and you are ready to rock n roll. It is extremely easy to setup and the sound is as good as the analog guitar amplifier.

With all these advance features of the digital audio equipment, will the analog audio equipment quickly fade away and vanish? Not so fast, In spite of all the advance features in digital technology, analog is much alive and still kicking and can co-exist in the digital domain.

For example, have you come across The VPR Alliance? No? Yes? Not sure?
Basiclly VPR Alliance is a program of standardization and consistency guidelines for manufacturers who wish to make or produce analog products designed to fit into API's 500 series rack format" (it is a type of equipment rack with built in power supply).


6-slot lunchbox® with built-in Power Supply

This rack commonly know as lunchbook, house a variety of audio modules (compact size) including preamps, EQs, compressors and so on (kindly refers below).

With the VPR Alliance, the manufacturers who stick to the specification requirement of the rack can create Lunchbox modules set to one preferences or requirement. This format gives one the freedom to choose and match a variety of analog modules which lead into production of the desirable sound.

Personally, I am comfortable with analog audio equipment because I can actually feel them unlike the virtual digital equipment. The feel is not there, it all virtual, not real. In my opinion, Analog equipment is very far away from dead.