Category Archives: News

YouTube squashes sound for free – FIXED

UPDATE: YouTube appears to have fixed the “problem” with their new compression scheme, according to Wired.com. What’s interesting is that they seem to have undone the previous damage to users’ files, which implies that they either kept uncompressed copies that they could re-encode, or that the new scheme worked in real time. Read the update here.

ClampsNo, it’s not a man-bites-dog story. It is a story about how YouTube’s new audio compression algorithm not only makes all the sound louder, including any noise, but also destroys any dynamic range in music. In some cases it actually generates distortion where their previously was none.

It’s particularly hard on classical or acoustic music as it also raises the level of quiet passages, increasing their noise significantly. We can only hope they get it right at some point. Soon, please.

New YouTube Audio Compression Stymies Uploaders | Listening Post from Wired.com

And yes, it has been reported as a bug:

Recent audio compression issue – Bug Reports & Issues | Google Groups

As they say on comedy-news on local TV: More later as the situation develops.

Teeny little controllers from Korg

In the midst of recording and editing dialog for a new videogame (whose name I unfortunately cannot divulge), I caught wind of these new workstation controllers from Korg, cleverly grouped together as the nanoSERIES:Korg nanoSERIES USB controllers for laptops.

There are three of them, and each is designed specifically for laptop use. They connect to your computer via USB, and appear to be bus-powered (at least for one at a time use. Don’t know if you can connect more with a hub or not). They all speak MIDI, so it should be possible to program them to perform various functions, as most Mac and PC software editors now support MIDI controllers and Continuous Controller (CC) messages. The music keyboard and drum pad units look like fun, but the money piece is the mix controller, shown below.

The nanoKONTROL comes with nine very short throw faders, nine associated knobs, and eighteen buttons for (I presume) mute and solo. It also features a transport section that lacks only a jog/shuttle wheel, and speaks MIDI Machine Control (MMC). A software app called Korg KONTROL Editor promises to provide a friendly interface when it’s time to program this Bad Boy, and the ability to store programs and settings on computer for later recall. I’ll def have to get my mitts on one of these mix controllers for review in RAP, ASAP.

Pricing and delivery information is not yet available, of course. But you can get firsthand info at Korg’s USA website here, or if you’re fluent reading Japanese you can check it out at the source here.

A special Finals Week @ USC

If you’ve been following these irregular posts, then you know that I have no life until May 15, when I get to turn in final grades. Let the exams and the grading of projects begin… and I’m late again for a change.

This time there’s an added bonus — my son graduates with a BA in International Relations and walks with his classmates on May 16th.

Congrats, AJ. You done good.

Samplitude 10 Reviewed in June’s RAP

So I decided to postpone the Samplitude 10 review until the June issue of Radio & Production (with approval from Editor Jerry, of course). I wanted more time to explore the program, which is both deep and wide. But Samplitude still has a Rodney Dangerfield complex here in the US — it gets no respect. That’s too bad, because it’s a strong contender as a standalone, all-in-one PC recorder and editor. Compared to Audition, its interface looks and feels more professional to me, and it provides a significantly better mixer with more features and functions. On top of that, it sounds really good; even in-the-box bounces sound good.

Unfortunately, Samplitude 10 is still as spendy as ever. The Pro version lists at $1295, which leaves the street price under a grand. There’s a “standard” version (maximum 64 tracks and eight busses) that carries a US list of $649, which puts street price under $500. The two-track Master version is $349, which streets at something under three c-notes. For VO work, the standard version is close enough, and you won’t miss the Pro’s extras.

Check out the June issue of RAP here.

Upgrading to WordPress 2.5

I know it’s thrilling news, so I won’t bore you (oops, too late). But I will tell you that it was simple, quick, and totally worthwhile. It’s more than a security or bug fix… this time they re-designed the interface and now it’s much simpler and cleaner.

I’m continually impressed by WordPress’ developers. They totally rawk, and I love this blog software.

May’s product reviews in RAP magazine

I haven’t decided yet, actually. In fact, I just figured out that I have another couple weeks to finish writing it (joy!).

But I’ve been playing with two very kewl products… the MicPort Pro from CEntrance and Magix’s Samplitude 10. Actually I’ve been playing with both at the same time. MicPort is a USB-to-audio converter that so far sounds great, unlike some others out there. Most of the existing converters are noisy and sound like crap, but the MicPort actually sounds very good, and does 96k/24 bits to boot. I think I’m keeping this one.

Samplitude 10, like previous versions (the last one I reviewed was version 8 back in 2005), is very deep. My concern with it is finding whether it’s still a resource-hog… I’ll be checking that this week. More later.

Disassembling a MacBook Air

Apple says their MacBook Air can only be serviced by the Mothership. While that’s smart while it’s under warranty, at some point the Air will become fair game for DIY fixing. You knew someone was going to ignore Apple’s FUD regarding opening the Air, and make it public to boot.disassemairlg

The nice folks at ifixit.com in Atascadero, CA have documented a complete teardown of a MacBook Air, including photos. Click this thumbnail to see it all:

BTW, iFixit is my first stop when I’ve got an Apple-related hardware problem. Their how-to guides have walked me through more than one laptop teardown. Others sell hard drives and memory for less, but if you need other bits for an Apple product you need to go there. Seriously.

Web Surfing on a Megayacht

Spent a day last week at Westport Shipyards in Port Washington, WA, hanging with a buddy who designs and installs marine electronics systems in luxury yachts, ranging in size from 110 to 164 feet.

wimaxOf interest to me was learning that owners spend about $10,000 a month to get Internet connectivity at sea on one of these things, and the speed tops out at about 512 kbps (it comes down from a satellite). But like the rest of us, they’re waiting for WiMax to help increase their Internet speed and lower their costs.

The rich really are different, or are they?

Continue reading Web Surfing on a Megayacht

Updated to WordPress 2.3.1

One of the things I really like about WordPress for websites is how diligent the developers are about updating their software… keeping it current and making the changes necessary to prevent WordPress from being vulnerable to the hack du jour. The best part is that the upgrade takes all of ten minutes to accomplish.

Heck, if I can do it in my current anti-histamine-addled condition then so can you.