Some recent listener feedback


Welcome back, Bruce!
I missed you every day, and I’m glad to have you here again.
I dabble in audio engineering because of YOUR podcasts. It’s because I found YOU in eyetoons.
Jim Weishorn

Bruce, so great to see this post.
Will subscribe today.
Cheers and welcome back!
Rob Scalise

This is such great news it's back.
Was always one of my favourite pods.
Steve Mayfield

A great listen. Thanks mate. Glad you had your Blues Brothers moment, and put the band back together. Looking forward to the next episode.
Peter Buckley


August 10, 2014

Episode 140 – Infrasonic sound

Filed under: !Podcast — Bruce Williams @ 18:03

This episode, the guys at MIT have managed to reconstruct audio from nothing more than video footage!
Infrasonic sound, what it is, how it affects us, and its use in cinema,
which got me talking about Mount Yassur,
Izotope have just announced the forthcoming RX4, an update to their Emmy Award-winning audio restoration software,
and I’m facing a recording challenge tomorrow with new girl-group G.R.L.
At this point, I’m thinking of placing the girls in an arc around a pair of U87′s in XY mode. I’ll let you know how it went next episode!

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June 1, 2014

Episode 139 – Flash recorders and Ozone

Filed under: !Podcast — Bruce Williams @ 12:00

This episode, Tom Ferguson (who is looking to digitise his vinyl collection) wrote to ask my thoughts on 19″ rack mountable flash recorders.
He’s been looking at the Gemini DRP-1, which doesn’t look too bad (from the specs), although I did have a couple of concerns.
Some alternate products I suggested he look at included:
the Zoom H6 Handy Recorder (not rack mountable),
the TASCAM SS-R100, and SS-R200 (both of which ARE rack-mountable),
and the Marantz PMD620 MKII, again, not rack-mountable.
Unfortunately, the unit I own and love (the Marantz PMD580) is now a discontinued product, but there some lurking around on Ebay.
Then, it’s on to a demonstration of iZotope‘s Ozone 5 Advanced mastering plugin. Not only did I use Ozone to master the song featured in this podcast, but I also used it to master this episode (and will be using it for all my podcast mastering going forward.
The kind folks at iZotope have set me up with the Studio & Repair Advanced Bundle, which consists of Alloy 2, Nectar 2, Ozone 5 Advanced and RX3 Advanced.
If my mastering of Dave Garner‘s ‘Tilting at windmills’ (as performed in this podcast) comes up short, I’ll blame the fact that I was having to do it with headphones on, where I would normally be using monitors.
That’s my excuse and I’m stickin’ to it! :)

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May 25, 2014

Episode 138 – Channels, channels and more channels

Filed under: !Podcast — Bruce Williams @ 12:00

This episode, a long-overdue response (and apology!) to an e-mail I received from Greg Anderson a couple of months ago,
Greg mentioned Dolby Atmos, and Headphone:x,
I also saw this a couple of weeks back: a guy who took a slice of a tree and played it like a piece of vinyl!
I also received another epic e-mail of weirdness from Rob Bettla,
which included amongth other things, links for:
Neil Young’s Pono player,
Samsung’s new graphene technology, plus this link,
new Australian research leading us toward graphene-based optical storage,
and how about graphene in three dimensions?
and graphene condoms!
Something tell sme that Rob has a bit of a graphene fetish!
Plus your chance to score some free software from the folks at Izotope! As I explained in the podcast, simply produce a training video using the Izotope software of your choice, host it anywhere you like (youtube, vimeo, dailymotion, on your own website, etc), then tweet (use this link) a link to your video including the mention @iZotopeInc and the hashtag #TipsFromMyStudio. You could end up on the receiving end of a $500 voucher for the Izotope software of your choice! Sweet. Get busy, peeps!

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May 4, 2014

Episode 137 – Crest factor

Filed under: !Podcast — Bruce Williams @ 12:00

This week, Sine Language is brought to you by Bill Vencil!
Bill asked me to talk about Crest Factor, what is it and what is its importance?
He also wanted to know my thoughts on technologies like SoundCheck, which iTunes is now using to create playback-managed volume levelling.
Will technolgies like this bring about the end of the Loudness War?
I guess we can only hope so, Bill!
Plus, he wanted to know about my current hardware setup.
As I said on the podcast, I don’t think anything has changed since I last spoke about it, but just in case, my current set up consists of:
an AEA R84 ribbon mic and TRP,
an API 5500 4 band parametric equaliser,
a Safe Sound Audio Dynamics Toolbox,
a Marantz PMD580 flash recorder (no longer available),
a Focusrite VoiceMasterPro, (no longer available),
and an Alto HPA4 headphone distribution amp.
Monitoring is still provided by my trusty Genelec 8030A mains, and 7050B subwoofer.

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March 30, 2014

Episode 136 – Loudness

Filed under: !Podcast — Bruce Williams @ 09:00

This week, I’ve musing over some things that crossed my radar over the last couple of weeks.
Joel, one of the Broadcast Tech’s at work recently posted about the Orban Omnia 9 on his facebook timeline.
The Omnia 9 is designed to undo the damage done by excessive peak limiting at the mastering stage. Probably not the kind of unit you’re going to buy for your home listening pleasure, but at least it shows that there are people in the industry concerned enough about the damage the Loudness War is doing to our musical listening experience.
Which of course leads to a reminder about the brilliant article that Bob Orban and Frank Foti wrote ages ago concerning excessive peak limiting of music. Definitely worth a read if you’re at all concerned by the Loudness War, and particularly how that plays out in the broadcast space.
Engineers at Duke University have come up with a design that allows for the acoustic cloaking of objects.
There’s a new music-creation piece of software out now called Bitwig Studio. I don’t know much about it, and I’m certainly not about to jump from Reaper (which I love), but I am keen to follow it’s progression. If you end up trying it out, let me know your thoughts. Aspects of it remind me of AudioMulch (whose name I couldn’t remember at the time of recording).
And finally, a great article that I saw on TapeOp about the difference between Conscious Blind ABX testing vs Sub-conscious Blind ABX testing. It may just have changed my mind regarding hardcore “audiophiles”.

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March 16, 2014

Episode 135 – The future of audio

Filed under: !Podcast,Surround sound,Vinyl — Bruce Williams @ 10:30

This week, Rob Bettla opened a huge can of worms regarding the apparently never-ending quest for improved video, while almost no progress seems to be hapeening in the area of improved audio quality.
This led to a discussion of (count ‘em!) 22.2 channel audio reproduction systems,
ultra high def TV,
Occulus Rift,
these strange video pods in Japan (video 1, video 2),
and the image resolution of the eye.
Somewhere in there, we also got onto the subject of the range of human hearing.
In the last 12 months, I’ve also rediscovered the joy of vinyl. Mmmm, vinyl.
The great folks at Izotope have just published this great pdf file (completely free… go grab a copy!) of mixing tips,
and over at the Dolby blog, I found a great (and not too lengthy) article about 7 iconic movie sounds, and how they were created.

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January 26, 2014

Episode 134 – Mid-side processing

Filed under: !Podcast,Mastering,mid-side processing — Bruce Williams @ 12:00

Happy new year, one and all!
This week, an e-mail from Carlos in Venezula, asking about the state of the pro-audio industry in Australia,
more hilarity from Rob Bettla,
and Karel Weis (via Facebook) asked me to discuss mid-side decoding…. what it is, when and why we’d use it, and how to do it.

As my source, I borrowed from a post by Brad Blackwood on his (now defunct) mastering forum at ProSoundWeb many years ago.
Here’s Brad’s instructions:

Take your stereo track and copy it (or mult on an analog console) to the streams beneath it, so you have 2 identical stereo streams (we’ll call them 1&2 and 3&4) of the same track. Make sure you keep them locked in the same position, as sample accuracy is vital.

1] In your mixer, pan the first piece (1&2) as a normal stereo track of music, hard left and right.

2] Next, pan the second track (3&4) dead center for both channels and reduce their level by 3db. This will make the track mono.

3] Now phase reverse both channels of 3&4.

If you kept the tracks sample tight, when you play, you will only hear the stereo information – anything common to both channels (mono) will go away. If you bounce this resulting output to a stereo file, you have the side information isolated for further processing (we’ll call this 5&6). Now, if you mute 1&2 (leaving only 3&4 in mono and phase-reversed) you can bounce this resulting output for your mono information (we’ll call this 7&8).

Now, flip polarity on streams 5&6. Then reduce 7&8 by 3db (and make sure both 7&8 are panned center), they’ll recombine, giving you your normal stereo output.

Now you can strap whatever processing your want across these streams to affect just the mono image or just the stereo information…

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Filesize: 32MB
Duration: 58:41

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December 22, 2013

Episode 133 – Sidechain compression

Filed under: !Podcast — Bruce Williams @ 12:00

This week, a follow-up e-mail from Rob Bettla,
a quick discussion on televsiion audio levels (plus, here’s a few useful links for those who are interested…)
ITU BS.1770
EBU R128
ATSC A/85
Wikipedia article on LKFS
plus a whole page of useful links.
Then, I discussed the video that made the rounds over the week or two of a drummer playing in different locations. Despite the reservations I described on the podcast, on second viewing, I notice that the rug does in fact change (look at the edges of the rug from each location) between shots.
Your thoughts?
And finally, an introduction to sidechaining.
What is it, how does it work, and when would you use it?

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December 1, 2013

Episode 132 – Outdoor dialogue in the studio

First off, thanks for all the love!
It’s good to be back!
After ep #131, I received an epic e-mail from Rob Bettla, who pointed me toward (amongst other things), this awesome video of balls of red hot nickel being dropped into water. The sound it makes is fascinating!
I came across an article on ProSoundWeb about digital gain staging, which for those requiring a refresher on the importance of signal structure, is well worth a look. One point the author makes (which is worth repeating) is that just because you’re running your DAW session using floating point math doesn’t de facto mean that all your plugins are necessarily doing the same!
I also found a much lengthier article (which I haven’t read YET, but will do so this week) called “A Primer On The Perception Of Sound“. The name alone has piqued my interest. Hopefully, it lives up to my expectations. :)
And finally, my tip of the week:
How to record and process studio-recorded dialogue so that it sounds like it was recorded outdoors.
As I’ve said 100 times before, this is purely subjective, but my three keys to success on this front are:

1. Performance
2. EQ (shelf, not high pass)
3. Reflections

As I mention in the podcast, if you’re unfamiliar with the difference between a high-pass filter and a low-shelf filter (both of which remove low frequency content, despite the confusing naming conventions), check out these images:


High pass filter

A high pass filter allows high frequencies to pass through unaffected, while low frequency content is removed.


Low shelf filter, with a narrow bandwidth (or q) value.

A low shelf filter attenuates (turns down) low frequency content, but doesn’t remove all of it. The shape of the filter is controlled by the bandwidth (sometimes referred to as ‘q’, short for bandwidth quality) control.


Low shelf filter, with a wide bandwidth (or q) value.

Still a low shelf filter, but notice the bandwidth setting. With a 2 octave ‘q’, the slope of the EQ curve is much shallower and more gentle.


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November 20, 2013

No podcast this week

Filed under: blog — Bruce Williams @ 21:51

Cath’s grandfather passed away last weekend, and we’ve had to travel for the funeral this week.
As a result, there won’t be time for recording this week.
Back next week, all things being equal.


November 10, 2013

Episode 131 – Stay on the f***ing bus!

Filed under: !Podcast — Bruce Williams @ 16:41

Yeah baby… I’m baaack!
This week, WHY I’m back,
why we should stay on the bus (here’s the link that inspired this episode’s title),
and an invitation for topics.

 

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May 5, 2012

New podcast: Nothing to Fear

Filed under: blog — Bruce Williams @ 17:54

I’m about to launch a new podcast called “Nothing to Fear“.

It will be along the same lines as “Building the Pod” (for those who remember it), except this one will be all about the digital audio workstation known as Reaper.

All things being equal, the first two episodes will go live Sunday 12th May, 2012.

I’m really just posting this here in order to get some inbound links to the site, so the google bots will index it.


July 16, 2010

Sine Language – episode 130

Filed under: !Podcast — Bruce Williams @ 20:02

To quote Jim Morrison, “This is the end”.

Size: 4793575 bytes
Duration: 4:20
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May 23, 2010

Sine Language – Episode 129

This week, Jim Addie weighs in on the Loudness War,
including providing us with this link to Audyssey’s room calibration tool for your DAW,
a link for AudioLeak,
and a link to a technical document on the subject of loudness,
Geoff Hankerson points us toward a recent epsiode of the Home Theatre Geeks podcast,
and Ron Eastwood chimed in on how new audio forensic technology might be shedding new light on a 40 year old case.

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Size: 41128786 bytes
Duration: 36:49

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April 25, 2010

Sine Language – episode 128

This week, Kevin Smith chimed in some more on tracking with effects in place,
a brief comment on how the use of reverb has changed over the years,
Ron Eastwood suggested another way of accomplishing the “richer harmonics” that I talked about in episode 127,
and J.R. sent us this link which he says is useful for newbie ProTools users.

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Size: 21920271 bytes
Duration: 18:19

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