Archive for April 11th, 2012

NYCTaper, Archivist of New York’s Live Indie Music Scene Captures the Best of Austin’s Music Festival with Sennheiser

Austin – April 11, 2012: Since starting his NYCTaper website in the mid-nineties, Dan Lynch (a.k.a. NYCTaper) has been recording and streaming hundreds of recordings over the Internet, reflecting the best that New York City’s live indie scene has to offer. Lynch, who strives to make the listener feel like he or she ‘was actually there,’ is well known to indie music lovers in New York City and well beyond — his listening audience extends from not only major U.S. metro cities like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, but to more distant geographies such as Japan, Europe and the far reaches of Australia.

While his own backyard is New York City, NYCTaper decided to capture the best of what Austin had to offer during its famous music week last month — listen to some of the results here. Armed with a pair of Sennheiser MKH 8040 cardioid microphones, his HD 280 closed back headphones and a trusty Edirol digital four-track portable recorder, he became “AustinTaper” for a week and recorded some of the best live set lists south of the Mason Dixon line.

What did you record while in Austin?
I have a pretty good relationship with Brooklyn Vegan over the years and the list of bands they were hosting was impressive. So I set up at Hotel Vegan in the afternoons and at the Impose Magazine parties during the evenings and recorded everything I could. In terms of genre, I am particularly drawn to indie rock but I also like any artist that has talent, imagination and something a little different than all the other music out there. For me, it can’t be a formula or promoted by any particular product — I want to see original talent.

What are some of the challenges you encountered in Austin versus what you’re used to in New York City?
Well, there is obviously a lot of extraneous noise when you are recording outdoors. The Sennheiser MKH 8040s are cardioid microphones and this makes them perfectly suited for this kind of thing. Normally, you’d have wind noise to deal with, but this was not an issue since the 8040s have a cardioid pattern and also come with these gigantic windscreens, which are very useful. Wind noise aside, there is not much you can do about the typical chatter you hear during these outdoor type shows, as well as some of the extraneous noise coming through from neighboring stages, but the pattern on the 8040 helped minimize these issues as much as possible.

Did you get a chance to audition the 8040s before you left for Austin?

Yes. Just before I left, I did back-to-back shows in New York City: I recorded Sharon Van Etten at the Bowery Ballroom and Craig Finn from The Hold Steady at Mercury Lounge. I used only the two channels of 8040s in both of these rooms, which I happen know very well, and they worked great. A typical problem I get in some rooms are reflections you get from the ceiling — which sound very ‘claustrophobic.’ With the 8040s, it was the first time I heard my recordings without these annoying reflections. So I knew they would work perfectly well in Austin well before I left.

What was your specific set up during each performance?
I had two Sennheiser MKH 8040s mics set up about eight inches apart in a 110 degree pattern on a stand, which was approximately 8 feet high. In addition to the two live mics, I sourced the left and right main mix feeds via direct outputs from the board. My recorder is an Edirol R44 4-track recorder with modded preamps, and I was capturing 24-bit audio. I was monitoring the recordings through my Sennheiser HD 280s, which are closed back, over the ear headphones.

How did the MKH 8040s perform on the ground in Austin?
First off, there was absolutely no issue capturing the high sound pressure levels on these mics — they can handle anything you throw at them and I have experienced virtually zero distortion. I am getting an extremely clean signal, and in terms of frequency response, the MKH 8040 delivers a sweet and crisp lower end and the highs are very tight. In general, the frequency response was so good that I didn’t have to EQ at all. The mic had basically a zero signal to noise ratio and there was no handling noise or self noise. Ultimately, the combination of the 8040’s cardioid pattern and its ability to perform without any audible distortion makes it the right mic for this kind of festival recording.

Tell me about your monitoring setup while you’re in the field.
For what I’m doing, maintaining isolation is very important because there is just so much noise happening all over, and to that end, I just can’t say enough good things about the Sennheiser HD 280s. Using these headphones, it was the first time I’ve ever recorded a show where I could only hear what was coming through the mics and the board — you are literally inside the cans and I love that. This means I can focus much more, because now I can hear what I’m doing and adjust things like mic positions or levels. They are also fit just right over my ears — I recorded over 35 shows while in Austin and experienced no discomfort whatsoever.

Do you also use the HD 280s while editing and mixing?
Yes. When I am using the HD 280s in hotel room for editing and mixing after a show, I can hear everything. Maybe there is a kick or a snare drum that was a little hot — now I can pinpoint that and make adjustments if necessary. I also enjoy the experience of just listening to music I’ve recorded on the HD 280s while I’m relaxing. One of the nice things about being NYC Taper or AustinTaper is that eventually I get to go home and actually listen to all these recordings, just like the fans of my site.

Listen to some of NYCTaper’s Austin tracks here: http://www.sennheiserusa.com/nyctaper

CORNELL UNIVERSITY DISCOVERS ORNITHOLOGICAL RESEARCH APP FOR SONNOX FRAUNHOFER PRO-CODEC

AES Convention A Catalyst For Innovative Plug-In’s Scientific Role

ITHACA, NY: At the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology’s Macaulay Library things can get a little wild. As the world’s largest scientific archive of biodiversity audio and video recordings, this collection encompasses over 195,000 sound and 60,000 video clips. Curator of Audio, Greg Budney and Supervising Audio Engineer Bill McQuay routinely investigate new tools to aid their research. Most recently they have been experimenting with the Pro-Codec, an audio plug-in created by UK-based Sonnox and Germany’s Fraunhofer (developer of MP3 technology).

Introduced last year, the Pro-Codec is a groundbreaking plug-in designed to revolutionize the process of mastering audio for online distribution. By enabling audio engineers to precisely audition codecs in real time, the Pro-Codec eliminates the prolonged cycle of encoding a music mix to MP3/AAC, previewing and tweaking it and then returning to their starting point to re-render. The abridged process frees the engineer to focus on producing a compensated, optimized mix.

Budney and McQuay first learned of the Pro-Codec while attending last year’s Audio Engineering Society Convention in NYC. “I spoke to the Fraunhover folks about our need to demonstrate appropriate and inappropriate uses of MP3 sound files to the scientific research community, and they directed us to the Sonnox booth,” McQuay says.

“We’re a resource for scientists studying evolutionary relationships between animals,” Budney explains. “Many species have genetically based sounds. By examining the vocalizations of a group of animals, their sounds can provide a window into their evolutionary relationships. Motion picture producers also use our collection,” he adds. “Skywalker Sound routinely contacts the Library for creative fodder, sometimes for sounds to build upon, sometimes for accurate natural world sounds.”

“We are trying to demonstrate to the scientific community that there may be appropriate and inappropriate uses for a lossy codec like MP3, which is based on human perception, but is not necessarily the perception of other species. In many cases we don’t know the perceptual limitations of these species – what frequencies they do and do not find important or encoded with meaningful information. We want to demonstrate that MP3 may be valuable for applications such as auditioning sounds, but may not be for serious sound analysis. The Pro-Codec provides a simple interface that allows us to consider what information in the frequency and time domains are being eliminated by the lossy MP3 codec,” McQuay adds.

McQuay and Budney want to assure scientists that they are listening to and analyzing sound with the greatest amount of content – audio content which might be critical to the species they are studying. “Scientists are really hip to spectrograms, they love those things,” McQuay says. “The Pro-codec’s real time FFT display graphically illustrates exactly what is happening to sound being processed by the MP3 or another lossy codec. And, the Pro-codec’s ability to make the sounds being eliminated audible helps to reinforce its lossy nature. Our hypothesis is that for serious sound analysis, the use of MP3 or other lossy formats may not be the appropriate choice.”

Research currently underway at the Macaulay Library will eventually be published in a scientific journal, pending the outcome of McQuay’s analysis. Budney points to the Library’s webpages, which provide technical support to researchers across a broad range of disciplines. “They might be marine mammalogists, ornithologists, or individuals studying animal behavior or bioacoustic phenomenon,” he says. “The library is recognized as a source of solid technical information by researchers around the globe. We’ll also be posting this information on our own webpages soon.”

Photo cap: Cornell Lab Curator of Audio, Greg Budney (left) and
Supervising Audio Engineer Bill McQuay

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For information on Sonnox Oxford Plugins please visit: www.sonnox.com

Myers Sponsors PBS TechCon 2012

TEAM MEMBERS TO PARTICIPATE IN LEARNING SEMINARS

Northampton, MA – Myers Information Systems – a leading developer of broadcast traffic, business, and content management software – today announced the company will again be a Silver-level sponsor of the Public Television Service’s annual technical conference, held in conjunction with the National Association of Broadcasters’ mid-April convention in Las Vegas. Myers has been a sponsor, seminar participant and exhibitor since the conference’s inception.

Myers’ personnel will contribute to several seminars and discussion groups, among them, “Do You Want to be a ProTrack Power User?” for station traffic management staff will be led by Crist Myers, president and CEO, along with CTO Tracy Carter, director of marketing Nancy Carter, plus team members Lloyd Ortman and Jim Pinard. Tracy Carter will also participate in panels entitled: “Traffic, Non-Real-Time is here – Are You Ready?” and “Centralcasting and Shared Master Control Update: A View from the Field.” Myers Information Systems will also have a strong exhibit hall presence, with team members available to answer questions and discuss ProTrack software features.

“We are extremely proud to continue our sponsorship and involvement with PBS,” said Crist Myers, president and CEO. “Their annual TechCon event provides an unequalled opportunity to exchange knowledge and ideas with PBS, its member stations and vendor partners, so that we can continue to bring forward efficient, innovative and cost-effective solutions to the public media marketplace.”

Myers’ highly regarded flagship suite, ProTrack, is available in both radio and television editions. It offers comprehensive scheduling and business management for individual, multichannel and multi-station facilities. Actively used by more than 226 media outlets, supporting more than 1,300 channels, ProTrack provides a high-level of structure and scalability, without sacrificing flexibility, for today’s rapidly evolving media environments.

ABOUT MYERS INFORMATION SYSTEMS
Myers Information Systems, Inc. has been developing broadcast management software since 1989. The Company provides technology and services for television, radio and other digital media providers designed to improve every aspect of their operations, from contracting to invoicing, media management to scheduling, and from trafficking to reconciliation. For more information, please visit: www.myersinfosys.com
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Myers Information Systems contact: Crist Myers
+1-413-585-9820 / sales@myersinfosys.com

Press contact: Desert Moon Communications / Harriet Diener
+1-845-512-8283 / harriet@desertmooncomm.com

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