rss

note

There’s an extensive exhibition of one of my favourite painters, Pierre Bonnard, on at Glyptoteket – with some intriguing sound vignettes by @lydrummet and @sunheeengelstoft to accompany some of them.

A little difficult to hear with the so many summer visitors, but beautiful nonetheless, and opening up details of the paintings in unexpected ways. They got me thinking back to a lecture that David Toop gave in Copenhagen a number of years ago on the topic of sound in paintings.

note

Over the past year I’ve been working on a sound-theatre/podcast piece based on a text by Lene Henningsen with Oskar Kokoschka and Alma Mahler as the leading characters. After having made a studio recording of all of the dialogue, we realised how much of an impact having the actors standing stationary and confined to a small space had on the character of the dialogue. (There are some similar observations in this Aeon article on Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds.) The next step was to re-record some of the scenes out in the world, and the wonderful Hirschsprung Collection kindly allowed us to use some of their spaces.

Jens Essendrop was also along to take some photographs: Here are Mette Frank Sørensen and Ulver Skuli Abildgaard, with myself recording and Lene Henningsen looking on.

Modular Diary

A little over a year ago I set about recreating Rob Hordijk’s modular system in @Audulus. You can follow that journey in podcast form here: huffduffer.com/rudigermeyer/tags/modular-diary, or here: rudigermeyer.com/notes/2019-03-01-12-00-49

note

And the man
bent
over the water
surprised
by the sun
discovers
a shadow

Wafting in pieces and
gently
floating away

Giuseppe Ungaretti, Vanity

Modular Diary

A background project that I’ve been busy with during the course of the last few months has been making recordings of the demo patches that I’d put together for my series of Audulus Hordijk Modules. After adding those to the respective posts on my site it occurred to me that it might be fun to record the texts and combine them with the examples, creating audio versions of the posts that could then be made available via a podcast feed.

As is often the case, it took a little longer than anticipated to get everything in place, but it’s finally done – hopefully useful as a little review of the project.

Here’s the link should you be interested in listening to them in a podcast player: https://huffduffer.com/rudigermeyer/tags/modular-diary/rss, or check it out on HuffDuffer where there are also links to open the feed directly in various podcast apps (should you be on a mobile device of some kind): https://huffduffer.com/rudigermeyer/tags/modular-diary.

It’s also possible to follow through all the entries on my site, which also includes the individual audio examples, starting here: https://rudigermeyer.com/notes/2018-03-24-17-12-30

note

I’ve been taking a look at some granular synths lately and have been enjoying the well thought out (non-keyboard) performance oriented UI of SpaceCraft. The latest update enables MIDI CC control of all parameters and this greatly expands the possibilites of the app, for example being able to scan through longer samples without being restricted to the range of the inbuilt LFO.

A few M4L MIDI LFOs in Ableton Live running via a network connection works well, but with something like AUM as a host, Bram Bros’s Rozeta MIDI plugin suite for iOS turns out to be a wonderful companion.

A list of the MIDI CC control numbers can be found on the Delta-V Audio website.

note

I recently ‘inherited’ some books from Vagn Steen’s library and have been enjoying the typography and clean design of this little ‘augenblick’ series going back some sixty years.

In the latest episode of On Margins Craig Mod and Lisa Brennan-Jobs discuss the importance of paper quality and texture in relation to the use of whitespace in design.

note

I recently bought a toy piano for my daughter, but wasn’t quite happy with the sound of it and was wondering if there was a way to adjust the tuning. I came across this video on YouTube which explains how the tuning of each note can be lowered by adding some metal to it – Toy Piano Man suggests using solder instead of winding wire around the rods, so I decided to give that a try.

I’d never tried opening one up before but it’s fairly simple to remove the lid, take out the metal tone rod assembly, and add some solder to the tips of the rods. I also experimented a little with placing some foam across the rods to damp them slightly. The toy piano spectrum has a lot of inharmonic frequencies present in it, but adjusting the tuning definitely has a helpful effect on the overall sound.

Hainbach’s video on his collection of toy pianos is also worth checking out.

Modular Diary

Following on my post on bipolar VCAs: Since there are some similarities between what’s going on with bipolar amplitude modulation and through-zero frequency modulation I thought I’d take another look at these topics in a little more detail.

Learning Modular has a nice post on Understanding the Differences Between Exponential, Linear, and Through-Zero FM, and from there I revisited @RobertSyrett’s Know your Nodes video on Comparing different types of FM.

One aspect that through-zero FM and bipolar AM modulations have in common is that they don’t freeze (or shut-off) output when the modulation signal falls below zero. Both do this by inverting the waveform in question. In the case of TZFM it is not the amplitude that is inverted but the phase of the waveform: In the Learning Modular video Chris Meyer describes this inversion as the oscillator ‘running backwards’ while @RobertSyrett in his Audulus demonstration talks of a reversal of the direction in which the waveform is being read. This means that there can be sudden changes in the direction of the waveform (in addition to it being sped-up/slowed-down) but without the potential jumps at the point of inversion that can occur with bipolar AM.

With both types of modulation sidebands are generated and this results in a change in the harmonic content of the waveform. In my previous post I noted Chris Meyer’s demonstration of the way in which the fundamental of the carrier falls away as bipolar AM (ring) modulation is increased, but remains present with amplitude modulation. Similar processes are at play in FM (of all kinds) and I came across a series of old Sound on Sound articles, one of which includes an good explanation of how the Bessel function can be used to describe the amplitude of each pair of side bands, and how they relate to the strength of the other partials and affect the relative strength of the fundamental.

@RobertSyrett demonstrates in his video how with TZFM sweeping the frequency also changes the character of the Bessel function (i.e. the timbre of the sound), while with PM the character of the Bessel function is uniform across the frequency range since the phase is not calculated in relation to the hertz value of the modulator – i.e. the timbre/harmonic structure of the waveform stays the same across the frequency range.

Phase modulation differs from TZFM in that the modulating waveform also changes the starting point of the carrier waveform. With TZFM the carrier remains in phase with modulating signal (through a continuously morphing Bessel function).

(I’ve also posted this on the Audulus forum.)

Modular Diary

Rob Hordijk includes bipolar VCAs1 as part of both the Mini Matrix Node Processors and the Dual Fader and has demonstrated, in his various tutorials on these modules, the ring modulation effects that this makes possible.

Via a recent Reaktorplayer tweet I came across a nice Learning Modular tutorial demonstrating the difference between amplitude and balanced (ring) modulation.

Towards the end of the tutorial there’s also a nice demonstration of the way in which the fundamental of the carrier falls away with ring modulation but remains present with amplitude modulation.

I’ve uploaded some simple demonstrations using my Audulus versions of both the Mini Matrix - Node Proc and the Dual Fader to the Audulus forum.

audio version of this post

  1. A bipolar VCA is like a normal VCA when operated with positive control voltage. But when using a negative control voltage, the output will swing back through zero amplitude and the output will be inverted.—Londonmodular