Saturday, December 10, 2011
Saturday, November 26, 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Upon arriving at UE, we were ushered into the demo room, where we were able to try out all of the custom in-ear models. Soon after, Philippe DePallens, GM of UE, came out to talk to us. He explained the history of UE (starting out as a mom & pop company out of Vegas), how Logitech came to acquire UE, and how UE works to build market share and brand loyalty.
Then, we took a walk into the labratory studio, where the devices are actually built. Philippe took us through the entire construction process, starting with ear molds and moving all the way to tuning the electronics. We were blown away at the precision with which the artisans in the studio were able to assemble the tiny electronics to such consistant performance!
All through the visit, Philippe also talked about the marketting and branding side of UE, from a perspective of crafting the customer experience. This is a side of business that our students don’t get a lot of exposure to, and it was a real treat to hear how UE combines a high-quality product with a high-quality customer experience.
The visit marked a significant change in perspective for our students. Walking into the office, more than one of them scoffed at the idea of high-quality IEMs, but on the way out, they were thinking seriously about investing in a pair. I can’t say for sure that they will (the nicer models are pretty pricey for a grad student), but even if they don’t right now, who’s to say that they won’t in the future?
Thanks, Philippe and Ryan for a great visit!
Saturday, November 12, 2011
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to use Meyer Sound’s VRAS in my design for Waiting for Godot and my system grew into a full fledged Constellation system! Meyer Sound’s Mac Johnson, Pierre Germain, and Steve Ellison came down to help me for a tuning and voicing session! It was a unique experience, so here’s a taste of what it was like!
My design concept for UCI’s production of Waiting for Godot started with the fact that it was set in the dead of winter with snow actively falling throughout the show. The scenic design enveloped the audience with telephone poles cradling either side of the seating and actors entering and exiting on a snowy road through the middle of the house. I wanted my sound design to be as equally immersive. Having spent a few winters in Chicago and the middle of Pennsylvania, I was very drawn to the idea of replicating the stillness, the quiet sound and feeling of freshly fallen snow. I was also lucky enough to have resources in the show budget to buy materials to help me achieve the dead sounding room I wanted. Reverb provides a crucial sense of how big a space is and is an aural key as to where you are in space. For this show, I wanted to create as few reflections as possible and I REALLY did have a challenge; the Robert Cohen theatre is essentially a 50’ x 50’ x 20’ concrete box. I went through various ideas of how to achieve maximum absorption such as using bass traps in the corners of the theatre and foam under the seating, but settled on using a combination of velour curtains on all four walls hung with maximum fullness and carpet covering as much bare floor as possible. Below is a groundplan of what I ended up with, showing the set with the carpet and curtains.
In contrast to this very still environment, the second act of the play takes place in spring. With the change in season I also wanted an aural shift. How to achieve this without tearing out all the carpet and curtains?! With Meyer Sound’s VRAS (Variable Room Acoustic System) of course! I used the dampened space to my advantage to create a variety of unrealistically large environments with VRAS that were incongruous with the actual size of the theatre. These moments were meant to both delicately foreshadow events and place aural weight on highly unrealistic situations. I also wanted to use it subtly to bring back the bright vocal quality of a spring day.
Major sound design and VRAS moments included the falling of night / moon rising in both acts and Lucky’s speech. Night falling followed the boy’s entrance, which I made highly abstract and dream-like using a very unrealistic reverb with multiple reflections. This VRAS continued through the night to keep the actors in a spell where there is little certainty of what is real or not. Lucky’s speech is the only time in the play where the character talks and he ends up having a mental breakdown. This scene had a similar effect in which VRAS signified where the breaking point was and, in addition to this large soundscape, I created all of his past experiences rushing back in the shape of a nightmare that engulfs the audience in sound.
Because I knew early in the design process that I wanted to use VRAS, I tried to do as much research as I could on past Meyer designed Constellation systems. I found a few examples online and noticed that they mostly consisted of Stella, MM4, UP-4XP, and UMS-1P speakers. The microphones were in rows with parallel rows of Stellas or MM4s on either side, all equal distances apart. With this information, I created a draft of my VRAS system using eight Stellas, six MM4s, and two UP4s (to be used half for VRAS and half for effects playback). I also emailed Mac Johnson (Meyer’s Constellation Project Manager) for advice, whom I had met earlier in the year for SIM3 class. When I heard back, he gave me suggestions about moving the placement of a few speakers and also offered to have Meyer come tune my VRAS system! Uh what? Yes please! We had used VRAS before in shows here at UCI, but could never really get an optimum performance from it because a lot of the information regarding it is proprietary so I was very glad to accept the assistance.
After much planning and a lot of paperwork, I began to e-mail a lot of documents to Pierre Germain at Meyer Sound who was going to be doing the actual tuning. He wanted a system config LCS project file, groundplan, section, and a spreadsheet of XYZ coordinates of the speakers and microphones in the space in order to calculate delay times.
This document shows my speaker plot for the show. One thing I would have done differently is to move the two Stellas over the stage to the back of the house. Under the initial advice of Meyer, I left them in the configuration shown. However, when we got into the space for the voicing session with Steve Ellison, it was confirmed that it would have been best for them to have shifted to the back of the house. I did not miss having them in the back during VRAS effects, but I definitely did for playback. I found myself constantly using a matrix we created for just the back Stellas and pumping a lot of audio in there because I missed having a grounding aural presence from the rear. I would have also added two more UP-4XPs in the rear corners of the house. This was also my first time making a SpaceMap and I had one cue where a storm circled the perimeter of the space. I found that the transition from one side of the house to the other was weak and two more UP-4XPs would have been ideal to help the storm’s movement.
Overall, this was an extremely positive experience; we all had the opportunity to listen and learn a lot firsthand about VRAS during the voicing session. I am extremely grateful to Meyer Sound, Mac Johnson, Pierre Germain, and Steve Ellison for all of their support!
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Monday, November 7, 2011
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
When we got to Harman, Dr. Sean Olive took us around. Dr. Olive designs all of the listening and testing facilities and tests that Harman uses to measure subjective response to the products. Here he is showing Matt and Josh one of the test cars that Harman uses to evaluate automotive sound systems:
After the tour, Dr. Olive sat us down for a few tests. The first was to see how well we connected 'good' sound to 'lossless' sound. It was a double-blind test to see whether we could identify mp3 or pcm audio (we all did well, thankyouverymuch).
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Tuesday morning, bright and early, we met back at the Robert Cohen Theater to get cracking on giving the Constellation System some personality. Pierre had done a terrific job of making the room sound natural, and now we welcomed Steve Ellison, who gave a primer in the parameters and power of the Constellation System. Steve walked us through the interface and helped Patricia create a few presets to get her started as she heads into tech this weekend.
And Steve with some of our MFA students, probably rapt with attention as Mac activated the room with his mellifluous baritone voice.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Saturday, October 1, 2011
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
A couple short videos from the folks at T.E.D. on sound:
Four Ways that Sound affects us
Shh! Sound health in 8 steps
Some interesting things to think about that might help you somewhere down the road.
(here are the links, in case the embedded ones above don't work)
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
(I don't usually post twice in one day, but this is a bit of a big deal.)
- The audio does NOT stream from one device to another. The audio files themselves live on the 'prop' device. This cuts way down on lag.
- Currently, you can only choose the sound file from the 'prop' phone, not from the 'controller' phone.
- This is the very first version of the app, so expect big changes to happen as the developer gets feedback.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Short answers are:
1. Excellent Organization
2. Continuous Learning
3. Good Attitude
5. People Skills
6. Technical Skills
But the details are what makes it a good article. Go read for yourself!
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Monday, August 8, 2011
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Friday, July 29, 2011
Monday, July 25, 2011
This past month, I was the Assistant Sound Designer of Sleeping Beauty Wakes, a new rock musical at La Jolla Playhouse, a Tony-Award Winning Theater. While there I had the privilege of working with Tony-Nominated Sound Designer, Leon Rothenberg. The sound system featured equipment we use here at UCI; Meyer UPQs and UPJs for the Main Left and Right, Meyer M1Ds for a line array center cluster. There was also a full range delay system of UPJs and M1D-Subs. Front Fills were also M1Ds.
Monday, July 11, 2011
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Monday, July 4, 2011
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Hope all your summers are going well. Just a quick blog post to update the progress that is going on here.
With the help of Stephen, Marshal, and 101 Rachael, we got the new workshop (3036) BLUE! It's very pretty! And getting real close to time to move the shop from the basement up to 3036.
We have also made some progress in the storage room (3026). The cable hook wall was installed last week.
Here is a picture of Joe pulling a "Palmer" trying to find the studs. Seems they aren't evenly spaced in that room.
The bottom row is up! Jeff collapses in the corner as Joe gets ready to hang the next one.
Jeff investigates the gizmos hiding above the drop ceiling. Oh, and look at that, the second row is up!
Here the third row is in! The wall is complete!
The speaker rack is started! The wall anchors are in, the uprights are up! All that is left is to fill those last cheeseboro's with the last pipe.
The pipe is in! Jeff is checking that it's level, as Joe tightens the nuts.
And it's up! Jeff gives a last twist, as Joe checks out the handy work. Now, all we need to do is hang some speakers on it! It will be jam packed!