Unearthing Old Projects #2 – Warm-up Monitor

This one I remember fondly from my time in York back in 2013. Speaking to Brass players I had learned about their usual practice of warming up an instrument before it would be ready to play during a performance. What came to my mind for one of my class projects was the question “can we provide a tool to help with that process?”. In fact, knowing when an instrument is fully ready to play is not a trivial task for beginners, especially in noisy environments when no auditory feedback can help to determine when the sound is optimal. 
For this project, I toyed around with temperature sensors (thermocouple probes) and created a small MATLAB program which would plot the progress of the instrument in Celsius over time, complete with a rudimentary curve-analysis monitor to establish when the warming-up process stabilizes. 
I am not really confident that this tool would be actually useful to professionals, but it was fun to put together. And surely there is a lot to say about the relationship of timbre with temperature.

Unearthing old projects #1 – A Virtual Surround Sound mix

A few years ago, I attended the 3D audio course at NYU Steinhardt taught by Dr. Roginska. This is the same course that I now have the honor to teach now in 2019. 
One of the assignments for that course was to create a Virtual Surround Sound mix of a 5.1 regular multichannel mix. Virtual Surround Sound is a way to enjoy multi-speaker content as 3D audio binaural format over headphones. It works by virtualizing each channel-based track through HRTF digital filters representing the auditory directional response of locations matching a regular 5.1 convention. 
To experience the 3D effect please listen using headphones!
1. Standard Stereo dowmix of 5.0 mix
2. 3D binaural VSS dowmix (use headphones)
  • For this assignment I used source material from MedleyDB (http://medleydb.weebly.com/description.html)
  • Generic HRTFs were used, from the MIT database (KEMAR dummy)
  • No additional reverberation was added since tracks were already processed with artificial reverb.
  • Each source was assigned 1 or 2 virtual positions along a 5.0 configuration

(If I were to do this again, I would choose more dry source material and add artificial reverb myself at the mastering stage. Pre-baked reverberation does not virtualize well with directional HRTFs since that part of the sound is supposedly diffused)