The Golden Nano-Ear: for detecting the tiniest of sounds.

Have you ever wondered what a virus sounds like? Or what noise a bacterium makes when it moves between hosts? If the answer is yes, you may soon get your chance to find out, thanks to the development of the world’s tiniest ear. The “nano-ear,” a microscopic particle of gold trapped by a laser beam, can detect sound a million times fainter than the threshold for human hearing. Researchers suggest the work could open up a whole new field of “acoustic microscopy,” in which organisms are studied using the sound they emit.

Detecting sound waves on the nano scale is a very cool endeavour.

The scientists involved are clearly high caliber audiophiles, using gold as their metal of choice and giving a whole new literal sense to the term “Golden Ears”…

Oh, and we finally have a suitable way to listen to our nano guitars! Excellent.

Web Beep: text to tones and back again

WebBeeps. I’m not sure I see the point yet, and I’d be surprised if they were at all resilient to acoustic transmission, but nevertheless: These things are pretty cool :)

Enter any text (e.g. a web address?) and hit the button to get back a simple audio representation, as a series of beeps. Upload such a file to extract the text again.


(Specification and source code available.)

The spaces between the notes: Learn to turn off your ears.

There’s no such thing as not playing. Music has rests in it. So, you’re on a rest and the music will begin shortly.

If you’re interested in musicianship, aural skills, and ear training, most of the practice you do probably revolves around listening to sounds. Whether you use individual notes, chords, rhythmic parts, complex timbres, or practise active listening in real music, you probably spend your training time listening. As well you should!

But perhaps we’re forgetting a complementary part of developing our ears for music?

A blog post about adoration, meditation, active listening, and learning to switch off your ears.

BlindSide: The Audio Adventure Video Game | Kickstarter

We’re creating a video game with no graphics, played entirely using audio. It is an audio adventure, set in a fully 3D world that you’ll never see.

It’s called BlindSide, and it’s one of the first games to bring a brand new gaming experience to sighted players, that can also be fully enjoyed by visually impaired gamers. So far we’ve completed 10 minutes of gameplay to prove out the technology, and demonstrate that our core mechanic is fun. There have been a handful of audio-only games, but nothing like this before.

This sounds very cool. Old-school text adventure meets newfangled audio-only surround sound game. The 30 second demo in the video above really gives a cool sense of what it might be like. Can’t wait!

If you like to feed your ears interesting and good things: Warren Ellis’ Broken20 Podcast


Warren EllisBroken Strategy

Warren Ellis is an English author of comics, novels, and television
“This year has been about four projects for me: the experimental “augmented reality” comic SVK, the talk on “digital cities” and history that became the forthcoming short volume GHOSTBOOK, the crime novel GUN MACHINE and an unannounced graphic novel with the working codename “Project Z.” All four projects were, in some sense, all about the same things: hauntings and invisible maps. What follows is a slice of the soundtrack that’s been accompanying the writing of these works.”

Download the podcast and while you’re there, subscribe for future episodes…

Video: 29-year-old woman born deaf hears herself for the first time

Touching video, giving a glimpse of what this moment might be like. Hopefully as technology progresses this will be an increasingly common experience!

The sound of “Submarine”

I asked Heath about his brief from [Director] Ayoade - was it very specific?

"No," says Nigel. "It would be for example, ‘the cassette sound would be like hearing it from a cassette that’s been in the car too long, has been in the sun for a year…’ For me that means the top end’s gone, kaput: it’s wowing a certain way because the spools inside are a bit messed up… And that’s exactly how he does it. It’s brilliant, because it tells you a thousand things - your brain kicks in. Saying ‘it’s going to have 5% wow, and we’re going to take 10dB off at 5K’ won’t inspire the same result as saying ‘make it sound like a cassette that’s been lying around for ten years’. That hints at a thousand parameters."

Really interesting article interviewing a few of the key people behind the sound on recent UK film “Submarine”, including the why and how of some of the choices they made to achieve the particular sound qualities of the movie. Some high-level broad brushstrokes stuff, but a fair bit of geeky detail too!

Read the full article here - apologies for the horrible flash magazine format.

Rodney Gates Special: Learning to Listen: Using Sounds out of Context

Most of the sounds you hear in games or film are usually not a single recording edited and dropped into place to represent the things you are looking at. They are complex sounds that are arrived at through careful design and mixing and are usually comprised of elements that you might not expect.

Take a laser blast for example. Since none of them truly exist, we can use our creative license and create them from all sorts of source material, and no two Sound Designers will do it the same way.

Learning to listen to sounds and realizing their potential is a career-long journey, but there’s no reason you cannot start now if you are an audio student or aspiring Sound Designer.

Fun and interesting post about finding sources for new sound effects in day-to-day objects and situations.

Music and sound insights from an experienced audio pro

Music is sound and sound is music.

That’s how it is for me. I’m a big fan of all kinds of music and music really influences all aspects of my work. I wanted to share with you some different songs and talk about how they’ve inspired my work. It’s by no means a list with all the artists I love – there’s no Kraftwerk, no Fela Kuti, no Miles Davis, no Slayer, no Philip Glass, no Nina Simone, no Boards of Canada, and, shame on me, no Radiohead. But nevertheless, here are 10 tracks (well, the first five) that have meant a lot for my work with sound:

Read the rest…

Peter Albrechtsen (an experienced film sound engineer and sound effects pro) introduces the ten music tracks which most impacted his sense of sound. Fascinating stuff!

Part One and Part Two.

Interview with the sound designers for the movie ‘Inception’

Ed Novick, left, and Richard King, right won the Bafta award for best sound for “Inception” at a ceremony on Sunday in London. They are also nominated for an Oscar.

Sound design, it’s an accumulation of thousands of little decisions that cumulatively make an approach to the sound. There’s a huge amount of effort put into sounds which don’t necessarily call attention to themselves, nor should they. But subconsciously, they reinforce what’s going on. Typically an audience will assume that whatever they hear was recorded the day the movie was shot, and that’s the way it should be. The second a sound pops out that they have to spend one nanosecond of thought on, that’s a mistake. It should all be part of the roller-coaster ride of watching the movie. And the approach in the case of “Inception” is, we wanted to make the dreams feel as real to the characters as we could, as well as making subtle differences in the different dream levels and reality. So there are some subtle but discernible differences on each level. So the audience, it will hopefully help them be grounded in where the psyche of the characters they are or what dream level they are.

Read the rest…

Some interesting bits and pieces here in an interview with the sound team behind the movie “Inception”, who are nominated for an Oscar for their work on the movie.