You are currently browsing the monthly archive for October 2011.

Desert Mirage back on the winning track! Vote for Ernesto Quintero! He scored three touchdowns, including the game-winner. He carried the ball 26 times for 156 yards.’s Friday Night Hero, fall sports hero, sports hero, vote

Today, we will all learn how to easily upload and share audio online… FREE.  Okay, but before we even get to that point, we have to create some ORIGINAL audio and in order to do that, you can use garage band. Yesterday we created 8-bit chiptunes, so that is perfect to upload and share.  You will first need to convert the files to MP3’s.  Remember in order to do that you need to go to SHARE —-> EXPORT SONG TO DISK —-> (make sure you select MP3 encoder for compression and not aac.) save the MP3 to your desktop – this is the file you will upload to mix cloud. Next you will create an account on the website

1. You need an email to create an account on mixcloud, if you do not have one I recommend creating one at

2. Create a username and password that YOU WILL REMEMBER!  We will be using this website throughout the year and it is important that you are able to access it at all times.

3.  Your username cannot contain any spaces.

4.  UPLOAD your Mp3 to mixcloud.  We will later share with my other classes and you will be able to hear their remixes as well.

Chiptunes are everywhere, and if you’ve been intrigued by them, this article will help you create your very own out of just about any song.

Chiptunes are traditionally created using sound chips from old computer systems and game consoles. Some of the best examples of chip music can be made using Commodore 64s, GameBoys and the original NES. Since these pieces of hardware could only generate sounds and tones over a few channels, there is difficulty in creating complex songs. Along with the fact that this kind of circuit bending is not for a novice like myself and the learning curve tends to be very high. I wanted to find a way to accomplish this without spending days learning and researching software or hardware.

I am not trying to devalue chiptunes in any way, it definitely is an art form. I just want to present an alternative for those that are curious in creating their own masterpiece. So if we’re not going to need hardware and complicated software, what are we going to use? Using GarageBand ’09, a plugin and a MIDI file, you can convert a song you already know and love into a chiptune.

First thing is to find a MIDI version of a song you want to create. I just went to Google and searched for “Muse midi” and quickly found a Muse song that would work. Save the MIDI file on your computer for later. Now we need to download the Magical 8-bit Plugin from the YMCK website and put the magical8bitPlug.component file in the/Libraries/Audio/Plug-ins/Component folder.

  1. Startup GarageBand and start new project by selecting the Piano. This will create a single track project that we can import our MIDI file into.
  2. Now drag your MIDI file into GarageBand and you will see it create new tracks for each voice in the MIDI file.
  3. Double-click a track to change the instrument from the Piano to our chiptune instrument.
  4. Click the Edit tab and then click the drop-down where it says “Piano” and select “Magical8bitPlug”
  5. Now if you want to tweak that tracks sound, click the Plugin logo and play around with the settings.

  6. This needs to be setup for every track except the drums. Use your creativity and change the track sounds to match the instrument they’re representing. The drum track needs some special attention and since the plugin won’t work for this, I did the following.
  7. Change the drum track sound to the Hip Hop drum Kit.
  8. Add a new effect to this track. Use theBitcrusher effect and select whatever settings sound good to you. I used Wave Deconstruction.

Now you may have to tweak the volume levels on each track to your liking but for the most part, you are done. Export an MP3 and amaze your friends! Well maybe not if they read this article too, but with this knowledge you could create your own music and use the chiptune sounds as your instruments. I know this is not as hardcore as true circuit bending, so don’t send me angry emails. It’s more of a fun little project to please your creative side. Share your own creations with us through the comments and check out my final results in the audio clip below.

Use the video clip, your own knowledge, google, wikipedia or any other search engine to find the answers to the questions below.  Click “leave a comment” to submit your answers.

1) Who owns water?

2) How much fresh water is found on earth?

3) Where do you get your drinking water?

4) What is something new you learned from the video clip?

5) Who deserves clean water?

1.  What is Perceived Obsolescence?

2.  What is Planned Obsolescence?

3.  What fraction of natural resources are gone?

4.  What are the 2 most popular activities for americans during leisure time?

How to Adjust Vocal Settings in GarageBand to Sound like the T-Pain

Okay, so maybe you’re not the best singer in the world. However, if you own a Mac and have ever wanted to experiment with using the Garage Band application; then you can adjust the settings so that even you will sound good singing just like T-Pain. The way this is done is by adjusting the tune of your voice.

Make Your Voice Sound Better!

To get started, you are going to want to first launch the Garage Band application. After it appears on your screen, you will want to select ‘Create a New Project’. Type in a file name for your song and click ‘Create’. From here, you will want to click the track button located on the top tool bar, and then click “New Basic Track.”

Now a box with a speaker should appear right below the piano in the main window. Click the plus sign in the bottom left hand corner of the screen. Then, place a checkmark in the box ‘Real Music Instrument Track’ and click ‘Create’. The next step is to click the scissors icon also located on the bottom left portion of the Garage Band window. This will bring up some tuning options.

Under the advance tab in the window you just brought up, you will want to find the control for enhanced tuning and slide it all the way to the right. Also, put a checkmark in the limit to key box located directly below the slider. Now you are going to want to go up to the large pane located on the right of the Garage Band window and select Vocals > Vocal Reflection.

Now, in the bottom right corner of the screen you will see a small arrow that looks like a play button with the words ‘Details’; Click it. You should now see a portion of the pop up box that says ‘Compressor’. Uncheck this box to turn the compressor off. Finally, click the pencil next to the track echo field and slide the slider under echo time closer to the short end of the scale.

Click ‘Save Instrument’ in the lower right hand corner of the screen. To test this out click the record button and sing a couple of lines. When you are done singing, click the stop button and drag the slider back to the beginning of the scale. Now press play.

You’re Done!

There you have it. Now you can sound just like T-Pain. Well, maybe with Garage Band and a couple of singing lessons.

We have used Garageband, Reason and discussed Clyde Stubblefield, who is a highly sampled drummer, but now it is time to create our own drum patterns.  Click the image below to use an online drum machine called Monkey Machine.  Make your own drum patterns and sequences and follow along as I explain some of the basic features.

  1. The file format that uses a shorthand representation of musical notes and durations stored in numeric form is:

a.       AIFF

b.      CD-ROM/XA

c.       DSP

d.      MIDI

e.       QuickTime

  1. Which of these statements regarding the MIDI audio format is not true?

a.       The sound can easily be changed by changing instruments.

b.      Spoken audio can easily be included.

c.       Sound tracks can be created using sequencing software.

d.      Files are generally smaller than the same digital audio sound.

e.       Sounds can be stretched and timing changed with no distortion of the quality.

  1. The primary benefit of the General MIDI over the previous MIDI specification is that:

a.       the file sizes are much smaller due to the compression scheme

b.      users can easily edit and adjust the data structures

c.       it can be easily converted into the CD-ROM/XA format

d.      MIDI files can be easily integrated into the computer’s operating system as system sounds.

e.       the instruments are the same regardless of the playback source.

  1. What happens when an audio signal exceeds the recording device’s maximum recording level?

a.       The signal is compressed to an appropriate level.

b.      ”Clipping” of the signal occurs, introducing distortion.

c.       The audio clip is extended to accommodate the extra data.

d.      The entire clip’s volume is reduced correspondingly.

e.       The extra bits go into a buffer for later use.

  1. As one story goes, the criterion used to set the length of the sectors and ultimately the physical size of the compact disc format was based on the length of:

a.       the Beatles’ “White Album”

b.      Handel’s Messiah

c.       Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony

d.      Bach’s St. John’s Passion

e.       Iron Butterfly’s live rendition of “Innagaddadavida”

  1. The process of recording a sound, stored in the form of thousands of individual measurements, each at a discrete point in time, is called:

a.       sampling

b.      synthesizing

c.       sizing

d.      quantizing

e.       streaming

  1. The file size of a 5-second recording sampled at 22 kHz, 16-bit stereo (two tracks) would be about:

a.       110,000 bytes

b.      220,000 bytes

c.       440,000 bytes

d.      550,000 bytes

e.       880,000 bytes

  1. Which of the following sound file characteristics does not directly affect the size of a digital audio file?

a.       sample rate

b.      sample size

c.       tracks (stereo vs. mono)

d.      volume

e.       compression

  1. Each individual measurement of a sound that is stored as digital information is called a:

a.       buffer

b.      stream

c.       capture

d.      sample

e.       byte

  1. Audio recorded at 44.1 kHz (kilohertz), 16-bit stereo is considered:

a.   phone-quality

b.      voice-quality

c.       FM -quality

d.      CD-quality

e.       AM-quality

  1. Removing blank space or “dead air” at the beginning or end of a recording is sometimes called:

a.       quieting

b.      pre-rolling

c.       quantizing

d.      trimming

e.       flashing

  1. DSP stands for:

a.       dynamic sound programming

b.      data a structuring parameters

c.       direct splicing and partitioning

d.      delayed streaming playback

e.       digital signal processing

13.  Sequencing software:

a.       places audio clips in order in a sound track

b.      records and edits MIDI data

c.       applies filters to digital audio clips in a predetermined order

d.      manages a project by creating a timeline of events

e.       helps synchronize images with a sound track

  1. The slower a user’s connection, the longer he or she must wait for enough of the sound to download so that the entire file will have downloaded by the time the sound reaches the end. This effect is called:

a.       streaming latency

b.      post-processing

c.       compression

d.      digital signal processing

e.       multitap delay

1. The dB is used when measuring mics because:

        A. It’s more fun
        B. It’s more logarithmic
        C. It’s the standard for acoustic pressure measurements in audio
      D. It helps the companies sell more mics

2. 20 micropascals is:

        A. The pressure present at an Atlas III launch
        B. The sound pressure level of the average human’s ability to detect a sound
        C. The reference unit for 0dBm
      D. The output pressure from a mic at 1 watt/1 meter

3. What is a Frequency Response Graph?

        A. It illustrates the accuracy with which the mic converts acoustical energy into electrical signals with respect to frequency
        B. It shows the frequencies that the mic will change from acoustical to electrical energy
        C. It’s a chart that shows the pick-up patterns
      D. Both A and B

4. What is Sensitivity?

        A. It explains the condition of a used microphone, based on road abuse
        B. It is the amount of dB-SPL that the microphone can handle
        C. It is the measure of the electrical output of a microphone with respect to the acoustic SPL input
      D. It’s the pressure in ft-lbs per inch that the mic can take before breaking

5. What happens if you connect a speaker to a mic input on a mixer?

        A. Nothing, as there is no signal
        B. The system goes into unavoidable violent feedback due to oscillations
        C. The speaker works like a big microphone
      D. Your co-workers laugh like hell because they think you’re an idiot

6. Proximity Effect:

        A. Occurs when two transducers get too close to each other
        B. Is an increase in LF response when a cardioid mic is close to an acoustic source
        C. Happens when measuring a speaker with an RTA
      D. Happens when a mic gets too close to a speaker

7. When a mic that is 3 inches in front of a singer is moved to 6 inches, the level will:

        A. Drop 3 dB
        B. Drop 6 dB
        C. Drop 9 dB
      D. Stay the same

8. The tightest cardioid pick-up pattern is:

        A. Sub-cardioid
        B. Cardioid
        C. Super-cardioid
      D. Hyper-cardioid

9. An omni mic placed a few millimeters away from a reflective surface creates an effect identical to a:

        A. Rifle or shotgun mic
        B. Lavaliere mic
        C. Parabolic mic
      D. PZM or Boundary mic

10. The FCC limits the transmission power of wireless mics to:

        A. 1mW
        B. 5mW
        C. 10mW
      D. 50mW

11. Shure introduced the 3B and 10B Carbon microphones in:

        A. 1916
        B. 1926
        C. 1936
      D. 1946

12. The Sennheiser MD421 was introduced in:

        A. 1955
        B. 1960
        C. 1965
      D. 1970

13. What stereo micing technique uses a coincident pair of two bi-directional microphones in the same point, angled at 90° to each other?

        A. M-S
        B. ORTF
        C. Decca Tree
      D. Blumlein stereo

14. What stereo micing technique uses two cardioid mics with the capsules spaced 17cm apart, with the two mics at a 110° angle creating the stereo image?

        A. M-S
        B. ORTF
        C. Decca Tree
      D. Blumlein stereo

15. What stereo micing technique uses a cardioid microphone capsule as center channel and a bi-directional figure-eight-mic at the same point, angled at 90°, which is then brought in on faders, out-of-phase to create the stereo image?

        A. M-S
        B. ORTF
        C. Decca Tree
      D. Blumlein stereo

16. A PZM receives direct and reflected sound simultaneously.

    True or False?

17. The Crown PCC is an omnidirectional microphone.

    True or False?

18. If wired according to the AES standard, pin 2 of a microphone’s XLR connector will:

        A. Always be ground
        B. Always be “hot” or positive
        C. Always be “low” or negative
      D. Be the connection for +52VDC

19. An Electret microphone:

        A. Is never used in pro audio
        B. Is a form of ribbon microphone
        C. Is a crystal microphone with special permanent polarization
      D. Requires a power supply

20. Which microphone naturally has a figure eight or bi-directional pick-up pattern?

        A. Condenser
        B. Ribbon
        C. Carbon
      D. Dynamic

Define the following terms:



Polyphonic Synth





Subtractive Synthesis


Low-frequency oscillation (LFO)





About the Subtractor Synthesizer

As you might know, the Subtractor is a member of the analog(type) polyphonic synths, using subtractive synthesis. Some details:

Basically, subtractive synthesis goes through a certain circulation within the different modulation- parameters.

First, the Oscillators (VCO) create certain basic waves using subwaveforms which are layered over each other. Thus, you alter the basic character of your sound by switching through the different waveforms, provided in Subtractor (please refer to the manual for further description of each of those). But you will for sure know the basic types of waves, as there are sine, sawtooth, square, pulse and triangle.

Second, the freshly generated wave wanders into the filter- section (VCF), where according to the chosen values certain frequencies of the wave are damped/cut off by limiting oscillation.

This also provides for the basic shape of your sound.

The third step is to amplify the resulting wave oscillations as done in the VCA (or the Amp section of Subtractor). As the simple use of an amp would result in some loss of time-dynamic, we can be grateful to use envelope curves.

As you can see in the picture, there are four parts responsible when triggering a sound: Attack, Decay, Sustain, and Release. They all are sequentially setting in, a key is pressed.

So far, speaking about technical aspects of shaping the body of your sound. As next approach you can modulate this body, to get it rougher or clearer or whatever. Speaking of part four,(see pic 1 for details) there you can control how the filter build up and last, using the filter envelope; same thing with the modulation envelope. each of the according ADSR regulates in what way the specific destinations are triggered.

Finally, there is the LFO section (five), as described here. The waveforms gene-rated by LFOs are not to be heard but to modulate the sound sent off by the Oscillators. Doing so, the use low frequences to oscillate – therefore the name. At Subtractor’s LFO1 you can choose the lowfreq’s shape to be generated and in LFO2 kinda independend forms are produced. By editing the rate- and amount value, you can create tones slowly swinging up and down, or by increasing these two values get some rough and distorted sounds, depending on your filter-settings.

October 2011
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