Recently, my husband dug out his old Amplifier and Record Player (Turntable) and set it up once more. The Turntable is a Garrard SP25 Mk III and the amp is a NAD 3020B both apparantly were the upper end of the budget market in the 1970’s.

Don’t let the word ‘Budget’ put you off, they still beat the socks of anything we might call ‘Budget’ or ‘Value’ today, heck even the NAD 3020B still beats some of the most expensive equipment available today.

I was sceptical at first, having not myself heard a vinyl record in a very long time (hey, its old hat, right? old and not worth the time) until that was I heard a record being played.

The record itself was Neil Diamond’s The Jazz Singer album, it is the soundtrack to the classic film of the same name.

Naturally, being the curious cat I am, I decided a little impromptu comparison would be interesting to carry out between the digital version of some of the album tracks I had on my computer. The first thing I noted about the digital tracks, was the volume of them (both aurally and visually in the waveform) were incredibly high indicating some sort of Dynamic compression was employed (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamic_range_compression) which basically means that the audio waveform has been processed to ensure that all high volume levels of the track waveform are hovering around the outer limits of the range acceptable for the audio production. This was great for loudness but not so much for the quality and ‘feel’ to the music and the compression makes it sound almost metallic. The digital version was sharp and clinically clear with little depth to the environment being portrayed in the music.

With the vinyl versions of the tracks, instantly you note the more detailed nuances of the singer and the instruments without very loud or very quiet segments. The track feels more balanced and you get a sense of exactly how the audio should have sounded in the studio. The reason for this is in fact that the records hold an exact mirror copy of the original waveform produced by the artists at the time of recording, essentially the audio is natural and unprocessed analogue signals – just like you would hear if I were actually speaking to you now. Digital was applauded for it’s bright, clear sound but it came at a cost of depth and ‘feeling’ of the track and since the audio in a Digital format such as a CD or MP3 track, the natural analogue sound has been ‘approximated’ – from that you can read ‘best guess’.

Initially intrigued by the amazing difference between the two versions of the songs, I started researching – and discovered something rather surprising in today’s digital world, Vinyl is making a big comeback in the face of falling CD sales (http://iamalaser.com/2009/05/01/vinyls-here-and-she-wants-you-back/) largely, this is due to the MP3 / Itunes download market getting rid of the need to carry a disk with you. Why? Well the simplest answer(audio quality aside) is probably two-fold, on one hand people seem to be wanting to build their home collections up again and the mediums used no longer need to be small or portable. Secondly, there is no real way to physically recreate or copy a vinyl disk that is widely available to consumers. This fact will only help the record labels regain a hold on the music market, which, in itself has been slipping due to the Itunes generation of legally and illegally downloaded music.

The discoveries I have made these last few days have really kicked my inner Audiophile back into the stream of concious thought and have me fascinated with audio once more, I used to have an interest in the audio engineering aspect of technology when I was in school and that was before I had any sort of income to make use of in pursuit of the hobby. Now though, I’m married and working I am starting to stare with wide-eyed curiosity once more at the wonderful world of Audio Tech.

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When words seem flat…

Monday Sep 14 2009

As most of you reading this will know, my latest WiP is an article based on the business I’ve spent the last 5 years of my life in, games testing, the business and background of it. So let me be the first to tell you, its BORING – but the prospect of selling it to a magazine and having my first ever published article are very strong motivators. So I do my best, hammering out the Raw words that someday will become an article when I find the right way to shape and present it.

I’ve recently been reading through a copy of “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron and “All A Twitter” by Tee Morris and even “The Magician” by Raymond E Feist. So yes, I’ve been doing a lot of reading as well as writing. The most interesting to note here however is “The Artist’s Way” this is a book about unlocking your inner creative self, its not about how to be a writer/painter/screenwriter its simply about unlocking the creative energy inside, and believe me when I tell you IT WORKS .

I was sceptical at first, but kept an open mind and did what it asked of me and it astounded me just how much my creative energy is just beneath the surface. Thanks to that book, I started to draw and sketch things, just because I wanted to (its that little voice you should listen to) and it shocked me just how effective I could be at it, letting the creative energy guide the pencil leaving the conciousness behind you’ll find the pictures I completed here: http://www.twitpic.com/photos/lisa107b

But if I take you back to the BORING article, as you know BORING words don’t really flow as wonderfully as creative words but one thing stuns me all the more is that when I’m stuck, I want to draw. Honestly, I have compulsion to draw when the mundane words don’t seem to flow properly and when I do, something wonderful happens – especially if I create something that looks the way its supposed to, the buzz is amazing. I drew a rose today, from a photograph – I hope to post that up to twitpic soon .

I really need to think, is it possible my craft is drawing, rather than writing – maybe both?

Creativity still perched on top

Wednesday Sep 02 2009

Yes, its been a few days now since I last updated 🙂 but that’s cool – I’ve been busy! Promise!
Work on my article is progressing and I have a couple of questionnaires sent out, I have another three to draft and send out – but I’ll get those done too!

On other notes, I recently acquired a copy of “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron – this book is gold dust!
Just reading through the introduction gives you this very useful anecdote: “Accumulate pages, not judgements.” and just reading into the first chapter (titled Week 1 in the book) led me to draw this: http://twitpic.com/fzalz from a simple doodle on Monday, I simply told myself not to try and make it anything in particular and that page organically grew from that sense of security, you know where you aren’t worried if it’ll look okay or its not perfect. You don’t worry about it because you haven’t a preconceived notion of what it ‘should’ look like. It’s almost like free-writing in a way.

Speaking of writing, I intend to do some more work on my story soon – I had a wasted 2hrs last night trying to get the new wireless network up and running so I can use the bedroom as my artist’s retreat again, so I’ll need to get the questionnaires done first. The first wireless router I had inexplicably stopped working, I hadn’t worried too much about it, the thing had been on constantly for over 9 months, rather than mess about with it I decided to get a new one. I gave up on spending endless hours on PC troubleshooting years ago –
ultimately I just figured it wasn’t worth the trouble and nowadays I just wouldn’t have the time anyway!