Technological advances have brought audio recording a long way over the past several decades, but, as with so many things, microphone recording is limited by the very technology that has pushed it forward. In this particular case, that limit is the diaphragm that converts sound into electrical signals by measuring vibrations made by incoming sound waves. Because each diaphragm has its own characteristics, all microphones are not created equal; and because the sound waves are converted by these diaphragms, there is always some degree of mechanical interference with the sound.
Violins made by the Italian master craftsman Antonio Stradivarius are worth millions of dollars for their unparalleled sound. And that's great, for the handful of musicians who can afford these centuries-old instruments. This month, a new violin made from wood treated with a fungus actually trumped a Stradivarius in a blind listening test, offering hope for violinists who want high tonal quality at an affordable price.
The brain-melting concept of the Möbius strip has been used to explain complex, meaningful ideas such as time travel. But this simple, trivial music box, which uses a punch strip in the shape of a Möbius strip, might be my favorite application of the idea.
The music box will play the song once through, then plays it again upside-down, creating an endless, repeating loop of music. It may not solve the secrets of the universe--but hey--it looks so cool. Can you recognize the upside-down-and-backwards tune?
Ladies and gentleman of the Internet, I think today we may have found the best possible application for chiptune music--that uber-geeky genre utilizing vintage game console's music synthesizers, real or software-emulated, as the sole instrumentation. It just so happens that faithful covers of jazz classics sound great: the pleasures of one of my favorite albums of all time intermingling beautifully in my (significant) brainspace cubby where the Contra and Tecmo Bowl themes are on infinite loop.
ProTools? Bah! Let's make some vinyl! As part of Jerszy Seymoour's Coalition of Amateurs exhibition at Luxembourg's modern-art museum, Mudam, artist Yuri Suzuki created records from scratch in an afternoon.
For UK musician Calvin Harris and his upcoming video "Ready For The Weekend," Sony tapped Bare Conductive and their special, electrically-friendly ink for a new idea--The Humanthesizer. Yes, we have become the instrument.
The Humanthesizer consists of 32 pads spread throughout out a room, which basically function as a giant-size sampler. Then, the hands and feet of Harris and his "instruments" are painted with the Bare Conductive ink and placed on the pads, so that when Harris touches the hands of each girl, the electrical circuit completes and a new note is generated.
Thanks to a new approach to one of microfluidics' biggest challenges -- how do you propel fluid in a number of directions at once without the clutter of myriad electromechanical valves and pumps? -- we could be closer to seeing our smartphones double as home flu kits. Credit goes to a team of chemical engineers at the University of Michigan for coming up with the innovative system, which uses music to control the fluid.
Yamaha and Fabian Cappello teamed up to deliver this modified typewriter, which has each key wired to play a different musical note as you type. The end result is a sentence that also plays out as a melody.