Audio News for September 13, 2013
Published on September 13, 2013
LA Philharmonic To Perform Frank Zappa’s 200 Motels – For the 10th anniversary of Walt Disney Concert Hall , Esa-Pekka Salonen and the LA Philharmonic will perform the world premiere of Frank Zappa’s entire 200 Motels, which was debuted in shortened form in 1970 in Royal Albert Hall in London, and afterwards infamously banned due to its “filth for filth’s sake.” The October 23 concert will celebrate the spirit of creative freedom and collaboration that Salonen, the LA Phil. and Walt Disney Concert Hall have together brought to Los Angeles over the past decade. Also this fall Salonen’s own Violin Concerto will be premiered with violinist Leila Josefowicz, the orchestra’s music director Gustavo Dudamel will host a free Open House concert, and there will be an Opening Night Gala with Yo-Yo Ma.
Is Sound Quality Genre-Related? – is the question Steven Stone asks in an article in Audiophilereview.com. We’re not talking about MP3 low-res files or the loudness wars, which we all know about, but could it be that some musical genres are more guilty of bad sound than others? He touches on the huge compression on much pop music, on the wild swings from great to terrible in country music, and what he calls “the velvet fog” sound of many classical recordings. He feels bluegrass suffers from must the opposite—too little sweeting of the sounds. Think about it.
Webcasting 101 – If you are not taking advantage of the many thousands of webcast outlets now on the Internet, you are missing out on an entire world of music and talk sources. A webcast is usually an audio presentation distributed on the Internet using streaming media technology to reach many simultaneous listeners. It differs from podcasting—also a popular technology—which refers to media files (usually audio) that are placed on the Internet to be downloaded and listened to at one’s pleasure. Webcasting is essentially “broadcasting” over the Internet. There are many radio and TV stations who simulcast their output thru online TV or radio streaming, as well as a huge number of “stations” which are Internet-only and have no other outlet. Rights and licensing bodies have specifric webcasting licenses for those who do Internet broadcasting using copyrighted materials. The ability to webcast with cheap and accessible technology has allowed many sorts of independent media to flourish online. Many are produced by ordinary people in their homes and many different topics and interests are covered. For example, in music, you can easily find all-Hawaiian stations, Christmas music stations, even an all (God help us) Jimmy Buffet station! And these are mostly 24/7 every day of the year. Webcasts about technical matters such as computers and technology are very popular and new shows put on regularly. There are also many old radio program outlets, with noise-reduced streaming of shows back to the early days of radio. Here is a list of music streaming services, and here is another listing of some of the netcasters in the U.S.
Webcasting has become a mainstream technology involving some billion-dollar companies as well as shoestring operators. It is observing its 19th anniversary this year. No special equipment is required to enjoy webcasters; they are just a mouse click away on your computer. There is a huge selection of stand-alone Wi-Fi radios online, ranging from inexpensive $50 tuners and receivers to more lavish sets, some even with stereo speakers built in. There are even inexpensive Wi-Fi tuners that look like thumb drives and plug into your Blu-ray player. You can run the stereo output from all of them thru your home audio system. While they all operate wirelessly off your home network’s signal, you will have the most dependable signal from running an Ethernet cable to them from your computer. Then you don’t even need a router. One Wi-Fi table radio claims it will tune in over 16,000 stations from around the world. While most stream a 128K MP3 signal, others use higher sampling rates, especially some of the classical outlets. Many have no commercials or very little. Plus there’s no multipath and no distortion. The Danish and Swiss jazz outlets, for example, are well worth hearing; never mind that you can’t understand the voice commentary, the lyrics are in English. And the numbers of video netcasters are increasing rapidly, such as the many TV shows that are available online from their network or cable channel, as well as video from outlets such as Small’s Jazz Club in New York City. Some of these are on a pay-per-view basis.