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New Recording Technology

From: (Gabe M Wiener)
Subject: New classical recording technique
Date: 1 Apr 1994 06:11:08 GMT
Organization: Columbia University
April 1, 1994

NEW YORK--Creative Audio Recordings, Inc. today announced a new line of Compact Disc recordings designed to provide, as one CAR executive put it, "the ultimate concert experience at home."

"The music world is about to be shaken by a revolution in concert reproduction," said Newton Oxmyx, Director of Marketing for CAR. "Our new line of recordings is designed to provide classical music lovers with the ideal concert experience, and to reproduce the sonic signatures of some of the world's finest concert halls."

The CAR recording project involves a multiple-microphone technique. Up to ten microphones can be used in the recording process. And although the CD's will reproduce adequately on any home stereo system, they are designed for use with Dolby Surround decoders. "We're riding on the coat-tails of the Dolby Surround craze," Oxmyx said. "People are buying surround boxes left and right to watch Hollywood epics. Why not use the same technology to reproduce orchestral music?"

The CAR recordings, however, differ from previous attempts in using Surround for music reproduction, because the CAR recordings also take advantage of Digital Signal Processing to reproduce all the subtle nuances of the concert experience. "We're really the first to use DSP for this sort of thing. We've been doing acoustical studies in Boston and New York, and I can really say that we have it down to a science at this point."

CAR technicians use specially-developed DSP hardware and software to create ambient effects in the sound-field of the recording. "We really had to program each sound one at a time. For instance, it took our technicians about thirteen weeks just to work out the proper ambient sounds between symphonic movements."

Oxmyx continued by explaining that the sounds between movements consist of coughs, program pages being turned, and people shifting in their seats. "Getting the coughs right was by far the hardest. We had to make sure that they were loud enough, and that they generated sufficient murmur between pieces. We also had to insert coughs into the near-field as well, so that the listener could experience the emotional trauma when his or her neighbor erupts into coughing fits in the middle of the movement."

Oxmyx explained that the rustling effects of page-turns was also a major obstacle. For these sounds, CAR contracted with Bertrand Technologies, Inc. to develop a unique DSP module to generate these sounds. The result is the Bertrand Rustler, which will also be marketed by CAR as a 1U rack-mount AES/EBU-capable module available to musicians and engineers who wish to make their own recordings with a "live" feel. The Bertrand Rustler has many unique modes, including "oratorio" mode, in which the unit accurately re-creates the audible rustling as an entire audience turns the page of an oratorio libretto simultaneously.

CAR also announced that it would be bringing out the CAR-100 Surround Effects Processor at the end of the current year. This unit, based on 4 cascaded Motorola DSP 56001 circuits, will feature many of the standard surround effects (ambiance processing, simulated stereo, and Pro Logic), as well as a new "Concert Logic" mode which will work specifically with the new CAR line of CD's. "Using the CAR-100, the listener will have ultimate control over the concert-hall experience," said Oxmyx. "Instead of the usual nameless ambiance modes like 'concert hall' and 'cathedral', you'll be able to select precisely which concert hall's acoustics you wish reproduced."

Oxmyx also explained that the list of concert halls would include the current Avery Fisher Hall in New York, as well as its previous incarnation, Philharmonic Hall, prior to renovation. According to Oxmyx, it will also be possible to select any of the intermediate renovations of the mid-1970's. Software options will also enable the listener to manipulate such variables as the violence of the coughs between movements, whether or not novice listeners applaud after any allegro movement, and the frequency offset of wrong notes. In "Concert Surround" mode, the CAR-100 will also insert these audible enhancements even when non-CAR discs are played.

The CAR-100 will also take plug-in ROM cartridges that will enable to listener to select from various styles of coughs. Titles in preparation as of now include Bronchitis, Emphysema, Common Cold, Flu, and Dry Throat. A "candy wrapper crackle" module, using interpolated noise shaping, will be available as a piggyback "daughter board" that will connect to the main logic board via a multi-pin connector. The CTM-100, a highly-accurate quartz clock module, can also be added to the CAR-100, and a unit so equipped will automatically insert digital watch beeps on the hour and half-hour.

The CAR CDs are expected to carry a $24.95 list price. The CAR-100 (available 4th quarter 1994) will sell for $795 list, and the plug-in cough cartridges will retail for $19.95 each.

     Gabe Wiener -- -- N2GPZ -- PGP on request
 Sound engineering, recording, and digital mastering for classical music
   "I am terrified at the thought that so much hideous and bad music
	 will be put on records forever."  --Sir Arthur Sullivan


Last updated: November 26, 2005