Audio for Social Justice

May 28, 2021 4:45pm ‐ May 28, 2021 5:30pm

In light of recent events in America, we have learned that audio is a powerful catalyst of social justice. As the world heard the last words of George Floyd and the shock spanned the globe, the tragedy of his death in the larger scope of police brutality in America was recognized. Today, high quality audio recording is available to anyone with a cellular telephone - we need to talk about how that is changing the world today and what our role as audio professionals could be.

We are living in a social media driven age where substance is often hidden by external appearances. As a songwriter who learned the craft in order to share my own message through music, I soon learned others had crucial information to share and started helping them to tell their stories through the use of professional audio techniques. Marches, conferences and direct action are taking place every day across the world, but may not be properly documented without quality audio. I worked on the wrongful conviction case of a woman named Kirstin Blaise Lobato where a single piece of audio was a crucial piece of evidence.

When setting out to help with audio for social justice, there are a number of challenges any audio professional may face:
Audio recorded improperly
Single channel audio
Static and mic noise
Audio overloaded by improper mic placement
Limited audio knowledge

Though editing tasks may be cumbersome and the availability of equipment onsite for events may be unpredictable, there are many gifts our community has to offer that could make the difference between a successful social media event and a failure for the visionaries who need it most. I will explore these topics in depth and will be happy to do a follow up presentation to expand on this.


Streaming as the Future of High Resolution Audio Distribution

May 28, 2021 4:00pm ‐ May 28, 2021 5:30pm

Streaming is now the dominant method of distributing audio, including high resolution audio (HRA), to consumers. Although HRA has been a small percent of the total, the major labels and the RIAA predicted from 2017 onward that high quality was of strong interest even to young listeners and should thrive given streaming's new affordability and portability. This workshop looks at current uptake and future directions in high quality audio streaming. Important to both sustainability and growth in this dynamic area are the evolving nature of music distribution infrastructure and the ability for all players in the area - major and indie labels, music streaming services, and designers of platform-spanning software and hardware - to address important issues. Those include growth models expanding to younger listeners, adequate remuneration of artists including indies while limiting costs, worldwide bandwidth constraints, differentiation from one another, and innovative provision for user requests like performance data, music discovery, radio, podcasts, etc. A very exciting new direction is live streaming, that for the first time permits HD video to be combined with HD audio.


The Boring Allpass Filter?

May 28, 2021 4:00pm ‐ May 28, 2021 4:45pm

When one thinks of filters, one thinks of classical filters in traditional engineering textbooks -- for example lowpass, highpass, bandpass, and bandstop filters.
In the field of audio, one encounters other filters as well.
In this tutorial we take a deeper look at allpass filters – where phase (instead of frequency shaping) is used as a manipulating tool.
We start with the basics of allpass filters and look at how they may be used for audio processing.
Then we look at how allpass filters may be used as building blocks for more complicated topologies to create even more interesting filters.


Tech Tours: Studio 150

May 28, 2021 3:30pm ‐ May 28, 2021 4:00pm

Studio 150 is a music production studio located in Amsterdam. They renovated an old monumental church building into a full-grown recording and mixing facility. The construction work took them almost four years, in which they tried to preserve the original atmosphere of the church as much as possible. The result is a very elegant, musical and versatile environment. Joeri, engineer at Studio 150 takes you on a tour to show you around their facility, sharing the studio’s passion for acoustics, analog equipment and vintage microphones!

Tech Tours: Dutch and Dutch

May 28, 2021 3:00pm ‐ May 28, 2021 3:30pm

Dutch & Dutch is a young company from the Netherlands. Dutch & Dutch believes that the sound quality in your studio or home is primarily determined by three things: your speakers, the acoustics of your room, and the interaction between those two. Dutch & Dutch currently makes one product, which is a DSP-based full-range monitor that is designed to work together with the acoustics of your room. It adapts to your room, and Dutch & Dutch claim it sounds great even if the acoustics of your room are less than perfect.

*Keynote Address* Creative and Alternative Audio Adventurers

May 28, 2021 3:00pm ‐ May 28, 2021 4:00pm

This presentation is to celebrate individuals who currently are using sound and audio technology in creative and alternative ways that enhance the human experience.

Some examples:
Roy Allela, an engineer from Kenya who has created gloves that turn sign language into audible speech.

Ellen Reid, creator of "Soundwalk", a GPS enabled work of public art that uses music to illuminate the natural environment. She has composed musical works to stroll through Central Park and hike in Los Angeles' Griffith Park.

Jonathan Ward, an audio archeologist who collects 78rpm records from around the world including Nigeria, Madacascar and Panama. Author of "Excavated Shellac, an alternate History of World Music".
Brian Bushway, Greatest Blind Mountain Biker and master of Echolocation, how blind people see with sound.


Education Panel: Coding

May 28, 2021 2:00pm ‐ May 28, 2021 3:00pm

A discussion on introducing audio coding into our respective curricula and resources for educators to do the same.


Immersive Audio Techniques for Beginners

May 28, 2021 1:00pm ‐ May 28, 2021 2:00pm

This masterclass will focus on how to create a spatial audio mix from scratch. It will begin with an overview of the hardware commonly used to create immersive experiences such as ambisonic microphones. It will discuss the state of the art, and the type of platforms that support spatial audio. This masterclass will also go over signal flow, and the installation of a variety of spatial audio plugins. The goal of this masterclass is to present beginners with affordable tools such as Reaper and the FB360 Spatial Workstation, so they can easily begin producing content from home.


Audio Archiving and Restoration: A Look at Different Facets of Safeguarding our Musical Heritage

May 28, 2021 12:45pm ‐ May 28, 2021 2:00pm

The panel leads through various perspectives in the field of audio preservation and restoration. Introducing the work of international communities and networks, the panel will present some glimpses into the variety of related and specialized fields. The presenters will discuss the challenges of in- and outside the world of professional production - from the perspective of a National Audio-Visual Conservation Center to preserving independent musicians' work, small labels and foundations who have historically important recordings but no means or resources for preservation, to safeguarding the unique recordings of Mexican indigenous radio and the related challenges, to the importance of audio archiving and restoration in the context of research accessibility and also in the field of arts preservation.


A complete guide to Networked Music Performance using free and open-source software

May 28, 2021 12:15pm ‐ May 28, 2021 1:00pm

This workshop will review a thorough representation of the currently active open source and freely available software projects that allow for networked music performance. Even prior to the pandemic, the development of tools that meet the requirements of performing music together online were growing in number; since the last year, we have seen new tools and existing ones have become more sophisticated and powerful, as a unprecedented level of attention is paid to their use and application by those musicians and music groups who traditionally work together offline. Networked music performance has three particular demands of the technology it uses: first, the audio stream must be suitably high-quality; secondly, it must minimise interference, for example avoiding echo cancellation algorithms and unnecessary processing; thirdly it must be low-latency, where what defines low-latency exactly depends on the intention and resources of the musicians. Given these factors, the variety of applications and services available that can be used for network performance each have their own specific approach, usually born from the original intended purpose of the developer. Certain tools may, for example, focus on low-latency while others on group usability, and others on solutions where participants do not have access to broadband or 4G. The outcome of this workshop will be that viewers who are interested in performing together over the internet will receive a comprehensive review of software tools, with the aim to select those that suit their specific needs. In addition, the tools discuss are free-to-use and, in some cases, modify. The availability of such tools leads to an expansive array of music possibilities that extends the core of music practice itself.