Detritus 353

▶ rocks in the sky


fascinating project, extracting perspective from photos, and layering elements into new architectural compositions


▶ Experiments in sound and perception. An interview with Aernoudt Jacobs


new GRM Tools!


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Lissajous available here


▶ great idea: land art that serves double duty to also deflect sound/noise from airport!


▶ Two new boscomac Reaktor instruments: Lamellae and Epinette (donationware)


▶ Sleeping through a revolution? (thanks Flip)


wait for it…


Clifftop drone shoot


I’ve been practicing flying & shooting with my drone for a month or more now, but Tuesday last week was my first ‘proper’ shoot with it – capturing 4k video up on the clifftops above Te Henga/Bethells for my current project… Took it out to sea quite a way & was amazed how stable it is, just have to keep the nerves at bay!

More cave recces…

Each time I drive to Auckland I try to take a different route, and this time decided I’d check out the Waitomo Caves area. There are three big caves in this area, apart from Waitomo Cave there is also Aranui Cave and Ruakuri Cave. All three are carefully managed and the infrastructure for giving tourists & visitors a great experience is VERY impressive! But I was more interested in recording sound, so I enquired ahead of time and stopped this time to discuss possibilities – I really need to commission a private tour, outside the usual tourist schedule… So I decided I would leave visiting the big three caves for my return trip when I can hopefully record some great ambiences…

But while doing some research on the area I discovered this track – the Raukuri Bush Walk…


It is an extraordinary hike, only 30 minutes roundtrip if you don’t stop – but it is such an amazing landscape its hard not to stop & take photos ever few hundred yards. When I walked past the cave in the photo above I noticed the beautiful sound of the flow of water coming from it & decided I’d come back & record it after I’d walked the track taking photos…. But when I came back there were about a dozen people in wetsuits & floating on tyre tubes – turns out the cave exit is also the exit for the black water rafting tour, which is soemthing I did about 15 years ago! (AND IT WAS INCREDIBLE!!!)
I figured they wouldn’t be long, so I went & recorded a nice torrent of water further along the track…


The track loops up, around & through some natural caves… a totally magic landscape!


To quote Terminator: I’ll be back!


Beware missing specs

Twice in one week is two times too many. First the somewhat lame Kickstarter project called HERE – a supposedly active listening device that as a concept seems quite the opposite.
Developed by a company who call themselves DOPPLER LABORATORIES would make you think they might own the test gear AND the knowledge to know that stating a freqeuncy response spec this way is COMPLETE NONSENSE!

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But just incase it was a mistake I messaged them:

“A simple claim of frequency response that cites two frequency extremes unqualified by a dB specification (e.g. your spec of Frequency response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz) is meaningless and useless.

As you have demonstrated your product as working & fully functioning, no doubt you have measured the response & I question why you are not providing such important information?

Can you please provide an actual frequency response chart, showing the response from full range audio source > microphone > DSP > speaker, with dB variation across your claimed response of 20Hz-20kHZ?

Only then can anyone make an informed decision about the audio quality of this product.”


No response… Maybe they are too busy counting the money ($488,557) – imagine that, almost half a million dollars donated by people who do not know ANYTHING about the quality of the audio of the product they are buying. If it was some kid selling some dodgy device out of his backpack for $20 I’d forgive it, but for an experienced tech company I think there are only two possible reasons:

1. They don’t have the actual specs because they don’t have a working model (although they do say they have a working prototype)

2. They have the specs and don’t want to make them public

Either option is highly questionable, so I hope someone at Doppler Labs reads this & maybe provides some answers…

Until then I’ll just have to write off the project as a marketing exercise: style over content. Attempting to cash in on a mass market (one of their mottos is “Instagram for your ears”) doesn’t mean ommitting crucial facts.
When I heard of the project my first thought was not about frequency response so much as latency. Essentially the little ear buds are recording sound via an A-D, processing it with DSP & then converting it back to analog via a D-A and replaying it out of little speakers. To achieve that with low enough latency to be useable live takes processing power. So I was intrigued to read their stated spec of latency of 30 μs

Nick Darnell asked them on June 5:

“30 μs doesn’t seem like enough time to have accumulated enough data to do any useful sampling in the frequency domain to do any DSP. 50 μs is listed as the cycle time for highest human-audible tone (20 kHz) in wikipedia. Which begs the question, how are you doing any kind of audio analysis on frequency without at least having a delay of 50 μs? Can you please explain how you arrived at 30 μs (microseconds), is that the true wall clock time in/out for the audio?”

Their answer: “30 microseconds is the sample by sample processing latency, independent of frequency”

And another of their answers to a related question: “the current prototype already has functionally zero latency – incoming sound waves are processed at a speed that renders the latency more or less imperceptible to most humans.”

Confused much?

More or less?

And a second crowd funded audio project: the InstaMic – it seems audio developers really want to be instagram, although InstaMic then go on to express a desire to be the GoPro of audio… Basically its a very small omni mic + preamp + 24bit 48k recorder, which is not a bad idea although a directional mic may be a better option, but again my interest grinds to a halt when I read the specs:

Screen Shot 2015-06-19 at 4.01.54 pm

So it has a frequency response of

50 to 18,000Hz +/- XdB?
X = 3dB? or 10dB? or 20dB

That missing X figure gives an accurate indication as to whether this is going to be an audio device worth any further interest… You have to wonder why they choose not to test their prototypes and display the results… A part of the development cycle would be testing exactly this spec, these people are all asking for other peoples $$$$ so how about being up front with the test results?

UPDATE: and another one with inaccurate/misleading specs:

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MikeMe on Indiegogo using misleading specs but they did include a frequency chart, so why not put the industry standard specs of 20-20,000 +/-5dB or whatever it is tested to be


Parked, mic’d, rolling!


lovely splashy small scale waterfall, up SH4 from Whanganui…
will be a free update to WHITE WATER, sooner or later…



named by an optimist?

Comedic duration

I had an experience recently that reminded me of a very funny scene in the brilliant Coen Brothers film Barton Fink – if you’ve seen the film you’ll know the scene I mean & the durational sound gag staged in the lobby of a hotel… (If you dont know what I’m taking about then go watch the film! I’m not spoiling it for you)

Anyway, while I was down the bottom/south of the West Coast a week or two ago I rented an old school bach, appropriately called Kiwi Cottage


Okarito is a very small town which means its amenities and infra structure are a little more basic than that of cities, and this became evident when i used the kitchen to make dinner…


I have no idea where the drain from this sink leads to, but I discovered if I filled the sink up with water & then pulled the plug out, something a little strange happened: meet the sink that wouldn’t stop glurping!

The first few times I did this, I was amused that once the glurps settled into a rhythm, every so often the sink would suddenly change time signatures on me! I listened to it for a long while, waiting for it to stop… and it didn’t! It was only when I recorded it & was resolute about recording it until it did end that I discovered that eventually there was an end (after 5 minutes!?!) with a final, slightly odd faint gurgle…

“Hey so did you have a good night last night?”

“YES! I recorded this sink that wouldn’t stop glurping!”




Detritus 352

▶ The Man Who Broke the Music Business aka the dawn of online piracy


▶ a few people commented about how my slowed down kiwi recordings sounded like dinosaurs, have a read HERE about the source sounds Gary Rydstrom used to create the dinosaur sounds for Jurassic Park


▶ beautiful & unexpected bird photography


▶ interview with Danish sound artist Jacob Kirkegaard (thanks Peter!)


“run!”…. “…how long is its power cord?” via


▶ Werner Herzog walks to Paris


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euclidean beats in your browser!


Shitty (camera) rigs


▶ CGI is getting worse?



▶ clever idea: automating clip gain in ProTools via a plugin!


“..every metaphor is seen momentarily as a mistake, but then suddenly as a deeper truth about the thing named and our relationship to it. The greater the stretch between the “thing” and the “name,” the deeper the potential truth.”

I’ve always loved that quote from Walter Murch, but always wondered where do metaphors come from?
Can metaphors be designed? perhaps…


Wry comedy: The Art Of Foley ep 1 here and ep 2 here