Special focus: audio technology

Audio technology special  

E&T lends a technological ear to the world of audio. How has recording music changed in the 21st century; which is the best way of storing digital music; do people still want a physical product; alien sounds from 10 of the world's strangest instruments; the rebirth of vinyl records and laser turntables to play them on; the top five enduring hi-fi myths busted; the creative legacy of vintage electronic equipment; a photo essay on manufacturing guitars at Fender's Corona, California, facility; the work of mastering engineers. All this and much more besides.

 

Selected audio-technology news

Blumlein stereo legacy still resounds on 70th anniversary of death

Blumlein stereo legacy still resounds on 70th anniversary of death

A technique devised by the British inventor and electronics engineer Alan Dower Blumlein is making a comeback as mixing engineers try to push the boundaries of what is possible with a pair of audio channels, 70 years after his untimely death.

Selected audio-technology features

Fender factory tour: photo essay

Fender factory tour: photo essay

We follow the manufacturing process at Fender Musical Instruments Corporation, by which solid blocks of wood are transformed in to shapely electric guitars.

Oramics to Electronica

Oramics to Electronica

E&T reflects on pioneering people and instruments from the history of electronic music

Manufacturing the violin

Manufacturing the violin

Modern day craftsman still follow a tried and tested methodology pioneered by Antonio Stradivari to handcraft violins.

Audio formats in the 21st century

Audio formats in the 21st century

Audio file formats flow effortlessly around the Internet - that's their charm and their challenge. But which is best?

Strange electronic instruments

Strange electronic instruments

Electronic instruments can often sound even more unusual than they look. Here are ten of the most peculiar.

Vinyl audio - the format that would not die

Vinyl audio - the format that would not die

You would be forgiven for thinking that vinyl records were a thing of the past, but the industry is still thriving.

Music production in the 2010s

Music production in the 2010s

Music production has changed dramatically over the past three decades. E&T examines the tools and techniques in use today.

Software Reviews: Music-making apps

Software Reviews: Music-making apps

The new generation of tablet device heralded by Apple's iPad has major implications for creating music on the move. Here's our pick of the apps.

Pro-audio components struggle with mass-market success

Pro-audio components struggle with mass-market success

The consumer market is beginning to exert its influence on the pro-audio business, and it's not all good news.

Audio and technological mythology

Audio and technological mythology

What would you buy to get a better sound? And, more importantly, how would you know it had any effect?

Laser turntables - when lasers get groovy

Laser turntables - when lasers get groovy

Laser turntables make light work of playing gramophone records without the need for scratchy styli, and claim to beam into hidden areas of sonic data.

Headphones in the digital age

Headphones in the digital age

Developments in headphone technology are being driven by growing consumer demand for ever-higher fidelity and style.

Analogue switch off 'ain't going to happen'

Analogue switch off 'ain't going to happen'

The plan was simple: switch off the FM and AM antennas in the wake of the exodus to digital, but some powerful voices in the radio industry are switched off to the idea.

Interview - John Leckie, record producer

Interview - John Leckie, record producer

John Leckie is one of the UK's most successful record producers. His CV reads like a who's who of rock'n'roll. Here, he reflects on the technological changes he's seen in the recording studio over the years.

Audio mastering: inside the engineer's sonic laboratory

Audio mastering: inside the engineer's sonic laboratory

Mastering is the final phase for a recording before production, the last chance to fix any sonic issues. In this specialised role, what is required of mastering engineers today?

E&T video: Abbey Road Studios, vintage equipment and The Beatles in mono

E&T visits Abbey Road Studios to talk to mastering engineer Sean Magee about the TG 12410 Transfer Console and the studio's new online mastering service. We also discuss remastering The Beatles in mono.

E&T video: at Abbey Road Studios, cutting a vinyl record

Sean Magee, mastering engineer at Abbey Road Studios, demonstrates how a vinyl record is cut, passing the sound through the TG 12410 Transfer Console and out to the Neumann cutting lathe in Mastering Room 6. 

Fender amplifiers: comparing hardware with software

To give you an idea of what software modelling can achieve, we recorded two simple guitar riffs through both a real Fender valve amp and through a selection of amp models from the AmpliTube Fender software package.

Music and computers

Music and computers

Sampling is the latest technology to remake music. It's one more contribution from engineering to a 35,000-year-old art form.

Past and present of sound engineering

E&T talks to Richard Ranft, head of the British Library Sound Archive.

'Scanner' Robin Rimbaud

E&T meets Robin Rimbaud, an internationally acclaimed technologist of music.

An orchestra in 60 boxes

E&T travels to the Kent countryside to hear a unique automatic organ.

An audiophile's utopia

While it's possible to pipe music around your home, getting everything to work in sync is difficult with today's networks. The answer may lie in better software, says E&T.

Sines of reality

The new thing in software is copying the old. E&T filters out the bad from the good in synths and finds out how to remake the Fender sound.

Not just a desk job

Not just a desk job

One of the biggest names in professional audio equipment design and manufacture, Solid State Logic is world famous for its large-scale recording and mixing consoles. E&T spoke to SSL's director of new products, Niall Feldman.

When hand-built is cooler

When hand-built is cooler

In a production-line world, what room is left for hand-wired audio amplifiers? Plenty, given guitarists' fondness for 'authenticity', reports E&T.

A sound move

A sound move

E&T reflects on how the arrival of the MP3 player also signalled the rise of contract manufacturing in the consumer electronics industry.

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