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Sound

The Theremin Mini Kit

Purveyor of geek-friendly toys and gadgets ThinkGeek is now offering the Theremin Mini Kit, a miniature assemble-it-yourself theremin which is marketed toward those looking to get started with the instrument.  Read More

Music sounds better with bacteria: a scientist has swapped graphs for music in order to re...

Scientists often need to find creative ways to present data visually so others can interpret it more easily. Peter Larsen, of the Argonne National Laboratory in the U.S., decided to do something a little different: he represented microbial data with sounds. More specifically, he sonified data relating to bacteria collected from the western part of the English Channel.  Read More

iBatsID is a free online tool that automatically identifies bats based on their calls (Pho...

Everyone knows that it’s possible to identify different species of birds by their vocalizations, but did you know that it’s also possible to differentiate between different types of bats based on their echolocation calls? Well, now you do. So far, however, there hasn’t been a standardized system of doing so – it’s been left up to individual human listeners to decide on the closest match. That may soon no longer be the case, though, as the new online iBatsID tool comes into use.  Read More

Research has shown the popular music has become louder and more homogeneous over time (Pho...

If you suspect that songs today tend to sound the same, it turns out you're right. A group of Spanish scientists looked at a huge database of songs and analyzed their trends, publishing their results in the scientific journal Nature. What they found was proof positive that, over the last few decades, songs have progressively gotten louder, decreased their pitch transitions, and generally become more homogeneous.  Read More

EyeMusic is an experimental system for the blind, that translates visual information into ...

Sensory substitution devices work by converting one type of sensory input into another – examples would be systems such as CASBLiP and EYE 21, which allow the blind to “see” by assigning sounds to images. Now, a team of researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have created a similar wearable device, known as EyeMusic. It “employs pleasant musical scales to convey visual information,” and could one day help the visually impaired more easily perform tasks that the rest of us take for granted.  Read More

Fans of kung fu games and movies trying to emulate their heroes can now add authentic soun...

Imagine if you could accompany all those cool new moves you've just learned from Mortal Combat or reruns of Bruce Lee's finest celluloid moments with some genuine sound effects ... it would be like actually being in the game or movie. With a Dragon Grip in your Fist of Fury, that's precisely what's on offer. The joystick-like device is pre-loaded with fighting sounds inspired by the cheesy-but-classic kung fu movies of the 1970s like Enter the Dragon, that had all the kids in our neighborhood running around barefoot and shirtless with red lipstick wounds painted across their chests.  Read More

The spectrogram display shows low frequency at the bottom and high at the top, time is lef...

If you've ever dabbled in the creation of crazy sound effects for home movies, other-worldly audio to complement the battle sequences in a new alien gaming app or strange new loops for digital dance music, you quickly start to appreciate just what a complicated process sound design can be. What with noise generation, pulse and velocity modulation, parallel and series filters, and various other filters, oscillators and envelopes to contend with, the process can hardly be described as fun. A new sample-based synthesizer suite from iZotope seeks to change all that. Both a powerful tool for design pros and an enjoyable and easy way for newbies to dive in and experiment, Iris allows users to manipulate, tweak and layer sounds using the kind of visual editing tools you might find in graphic design packages and discover otherwise hidden sonic treasures.  Read More

The 'noise sponge' that can significantly reduce the noise of combustion in jet engines (P...

Anyone living near an airport will tell you that combustion engines can be pretty noisy things. The combustion process in jet and other industrial engines can generate sound waves so powerful they can cause intense pulsations that can shake the engine and accelerate mechanical failure. Using a sponge-like material, researchers at the University of Alabama have managed to significantly quiet combustion at the source, providing the potential to make work environments safer, extend the life of valuable equipment, and maybe let those living near an airport sleep a little easier.  Read More

Porter & Davies' BC2 - vibrations travel up the spine via bone conduction and are heard as...

The thunderous punch of a bass drum is the time-honored foundation on which all of rock 'n' roll is built. That thud that hits you in the chest and moves your whole body … it taps into a deep and primal place in our subconscious. But while the crowd is enjoying the power of the bass drum amplified through huge sub-woofers, the poor drummer himself is usually hearing a poxy, paper-thin, bassless pop from a tiny onstage foldback speaker. Trying desperately to feel the bass, they often turn the onstage monitors up to ear-splitting volumes, but you just can't get that kind of low end out of small speakers. Enter the BC2 (formerly known as the BumChum) from Britain's Porter and Davies - a simple two-part system that takes the bass drum signal and literally shakes the drummer's butt with it through a vibrating stool.  Read More

A Japanese team has invented a portable device that painlessly causes people to stop talki...

For those who don't suffer the talkative gladly, a pair of Japanese researchers may have come up with just the thing - a portable device that can painlessly jam a person's speech from up to 30 meters (98 ft) away. Ingeniously dubbed the "SpeechJammer," you aim it like a gun and, if it's anywhere near as effective as the Delayed Auditory Feedback exhibit I tried at my local science museum, it works like a charm.  Read More

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