taking Songbird for a spin (again)

Since my last Songbird experiences were not that great I thought it would be a great idea to take the newly released 1.2 version of Songbird for a spin.

It’s said that the new version is faster and more stable. I installed 3 hours ago and I still cannot use it since it’s syncing with iTunes ever since.

songbird

More on that topic when songbird is ready….

Source: http://getsongbird.com/

How to create an m4b iTunes compatible audiobook from a cd

Let’s say you’re like me: You got several audiobooks on CD over the years and you even ripped several of these to listen to them in your MP3 player/car.

So what I have is a number of audiobooks ripped as mp3s on my harddisk looking something like this:

crnan1

If you only have the CD what you would like to do is rip the whole CD as ONE large m4a AAC encoded audiofile. We need it to be an m4a because we later want to inject chapter marks. If you have this big AAC file just skip the next few steps. But if you got those several small mp3 files – one for each chapter you want to merge them together and reencode them as m4a AAC.

There is a great free tool to merge these mp3 files together. It’s called (who would have thought) Merge MP3 and is available completely for free. It’ll create one big mp3 file out of your several small ones.

mergemp3nan

After you got that huge mp3 file you want to convert it into a m4a file with AAC encoding. I recommend using iTunes.

itunesconvertnan

When you got that one huge m4a file you want to load it into a tool called Chapter Master. It’s not free and will set you back $15 but it’s worth as I did not find anything else that was a) that cheap b) that comfortable c) working.

chaptermasternan

Load the m4a file into Chapter Master, add the chapters in the right order and at the right time. Eventually you want to add an album art picture. Click save and you’re done.

The resulting file is a m4b file recognized by iTunes as an audiobook with chapters.

Source 1: http://www.shchuka.com/software/mergemp3
Source 2: http://www.rightword.com.au/products/chaptermaster/download.asp

Software .NET managed DSP for Audio and …

As you may or may not know I am working on a gateway tool for citizen band radio. For this tool I was asked if it would be possible to build a tone detection, maybe more, into my software. And on the way of finding out how to accomplish this I stumbles across several very interesting things.

Like this peakmeter control which uses a software digital signal processing or a software dsp library – everything written entirely in managed code (C#) and both open source. Both examples show that you can use digital signal processing for audio and image content… and for more.

The peakmeter control:

micsourcediag

“DSP processing is very interesting subject to learn and work with. This block receives digital samples from the source. It approximates the original waveform and finds its peak magnitudes.
Since I would not be able to go in details about how FFT (Fast Fourier Transform) works in this article, I recommend the interested reader to visit some of the links in the reference section to increase his/her knowledge about this process.”

The software DSP library:

“A C# open source library that provides fully featured (1) single and double precision complex number data types, (2) complex number math library, (3) 1D, 2D and 3D complex and real symmetric fast Fourier transforms, and (4) highly accurate statistical routines. The library is optimized for both speed and numerical accuracy. The reason that this library is called a “Digital Signal Processing” library is because complex numbers, FFTs and statistical functions form the basis of any DSP library — although it is the hope that this library will continue to evolve to a more full fledged DSP library.”

image

Source 1: http://www.codeproject.com/KB/audio-video/PeakMeterCS.aspx
Source 2: http://www.exocortex.org/dsp/

I finally got my low latency network audio solution

In May 2005 I wrote about a wish I had for years:

“As usual I’ve got a very strange wish what nobody else seems to have on this planet. I have several computers of different platforms. And on one of this machines there are speakers attached…I want to have the possibility to output from any of the machines to the speakers. And please loss-less and low latency!”

It took more than 3 years to fulfill this particular wish. But now it’s done. In 2005 I mentioned the Airfoil software that could run on MacOS X and forward sound from almost every application to an AirTunes compatible device. As it turns out Rogue Amoeba did their homework and created a free “Airfoil Speakers” application which can be used on Windows and MacOS X.

So the things are simple: Start the speaker application on a machine that is in the same network/subnet as the Airfoil master. The virtual speaker is then displayed on the master machine and you can assign a sound source from that machine to the speaker. Hmm… Simple Setup sample: One machine is in my kitchen (Windows XP machine) and one machine is on my desk – an iMac. In the kitchen only the speaker application is started and the iMac instantly “sees” the speaker. One click and the sound output of my desk machine is forwarded through the network to the kitchen… Easy and cool. One can think of any other combination of Speaker/Master application – even multiple speakers can be powered by one master…oh joy!

So here is what the master looks like:

airfoil

and this is what it looks like on a client (speaker):

airfoil2

Source 1: nerd wish of 2005
Source 2: http://rogueamoeba.com/airfoil/

How to use the intertubes to display music videos along your ordinary music

If you got a Mac (and that’s the platform it’s only running on) and if you’re using iTunes to listen to your music you probably want to give this Dashboard Widget a try – it automatically searches the music video which supposedly belongs to the music you’re currently listening to and plays it in a small window on the dashboard:

“YouTube has stacks and stacks of music videos on their website. I have written a little dashboard widget called iTube. iTube gets the artist and title of the song you are playing in iTunes. It then performs a search on youtube and plays the first hit in the widget window. Once installed iTube works by itself in the background, so start a song up iTunes then look at your dashboard and with a little luck you’ll be watching what you are listening to.”

itube

Source: http://philipandrews.org/blog/itube/

Radioheads “House of Cards” music video + raw data released under CC license

I seriously don’t know why they are doing that – it’s not as if any material released previously came to any notice so far – but what the heck – Radiohead decided to put their current music video (which isn’t bad) and the raw data that was used to create it to the public using the Creative Commons license:

“The animation data used to make the video are licensed to the public under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license at Google Code. This means you are free to use the data to make your own video projects, as long as you abide by the CC license’s conditions. (To be clear, the song and its accompanying video are not under CC license; the data used to make the video are.)”

houseofcards_radiohead

Source: http://code.google.com/creative/radiohead/

new single from Emiliana Torrini – (free download)

emiliana

“Following on from her critically acclaimed sets ‘Love In The Time Of Science’ and her first for Rough Trade ‘Fisherman’s Woman’, the forthcoming ‘Me And Armini’ (released 8th September) sees her working once again with her long time producer/collaborator Dan Carey resulting in what we feel is destined to be one of the albums of 2008.

‘Me And Armini’ is a hugely ambitious and aspirational pop record with Emiliana’s soaring voice centre stage, bolstered by a rich gamut of musical styles. From the summery skank of the title track to the surging, breathless, first single ‘Jungle Drum’ (released 29th September) and yearning, spine-tingling ‘Big Jumps’ and much more in between ‘Me And Armini’ is a truly fantastic album.

‘Me And Armini’ will be released as a digital single in the US exclusively via iTunes on 19th August, with the album of the same name to follow on 9th September. “

Download the song “Me and Armini” here.

Source 1: http://www.arjanwrites.com/arjanwrites/2008/07/free-download-e.html
Source 2: http://www.myspace.com/emilianatorrini

basically beautiful

There’s this tool called “Processing”…apparently you can create stunning things with it:

The video was created by flight404 using Processing…

“Processing is an open source programming language and environment for people who want to program images, animation, and interactions. It is used by students, artists, designers, researchers, and hobbyists for learning, prototyping, and production. It is created to teach fundamentals of computer programming within a visual context and to serve as a software sketchbook and professional production tool. Processing is developed by artists and designers as an alternative to proprietary software tools in the same domain.”

Source 1: http://www.flight404.com/blog/?cat=1
Source 2: http://processing.org/download/index.html

publish your iTunes library on your network without actually using iTunes on the client

There’s a new version of Dot.Tunes out which is now available for free. That’s good news and if you ever wanted to access your iTunes Library and you were not in Bonjour range…try this great tool!

Bild 1

“DOT.TUNES is not some lightweight iTunes utility. It’s a fully developed web server application that supports MP3, AAC, AIFF, WAV, MPEG, MP4, and MOV files, allowing you to share your iTunes library contents with your friends in other cities, your classmates across the dorm or the coworkers scattered throughout the building. DOT.TUNES contains a custom web server designed specifically to serve the audio tracks from your iTunes at lightning fast speeds. Through seamless integration with your iTunes base, DOT.TUNES easily handles large libraries without missing a beat.”

I tried it and it’s working quite well – especially if you consider that there’s a bunch of plugins available.(which you have to pay for)

Source: http://www.dottunes.net

the brand new Morcheeba album is available…

Hurray! The wait is over and the brand new Morcheeba album is spinning in my players…thank you cd dealer for breaking the street date … hrhr!

It’s called “Dive Deep” and is the first album presenting different vocal artists each song. I am missing Skye Edwards voice but with all the variation on this album it’s back to the roots as if Skye was there.

divedeep

Source: http://www.morcheeba.net

want some ebm-industrial music? Lascif Corpse live!

It seems that tomorrow “Lascif Corpse” going to do a gig in Ilmenau and I want to encourage you to see them live on stage in the BI-Club(admission is 2€ reduced /4€ full).

If you cannot drop by you also can tune into the live stream the FeM Streaming Team is going to send out over the intertubes. Yes that’s right: the complete concert is available through a live stream.

Tune into the live stream around 2200 CEST and watch a great concert…

Until that go to their mySpace site and listen to some songs…

Source 1: http://www.lascif-corpse.de/
Source 2: http://bi-club.de/
Source 3: http://www.myspace.com/lascifcorpse
Source 4: mms://streaming-internet.fem.tu-ilmenau.de/bi-club

if I’ll ever need a multi-track audio tool again…

This post is more of a reminder for myself. ;-) I need to remember that obviously great multi-track audio application that just became available.

“Ardour is a digital audio workstation. You can use it to record, edit and mix multi-track audio. You can produce your own CDs, mix video soundtracks, or just experiment with new ideas about music and sound.

Ardour capabilities include: multichannel recording, non-destructive editing with unlimited undo/redo, full automation support, a powerful mixer, unlimited tracks/busses/plugins, timecode synchronization, and hardware control from surfaces like the Mackie Control Universal. If you’ve been looking for a tool similar to ProTools, Nuendo, Pyramix, or Sequoia, you might have found it.

Above all, Ardour strives to meet the needs of professional users. This means implementing all the “hard stuff” that other DAWs ( even some leading commercial apps ) handle incorrectly or not at all. Ardour has a completely flexible “anything to anywhere” routing system, and will allow as many physical I/O ports as your system allows. Ardour supports a wide range of audio-for-video features such as video-synced playback and pullup/pulldown sample rates. You will also find powerful features such as “persistent undo”, multi-language support, and destructive track punching modes that aren’t available on other platforms.”

Source: http://www.ardour.org/

want great music today? try Silje Nergaard.

I am in the middle of a jolly exiting jazz-swing-neo-whatever phase when it comes to the music I am listening these days. There’s “Big Bad Voodoo Daddy” – a band which I will talk more about in the next days and there’s one (for me) very very new

“Silje Nergaard (born June 19, 1966 in Steinkjer, Norway), is a very successful Norwegian pop and jazz musician. While some very old titles of her (e. g. Si det, si det from 1985) rather have a distinct pop feel, she has now almost completely given up making pop music, which is the reason why virtually the entirety of her later releases consists of jazzy tunes.”

Want to get an impression of one of my favourite songs of her (it’s “You Send Me Flowers”) ? Go ahead:

(thanks to last.fm)

Source: http://www.siljenergaard.com/

finally using last.fm

Several months after I was told about last.fm I finally ended up using it. I installed it yesterday on my main-music-playing-machine and so far the experience is great.

“Last.fm is a service that records what you listen to, and then presents you with an array of interesting things based upon your tastes — artists you might like, users with similar taste, personalised radio streams, charts, and much more.”

Since last.fm is monitoring what music I am listening to it can also be used to create some kind of “personal chart list” which you can put on your website… it may look like this:

bietiekay's Profile Page
(this actually is a realtime chart of my account)

In the meantime I was redirected to another quite similar service called “Pandora”. You also get a free high-quality radio from them. But Pandora is working very differently in the inside. Instead of taking the social approach like last.fm, Pandora wants to investigate the “genome of music”:

“Together we set out to capture the essence of music at the most fundamental level. We ended up assembling literally hundreds of musical attributes or “genes” into a very large Music Genome. Taken together these genes capture the unique and magical musical identity of a song – everything from melody, harmony and rhythm, to instrumentation, orchestration, arrangement, lyrics, and of course the rich world of singing and vocal harmony. It’s not about what a band looks like, or what genre they supposedly belong to, or about who buys their records – it’s about what each individual song sounds like.”

Since last.fm has a really nice tool for my mac and is working really well for my music taste I am going to stick with it… for everyone else: go and try both.

Source 1: http://www.last.fm/
Source 2: http://www.pandora.com/