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Entertainment Cyberscope
by Jerry Flattum, CyberAstronomer

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Technology - Audio

The Audio portal concentrates on sites that bill themselves as audio sites, but all of the Technology portals in the EC are audio-based. Many audio manufacturers and companies carry a wide assortment of audio products, from recording equipment to musical instruments, from mp3 players to live concert sound systems.

Akai Pro Audio

A-SIG (Interactive Audio Special Interest Group)

Audio Engineering Society (AES)

Audio Engineering Society - Audio Links

AudioBase

AudioMIDI

Beatnik

CCRMA Workshops 2001 (The Stanford University Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics)

Computer Audio Engineering (CAE)

Creative Labs

DigiProNet

Digital Audio Labs

Digital Media Net

Digital Pro Sound

DirectX Files

Edirol

Emagic News

Fraunhofer IIS-A

Lucid Audio

Lukas Film - THX

Microboards

ProNetGuide

Pro Audio Music

Pro Sound News

ProNetGuide

QDesign

SAE (School of Audio Engineering)

Steinberg

TC Works

Voyetra

ZDNet - Audio Supercenter

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Technology - Media Players

Windows Media Player and Realplayer dominate the online player market, but there are dozens more with different looks and functionality. Many sites feature their own proprietary players. Not all players support all file formats.

The players listed here are online software applications but portable hardware players are equally important in terms of mobility. The quality of players depends on streaming quality, or the quality of your Internet connection. Streaming audio and video requires high bandwidth. Many sites are becoming audio/graphics intensive and users with slower modems or older browsers will not be able to access these sites with any quality.

4th Wave (Audio links, players)

Apple Quicktime

Beatnik Player

Cosmo

Liquid Audio Player

Macromedia Shockwave

MusicMatch Jukebox

Oozic (Creative Labs)

Realplayer and Realjukebox

Rocket Control by Rocket Network

Shockwave

Sonique

Spinner

Winamp

Windows Media Player

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Technology - MIDI

MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) allows musical instruments, computers and other electronic devices to communicate with each other. General MIDI and Roland's GS standards are weak in terms of quality of sound. The instrument sets are tinny and thin. The quality of MIDI depends on the quality of the playback device. But sending MIDI information (assuming both ends of the communication channel have the same playback access) as raw bits of data significantly reduces file size.

MIDI compatible sequencers are amazing in that a music creator can daisy chain a suite of proprietary sound generating devices and audio processing equipment. This digital multi-layering or multi-tracking functionality means one control device can access vast sound libraries and f/x at the same time without laying individual tracks on analog tape. MIDI enables audio processing all within the digital realm. Sequencers can capture sub-mixes which are then sent via MIDI to a computer with digital recording software for further audio processing. The sub-mix can also be recorded directly depending upon on the power of a user's sound card.


About General MIDI (Roland)

Buzzwood (Home of the MIDI Voice Tester)

Freesite.com (Free MIDI)

GaryW0001's MIDI Home Page

Harmony Central - MIDI Manufacturers

MIDI.com

MIDI City

MIDI Classics

MIDI Farm

MIDI Haven

MIDI Manufacturers Association (many listings)

MIDI Players and Utilities (Shareware Music Machine)

MIDI Search Engine (About Search Engine)

MIDIMan

MIDISyn

Music Shoppe - MIDI Ring

RecordLab

Tran Tracks (MIDI sequences)

Trycho Tunes

Unisyn

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Technology - MIX

Technology - MIX is really a play on words since what technology does is allow us to "mix" our music. Included here are equipment manufacturers, audio technology, applications, software, spec sheets and more.

Manufacturer and software sites are excellent resource sites covering analog/digital recording, sound generation, softsynths, DAW's, F/X, and all things audio. See all the other Technology portals.

4th Wave

Adaptec

ADS Technologies

AKAI Global Site

Aldostools.com

Animated Music

Audiobase

Beatnik (Thomas Dolby; also the Beatnik Player)

Bibliography on synths, MIDI, computer and Electronic Music

Broadjam

Cakewalk (Sonar)

CD Solutions

CDRom Guide

CEA (Consumer Electronics)

Club Octane

CNET.com - Music

Coda Music Technology

Creative Labs

Digibid

Digigram

Digital Bits

Digital Wizard (MP3.com)

DRM for Audio Drivers (Digital Rights Management for Audio Drivers - Microsoft)

DivX Digest

DJ Wholesale Club

Drum Machine Museum

Efron Computerized Studios

ESCMag

Ensoniq

EQ Magazine

Finale Notepad (Coda Technologies; free version of Finale)

File Mine (CMP's TechWeb)

Giebler Enterprises

Glyph Technologies

Guitar.com

Harmony Central

Harmony Central Computer Music Resources

Harmony Central Recording Manufacturers

Hitsquad (Shareware Music Machine)

IAEKM (International Association of Keyboard Manufacturers)

InterVideo

JPC Systems

Kick.com - Music Companion

Korg

K-v-R - VSTi Resources

Kurzweil (Biography of Ray Kurzweil)

Kurzweil Music Systems

LaCie

Live! Center

Lyrics Library from DJST Productions

M Audio (MIDIman)

Magix

Manley Labs

Mark of the Unicorn (MOTU)

MARS

Maxtor

Midiman

MPEG

MPEG.org

MPEG 4 Structured Audio (Univ. Berkeley)

Music and Audio Software Manufacturers (Synthzone)

Music Factory

Music Dictionary (How to create your own music dictionary page - for online)

Music Gear Review

MusicalSoftware.com

Musicians Friend

Musicians Tech Central

MyPlay Music Portal (Digital music subscriptions)

Netrezonator

PG Music - Band-in-Box

Procomp

Pulse Sonifier

QSound

Ray Kurzweil

Roland

Sonic Foundry (Digital Media Solutions, Sound Forge XP 4.5, Acid, Vegas, other)

Sonic Reality

Soniccopia

Soundblaster

SoundTrek

Synth Zone

Syntrillium (Cool Edit Pro)

Tapeless Studio (Magazine of Computer Audio)

TC Works

Telos - Broadcast Studio Equipment

Ultimate Resource Site

Virtual Studio Systems

Voyetra

Xing Technology (Real.com)

Yamaha

Young Chang

ZZounds

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Technology - MP3

We no longer buy records, CDs or cassettes. We buy digital files called MP3. It is a very secluded musician who has not heard of the mp3 format, yet alone experimented with transferring his/her music online or burning to CD. Mp3 is one many audio formats, i.e., wav, .ra, .wma and others. The mp3 compression format was originally designed for film by the Motion Picture Experts Group. MPEG (pronounced M-peg), stands for Moving Picture Experts Group, and is the name of a group of standards used for coding audiovisual information in a digital compressed format. It is similar to zip compression common to most PC users.

The subject of mp3 covers much more than just a file type. There are mp3 software, tools, portals, newsgroups, search engines, hardware, portable devices and more.

AMP3.com

Audio Galaxy

Audiogalaxy Satellite

EMusic

Listen Music

Media Box

MP3.com

Mp3 Licensing

Napster

Proteron

Scour

Ultimate MP3 Resources Site

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Technology - Production Music

Production music is a deep, dark and magical secret. Once you have listened to a handful of top notch production music libraries, the way you perceive music will change forever. The phenomenal versatility, excellence in production and impeccable musicianship sheds a very strange light over the pop/rock world. Production music does NOT imitate--it generates. It is a veritable river of originality--created by ghosts.

Many production music composers are highly talented, unique and often times well-trained. In fact, many libraries contain music created by the most respected musicians and composers in the industry. Like good film composers--those types who win Academy and Grammy Awards--they are often comfortable with any genre and have no problems creating music "made-to-order."

Production music sounds too utilitarian. In general, it's purpose is to draw attention to something other than itself, like a website, a product or a film scene. Major motion picture composers fair better in the recognition department but the music they create is created for the film and not for itself. Of course, many movie themes and songs go on to have a great life beyond the film. Songs written for TV sometimes crossover to the pop charts and pop tunes are used frequently throughout TV shows and programs.

But production music is almost always instrumental and is music that is used to underscore film, video, advertising, games and websites. I'm not sure if specially programmed doorbell melodies and singing stuffed animals count. With singing avatars on the entertainment horizon, it's not inconceivable for a cartoon character or a "Britney" Doll to sing the next number one hit!

Strangely, production music is largely meant to be heard but not noticed. It perks the senses, creates a mood or draws attention. It draws the listener in but the focus then shifts to an action or mood in a scene, an announcer's voice, or a shift to the homepage of a website.

Some production music libraries are vast, containing hundreds of thousands of sounds, sequences, sound effects, MIDI files, etc. Licensing practices and fees vary depending on a host of variables: market and use, length of track, time frame, synchronization and performance rights, blanket licensing, opening credits, closing credits, world distribution, cable networks, file type and more.

The Film, Film Composers, Games and numerous other sites scattered throughout the EC have music production listings and/or audio files available.

There is a separate EC portal for Soundfonts, Loops and Samples.

1212.com

615 Music

Beatnik Production Music

Boosey and Hawkes Media Music

Chris Stone Audio - Stock Music Consultants

CSS Music - Creative Support Services

D.A.W.N. - Digital Audio Worldwide Network

Extreme Music

FirstCom Music (a suite of high-end production libraries including one by Thomas Dolby)

Flash4All

GameMusic.com

Hollywood Edge

Killer Tracks

Leaonardo Software

LicenseMusic

Looney Tunes

Manhattan Production Music Library

Megatrax Production Music Library

Moonshine Music

Movie Sounds Page

Music2Hues

MusicSearch - Production

Network Music

Prime Cuts

PrimeSounds

Production Music Association

Promusic

Skywalker Sound

Sonicopia

SoundAmerica

SoundDogs

SoundShopper

SoundStore

SoundtrackNet

Stock Music Consultants

Tunedge Music Services

VideoHelper

Virtual-FX

WebMovie.com

X-Mix Remix (DJ Wholesale Club, Inc.)

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Technology - Recording and Editing

Digital recording has not replaced analog recording nor has it made the process of recording any simpler. Critics who espouse the virtues of nondestructive editing are looking at only one device--they do not see the daunting array of equipment and software choices a music creator must choose from. Additionally, the argument could be made that choosing the right equipment has not been a problem for many musicians considering the volume of output throughout the pop/rock, film, game and other markets.

If money is not an object, then choosing one manufacturer over another is not an issue. Your studio has both PC and Mac. If it's a state-of-the-art studio, it has more than one studio room with more than one recording console. It has a couple dozen different synths and digital keyboards, an arsenal of guitars, and racks and racks of f/x units and other processing gear. Hard drive capacity is not limited so having more than one copy of Pro Tools, Cakewalk (Sonar), Cubase and dozens of other software tools is not a problem.

With a monster studio, chances are there is more than one engineer to help collectively trouble shoot the entire process of creation to market. Many studios now offer web design as part of their services. There is much illusion about a single songwriter being able to produce, burn and stream CD quality music all alone. The learning curve is high involving everything from choosing the right sound card to finding the right multi-tracking software. It takes savvy to produce a CD equal in quality to commercially produced CDs that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce.

A Basic Mixing Method

AirWorks

Allen & Heath

AMS Neve

ArtistPro

Arturia

Audio Recording Center

Audio Simulation - Dreamstation

Audiosoft

BIAS!

Cakewalk

CD Information Center

Digidesign

DirectX

Echo Digital

Edirol (Roland Group)

eMagic

Home Recording.com

Inside Sessions

Inwire-Studios

Logic Rocket (online recording sponsored by Harmony Central and eMagic)

Mackie

Magix

Magnetic Recording - An Intro (Washington U)

Mixman

Nemesys Music Technology

NetStudio

Octave

Octave - Recording CD Audio and Red Book standards

OnStream

Opcode

ProNetGuide - Web Directory - Recording Mixing Consoles Category

RecordLab

Recording Arts Forum

Recording Consoles

Rocket Network

Sonic Foundry (Sound Forge XP Studio 5.0)

Steinberg

Studiomenu.com

Tapeless Studio - Magazine of Computer Audio

Tascam

Tonos (Napster spin-off for music collaboration online)

Virutal Studio Systems

World Studio Group

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Technology - Soft Synths

The Technology - Soft Synth portal and the Technology - Soundfonts, Samples and Loops portal are destined to overlap. Because many soft synths and sound creation are made by music equipment manufacturers, the Technology - Mix area will crisscross as well.

Any philosophical or aesthetic issues with the digital world destroying the acoustic world are non-issues. The destruction is not imminent--it's already happened. Drama aside, it will be a long time before the violin and log drum disappear from the annals of music production.

The art and science of sampling and sound design has long overcome the limitations of early synths. In an age where techno dance and hi-tech DJ's dominate the music landscape, clearly digital music is no longer the Darth Vader battling the Force of natural music.

Soft synths have upped the ante on sound production by turning the computer into a multiple synth platform--or to be more accurate--a full featured digital audio workstation. If soft synths eliminate the need for hardware--who's going to complain? Of course, the issue remains of what to do on a stage since playing a computer keyboard has yet to prove to be an exciting thing to watch.

Compatibility through proprietary designs remains a major headache although file and format conversion software picks up where proprietary leaves off.

Softsynths and a wide array of other audio-based plug-ins are very new and the grand digital experiment has only begun. Sophisticated software continues to replace clumsy hardware in all areas of music production.

Synthesized sounds and General MIDI have given way to soundfonts and loops. Soundfonts takes its name from the graphical rendering of text, where 1000's of different digital typefaces are available. Loops are pre-made sequences which are fully customizable. But they set up rhythm and melody patterns and all a user has to do is cut and paste instruments, modify tempos, form song structures, etc.

Audio quality and human "feel" remain issues. And, despite the vast libraries of sounds and recording techniques, digitized music still pales in comparison to real musicians playing live instruments. But this battle between digital and analog will continue to be a major driving force in the music we hear in the future.


Alien Connections

Applied Acoustic Systems

Audio Simulation (Dream Station)

BitHeadz

FruityLoops

FXpansion Audio

Koblo

LiveSynth Pro DXi

Native Instruments

Plugsound.com

RBC Audio

Softsynth.com

Sonar DXi (Cakewalk)

Sondius XG SoftSynthesizer (Yamaha)

Sonicbits.com - SynthOne

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Technology - Soundfonts, Samples and Loops

Sampling technology has been around for years. In fact, soundfonts and loops consist of sampled sounds. A music (or sound effect) loop is a sound file that loops automatically by itself or can be pasted end to end until the desired length is reached--much like the cut/paste functions of sequencers. Soundfonts are sampled instruments that a user can cut and paste in the same fashion as changing text fonts in a wordprocessor

Loops and soundfonts run the same risk as General MIDI and Roland GS in terms of quality of sound. But this is changing. Dozens of new soundfont/loop-based companies are generating new libraries on a regular basis with superb audio quality just around the corner.

Acidplanet

Big Fish Audio

Fruityloops

Guitar Soundfont Central

HammerSound

Keyfax

Numerical Sound

Partners in Rhyme

PowerFX

Rockloops

Sample Arena

SampleNet

Sessiondrummer

Smartloops

Sonar XL

Sonic Foundry (home of Acid)

Sonic Implants

Sonomic

SoundFaction

Soundfont Central

Soundfont.com - Emu/Ensoniq

Soundfonts.com (Sonic Implants)

sYnerGi Soundfonts

Synthzone - Soundfont Resources

The Sound Site

Utopia

Vintage Synth Dreams

Voice Crystal

Wix

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Technology - Streaming Media

The greatest obstacle to streaming audio and video on the Internet is bandwidth. Servers need to push data streams faster and end-users need to pull faster. Cable, DSL and T1 connections have already upped the ante on cranky and slow telephone modems with wireless promising even greater high-speed access. Whether it's backend servers or frontend home PCs, the streaming of DVD and CD will become commonplace within the next few years. Mp3 and upgraded compression technologies will help keep pace with the ultimate goal of streaming, downloading and uploading any kind of media within a matter of seconds--when you want it, where you want it.

Once online storage becomes commonplace there will be no need to download for play later. Terrestrial radio streamed online still suffers the same limitations of broadcast style programming. But customized streaming channels by expert DJs and the ability to launch and program personalized streaming channels will change the broadcast model considerably.

See Radio

International Webcasters Association

Suptnik7.com

Streaming Media World

Streamingmedia.com

Virage

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Technology - Tutorials

Most equipment manufacturers and software developers offer online tutorials in support of their products with many 3rd party tutorials filling in the grey areas. Generic tutorials on such processes as burning CDs or sonifying a website are included here. Tutorials generally range or offer instruction from beginner to advanced. This can range from a simple how-to step-by-step process to software design and computer programming.

Creating and editing video and graphics are not included at this time nor is web design (coming).

CD Information Center

EMU-Ensoniq - Archives - MIDI Tutorial and others

Expert-Guides

Glowgeorge - Soundfont tutorials

Making your own .wavs (Moviesounds.com)

Making Your Own Sound Samples

Soundfont.com tutorials

Streaming Media World - Tutorials

Streamingmedia.com - Tutorials

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Jerry Flattum is a songwriter (BMI), screenwriter, freelance writer, book writer and singer/keyboardist/arranger. Jerry has written Bridge On Fire: A Holistic Journey in Song Creation. Bridge On Fire is a comprehensive manual on songwriting from the technical, social, cultural and entertainment industry perspectives. The book will be published by Publish America in 2005 and available through major and other retail outlets. In 2002, Jerry wrote a full-length feature comedy, 7/11 Pair-O-Dice Road for Lear Entertainment (Las Vegas). Several screenplays are in-progress: The Acrobat; Watertown, South Dakota; Lars; Out of Context; Amazon Moon and others. He has written the story, music and lyrics for Time Travelers in the Celestial Age, a screen/stage musical loosely based on H.G. Well’s, The Time Machine. As a freelance writer, he has covered live shows for e-Vegas.net, the Las Vegas film scene for Callback, and written several articles for Musesmuse.com, Script Magazine and others. Jerry has worked as a singer/keyboardist in several bands throughout New York, the Twin Cities, and on the road. Prior business experience includes CBS, Harry Fox Agency, Samuel French Play Publishers and other indie ventures. He has a self-designed BS in Songwriting (graduating Phi Kappa Phi) and a Masters in Liberal Studies (U of MN). Jerry is a member of the Songwriters Guild of America, the Nashville Songwriters Association, and the International Songwriters Association. He is soon to become a member of the National Writers Union and plans are to join the Authors Guild and the Writers Guild of America. He is also launching JerryFlattum.com in October 2004, featuring original songs and other works. This site will interface with SongCatalog.com, an online service designed to connect songwriters with song buyers.
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