“Chi crederia che sotto forme umane e sotto queste pastorali spoglie fosse nascosto un Dio? Non mica un–[“Who would believe that under human form and under this pastoral garb there would be found a God? Not only a….”]. As of mid-May 2009, this phonautogram of the opening lines of Torquato Tasso‘s pastoral dramaAminta is the earliest audible record of recognizable human speech–at least, recognizable enough to follow if you already know the words. (The April 9, 1860 recording of Au Clair de la Lune appears to be earlier, but it is sung, not spoken.) Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville recorded it for the physicist Henri Victor Regnault, probably in April or May 1860, as a “study of the tonic accent,” so he was more interested in capturing the intonation than the words anyway. But there’s a mistake in the recorded recitation. “I was wrong,” Scott wrote at the bottom: “it should be umane forme.” By apologizing for reversing the word order, Scott indirectly identifies himself as the speaker.”
AcousticEcology.org is the website of the Acoustic Ecology Institute, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA. The Acoustic Ecology Institute was founded in 2003 as a spin-off of EarthEar.com, a commercial soundscape art catalog.
AcousticEcology.org provides access to news, academic research, public policy advocates, and articles and essays about sound and listening. We hope that these diverse threads of information and passion will be of service to policy makers, the media, and interested individuals. Please be in touch with any comments or feedback you may have. [SEE SITE HIGHLIGHTS]
A sampling of Acoustic Ecology Institute Activities
Wrote comprehensive research overview on seismic survey airguns (January 2004) [MORE]
Moderated panel on Ocean Noise at the 8th International Wildlife Law Conference (New Orleans, November 2004)
Presenting soundscape awareness programs in Santa Fe Public Schools (ongoing)
Organized Acoustic Ecology Lecture Series at College of Santa Fe (20042/5 to 2006/7 academic years) [MORE]
Participated in the formation of the American Society for Acoustic Ecology, AEI founder Jim Cummings elected first President of ASAE. [MORE]
Guest edited a special Ocean Noise edition of the Journal of International Wildlife Law and Policy (published in 2007)
Member of the curatorial team for Ear to the Earth, a symposium (December 2005) and festival (March 2005) hosted by the EMF in New York. [MORE]
Plenary speaker at Alberta oil and gas Spring Noise Conference, 2007 and 2009
Invited participant in Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans Science Advisory Committee to assess the effectiveness of seismis survey mitigation measures, 2009
20Hz and lower: these frequencies are generally responsible for warmth in a recording. Too much and the recording will sound muddy.
120Hz – 600Hz: these frequencies give depth to a recording, giving vocals and other instruments a strong sense of presence without being clinical. On the other hand, these frequencies are where you’re most likely to experience problems with vocal resonance. Too much in this area can be particularly fatiguing.
600Hz – 3kHz: these frequencies also give presence but of a generally harder nature. High output in this region is fairly common in rock music as it gives it a hard edge that suites the genre.
3kHz- 7kHz: is the area where vocal sibilance resides. 3kHz-5kHz is a very common peaking area in rock music because human hearing is pretty sensitive here and extra output here makes it sound louder. It also adds a harshness that is particularly fatiguing so don’t over do it. Because of the high sensitivity in this region you can add warmth without loss of clarity by attenuating this region a bit.
7kHz -:Cymbals etc, and all the other components that add the sense of quality and accuracy. Above 10kHz too much output may make your recordings sound like they are lacking some definition.
If your tracks lack warmth and have too much sibilance you either have too little output below 500Hz or too much above 3kHz. A generally good balance will be pretty flat from around 60Hz up to 1-2kHz and then rolling off to be around 10-20 dB down at 10kHz. How much tapering at the spectrum ends you’ll need will depend on the nature of the music.
If there are some sharp peaks in the peak spectrum (yellow trace) that stand out above the rest then they may need to be attenuated a bit. Again, don’t try to eliminate the peak but just reduce and control it a bit. A good rule of thumb would be to reduce the peak so that it is about as high as the other undulations on the spectrum.
Finally, strong output in the region of 3-5kHz can make recordings sound fatiguing and clinical. If you have strong output in this region reduce it by approximately 3dB.
“Emile Berliner and the Birth of the Recording Industry is a selection of more than 400 items from the Emile Berliner Papers and 108 Berliner sound recordings from the Library of Congress’s Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division.”