Audio News for April 29, 2008

by | Apr 29, 2008 | Audio News | 0 comments

HDMI Competitor – A new digital display interface standard – launched just a year ago – is being promoted by the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA).  Display Port is a license-free, royalty-free, digital AV interconnect intended to be used primarily between a computer and its display monitors or between a home theater receiver or preamp and its digital display.  Display Port supports an embedded clock, unlike DVI/HDMI which requires a separate clock pair.  The data transmission protocol is Micro-Packet-based and more features can be added in the future. Another advantage over DVI/HDMI is that it consolidates both external and internal display connections.  Optional copy protection from AMD – similar to HDCP – uses 128-bit AES encryption with modern Cryptography ciphers.  It also has backward compatibility with both single and dual link DVI/HDMI and analog VGA.  Support for Display Port has already been announced by Dell and AMD and many others are planning to follow suit. One item in the technical specs caught our eye: Display Port connector assists in blind connection by just feeling.  You certainly can’t do that with HDMI.  And it would be nice to have a tight-fitting connector that doesn’t repeatedly fall out of the back of components as HDMI does. This technology could be quite a challenge for HDMI, which is not without a number of glitches.

Software Separates Notes in a Chord – A German guitar-maker turned programmer has come up with an application those in the computer music business had thought impossible. Direct Note Access allows computers to analyze digitized chords made by an instrument, or even a multi-instrument ensemble, and then extract and modify the individual notes in it. The manipulation of sound recordings by computer has given audio engineers control over the pitch, tempo, or  just where notes fall in the timeline, but working with individual notes recorded simultaneously, as in a six-string guitar chord, has never before been practical. Adjusting anything on one note of a chord affects all the other notes at the same time. This software allows studio engineers to salvage classic recordings by great artists which have been unreleased due to out of tune instruments or musicians making clams in the notes. A heavy rhythm-guitar part could be taken apart and those notes not quite in tune can be made so. 

The inventor, Peter Neubäcker, has no formal training in physics, math or programming, and is modest about his achievement. He says it’s not a sophisticated approach, but “more like diligently looking to see what is in there.”  The various notes of a chord appear on the screen graphically, looking like blobs of ink on a timeline.  Each one can moved up or down to change pitch, or back and forth to change timing. A chord can be changed from major to minor or visa versa. But it still has a problem if the same note is played by two instruments simultaneously – it cannot tell them apart. Direct Note Access will be released commercially this fall. There is concern in some circles that it could further accelerate the homogenization of pop music, which already often has cleaned-up, perfectly in tune vocal tracks due to processing.  

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