Audio News for October 3, 2007

by | Oct 3, 2007 | Audio News | 0 comments

Does Your Homeowner’s Cover All Your AV Components? – Most readers probably have a goodly sum invested in their home AV gear and computers.  Are you sure your homeowner’s insurance policy allows you to cover your losses in case of a power surge, fire, flood, or theft?  My own policy just added a notice that flood coverage is no longer provided in my area.  Power surges may also not be covered. Do you have cash or replacement value coverage? The latter is best since it allows you to then buy the same item new whatever the price now is. Is gear like your camera or iPod covered when you are away from your house? If you have a large collection entirely on a hard drive with no backup, check if that is covered; probably not. It is always wise to back up everything and store the backup elsewhere. If you copy from existing CDs and LPs, don’t sell or give away the originals. Have you made an inventory of all your equipment, the serial numbers, and what you paid for them, as well as keeping the receipts? And either photographed all of them or made a video tour of all your gear?  Those are probably things on your back burner list which you hope to get to someday, right?

Federal Agencies Listening to Nature – Government research teams are gathering data about ambient sounds in our national parks. They set up a pair of omnidirectional mics on large tripods with windscreens, hooked to batteries, computers and sound-level analyzers.  A very few places they hear nothing but the wind in the trees, whereas in most parks they get loads of natural, human-caused and aircraft sounds. According to the Soundscape Preservation Director for our 300+ national parks, peace and quiet are the two main reasons people come to the parks.

The Park Service calls the wildlife sounds, waterfalls, leaves rustling, etc. the “biophony.”  It is being attacked more and more by airplanes and helicopters at many parks, as well as the proliferating cars, RVs, motorcycles and snowmobiles. Among other things, the data being collected at some parks, such as in Hawaii, will help the park management decide how to regulate air tours over the parks. The Park Service is also interested in using their cataloged sound recordings to educate the public about their natural and cultural heritage and to teach them to listen in a new way.  Interpreters at some national parks are trying new programming focused on sound. And any layperson can learn from the wiggly lines of a spectrogram, which shows all the sounds over just a few seconds. It looks like a cross between the audio bars on your video recorder and a lie-detector printout.  Without having to go where the sounds were recorded, an expert looking at this graphic biophony representation can tell which forest is well-established and healthy, and which one is young, stressed or weak – just by looking at the printed spectrogram.

EMI Stresses Online Classical Promotion
– EMI & Virgin Classics now sell higher-res 320kbps downloads which are DRM-free on iTunes Plus. Cost for an album is the same as for standard MP3 files. The site makes it easier to access and learn about classical music than the standard iTunes, and EMI is hoping to eventually provide completely lossless classical downloads. The EMI & Virgin Classics Listening Club has also been launched. Purchasers of CDs with the Opendisc logo can place the CDs in their computers and easily access the club site where they can get prerelease audio files, video interviews, podcasts, photos, even send their questions to a panel of experts. The idea is to get traditional classical music lovers who play their CDs only on their audio systems to also listen to music on their computers.

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