Author Archives: signalspacesignal

Robert Henke


Robert Henke is multi-talented digital artist. His website details succinctly every aspect of his productive life. From his cutting edge laser based visual performance to the custom made max4live patches everything is easy to find. Yet the simplicity of the site hides its depth, you could spend a day or two learning new thing form his writings section and many times that from his engineering page. This is not to mention and extensives musical discography reaching back over 20 years. This website is a one of a kind resource created by an impressive individual.

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For this project I was inspired to delve a tiny amount into the vast ocean that is jitter programming. For those of you who are wondering what the heck jitter is the graphical portion of the visual programming environment by Cycling 74 called Max. Max provides a framework for manipulating audio and video data in novel ways. For my final I modified an existing users Max4Live patch that used realtime audio data to generated visual information. The audio data was being created entirely in realtime using two drum machines, two FM synthesizers and a host of digital audio processors. The sound were triggered entirely by midi and some effects were triggered for emphasis as needed using key mapping to my laptops keyboard.


The pictures in this video range from two years and one week old. The first two are pictures of the morning while the third and forth are pictures from the night time. These shots are in pairs. Two are taken in New York the other two were taken in Oregon. I really enjoy landscape and archtechtural photography especially when paired with ambient sounds or soundscapes. I choose the last photo which is of ice, to an or the two disjoint landscapes and give a sense of closure to the piece. The music was an amalgamation Latin percussion, polyphonic fm synthesis and analog rhythm elements. All of the sounds were sequenced using MIDI. The Latin percussion was sequenced using a Grids Max patch which is an emulation of a eurorack module and produces excellent results quickly.

Audio Engineering

The main focus of my study right now is the creation of studio music recordings. This is a field that is well over one hundred years old, and with such maturity comes a variety professional practices and definitions of  success. In order to develop and cultivate skills in this field I sought the guidance of local professionals in the field. My search lead me to Sprout City Studios where I enrolled in a class thought by its owner Thaddeus Moore. This series of  five lectures and discussions, with a small group of extremely passionate music enthusiasts, developed my skills in both the technical and personal aspects of the industry.

The technical aspects of the class ranged from proper microphone placement and recording techniques to the intricacies of various types of electronic signal processors like compressors, limiters, equalizers, and pre-amps. The difference between op amp, tube, and FET processors was also introduced. Several examples of microphone recording anomalies were discussed and demonstrated. The most interesting of there was the mid/side set up which allows for increably flexible processing after recording. Additionally the effect of doubling the distance of the microphone from the source was proved to create drastic changes in timbre. When the focus of the class shifted to the signal after recording the computer roll in the class became much more prevalent. Thad first began with equalization. He demonstrated the flexibility of modern digital equalizers then he moved on the show how digital emulations of hardware signal processors color or distort the sound to achieve a more “traditional” analog results.

The next discussions was all about how data compressions affects recorded sound. The meat of this discussion was establishing the nuances the differntiate bit depth and sample rate. Once that concept had been established the mechanism of audio data compression was introduced with the .MP3 format being the focus of the lesson. In short .mp3 files are inappropriate for professional audio production because they have been arbitrarily truncated, in terms of musicality, and inserting them into a project and arbitrarily truncating them again at the end of said project produces uncontrollable and often unmusical results.

Attending this series of lectures increased my understanding of professional recording practices. Not only was Thad more than proficient and explaining the technical side of engineering recordings. He also offered several insights throughout the class as to was type of etiquette is expected in an environment where you are receiving compensations to technical assistance in the creation of  another’s artistic vision. Delicacy, charm, and confidence all must coexist to get the most out of working partnerships such as these. I found these classes to be extraordinarily worthwhile because they not only laid  solid foundation on which to continue to expand my abilities, but also because they brought together a group of like minded people from various age groups and backgrounds and got them to share their thoughts and opinions on concepts that actually interested everyone there.

P4 Audio

To create this recording I fed Aesops “A Bald Knight” into a text to speech editor. From there I brought that file into Ableton Live. In Live I first applied Waves Rverb followed by Lives bit crusher. The signal was then sent into Waves Metaflange and H-Delay. The dry wet of the delay was modulated from 0 to 100% for the last word of the recording were the length of the reverb was also increased. I also applied some moderate time wapring throughout.

First Post

Hello my name is Jack Murphy. Im 22 years old. Before starting my arts education I was a chemistry student and found the lack of hands on work forced my mind to seek other avenues of expression. I am beginning my study of multimedia at Lane with the hopes of transferring back to the University as a digital arts student. My primary focus right now however would have to be sound design. I have been teaching myself how to use Ableton Live for the past 4 years, and I have recently acquired an analog drum machine and mono synth that I enjoy recording. Recently I was introduced to Native Instruments Reaktor which has been taking up huge chucks of spare time. The music scene that existed between Detroit and Berlin during the 1990’s has been heavily influencing my artistic expression for the last years. I really enjoy the futurist yet dystopian atmosphere many pieces exibit from this time period. The sculpting of noise and ambience into solid yet expansive sonic landscaped. My primary foci in art are space, noise, pattern, repetition, monotony, deviation, and time. I look forward to being able to explore some of these concepts in both time dependent and independent media, as well as being introduced to new concepts worth exploring. Currently I am learning the basics about photography using my iPhone camera, coming from audio, pictures has so many tweakable perameters it seems impossible to settle on a final finished image. I have some experience with video via a class in high school, however that was so long ago I have very little left over skill wise from that. Looking forward to a gainful quarter.