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Category: Music

Ultrasonic MEMS may be about to take over your ear buds

Ultrasonic MEMS may be about to take over your ear buds

“Most conventional speakers generate sound by actuating and pushing a diaphragm; you’re pushing air to generate sound. We’re actually going to use ultrasonic modulation and demodulation to create pressure and generate sound…this is fundamentally the first time humans are experiencing sound generated in a different way.”  Mike Householder vice president of marketing and business development at xMEMS.

MEMS chips have already conquered the microphone market, making up the majority of microphones. But speakers have to propel a volume of air, rather than be pushed by it. xMEMS speakers going into products now are chips with multiple silicon flaps coated in piezoelectric material that vibrate at audible frequencies.

MEMS chips specialize in generating audible frequencies with very low phase distortion. Phase distortion is the variation in the timing of an acoustic signal according to its frequency; and has been with us since speakers were created.

Phase inaccuracy is so ubiquitous that we simply accept it…. Driver technology up to now has never been able to be this accurate.

Brian Lucey, a mastering engineer on 9 Grammy-winning albums

This means MEMS chips promise to deliver an audio experience without distortion in a way never before possible. If reports are to be believed, the improved quality and clarity is apparently immediately noticeable.

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Programmable Music Box

Programmable Music Box

Most music boxes can only play one song, but why not make a music box that is fully programmable? The Muro Box can play any song by using computer-controlled wheels to pluck the metal forks. You can program it using a mobile app or a MIDI device. It has a 40-note chromatic scale, and more than 50,000 songs in a downloadable library.

It’s going for an eye watering $995 pledge on Kickstarter. I think it’s ridiculously steep for a few dozen stepper motors and an app, but they do offer a smaller $299 version.

AI Hank Williams sings new songs – Like Straight Out of Compton

AI Hank Williams sings new songs – Like Straight Out of Compton

If you don’t think AI is changing things at a fundamental level, witness what is possible with voice models trained by ordinary people like ThereIRuinedIt:

Or Johnny Cash singing Barbie Girl

How? There’s a number of different ways you can try this yourself – but the list grows daily at this point, so do some googling and see what’s available.

Bill Evans – Blue in Green

Bill Evans – Blue in Green

Bill Evans is considered one of the best jazz piano players that ever lived. He created a whole host of new jazz piano forms and methods, but Blue in Green has to be one of my favorites.

Written in 1959, he later performed it on the Mile’s Davis album Kind of Blue. Miles largely took credit for the song on Kind of Blue and wasn’t exactly cool about it, but it is largely understood that Bill was the genius behind the melody.

Evans had a troubled history with drug use, disease, and personal loss, yet created some of the most beautiful music in jazz. Give Blue in Green a listen.

Laurindo Almeida plays One Note Samba

Laurindo Almeida plays One Note Samba

I think some of the best jazz of all time was created during the 50-60’s. Laurindo Almeida playing the One Note Samba with the Modern Jazz Quartet in 1964 is such an example along with greats like the Dave Brubeck quartet and Bill Evans.

Give it a listen.

Stable Audio AI

Stable Audio AI

Need some royalty-free music or sound effects for your game or a video you made? Do you need a drum solo, ambient music, or other audio track to set the mood? TIME’s Best Inventions of 2023 list called out the Stable Audio AI music creator as such a tool to get music generated for free.

As an example of how good Stable Audio is, enter “Post-Rock, Guitars, Drum Kit, Bass, Strings, Euphoric, Up-Lifting, Moody, Flowing, Raw, Epic, Sentimental, 125 BPM” for a 95-second track – and the site will create audio like the results in this YouTube video. (It just generates the music, not any imagery)

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Bringing your favorite signers back from beyond

Bringing your favorite signers back from beyond

Kid Klava wanted to sing a song he wrote, but realized his chops really weren’t up for the task. So why not get John Lennon sing it – with Paul on backing vocals? He claims it was surprisingly easy and it only took a few minutes to generate. If you’d like to have a go yourself, there are dozens of great YouTube tutorials.