AES Section Meeting Reports

Toronto - February 27, 2018

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The Toronto Section of the AES held its 5th Annual Members Showcase of Gadgets and Projects night on February 27, 2018.

In the AES spirit of sharing knowledge, we hold this event to highlight and celebrate the work that our fellow engineers do on a daily basis.

Executive Committee member Rob DiVito was the host and organizer for this event, and introduced each of the presenters. This year we had four participants which allowed for a longer presentation time for each talk.

The first was Paul Novotny. His talk was titled "Stereo to 5.1 — Creating An Immersive Fold-Out". It revealed the work he did recording his piano-bass duo Jazz album entitled "Look Ahead" in 2016 with music colleague Robi Botos. It was recorded, mixed and mastered at 24 bits 96 kHz. What he did in this recording was fold it out from stereo to an immersive 5.1 mix. The prime advantage of this approach was that the cohesion present in the original stereo mix was maintained in the 5.1 mix. His presentation included research into the history of immersive formats and philosophies of R. Murray Schafer and David Byrne, how pre-determination shaped the final result, mics and placements, and the mix template to create the immersive mix through reverb and 360 management plug-ins from UAD and Waves. This presentation is based on paper Paul submitted to ARP that detailed the creation of "Look Ahead", and which is currently in peer review.

Ginn Anazawa presented an idea for the design of a new MC phono preamplifier and equalizer. The impetus for this project was a portion of his vinyl collection containing Classical music which was digitally recorded between 1972 to 1980. The intent was to upgrade his phono equalizer so he could more accurately hear what the sound actually was from these early digital recordings. The benefits of his circuit design is that the amplifier is working under ideal circuit conditions. It is a current-output amplifier as opposed to a voltage-output amplifier. The talk included slides of schematics of current designs and proposed designs, and photographs of his currently used equipment.

After break Rob briefly discussed the history of the annual showcase.

Maria Karam was the third presenter. Her presentation had to with Tactile Audio. She is a computer scientist and human computer interaction researcher focusing on sensory substitution who works with people with disabilities. One of her previous projects was to help develop a system to bring music and sound through the body for deaf people. The outcome was the Emoto-Chair which is a combined haptic-tactile physical interface that addressed all the touch senses. One of the systems in this project and the focus of Maria's presentation was a tactile acoustic device (TAD). Through the research involved, she and her team found that the skin and body work similarly to the human cochlea. In other words the receptors in the skin are akin to the receptors in the ear. The body receptor system is on a much smaller scale than the ear. In VR, it happens that all the sounds translate beautifully into touch when put through a tactile transducer. One can have an audio perception through a tactile sense. It's rudimentary at this point but it has great potential as a communication channel. She considers herself a tactile audio engineer. During a Q&A period, members of the audience were invited to experience sensations through the device.

Todd Busch designs performance spaces with regard to distortion and ambience. He has 22 years experience as an acoustic consultant. With a masters from University of British Columbia, he's studied outdoor sound propagation, highway noise, and noise barrier technology. Some of his clients include environmental scientists that have to deal with outdoor noise issues, as well as architects and engineers of design teams for facilities such as performing arts centres. Todd discussed a favourite project from his career which was to provide acoustic consulting for the design of a 500-seat performance space at a private school called the Webber Academy in Calgary, Alberta. In addition for use by its students, the space is also rented to touring artists. In Todd's words 'it's as close to a direct sound experience one will get in a sealed room'. His slides included blueprints, drawing illustrations, and summaries of design considerations such as reverberation time. Some of the hallmarks of the space is a hall clear of reflections and excellent voice clarity.

All presentations had a brief Q&A period afterwards.

The evening closed with Toronto Chair Alan Clayton awarding the presenters Toronto AES certificates of appreciation and coffee mugs.

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