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On the Student pages you will find information collected and provided by student members of the AES who have been elected officers of the Student Delegate Assembly (SDA). Find out more about us here.

If you are an AES student member, this is the place where you can get informed about student related topics. Also, every student is invited to help keeping these pages a vivid and up to date resource by sending us interesting news and reports from your AES Student Section. 

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AES 134 - Meet the Winners #9: Florian Pausch

 

Meet Florian Pausch from Graz, Austria, who received a Gold Award in the Student Design Competition.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Where are you from? What do you study? How did you discover your passion for audio?

I'm from Salzburg, Austria and studied Electrical Engineering / Audio Engineering at the University of Music and Performing Arts and the University of Technology, respectively, in Graz, Austria. During my studies, I specialized in spatial audio and 3D sound recording technology to write my diploma thesis with the title 'A Rigid Double Cone Microphone Array Prototype'.

 

Are you a musician yourself? Which instruments do you play and in what context?

At the age of 9 I started playing the violin. Eight years later I took my first piano lessons.  On both instruments I was educated in a classical context. I was member of two Rock/Beat bands as guitarist and singer.

 

Tell us about your project. What is it? What is the story behind it?

The initial idea to build a new microphone array prototype is based on two basic questions: "How can we exclude sound from unwanted directions?" and "How can we enhance the resolution on a restricted angular range without increased hardware effort?"

 

Florian's Double Cone Microphone Array 

 

The new array design deviates from the spherical geometry and considers the introduction of a rigid double cone while the array microphones are distributed on the confined spherical segment. The main advantage of this step is the physical exclusion of unwanted sound directions instead of a removal through identification. Compared to a full spherical array, this permits an increased density of microphones for the desired panoramic recording angle without increased electronic hardware effort. Moreover, this is expected to improve the noise behaviour and the resolution on the limited angular range.

The prototype was designed and built throughout my diploma thesis at the Institute of Electronic Music and Acoustics Graz (IEM) within one year and was my first entry in the student design competition.

 

Accidents happen: What was your biggest mistake during a project what did you do to redeem the situation?

Any accident with the array hardware would have been really expensive so I planned each design step in detail to avoid mistakes. One of my tasks was to find a robust arrangement of the 64 array microphones to achieve high-quality sound field decomposition. Although I simulated the obtained sensor distribution in advance using true to scale microphone models I worried about the practicability of the prototype, as the space was critically limited. Fortunately, everything worked fine in the end and I succeeded in assembling the spherical segment with the array microphones. 

 

What’s your advice for software or hardware designers who are just starting out?

Simulations are essential and should be as accurate as possible to avoid time-consuming and/or expensive repetitions of design steps – nonetheless, always be prepared for surprises in practice! 

 

What do you like about the AES?

The idea of networking at conventions in combination with a scientific forum (journals, papers) helps not only to meet and talk to specialists of different audio fields but also to improve my knowledge. 

 

Tell us about your favourite experiences at the 134th AES Convention in Rome!

I was pleased to be one of the finalists at the student design competition. The tabletop exhibition was a lot of fun but also a challenging task as there were plenty of expert questions to be answered. Aside from the convention, I was really impressed by Rome!

 

What are you up to when you’re not doing anything related to audio?

There is a long list of hobbies which have to fit in a small window of spare time. For example, I like doing sports like tennis, cycling, hiking, ski touring or sailing, just to name a few.

 

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 

That is a tough question! I probably pursue doing research either at university or in the R&D department of a not too big company.


Posted: Monday, August 25, 2014

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AES 134 - Meet the Winners #8: Josef Schauer

Meet Josef Schauer from Graz, Austria, who received a Silver Award in the Student Design Competition.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Where are you from? What do you study? How did you discover your passion for audio?

I grew up in a small village in the south of Austria. At the age of 20 I started studying Electronics-Information Technologies at the TU Graz

In April 2013 I finished my master's thesis, which is also my submission for the AES Student Design Competition. Last autumn I started my next university degree in Electronics – Audio Engineering.

Ever since I was a child I loved fixing technical problems, and over the years music started to fascinate me more and more. I remember soldering two 3.5mm jack cables in parallel two “mix” the output signals of two portable CD-players... What a mess!

Since 2006 I have been working as a freelancer in event techniques with many different companies in different places, and in sound engineering.

Recently, I have spent two years working with a HI-FI company in Graz.

Since May last year I have been working for the independent radio station ‘Radio Helsinki’ in Graz as a technician. I also take care of the technical equipment at the Institute for Electronic Music at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz for 5 hours a week.

 

Are you a musician yourself? Which instruments do you play and in what context?

I would not call myself a musician, but currently I play guitar and piano. It is very important to me to make music from time to time and I enjoy it a lot - especially with other musicians. I also played the clarinet before I turned 16.

 

Tell us about your project. What is it? What is the story behind it?

‘The Networked Power Flower Bell’ is an energy-harvesting system that produces sound. It is supposed to be implemented in sound-installations.

Actually, the idea of the artist Winfried Ritsch was to build robotic flowers, which are driven by dirt-batteries. A dirt battery is a galvanic cell made out of a piece of copper and a piece of zinc, dug into the soil. 

This particular topic was one of a few he presented to me. From the first moment, I was fascinated by the idea of energy harvesting, as I have been interested in efficient energy usage for a long time.

Hence I started carrying out experiments with these “batteries” and explored possibilities of harvesting their low energy-output into a super-capacitor so they could be used when fully charged to produce sound from time to time, for example. Controlled by a micro-controller the Power Flower Bells can communicate using Sub-GHz radio frequency technology. Unfortunately our prototype currently merely produces sound; networking is discussed in the theoretical part of my diploma-thesis only.

Over the course of numerous discussions Ritsch, Lothar Fickert (a Professor at the Institute of Electrical Power Systems at the Technical University in Graz and my master's thesis supervisor) and I redefined the design. This was necessary, as this was quite a novel field of work for the three of us.

I also went on a student exchange for four months in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, working on my diploma thesis creating the first prototype. This was a very important period of time for me because it gave me the opportunity to work on the project very consistently.

All in all, the project took more than a year from start to finish. 

 

Accidents happen: What was your biggest mistake during a project what did you do to redeem the situation?

While I was testing and debugging a prototype for a hi-fi system I had a short circuit through the ground of my notebook and the amplifier. 

The non-insulated connectors for the speakers made a connection with the frame of the housing.  Connecting the power plug to the mains resulted in a big “Boom!”. My notebook “turned off” (it never turned on again...) and the amp was kind of well done. All this happened at 2 o'clock in the morning the day before we should present the prototype, so my colleague started looking for another amplifier and I didn’t have a notebook anymore. 

I learned a lot during that night...

 

What’s your advice for software or hardware designers who are just starting out?

I think the most important advice for all of us, but in particular for engineers, is, that we should carefully consider the consequences of our behaviour for our environment – nature, humans and all involved systems. Currently most decisions are made for economic reasons, and in my opinion that will not get us too far.

 

What do you like about the AES? How does it help you to become a better and more successful designer and audio engineer? 

It was my first Convention and I enjoyed meeting people who are interested in the same things. I also enjoyed learning about new developments and research results. Of course it is important for me as an engineer to know about what is going on and who to ask for what...

 

Tell us about your favourite experiences at the 134th AES Convention in Rome!

It really was a pleasure to me to present my project to the crowd.  

 

What are you up to when you’re not doing anything related to audio?

I like doing useful things like harvesting fruits and preparing delicious meals. I have to walk my dog every day, which often results in meeting people to have a drink with – which is something else I enjoy. 

I love surfing, skateboarding and snowboarding when I’m at a suitable place.

 

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 

I don't know where and how but I really want to stay in the field of audio.

Working with creative people is a pleasure for me and I enjoy making people happy by the means of sound. It seems that I can make a living doing this. That's enough.

 

Please provide us with some closing comments.  

I am really wondering where the audio industry is headed. I hope there will be lots of creative and innovative developments that help us to reduce pollution and the exploitation of our planet while still increasing sound quality.

Thank you Carmen for supporting me and my ideas! 

And a lot of thanks to my parents who let and helped me to do what I wanted to do.

Thank you for this interview.

 


Posted: Thursday, August 21, 2014

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AES 136 - Meet the Winners #7: Marius Heuser

Meet Marius Heuser from Frankfurt am Main, Germany, who received a Silver Award in Category 1 of the Student Recording Competition.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Where are you from? What do you study? How did you discover your passion for audio?

My Name is Marius Heuser, I am from Frankfurt am Main, Germany. 

I have been making music since I was little and so the idea of studying something music related seemed like a good option for me. However, I didn’t really feel fulfilled with my main instrument, the guitar, to make it my profession. Only when I read about the Tonmeister program, I immediately thought that this was perfect for me, although my only experience in audio at the time consisted of toying around with the PA and guitar amplifiers of the band that I played in. Now that I am about to graduate, I can say that I am very happy about my choice. It has been a great time and I feel that I have learned a lot.

Last year I spent two semesters studying at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia, which is a great place to study audio engineering as well.

 

Are you a musician yourself? What instruments do you play and in what musical context?

I studied classical guitar and piano as part of the Tonmeister program. I have also been taking private rudimental drumming lessons for a few years and have played drumset and electric guitar in various rock bands. Last year I started playing the trumpet and joined an amateur brass band.

 

Tell us about the production of your submission. What is the story behind it? What was it inspired by? How long did you work on it? Was it your first entry? 

The recording I submitted was made as part of a collaboration project between our program and Baltic Youth Philharmonic. A few colleagues and I had the opportunity to work with the orchestra and its conductor Kristjan Järvi at the Danish Radio Concert Hall in Copenhagen for four days. The first two days were only for rehearsals, which gave us plenty of time to work on the sound and practice live mixing. On day three, we did a live broadcast of the orchestra's concert for Danish Radio.

The submitted recording was done on the last day of our stay in Copenhagen, when three of us students were given the opportunity to record a piece by Wilhelm Stenhammar. For me it was the first recording session with a big orchestra and of course I was very excited.

I had made several mixes before the one I turned in for the AES competition. I edited in Pyramix and mixed in Protools using a lot of phase linear EQ-ing and volume automation. It was my first entry in an AES Convention.

 

What was your most significant/funny/inspiring experience as an audio engineer? 

Listening to music and enjoying it has always been my greatest inspiration and motivation.        

 

Accidents happen: What was your biggest mistake in a production and what did you do to redeem the situation?

I once accidentally recorded a session on a computer's system drive that had Steadystate on it, a program that resets the system drive to a steady, predefined state (hence the name) each time the computer restarts. So when I restarted the computer afterwards, all the recorded data was gone. After some failed attempts at retrieving the lost files, I begged the musicians to forgive me and we repeated the whole recording session.

 

What's your advice for engineers who are just starting out?

Don't panic!

 

Tech talk: What are your favourite pieces of equipment, and why?

Time adjustment/delay and phase alignment tools. Sometimes it makes such a huge difference to get all the different tracks in a recording time- and phase aligned.

 

Can you name one or multiple of your favorite recordings or productions and tell us why you like them/what you like about them?

I recently discovered how good the production on the last double album of Five Finger Death Punch is, from the drum to vocal effects an amazing metal sound, even though I don't like the style of music at all. To me, it's a bit like the Transformers movies, which have some of the most impressive sound design and visual effects but the most ridiculous, silly plots. The fact that a lot of the Pop/Rock music I like is not particularly well recorded and mixed, and that some of the better sounding albums I like have been made by the musicians themselves, sometimes makes me question our profession.

 

What do you like about the AES? How does it help you to become a better and more successful audio engineer? 

AES Conventions are a great opportunity to get to know other students and established engineers. Also, it's the best place to keep up with the latest developments.

 

Tell us about your favourite experiences at the 136th AES Convention in Berlin!

Hanging out with the students from Paris. Of course, the convention itself has a lot of cool activities but the best part is always meeting students from elsewhere.

 

What is your favourite frequency?

Once a day. Works wonders in any mix.

 

What do you do when you’re not in the studio or doing anything music related?

I play football and read.

 

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 

I don't even know what I will be doing this October after my graduation... By the way, if anyone who reads this has a job or a paid internship in music production, film mixing or sound design for me, please contact me!

 

Once again, the SDA congratulates you to your excellent achievement. Any closing comments?

Thanks a lot to the SDA for their work, organising this competition and all the other events.

 

If you want to get in touch with Marius, send him en email. Also, make sure to check out his band's website. 


Posted: Tuesday, August 12, 2014

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