Education & Career

AES Student Blog

 

Student Design Competition winner interview - Charles Holbrow

Student Design Competition winner interview - Charles Holbrow
    1) Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from and what do you study?
 
 
I am a PhD. Candidate at the MIT Media Lab, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA (right next to Boston). My dissertation focuses on the affordances of the internet for music and media. If we build internet technology in service of music, instead of in service of the major internet platforms, what can we do differently, and how can media content evolve? If Sgt. Pepper's illustrates what sound recording technology did for music, what can internet technology do for music? I love to build technology that extends and complements human musicianship and composition, and have been doing this professionally and as a graduate student for the past decade. 
 
    2) What initiated your passion for audio? When did it start? 
 
 
When I was a teenager, I loved playing music! But I also loved writing code, and have been building technology since I was very young. 
 
    3) Tell us about production of your submission? What is the story behind it? How long did you work on it? Was it your first entry? What kind of problem can it solve or improve?
 
 
A friend of mine who is a composer told me that she had been trying to compose polytempic music, but the limitations of her DAW (and all DAWs really) made it impossible to do with precision. I became fascinated with trying to understand how multiple simultaneous tempos could accelerate and decelerate relative to each other, and synchronize at carefully composed times. I asked everyone I knew how this could be done, and no would could figure it out. The problem turned out to be very difficult to explain, so along the way I learned a lot about communicating the idea. Finally with some help from my grandfather, who is a professor of physics, we figured out a solution using integral calculus.
 
I simplified the equations, and arrived at what I think is a very elegant solution. Several years later, I wrote a software interface for composing with many simultaneous tempos. It is quite a strange idea, and it was mostly completed in little bits of spare time over the last years. I think we first started working on it around 2015. 
 
In preparation for the convention I did a literature review of other polytempic music projects. It turns out I am not the first person to use integrals to calculate tempo curves. I think my solution is the most elegant, but I'll leave that to your judgement! I believe I am the first person to really use fully constrained polytempic swarms, and make an interface for composing with them. Nancarrow and Xenakis had similar ideas, but didn't solve the tempo equation. Read the full project description if you are curious about the history.
 
    4) Did you considered commercializing your project? Are there any business or product possibilities?
 
 
I am not interested in commercializing this project. I am proud of it, but it is loosely related to my longer term interests and research goals. The idea is unusual and experimental enough that I do not think commercializing it is the right move at the moment. However, I do think that the underlying mathematics are useful for some other audio applications that could have commercial value. In the meantime, I'd be happy to share the software with anyone who is interested in composing with swarms of polytempos - know that in its current form, the interface is not ready for casual users.
 
 
    5) Do you know or consider any future steps? Will it be linked with the project you’ve presented?
 
 
Next steps: survive the PhD process. While I don't think commercializing this project is the right move, I love building technology for artists and musicians, and I'm looking for the right way to continue this work after graduation in 2020. Please reach out if you think it might be fun and productive to work together!
 
 
    6) Tell us about your favourite experiences at the 146th AES convention in Dublin!
 
 

My favorite part was meeting other Students! I was the only current student from MIT,  but I did meet an alum from the Media Lab, and lots of other current students and of course the SDA officers. I loved how international the conference was. With so much political turmoil in the world it felt great to be surrounded by others who just want to geek out about audio together. I left the conference with new friends, and excited for the next one.  

See Charles's project description


Posted: Thursday, May 9, 2019

| Permalink

 

AES 145 Student Recording Competition Interview

 1) Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from and what do you study?


My name is Peiqi "Peggy" Duan and I’m from Shanghai, China. I got my BFA degree in Film Sound Effects at Beijing Film Academy and just got my MFA degree in Film Sound Design at Chapman University this summer.


2) What initiated your passion for audio? When did it start?

I started learning vocal performance, violin performance and theater performance when I was 6 years old. Doing something about the art of sound and story was always my dream during my student period. According to my high school studies, I realized that I was good at mathematics and computer sciences, which made me decide to apply for a major that could combine the art with computer sciences - Film Sound Effects.
Beijing film academy is the best film school in China. I left my hometown and studied in Beijing for 4 years. Finally I decided to widen my horizons and pursue my MFA degree in Hollywood, the center of the U.S. film industry.


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

This was my first entry. It was from my thesis film "Thicker than Water". I did all the sound works except composing. We shot the film for 11 days in October, 2017, and I did the post sound mixing from March to May, 2018. The story happens at Anna, Illinois, in 1890s. A crippled white boy Jacob develops a friendship with a mysterious white-looking newcomer Silas, and his racist worldview is threatened when he discovers that Silas is really black.
In this story, there are some important parts which need a lot of sound design, such as river, Yemaya (river god), bells and death whistle.
Director wanted a sound for Yemaya. Silas defined Yemaya as the mother of water. And, our composer had already created a main theme melody before our shooting. So, I decided to use a woman vocal as Yemaya’s sound. The woman vocal hums the melody when she is summoned. Actually I was the voice actress for Yemaya and the singer of credits music.
“When someone dies on the tree, a bell gets hung from the branch.” Bells were always connected with water and Yemaya. To get clear and accurate bells’ sound, I borrowed the bells in different sizes from PD department and recorded many different bells sound during my foley session.
Silas’s death whistle in the film was a Chinese traditional ocarina actually. I found there was a real death whistle in the world. It sounds like thousands of people screaming. That was exactly what I wanted, so I bought one online! However, I thought the sound would be too simple for the death whistle in this story. To make the sound richer, I also added the sound of ocarina, one high pitch sound and one mid pitch sound.



4) What/who made you join AES?

I learnt about AES when I was in China. My professors were international members of AES. Last year, I got a chance to be an AES student volunteer at NAMM show in Anaheim, CA. I had a wonderful experience there, and finally decided to join AES.


5) Tell us about your favorite experiences at the 145th AES convention in New York!

Absolutely the multiple audio conferences. As a film audio student, the knowledge of audio tech stuffs were very invaluable for me. In addition, I made some friends during this wonderful event, and extended my social network to the world. And of course, the feeling of getting the prize of the Student Recording Competition was unforgettable forever.


Posted: Saturday, March 23, 2019

| Permalink

 

AES146 SDA Officer Elections

AES146 SDA Officer Elections

 Dear all AES Student Members!

On every convention AES SDA is electing new SDA Officer as their representative in AES structures. For upcoming 146th Convention in Dublin we have three Candidates:

- Shelley Ann McCarthy Buckingham

- Kamila PietrusiƄska

- Krzysztof Kicior

Candidates will be introduced on SDA-1 meeting and have short speech on SDA-2, where the election will take part. Please, see more at www.aes.org/students/sda/sda-elections.cfm where you can find candidates bio as well.


Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2019

| Permalink

 

AES 145 Student Recording Competition Interview

 1) Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from and what do you study?

Hi, my name is Hugo Véjar, I´m from Quito, Ecuador. My journey in the
audio field started in Argentina, where I studied an Audio Technology
Program focused in Recording. Two years ago, I joined Universidad San
Francisco de Quito where I´m studying a Major in Music Production and
Engineering in the BIN Program (Berklee International Network).
 
2) What initiated your passion for audio? When did it start?
 
Music has been the motor always for me. From the beginning I played in
punk and rock bands, becoming later the producer and recording
engineer of my own projects.
 
3) Tell us about production of your submission? What is the story behind it? What inspired it?
How long did you work on it? Was it your first entry?
 
Well, being in a music faculty for the first time in my life, has given me
the opportunity to produce, record and mix a lot of projects with a really
good level musically speaking. Last semester I met Darci Aguirre, my
jazz arrangement teacher. She just started her own music project called
Pocket Band and invited me to work with them as a live sound engineer
for their shows. When I heard about the AES NY Recording Competition,
I knew I had to present one of their songs. So, I told Darci about it and
she started to work on the final arrangement for the Cuban Bolero called
“Como fue”, the song I picked from their repertoire. In terms of production
for this song, the times were really fast. I tracked the ensemble in one of
the University auditoriums in no more than 4 hours, between the
equipment setup and the performance. I consider myself as a very active
AES student member, this was my third entry. Last year I went to AES
Colombia Convention achieving the first place in Traditional Recording
Category.
 
4) What/who made you join AES?
 
At the time I was studying in Argentina, one of my teachers, Carlos Indio
Gauvron, told us about AES and its importance in the professional audio
industry. I’ll always be grateful of having the opportunity to experience
the AES Conferences in Buenos Aires when I was just 19 years old.
They made a big impact on me, showing me the South American audio
industry on its highest level. 2018 saw the birth of the first official AES
Ecuador section, a critical point for our industry.
 
5) Tell us about your favorite experiences at the 145th AES convention in NY!
 
This time I couldn’t fly to NY because of Visa issues. But one of my
colleagues, Eduardo Becerra, who is part of our student section
committee (AES USFQ) represented my work for the jury and obviously
had a great time in the convention participating in all the conferences and
AES activities.

 


Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2019

| Permalink

 

AES 145 Student Recording Competition Interview

 1) Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from and what do you study?

My name is Fryderyk Hoang Dong. I am a graduate of Master's Programme in Sound Engineering in Frederic Chopin University of Music. Right now I relocated to Boston, MA and am pursuing further my education at Berklee College of Music.

2) What initiated your passion for audio? When did it start?

I started out as a musician first. I was always drawn into finding something more and at some point decided on studying the technical side of producing records. I was determined to learn how to work as an engineer and at the same time my passion for sound design started developping.

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

It was the second time I submitted my work for the competition. a year before I received Golden award for the work entitled "Tiny Tortures". This year I sent a video directed and animated by Tony Comley. Personally I really like pandas very much, so I knew right away that I am going to have a lot of fun composing and sound designing for that.

4) What/who made you join AES?

I have always known about AES as it's a great community to be in. You get to meet a lot of professionals and the conventions are really great in terms of networking and getting to know people who work in the industry,

5) Tell us about your favorite experiences at the 145th AES convention in New York!

I actually really enjoyed watching and listening the student competition panel. It is on such a high level every year. Not only you get to see great work done by students all over the world but you also hear very constructive opinion by highly respected people from the industry field.

 

 


Posted: Monday, January 14, 2019

| Permalink

 

AES 145 Student Recording Competition Interview

 1) Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from and what do you study?

I'm originally from Atlanta, Georgia and now i am studying Audio Engineering Technology at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.

2) What initiated your passion for audio? When did it start?

I feel like it started for me like it started with most people. I started listening to good music. Originally I was actually a video guy until I started listening to some old classic rock records. After that I convinced my school's video teacher to buy some sound equipment and I started recording people at my high school. I've been working with audio ever since.

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

This was actually a project for one of the upper level audio classes at Belmont. Myself and my friend/co-engineer, Cameron Row, wanted to do a laid back song, so we both got to researching through spotify playlists. I eventually found "Bad Bad News" by Leon Bridges and knew that had to be the track. I started calling up musicians in the Belmont music program and got a really solid set of players. We were fortunate enough to track in Oceanway Nashville which has one of the nicest rooms imaginable. (That's why you'll find most of the drum mix is the room mics). Everyone that played had a really upbeat and fun vibe so we played the song a half step up and added some pretty interesting parts. We played a Fender Rhodes through a Leslie cabinet to close out the song and added little Moog synthesizer riffs throughout it. The results ended out being a really nice and vibey yet still energetic song. Once it was all tracked I handed the stems to Cameron Row to mix it. I gave him some minor production notes, and he finished it up nicely.

4) What/who made you join AES?

All of Belmont's professors highly encourage you to join AES. What finally pushed me to join was the student recording competition! Cameron Row mentioned it to me and suggested we submit "Bad Bad News". Once Belmont approved the song to go to New York, we both joined right up. One of the best choices I've made as an engineer so far. I cant wait to attend more conventions in the oncoming years!

5) Tell us about your favorite experiences at the 145th AES convention in New York!

I found all the panels incredibly interesting. I was worried it would be a whole bunch of old guys debating what your LUFS meter should read before you send your mix off to mastering, but it was all very entertaining and very educational stuff. Anything I felt I was missing from Belmont, I could learn about it at AES.


Posted: Saturday, January 12, 2019

| Permalink

 

AES 145 | Thank You Sponsors! Solid State Logic

AES 145 | Thank You Sponsors! Solid State Logic

 From groundbreaking audio consoles to innovative video production systems, Solid State Logic has evolved to become the world’s leading manufacturer of analogue and digital audio consoles and provider of creative tools for film, audio, video and broadcast professionals. In conditions where sonic purity cannot be compromised against the inevitable demands of high workloads, and where dauntingly inflexible deadlines are accepted as the norm, SSL equipment is synonymous with reliability and excellence.


Posted: Sunday, December 30, 2018

| Permalink

 

AES 145 | Thank You Sponsors! Black Saloon Studios

AES 145 | Thank You Sponsors! Black Saloon Studios

Black Saloon Studios is Mandy Parnell's mastering studio in London, England. She studied music and music technology through her school, college and university years, training and working in recording studios until landing an internship at a mastering studio.Mandy worked her way up through the ranks, eventually becoming a world renowned mastering engineer in her own right. She finally decided to launch her own facility, Black Saloon Studios. She has been nominated and won numerous awards, Grammy, Tech Awards, MPG and various others. She is also an active member of the AES, Grammys, APRS and MPG, and lectures on mastering and the music industry across the globe.

 

 


Posted: Saturday, December 29, 2018

| Permalink

 

AES145 Student Design Competition Interview: Adam Szwajcowski

 1) Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from and what do you study?

I'm from Gorlice, a small town in southern Poland, currently pursuing a MSc degree in Acoustic Engineering at AGH UST in Cracow.


2) What initiated your passion for audio? When did it start?

 

I've been always very interested in physics of musical insturments and sound in general. This passion lead me to study acoustics, which quickly got me into audio after realising how powerfull of a tool digital signal processing can be.


3) Tell us about production of your submission? What is the story behind it? How long did you work on it? Was it your first entry? What kind of problem can it solve or improve?

 

Provious to the drum project, I was working for quite a long time on sound of a glass (like in glass harmonica, glass harp or even regular wineglass), which can provide either harmonic or non-harmonic sound, depending whether it is rubbed or struck. This duality inspired me to look for other interesting instruments that could have its spectrum easily modified, and that's how I started my adventure with drums.

I started the project in January 2018 and after 3 months presented the first version on domestic student conference OSKA with quite a success. This motivied me to continue the work and prepare better algorithm, which ultimately produced much better results, that were eventually presented at AES NY in October. While the drum of my design won't probably change the world in any significant way, I do believe, that it could be utilized in many genres of music and be of a great value to drummers and composers who like unconventional sounds.

 

4) Have you considered commercializing your project? Are there any business or product possibilities?

 

 

I thought that it would be nice, if my simulations turned into real insturment, but didn't put that much attention to it. However, at AES I won an Interfacio Award, that aims to help me commercialize the project, so hopefully this will come true.
 

5) Do you know or consider any future steps? Will it be linked with the project you’ve presented?

 

While the harmonic drum is an interesting concept, I don't want to limit myself to just this project and I look forward to new challenges. Not sure what exactly it will be, but there are still many things to do, so I'm sure I'll pick up something interesting soon.


6) Tell us about your favourite experiences at the 145th AES convention in New York!

 

The poster sessions were great, both as a presenter and as a listener. Interest of the visitors and their willingness to discuss various topics with authors, either by asking for some details or giving ideas for further development, really exceeded my expectations and overall made a great atmosphere of a place.


Posted: Wednesday, December 5, 2018

| Permalink

 

AES145 Student Design Competition Interview: Kamil Piotrowski

 

 1) Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from and what do you study?

I am from Poland and my hometown is Bydgoszcz but currently I live in Cracow. I moved out to study Acoustic Engineering - the field of studies that in Poland is only at AGH University of Science and Technology. To be honest, I didn't know exactly what the field is related to but after some time I find it out and I got keen on acoustics. In the present, I am involved in a number of projects, bigger and smaller, and I really like it.


3) Tell us about production of your submission? What is the story behind it? How long did you work on it? Was it your first entry? What kind of problem can it solve or improve?

I have made an application on FDTD simulation. The acronym stands for "finite-difference time-domain" and it's related to the simulation method I used. It enables watching computation results in real-time what isn't common in many methods. Also, it's relatively fast and, what I proved in my research, accurate enough to analyze audio problems. It's much improved version of my diploma thesis program and I presented it at the 145th AES Convention about year after my first lines of code were written. First serious software, first international conference and first big award of my own - the triple!

 

4) Did you considered commercializing your project? Are there any business or product possibilities?

Of course I did! Maybe, in the plethora of own-made simulation programs, my proposition can be unnoticeable yet but I know very well that with a little support from someone I can turn my application into a useful reliable acoustic tool. I have many ideas. I have even started improving the software but there is a long way ahead of me. It would be a lot better, if my colleague Adam didn't take the Interfacio Award!

 

5) Do you know or consider any future steps? Will it be linked with the project you’ve presented?

 

Many things happen around me in last few weeks. Firstly, I have to take care of some duties connected with the studies and other conferences but in fact nothing with the project. Thinking of next Saul Walker Student Design Competition in Dublin!


 

6) Tell us about your favourite experiences at the 145th AES convention in New York!

 

All my trip here was a one big adventure! Primarily, the 145th AES Convention brougth me experiences of meeting wonderful people. The networking was very good and it surprised me the most. And of course I won't forget the sweet taste of success.

 


Posted: Tuesday, December 4, 2018

| Permalink

 

RSS News Feed

 

AES - Audio Engineering Society