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Postcard from Windermere

Article from Sound On Sound, February 1987

Music technology consultant Martin Russ reports on the recent Conference On Reproduced Sound held by the Institute of Acoustics.

Martin Russ reports on the recent Institute of Acoustics 'Conference on Reproduced Sound'.

Dear Sound On Sound,

Having a lovely time here in Windermere - this is the second year that the Institute of Acoustics have held a Conference on Reproduced Sound here in November and a wide range of topics are to be covered in the next three days...

Arrived late on Thursday 6th November and checked into the Conference Hotel - the Hydro Hotel - a very nice 2-3 star-ish residence overlooking Lake Windermere. Retired to room: colour TV (Border, North West), bathroom with shower, etc.

Friday 7th November:

Standard Hotel breakfast, followed by the first session on the subject of Speech Reinforcement. Papers were presented on Boardroom and Conference Systems, Churches and Cathedrals, Reverberation and Acoustic Enhancement. After a short break for coffee around 10.30am we continued with an interesting session on some theoretical aspects of Microphones, followed by papers on Linear Phase Crossover Design from a representative of Kemo Ltd, and Celestion's work on Monopole Computer Models of Loudspeakers in Rooms.

A buffet-style lunch (the food was very good, varied and well presented for all three days) prepared us for the afternoon session. BT Heald from Bruel and Kjaer, gave an interesting presentation on the measurement of sound levels inside moving cars. Robin Maconie, the composer, then gave a fascinating insight into the history of Electronic Music with lots of tape examples from Trautonium to Stockhausen and beyond, with an extract of the Forbidden Planet soundtrack as well! RG Payne of the Physics Department at University College, Cardiff then presented a paper and some results of his work on using a computer to resynthesize real sounds using FM on a DX7 - good solid technical stuff with a useful end application!

Papers followed on the Amplitude Density of Music on CDs, and another fascinating paper ably given by James Angus from the Electronics Department at York University, on a Novel FM Stereo Demodulator. Two members of a team from the Music Department of the University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne then presented the results of their work to produce a computer-controlled VCA based mixing desk at low cost- shades of the new Yamaha DMP7 digital mixer announced at the Los Angeles AES here! This low cost unit was on demonstration and was effective and versatile to use.

After Tea, a session followed on Noise and Noise Control, with papers from Cirrus Research; an entertaining review of Noise Pollution and Control at the Knebworth Rock Festivals - from the beginning to Queen; Ken Dibble voicing his concern over the implications of the new Code of Practice for sound levels in discotheques; and finally a charming presentation of work carried out by the Research Department of the BBC, on traffic noise levels in the planned new studio at Television Centre.

Saturday 8th November:

The second session of the Electronics and Sound section of the Conference began with a paper on a Computer-based Editor for the DX7 using Artificial Intelligence Techniques, given by Martin Russ (me, I'm afraid!), followed by a fascinating paper on behalf of the Desktop Composer's Project of Yorkshire, extolling the virtues of the Atari ST computer (I was so impressed I have bought one...) and their very impressive work with it.

Lawrence Casserley from the Royal College of Music then continued on from his presentation last year on a Digital Signal Processor, by presenting some real applications. Trevor Wishart of the Desktop Composer's Project then amazed us all with some tape examples of his work at IRCAM, Paris, involving a Phase Vocoder used to transform speech into other real sounds and back again!

After coffee, we listened to the Tyndall Medal Lecture on Acoustic Consultancy, by JG Charles - a remarkable tour of the world of both acoustics and travel. The work of the National Sound Archive was then presented in both sounds and words by L Stickells, including the interesting information that the NSA uses the Sony F1 PCM format for its standard sound storage medium.

After lunch, we were let out for the afternoon and spent a few hours wandering around Bowness and Windermere. In the evening, the Conference Banquet included presentations, speeches, wining and dining, and an opportunity to mull over the day's proceedings.

Sunday 9th November:

Sunday morning started with a session on Instrumentation and Measurement, with papers on Interfacing Instruments to Computers (and co-operation between two companies); Studio Sound Insulation by BBC Research; Instantaneous Amplitude Densities of Audio Signals; and using DSP Techniques for Acoustically Triggered Alarm Systems.

After coffee, Ken Dibble and Peter Mapp led a discussion on Sound in Difficult Environments. After lunch, the final session was on the subject of Studio Acoustics.

Papers were presented on designing and constructing Post-Production Studios, Measuring Sound Intensity in Studios, Field Measurement of Sound Insulation (BBC Research again), the Applications of the Reflection-Free Zone, and Improving the Low Frequency Performance of Control Rooms - given by top studio designer Andy Munro.


A fascinating three days. Plenty on a wide range of subjects for anyone interested in sound. For further details of the activities of the Institute of Acoustics, or copies of the papers presented, please contact them at (Contact Details)

Have fun, see you soon! Martin.

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Electronic Music Studio

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State of the art

Publisher: Sound On Sound - SOS Publications Ltd.
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Sound On Sound - Feb 1987

Show Report by Martin Russ

Previous article in this issue:

> Electronic Music Studio

Next article in this issue:

> State of the art

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