02009-06-12 | Photos | 21 comments

This post is entirely too long… you might want to make a fresh cup of coffee or tea to get through the whole thing. :-)

Got up early yesterday and made my way to the Santa Fe Canyon Preserve to record some critters on the lake.

Unfortunately, although across the lake, two runners were conversing loudly and I had to stop recording – it’s amazing how well sound carries in the thin air at altitude! A little while later a frontloader was started up in the distance and I gave up. I did find a little protected corner, where I was able to record the river.

I took a few photographs and then I returned home.

A little while later I rode the Mariachi Bullitt to Counter Culture for breakfast. Among other things Jon and I talked about recording, how many bits make a byte, 88.2 versus 96kHz and so on.
Wolfram|Alpha search engine is great for that sort of thing!

24bits x 96kHz = 2.304 megabits/second = 0.288 megabytes/second
0.288MB/second x 2 (stereo) = 0.576MB/second
0.576MB/second x 60 = 34.56MB/minute
34.56MB/minute x 60 = 2,073MB/hour

for 24/88.2 that means:
952.6 MB/hr (MB/hour) x 2 = 1,905.2 MB/hour

which is just about three times the information that we record for CDs:
16bits x 44.1kHz = 0.705 megabits/second = 0.0882 MB/second
317.5MB/hour x 2 (stereo) = 635MB/hour

Incidentally, I think LPs used to be about 15 minutes per side… that means a regular CD should be able to hold about 20-25 minutes of music at 24/88.2. And, if one were to use FLAC or Apple Lossless compression, one should be able to fit about 40-50 minutes of high quality music on a regular CD!!! Forget surround sound, the next step is to build quality D/A converters right into computers. Forget about CD players, use the CD only as a delivery system (((and backup))).

Here is some news from the always interesting Trent Raznor – I posted this in the Diary this morning and am including it here in case you want to comment:

Trent Reznor on social networking: I’m out | Technically Incorrect – CNET News
“I will be tuning out of the social networking sites because at the end of the day it’s now doing more harm than good in the bigger picture and the experiment seems to have yielded a result. Idiots rule,” he said.

Reznor is very forthright about the kind of idiots he has in mind. For him, they have ruined the beauty of eschewing record companies in favor of direct contact with real people out there.

Sounds like this saying: I love humanity, it’s people I can’t stand…
Raznor has done better than most in dealing with his fans, but one could argue that artists who can make direct contact – instead of working through a large record company are a minority. Being a creative artist and communicating with people are two entrirely different lines of development.

In the NIN forum Raznor also wrote:

Online communities, etc.
I had thought a while ago about attempting to start a mainstream public forum that required real verification of it’s participants for purposes of context. The idea was to have a place where you can actually discuss whatever and have some idea of who you’re conversing with.

Hm, kinda like Ottmar-Friends

Of course The Well has been doing this for a long long time:

The WELL – Join Us
You know who you’re talking with: As a WELL member, you use your real name. This leads to real conversations and relationships. It’s the individual people here who determine the experience and create the community. This highly collaborative work in progress has been rolling since 1985.

Have you asked yourself how one should transport a goat on a bicycle? Here is your answer.

Other bike news. Bullitt Karaoke! – Bullitt Karaoke im Berlin
So there’s this guy in Berlin. He has a Bullitt cargo bike from Larry vs Harry. He equipped it with speakers, a karaoke system with microphone and a laptop. He started showing up in Mauerpark in Berlin and got some people to sing. It’s now become a cult classic in the city. On nice days you’ll get 1000 people sitting there in the amphitheatre, staring down at the Bullitt and listening to crap karaoke.

Unfortunately the Karaoke Bullitt and the Drinks Bullitt are not in the same city!! – Probably the Most Sensible Use of a Cargo Bike in History
You, like 95% of the nation, are equipped with a mobile phone. You write an SMS that reads:
2x1L.Frozen Mojito
You send the text to a number.
At an arranged time this Bullitt from Larry vs. Harry shows up at the corner entrance to the King’s Gardens. You collect your two litres of Frozen Mojitos and your 2 litres of Daiquiris, pay the man with your credit card and head back to your friends

2009 Euro Messenger Championships: – The Copenhagen Bike Culture Blog: The 14th European Cycle Messenger Championships
My mate Hans from Larry vs Harry was present and he competed in the cargo bike category. From what he tells me, the course was 2 and half hours long and involved many checkpoints and package deliveries.

The cargo bike category was won by a Dane, Nils Jakob „Kvante“ Mørkbak on a Belingy. (((does he mean Bilenky?))) In the top 5 there were four Bullitts from Larry vs Harry. Andreas, from Stockholm, who finished 5th was riding a Bullitt fixie. He’s mad. Hans came in 7th, by the way.

I love the programme wherein you can read this text in the intro:

“Non-messengers are as always tolerated at this event, although leave the excessive posing to the professionals, thanks”.


  1. Brenda

    Love the critter conversation and the river sounds like it is moving pretty fast or going over rocks or possibly running over some falls. Thanks for sharing all creative expressions!

  2. yumi

    I wonder if they were singing:
    Bullitt Karaoke (like, “cara” in “cara mia” with an, “okay” at the end, which is the correct pronunciation), or Bullitt “Carry”-oke (the smashed up westernized pronunciation)?

    Sake and a Bullitt, I can imagine.

    Now, to listen to the sounds on the water.

  3. Carmen Ortiz

    Thank you for sharing this. Hearing the sounds of moving water is soothing.

  4. yumi

    From the very beginning the bird calls are wonderful with distant calls and answers. Such distinct conversations going on.

  5. Brenda

    Fishing good there? Is is stocked? If so, Fish on the bank? Boat? Looks like a place that has been logged with all those dead trees. Usually the fishing is good in a brush pile on the river.

  6. dave

    You wouldn’t need to carry the goat on your back with the Bullitt. ;-)

    Y, like they way westerners pronounce karate “karahtee” as opposed to “karatay”?:-)

  7. Ottmar

    Brenda: Fishing – No, I am happy to tell you it’s a preserve. Logging – No, check out the teeth-marks on the trees! It’s a beaver pond. The other part of the lake, where I recorded the birds might have fish, but there are no fishermen and no trucks and beer coolers… :-)

  8. LindaW

    Ottmar, you captured the birds wonderfully! It was this peaceful last Saturday when I was there; just nature and 3 wanderers. The only outside noise was 3 shutters clicking furiously!

    I remember well the little sign that states no use for other than looking in reference to the lake (probably committed it to memory as I walked past it).

    Santa Fe Canyon Preserve is my new favorite getaway…

  9. Brenda

    Beaver pond – Filled with critters that build community. Yes, those little fellows have wonderful attitudes because they work together. I noticed from the photo that water appeared clean so I just knew that there was a few fish habitating there. Love preservation!!!

  10. Victor Hornback

    Amazing sounds! Curious what rate your portable recorder samples at.

    “Being a creative artist and communicating with people are two entrirely different lines of development.”

    So, I’m curious about why have a direct communication with the peeps? I mean, creative art isn’t like say community supported agriculture… or could it be? Certainly artists are subjected to extremes of the public’s behavior – being smothered with affection or viciously attacked.

    Anyway, I do think that transparency in who you’re communicating with definitely cuts down on the “idiots rule” factor. But speaking as an idiot, I’ve also noticed that just slowing down and not feeling the need to react all the time feels good. It takes time to make a thoughtful comment and unfortunately the Internet is too often a place used as a quick distraction to the day’s events. And with how fast things move on the Internet there can be a false sense of “gotta put in my 2-cents while I can”. (Think I’m up to at least 50-cents worth, so I’ll leave it at that.)

  11. Ottmar

    Victor: I used my little 722 ( – set at 24/88.2kHz. At home I created fade-ins and -outs and compressed to 192kbps mp3. 24/88.2 is becoming my standard recording-setup.

    I think many artists feel they don’t have a choice. Without the record company system working like it used to in the Eighties and Nineties, they have to sell themselves. A few social networking success stories have been hyped to death by the media and many people feel that it needs to be part of a musician’s striving. Musicians are on Facebook and MySpace and Twitter 24/7 hoping to create a fanbase. I am old school in that I think touring, in any form, is the only way to create a lasting fanbase.

    See, in a way it used to be easy… well, easy is the wrong word, maybe clear and defined are better terms… a musician wanted to get signed by a record company. That was the focus. Only a very small percentage, much less than 1%, reached that goal. The goal was very clear, to sign a recording contract and record some great music that is expertly published by a large company with lots of experience and clout. Maybe there is a parallel to the old Hollywood system, where an actor was under contract, maybe not. Anyway, nothing has replaced that system. Musicians are trying different approaches. Trent Raznor has been very very successful without a record company, but I think he has discovered that there are negative aspects to that.

    Personally, I think there is a good size for everything, neither too small nor too big, and that is true for a musical career as well. William Dafoe vs Tom Cruise, if you catch my drift. One is an actor who can work whenever he wants to, and probably walks around without a hassle, the other a star, who has to have bodyguards around him all of the time. I think Raznor has crossed that line and has become huge… and maybe he is not enjoying it as much.

  12. Y.

    I am happily listening to Ottmar’s bird recordings…

    “karahtee” as opposed to “karatay”
    …don’t get me started, Dave.

  13. steve

    Ottmar wrote: “Forget about CD players, use the CD only as a delivery system”

    I completely agree.

    At this point, I have many, many CDs that have never been played, but were converted to FLAC or Apple Lossless immediately and reside on iPod or HD.

    But I think that even delivery using 16/44.1 has a severely limited lifetime … although difficult to say when it will stop being viable since the rate of change is changing.

    …OTOH, I might have been one of those proclaiming the death of vinyl back in the 80s, but it seems to be back big time … so who knows?

    The migration path to HD/SSD and computer based playback seems to be pretty obvious, but the weak link is still precise AND cost effective digital to analogue conversion. Perhaps those are mutually exclusively terms.

  14. Ottmar

    Steve: yes, but what if somebody like Apple ordered a few million D/As to be built into the Pro-level laptops? How much would they cost then?

    Or what if D/A converters become part of every amp or powered loudspeaker… what if somebody like B&W or Mark Logan started selling self-powered loudspeakers with built in D/As? It only takes one to succeed and suddenly it is everywhere… and all one would have to do is to plug a FireWire between the computer and the speakers to enjoy great sound.

    Or imagine an iPod with a straight digital output – the iPod goes into a Bose dock and the D/A converter is built into the Bose. THAT would be cost-effective! And the high-end will always remain the high end. Getting something to be 80-90% is fairly easy and cheap, getting it to be 100% takes a lot more time and effort and money.

  15. Brenda

    I believe creativity stirs within each human being. This creatvity which is an Expression of thought can become communication . Yes, slowing down to listen to the orginality of who we are within and then letting go of fear of rejection to express our original self; does become a fertile development of creative growth to prosper in peace. There is a joy within to be your orginal self instead of being just a copy. It is in the listening we grow.

  16. steve

    Ottmar: “And the high-end will always remain the high end.”

    You are absolutely correct. I have always chased the high end … in everything… kind of a personality flaw, I guess.

    However …

    I guess my biggest concern is that the industry will decide that people really don’t care about high fidelity sound and the defacto standard for distribution will be a 128kbps mp3/aac a-la iTunes. Then, certain mainstream artists that I like (such as Alicia Keys) wouldn’t even be available in something more hi-fi…

    Personally, I’d love to see 24/96 FLAC become the standard distribution format. I suppose it could be done with WAV or AIF, but both of those have tagging weakness. 24/96 FLAC would be ideal.

    (Art wise, I have to confess that I do miss the large canvass that the vinyl LP jacket provided. I think of some of the cool album art of Roger Dean, HipGnosis, etc… now album art is pretty much gone. So, even though I love the geeky high end audio of the future, I kind of miss the old days)

  17. Ottmar

    Steve: iTunes and amazon are both delivering 256kbps files. Combined with the interest in vinyl and the reporting on high-end sound systems I think we are moving in the right direction. It seems logical to me, after ease-of-use (carry 1,000 tunes in your pocket) comes refinement. It’s the way of things – take cheese for example: in the seventies people were delighted by something like Kraft slices… no slicing, nearly no refrigeration necessary… and then many people realized that it tastes like crap! Here is to hoping that in music delivery we will also move from Kraft slices to hand-crafted cheese!! :-)

    So, we can agree on 24/96 (or 24/88.2 which would be easier to downsample to CD quality) FLAC… now we just have convince the music biz!!

    I hear you regarding LP cover design, but personally I like the smaller format of the CD booklet. It’s less poster and more book. It’s intimate, more personal, less loud. We could keep the good old CD around as delivery system and backup and because we enjoy seeing the cover design. Only, it would deliver 24/88.2 or 24/96kHz FLAC files that would be played back by a computer.

  18. steve

    Oh I get it … you want to store the music on the disc as a file not as raw audio as it currently is on a CD …

  19. Ottmar

    Steve: Exactly! A regular 24/88.2 or 24/96 audio file would be too large. But, if one stores the music in the form of a FLAC data file – with all of the tags, the embedded album cover, maybe even an additional digital booklet – one can deliver 40-50 of music on a CD! (That’s more content than an LP holds)

    And, FLAC is ideal as it can already handle sound up to 32bits and over 600kHz! No ripping necessary, just drag and drop. We wouldn’t need to “play” the CD because the files from the CD are moved to a computer and played there. After the FLAC music files are moved from the CD to the computer we still have the CD package as a design object, a booklet, and of course a backup of the music files!

    There are many, many CD-manufacturing plants world-wide. Using my plan we can keep using the plants, but instead of audio CDs they would make data CDs. And if one wants to be backwards compatible – maybe one is attached to the CD player in the car – one has one’s computer burn an audio CD, using the best 16 bits out of 24 and halving the 88.2kHz sample rate. Voilá!

    Come to think of it, there are more possibilities there… since record companies would be able to sell “Dark Side of the Moon” in yet another format, they might be willing to contribute to the development of an inexpensive high quality D/A that can be built into the computer.

  20. steve

    Pretty Slick!!!! I like it A LOT.

    I guess the only downside is that the FLAC container makes no provision for DRM. Would your plan scrap DRM or attempt to modify FLAC?

  21. Brenda

    One stand alone value speaks volumes of change.
    One must be willing to wait for change.
    Change will happen within one to be first.
    ……..yes, mass production of slicing cheese has become a copy of the big wheel of cheese. Wheel of cheese appreciates the mold of life and time.


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