02009-09-04 | Uncategorized | 7 comments

Today this was automatically published in the Diary:

We practice to create space. This is true for playing a musical instrument, but applies to everything else as well, I think. Practicing creates familiarity. Familiarity creates intimacy.

When we practice playing a piece of music or a scale, we train our brain by using our body. We scrub those neural pathways by moving our fingers. And that creates space. If moving from this note to that note has been trained and ingrained, we no longer have to think about that move and are free to consider other or additional moves. If moving from point A to point B has become utterly natural, then I have established space between those two points in which I can make additional moves. Or, imagine jumping from a rock to another rock. Once that jump has become easy, we might add a turn, a twist or a salto. In music, we might add a new note, a trill, a tremolo, a vibrato… We have created space (or time) in which to make additional moves – or choose not to! The more natural that jump or that piece of music becomes, the more space we have created. Then we have more time and more choice.

I find it important that the space we have thus created should not necessarily be filled with additional notes as we can use that space to embue the sound with more intent or emotion instead. When we no longer have to work at getting to the next note or musical sound, we can enjoy playing the current note with complete conviction.

From time to time I select posts for automatic re-broadcast and then I forget about them and am surprised to see them. This one was a nice surprise.

Here is more about my adventures with High Resolution sound – from last night:

Right now I am listening to an HD version of Jon Hassell’s album Fascinoma (((one of my favorite albums))), which I downloaded in 24/88.2 FLAC format from HDTracks. The whole album in 24/88.2 FLAC quality was $15.98.

For playback I am using Songbird:

Songbird – Open Source Music Player
Songbird is an open-source customizable music player that’s under active development.

We’re working on creating a non-proprietary, cross platform, extensible tool that will help enable new ways to playback, manage, and discover music. There are lots of ways to contribute your time to the project. We’d love your help!

Songbird is a free open source application that is available for Mac, Linux and Windows. It plays back a bunch of different file formats including FLAC files in 16 and 24 bit, from 44.1 to 96kHz. Very nice.

If money was no object I am sure the Amarra Plugin for iTunes, made by highly respected SonicStudio would be nice, but it’s $995 (((for a plugin!))). Weiss in fact recommends Amarra on their website.

My D/A, the Digital-to-Analog Converter, is the Weiss DAC2 I mentioned before (here and here).

This Tech Manifesto by the Water Lily label, who recorded and released Fascinoma is pretty entertaining. I don’t agree with it, but have to say that the album does sound damned fine. Here is wikipedia entry.


  1. steve

    I have to say that I don’t agree with the “Tech Manifesto” at Water Lily either. Especially, but not limited to, the part about analogue recording.

  2. Ottmar

    We have to remember that the label was founded in the beginning of the Nineties. I would agree with them that at that time Analog recording was the way to go. I only switched to Digital after several tests in 1999/2000. I believe my first all digital recording was christmas + santa fe, which was released in 2000. Jon Hassell’s Facinoma was recorded in 1999, which to me was just about the turnaround from Analog to Digital.

    I mainly disagree with their statement about multitrack recording. Especially if one mixes acoustic and electronic sounds, as Jon Hassell usually does… it means they had to set up loudspeakers on stage to project the electronic sounds, only to be recorded acoustically with the two microphones they use. One would lose a lot of presence and low-end that way.

    You might spend a couple of bucks and download just one of the tracks in 24/88.2 – I suggest the track Nature Boy, which is a duet with the Indian Bansuri flute player. The trumpet is absolutely gorgeous! All the gear was handmade by some Italian count – here is an interview with Count De Paravicini – the microphones, the mic-pre-amps, even the 1-inch recorder. Crazy.

  3. steve

    Yeah … I can see your point.

    I suppose the aspect of the Manifesto that I keyed in on was the implication that “Water Lily is (((still))) using only analogue recording exclusively” presumably, in spite of the magnificent strides that have been made in virtually all aspects of digital recording: especially in the past three to five years.

    And then there is also the bit about multitrack, which I completely agree with you on. Why not just send those electronic sources direct to its own track, preserve the pristine nature of the source, and capture it in full bandwidth. Far more “minimalist” approach, I’d say.

    BUT … I will buy this. It sounds (from your description) quite interesting. Thanks for a new find!

  4. dave

    I wonder what he would think of your studio recorded Up Close dummy head recording.

  5. steve

    Ottmar, thanks for the link to the Tim de Paravicini interview. It was very good. Quite interesting to contextualize the state of the art from 1995. I think simply using the spec that de Paravicini indicates, makes the point quite well that the age of analogue is pretty much over. (which I hope is kind of self evident) Nevertheless…

    de Paravicini says:

    “First of all, the frequency response should extend from 3 Hz to 50 kHz, because we experience those frequency limits. We are able to detect audio up to 50 kHz.”

    Nyquist tells us that, fs=2*fmax. Even if we allow that fs=(2*fmax)*1.125 we can far exceed that requirement today simply by making fs=176.4k,or 192k with 24 bit words. It’s easy to store such files, with 1Tb hard drives selling for $70 (at Target, on sale) but this is overkill. fs=96kHz is plenty, and probably, fs=88.1kHz easily provides enough channel bandwith.

    I know that Avid/Digidesign has a ProTools-HD offering that is capable of fs=192kHz/24bit, which allows for fmax=96kHz. Apogee does too(Rosetta_800), as does Weiss(ADC2). This is far beyond what an analogue recorder is capable of even with the de Paravicini mod. The spec on the de Paravicini recorder is fmax=35kHz, which is merely 72% of what ANY of the A/D converters mentioned above are capable of at a modest setting. Now, TO BE FAIR, this interview is from 1995, back when analogue was still far more high def than digital …


    it’s nearly 15 years later. Technology marches on … time to put away the head stack and the one inch tape.

  6. yumi

    “Practicing creates familiarity. Familiarity creates intimacy.”

    Enjoyed reading that post.
    The more we practice, the more effortless. The more we can look forward to doing anything with ease. We are taught that early on as children and you put it very thoughtfully.

  7. Brenda

    :) I like your re-broadcast, as it is a First Broadcast for me. Me – Zero Music Lessons in Life – but many – many Life Lessons. We become our thoughts because that is the practice of our thoughts.
    Very recently, I began new employment which is filled with many “new notes to practice” for me. My oh my – many “new notes” but I am driven to create an ease of familiarity because it has become a door of boundless creativity for me.
    Good part or best “note” is the “sunny day attitude” of the people I work with that have mastered the note and invited “me” into their work space. So thanks so much for reminding me the value of a positive attitude and how important it is for us to re-broadcast acceptance and happiness to everyone.
    Your re-broadcast is filled with noted Value beyond the monetary. Thanks so much! It is very useful “note” for me.


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