Sound making of our company
From time to time, customers who use our products or those who come to audition ask us how we are making sound. However, in practice, we have not thought about making sounds very much, but we just proceed in the direction of musical rendition according to our sensibility. Of course, as far as we handle electronic circuits, we can not ignore the Ohm’s law, the filter characteristics, the properties of semiconductors, etc. that are the basis of electricity, so we can calculate properly at the prototype stage, determine the constants, check the operation with the measuring instrument. However, when we try it, we carefully discard the musically useless circuit and try another method. Although there is such a repetition certainly, the circuit which finally rang successfully is adopted in the product. The result is usually something that is simple, reasonable, and able to control the optimal state stably.
Many audiophile say that if the distortion of the amplifier or the loudspeaker is small, it sounds musical. However, it seems that it can not be determined by any means. The musical tone usually has a harmonic component on the fundamental tone. For example, clarinet and saxophone are similar in appearance, but due to the nature of the resonance tube, the former has many odd-order harmonics and is close to a sawtooth wave, and the latter has many even-order harmonics and a mellow tone. At the time of attack, a lot of harmonics are included in particular. If these overtones go out of tune, we get an unnatural and uncomfortable sound. However, it seems that enthusiasts prefer it because the single amplifier of triodes has many even-order harmonic distortions and it has rather soft and analog sound quality. We have an impression that the lack of even-order overtones is the reason that the sound quality of the CD is less information than that of the analog disc. In order to bring a digital sound source closer to an analog sound source, there may be a key to infinitely introduce even-order harmonics from a fundamental tone and to compensate for it rather than oversampling, or to artificially distort the tone by analog correction (equalize phase).
Recently, with the relocation, we opened about 50 m2 showroom and we thought about the acoustic field in the audition room. It’s more than twice as large as before, and it’s a steel mortar building, but it’s a pleasant sounding room. Though it needs to be a little more dead room, but when we searched for the position where it sounds well, we feel that the loudspeakers are driving the entire air of the room firmly, and it can be heard clearly from anywhere in the room. Conversely, though the room is a kind of enclosure. There are surprisingly few standing waves, and the matching between the loudspeakers and the room may be successful. It’s like an antenna with impedance matching for example, and radiates energy from the power amplifier into the air without stagnation. Loudspeakers rang efficiently from low to high frequency, yet the depth and tone of the sound are good, and even hall-like expansion can be felt. Such acoustic resistance seems to be called acoustic impedance or radiation impedance. We are under study acoustic engineering because it is difficult physics, but it is an interesting theme. As an aside, if the dust is swimming on the floor, it sounds worse and after we cleaned it, it sounds well.
(26 June, 2019)
Music and Art
Power of Music
“The purpose of art is not the release of a momentary ejection of adrenaline but is, rather, the gradual, lifelong construction of a state of wonder and serenity.” —— Glenn Gould
The great philosophers were also familiar with the power of music and its influence on humans and society as well as the leap and down of civilization by the power of music. Harmonious and positive music with respect to the essence of human life and human consciousness raises human intelligence and emotion, consciousness, and conversely negative music brings a lot of harm to man and culture. The power of this kind of music is, so to speak, “a double-edged sword”, which can improve humanity and culture to a great height, and it can lead to immense fall and madness, degradation and decline. While concerted and peaceful music is a hotbed that purifies people and fosters advanced culture, it can be said that it is definitely negative, decadent, destructive in the background of times that create war and global discord. It is clear from the history of World War II, the Vietnam War, and the Korean Uprising that insane, malicious and discordant music is in vogue. Regardless of genre, such as classical, popular, jazz, blues, gospel, rock, country, ethnic music, movie music, nursery rhymes, religious music, marches, and musicians regardless of composer or historical background at that period. There are a mixture of both positive and negative effects. They act on the listener and appear as changes in consciousness, both good and bad.
Music that has the power to penetrate deep inside of human mind is a kind of magic. Even in the media art that plays a part, it must be remembered that there is a part of the responsibility to guide this power in the right direction. Music develops the connection between human left and right brains in a better way, and even reminds us that we live together with others when actively involved in music. So, not only listening to music passively, but also playing an instrument or singing aloud, the more positive attitude of music makes it possible to realize the value of music. Music that truly harmonizes brings joy to both the listener and the performer, and I feel that it is essential to enhance human dignity.
Media and Music
We have already mentioned that music has both positive and negative effects on human consciousness. In the past, if you wanted to listen to Mozart's work, you had to let someone listen to live performances or go to a concert venue in the city. It is also difficult for many people to come together at the same time as the population has increased. There are certainly many opportunities to touch music through the media in modern society. So, does music through media that is not live performance, such as radio, analog discs, CDs, computers, and Internet-delivered music, so called “canned music” have the power to influence humans?
The science and technology that support media art are still neutral, and just like listening to sound using air as a medium, technical media is just one means and has a positive impact on human consciousness. Whether or not it depends on the actual recorded music and sound itself. That's right, but it goes without saying that in order to listen to music that reaches your heart, it would be more preferable if you could use high-quality audio equipment that can reproduce an acoustic space as close to live performance as possible. In addition, with the pictures and videos of the performers, you can feel the atmosphere of the performance venue and get a deeper impression. Therefore, not having the listener aware of the media is the most important role for the media. In that sense, what audio designers should do becomes clear.
Monism of Music
Music is usually thought of as being heard by the ear through the sound of air vibrations. However, there are cases where just that is not necessarily music. For example, in a dream, you may even be able to listen to speeches and songs, the sounds of nature and the performance of instruments, not directly through the air, perhaps directly in deep consciousness. This is an experience where you actually “listen” on the spot, unlike remembering the memories of the sounds you once heard. Furthermore, there are many episodes where composers and musicians take on a walk and melody takes on in the surface consciousness, and inspiring great songs. Think of it that way, the physical phenomenon for music is only a secondary result of “once there was music in consciousness,” it appears and disappears at the moment it is expressed as sound. It is thought to be only a product of the real consciousness of melody and harmony. So to speak, “consciousness precedes sound”.
If it is only a mechanical, random-listed sound, it is not the result of a sense of “existing as music” from the beginning, so it does not have the power to “call up music” in the human mind. It is just a “sound” and not “music”, so it can not move people’s minds. On the other hand, “music”, once born in the composer’s or player’s consciousness and emitted as sound, is transmitted to the mind of the listener in any form, sowed, seeded, and eventually “music”. It grows into a big tree. It applies not only to the presence of live music, but also to listening through an audio device as a physical medium. In other words, the prototype of “music” has existed from the beginning in anyone’s consciousness, and only physical stimuli of sound are used to evoke it by organic connections. Music is, so to speak, a universal code, a congenital common language, and it is based on the common universal consciousness that everyone is born into. I feel that the existence of music questions the depth and wonder of the world of human consciousness.