Category Archives: Music

Convolution Reverb for iOS

Ever heard of a critter called a “convolution reverb”? If you’re a musician who does stuff using computers, you may have. Otherwise, you may be hearing about it for the first time here. A short and rather technical description can be found on Wikipedia.

Most folks know what a “reverb” is when it comes to music and  audio work: it’s a box you plug into your equipment that simulates what the sound would be if you were playing inside of a larger space. It’s used to give “depth” and “ambience” to musical tracks.

If you’ve ever gone into an empty house, garage, or building, you’ve probably noticed that when you talk or clap your hands that you hear some echos that trail off after a second or two. That’s called a “reverberation tail”. It’s caused by the sounds bouncing back and forth off the surfaces in the enclosed space — walls, floor, and ceiling.

The harder and more flat the surfaces are, the sharper and longer the reverberation continues.

I play Native American flutes, and adding reverb to flute music makes it sound a lot “richer” and more hypnotic. Unfortunately, the acoustical properties of most typical bedrooms (where I record myself) isn’t ideal for producing the kind of reverb tails you’d want for this sort of music. To get what you want, you need to record a very “dry” signal, then add reverb into the mix later on using the computer.

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Apple’s Best-Kept Secret About Audio I/O on Macs

I bought my first Apple computer on Thanksgiving night, 2006, at one of those “early Black Friday” sales at some now-defunct computer chain. It was a HUGE (by the standards of the day) 24″ iMac that was near the top-of-the-line in terms of their technology offerings back then.

One of the things I planned to use it for was audio recording and production.

Like most Macs, it had two 3.5mm jacks on the back, one for a mic/line input and one for headphone/speaker output.

Several years earlier, I had purchased a small portable A/D unit for recording stuff using “stealth mics”, and it has an optical digital (S/PDIF) output. I went to the Apple store and asked the “geniuses” there what I needed to plug it into my fancy new iMac.

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