Questioning New Dimensions In Conference Audio

Headset vs Conference PhoneI’ve long had a fascination with spatial audio processing. This was in part why Voxeet caught my attention when the service initially launched. It was over a year before we were able to have them appear on VUC #471 on January 10th.

From that session you may recall that Voxeet offers a binaural conference service. Participants join a conference using a PC smart phone application. They use a stereo headset allowing the client application to provide placement of the individual participants within a controlled sound stage.

Voxeet is interesting. However, it’s not exactly clear what aspect of the service is most compelling. At point of launch they used the Speex audio codec, which allows wideband audio (aka HDVoice.)

In the recent v2 release their PC client has been moved to a WebRTC foundation, leveraging Opus. I’ve done a quick analysis of their updated online demo. Newly fitted with American voices where there were once French accents, it presents 16 KHz usable audio path, suggesting a 32 KHz sample rate. It certainly sounds very good.

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Codecs, Wideband & Stereo: A Conversation At AMOOCON

AMOOCON-200Back in the spring of this year VUC founder Randy Resnick made the trek to Germany to attend AMOOCON, a conference for Asterisk Users. AMOOCON started out in 2007 known as AsteriskTAG which literally translated means “Asterisk Day.”

While at AMOOCON Randy made a point of recording some of the presentations. These recordings can be found on the VoIP Users Conference site. Various sessions were recorded by the conference organizers and are available on the AMOOCON site. There they also have quite a lot of video of the formal sessions.

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Pink Floyd: The Making Of Money & Directionality

pink-floyd-dark-side-of-the-moon-160On the surface this might seem a wee bit off topic, but bear with me as I will get there eventually. My thanks for Crunch Gear’s John Biggs for pointing out this You Tube clip documenting the making of the song “Money” by Pink Floyd. I’m a fan of the band and have also followed their individual solo careers in more recent years.

Further, I’m a big fan of Alan Parsons, who engineered a number of the bands recordings. Alan appears in the clip as well. He’s a master recording engineer which is something that I especially admire, having spent a portion of my youth in such endeavors myself.

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A Strange Brew: VoIP/Telephony Crossed With Surround Sound

(this started as a quick comment on my Facebook page, but I’m moving it here so that people outside of FaceBook can join in)

With apologies to the McKenzie brothers. There appears to be an odd cross between two of my passions in the works. As I get more into the daily use of wideband telephony I wonder if there’s a potential to leverage some surround sound techniques to take conferencing to a new level?

It couldn’t be the puritanical kind of approach used in music recording. It would be more a matter of using surround panning to position participants in an synthetic soundfield. I wonder if this has been done to any degree elsewhere?

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The Path To Whole House Audio: Part 6 – Whole House Audio

Some time ago I had installed a couple of in-ceiling speakers into our living room. I did it one Saturday while my wife was out. That was a mistake.

When she got home she was disappointed that I had done this without consulting her. I had mistakenly thought that built-in gear would be inconspicuous and so desirable from her perspective. She, on the other hand, felt that cutting holes in the ceiling of our vintage 1920s craftsman style house was a bad idea. She’d rather leave it as original as possible.

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The Path To Whole House Audio: Part 5- Verification By Measurement

My brother-in-law Fred is something of an audiophile. Not the ridiculous, “I-paid-a months-wages-for-that-rca-lead cantcha-just-feel-the-increased-sonic-emotion*” kind of guy, more pragmatic but with an open mind.

*see Pear Audio Cables vs James Randi for details

A few years ago Fred built a set of speakers from a kit. It was a pricey kit but they sound great so why quibble. They look great, too. He had fun making them and the reward of making something exceptional with your own two hands cannot be overstated.

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