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Positive Feedback ISSUE 52
november/december 2010


Kludge's Annual Awards at the AES Show

Best Sound In Show

The AES Students Recording Critique. PMC monitors, mostly untreated room but with some of the worst features dealt with. Some excellent recordings being played back.... a few that weren't so excellent too, and a panel of experts pointing out the features.

Best New Product in Show:

The Beyer RM510 wireless ribbon mike. It's an adaptation of the old M-500 design, but supposed to be smoother. The M-500 was a great stage vocal mike that happened to be a ribbon and this mike seems to follow on in that tradition. Now, if only they made a wired mike with the same head...

Best Paper In Show:

Harry Olsen back in the 1930s produced the standard math model of the ribbon microphone, which treats the ribbon as a single damped mass-spring system.

That model was reasonably effective for approximating the ribbon response, but today it's possible to do a much better job. In "Dynamic Motion of the Corrugated Ribbon in a Ribbon Microphone," Daniel Schlesinger and Johnathan Abel view the ribbon as a long series of springs, so they can look at motion of the ribbon in several different directions, not just on the single axis.

This allows a phenomenally more accurate model to be made and explains some of the distortion sources in the ribbon mike. What's more, this research was done by Sennheiser which doesn't even make ribbon mikes. This is honestly a big advance, and hopefully the next step will be to extend this to modelling pattern irregularities as well. Preprint 8215

Worst Paper in Show:

In "Vacuum Tube Amplifiers using Electronic DC Transformers," Theeraphat Poomalee, et al, replace the output transformer of a conventional vacuum tube amplifier with a switching supply. Basically a 1 MHz MOSFET oscillator driving a ferrite core transformer driving a filter, this configuration gives all the disadvantages of Class B tube and class D MOSFET operation without any of the advantages of either. Preprint 8228

Best Free Thing in Show:

THAT Semiconductor was giving out notepads of graph paper. Really a handy thing for taking notes at the show itself, as well as for the usual discussions that always seem to happen when technical people get together. Not only handy, but people will probably keep notes for a while and see the THAT logo on each one.

Worst Free Thing in Show:

DPA was giving away really convenient little wallets for storing small microphones in. They were well-made, and could probably last a good long time. People could put cheap microphones in them and wave them around so everyone would think they had DPA mikes, without actually having to buy DPA mikes. Maybe not such a good plan.

Loudest Sound in Show:

Avid's on-floor demo. It wasn't just loud because of all the people practically rioting about Avid's decision to support low-cost hardware and obsolete their expensive Digidesign interfaces. It was just plain loud, and then it got louder.

Loudest Sound (Honorable Mention):

David Mollerstein's presentation on game audio, "Mixing the DICE Way." I heard machine guns all the way down the hall in the author's lounge and came out to investigate but after opening the door I decided it was too loud to go in.

Tallest Engineer In Show:

Oliver Archut, TAB Funkenwerk

Best Butt in Show:

Karen Gieselhart, Volunteer