Audio

Denon DN-508MX – Impressive

For a recent installation I had the opportunity to install and program the Denon DN-508MX. An 8-Zone mixer with a reasonable amount of DSP power at a price that makes it affordable even when the budget is a concern. When setting up a system, especially for installation, I want to be able to protect the system from mis-use (using limiting and EQ) whilst also maintaining a high level of audio quality. (more…)

By Terence Sharp, ago
Music

The Colour of Music – Part 4 – Conclusion

Overall I would call my project so far a success, certain note-colour relationships work better than others for different image types but overall the pieces each had their own character and could be considered musical. Early tests left me disappointed due to the lack of cohesive theme in any of the pieces the program created, as the application matured using the test pieces a number of ideas were tried out which led to the ability for the tempo to change throughout the piece. This really helped to add a human element to the output and with the addition of carefully selected instrumentation more notes were able to shine through in the final mix, instruments with long sustain tended to cause dissonance as previous colours overlapped the current playing colours. (more…)

By Terence Sharp, ago
Music

The Colour of Music – Part 3 – Output

To test each of the note mappings and how they react to various setting and algorithm changes I started by creating a few test images. Each of these images were tested against all of the selected ntoe mappings, the videos below run through them in the order of Scriabin, Newton, Octaving then Rimington. This first test is called “Test Pattern” and is just that, a selection of colours placed to test the algorithm out. In this sample the tempo is fixed and all of the MIDI notes are within one octave as these options have not been implemented. Opening with the solid red bar at the top the notes do not change, instead there's a prominent rhythm which leads to a section with not much musical interest. As the piece progresses to the gradient section the lightness starts to build intensity and suddenly it is thrown into a patterned section which causes the bass and piano to play a 5 note repeated phrase. These sort of repeating patterns seem to create very musical phrases and would be a great starting point for images created for sole purpose of turning into music. (more…)

By Terence Sharp, ago
Music

The Colour of Music – Part 2 – Notes and Colour

There are numerous conflicting theories on how colour and musical notes relate so in order to explore these different relationships the application will need to be configurable, enabling different colour-note mappings to be tried against various images. Some proposed relationships such as Isaac Newton’s colour wheel have since been discredited (University of Cambridge, 2010) however this is not entirely relevant to my project, while from a scientific point of view they may have been disproven they are still worth exploring for their potential musical merit. I have decided to implement four different colour-note relationships: Isaac Newton’s Colour Wheel, Alexander Rimington’s “Colour-Music”, Alexander Scriabin’s “clavier à lumières” and directly going up in octaves until the note frequencies fall within the visible light spectrum. (more…)

By Terence Sharp, ago
Music

The Colour of Music – Part 1 – Introduction and Project Summary

It's no accident that the word "Chromatic" starts with the Greek word for colour "Chroma", the chromatic scale shares its name with colour due to the interwoven nature of colour and music in western musical history. (Gage, 1999) Many composers have tried to use colour as a tool for composition with varying degrees of success and some composers have been influenced by the colours they experienced whilst hearing music, a phenomenon known as “Synaesthesia”. (more…)

By Terence Sharp, ago
Electronics

Racing Sim: Instrument Cluster – CAN-BUS

With the arrival of the chips required to build a CAN Bus interface (The Microchip MCP2515 and MCP 2551) and a CAN Bus shield for testing purposes I was able to get the Tachometer and Temperature gauge working on the instrument cluster. Thaniel has done a lot of work in documenting the various messages which has come in very useful. I don't own a BMW on which to perform the logging required to decipher the protocol (I'm more of a Citroën fan ;)). With some further experimentation I was able to figure out the individual bits that control various warning lights on the cluster, such as the engine management, cruise control and oil level lights. (more…)

By Terence Sharp, ago
Electronics

Racing Sim: Instrument Cluster – Speedometer

While waiting for a CAN Bus Shield to arrive in the post I decided to get to work on making some of the functions that don't rely on the CAN Bus interface work. The most interesting of these is the Speedometer. The speedometer expects a signal on Pin 19 of the black connector. On the pin diagram here it is listed as "Signal, Wheel Speed, Rear Left". Not knowing any more information than that I needed to figure out what sort of signal this input expected, was it a 5V/12V square wave? PWM? Measuring the voltage of this pin the cluster is supplying 12V so I started shorting it to ground, the speedometer began to twitch! Clearly I got lucky first time, the cluster expects the pin to be shorted to ground. (more…)

By Terence Sharp, ago