4 May 2012

School of Music knifing complete on YouTube

| johnboy
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If you’ve got a spare half hour you can enjoy the complete spin package surrounding sacking all the staff at the School of Music. ANU’s posted the press conference to YouTube with this note:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington and Head of the ANU School of Music Professor Adrian Walter give this press conference on May 3 2012 regarding the proposed changes to the ANU School of Music Bachelor of Music program.

Under the proposed new model students can, for the first time, receive academic credit for contributions to musical activities in Canberra and beyond. ANU will also build on the already significant technological advances that connect students with master classes, other students and innovations at world-class music schools, across Australia and overseas.

If you visit the video’s YouTube page you can even hit the “dislike” button.


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johnboy said :

Actually c_c they’re claiming that they have build such a dedicated audio link. I can’t speak for whether they’ve succeeded, but they have some pretty clever sound nerds on staff. Or they did anyway.

They certainly made a big deal about building a collaborative telepresence link. What they haven’t said though is the quality of what is at each end.

They employ a proprietary echo cancellation technology, which is largely because they don’t seem to have bothered with proper rooms with sound absorption like a proper studio has. But I haven’t seen anything about the quality of the microphones or speakers. There’s no point having a good link if the speakers at both ends aren’t reference quality.

And even the link quality I would question, the specs say the following:
“minimum of 384Kbps, though preferably 512kbps up/down min”

To put that in perspective, those specs are at the lower end of what you’ll find even on YouTube in terms of bit rate and we should all have seen how bad the lower quality settings are on YouTube for audio.

For audio to approach the quality of a studio master recording, you’d be looking at 18MBps bit rate for something like MLP on a BluRay disc. And it is possible to stream this, particularly with the back end capacity ANU claims to have.

This technology sounds interesting for distance education and for some fun collaboration, but as the primary means for tuition and assumedly for grading work, I would want to see something very compelling.

That reminds me of the scene during the movie Flashdance when the geeky dude does a symphony on his electrical keyboards, all by himself with no other players. And the other scene when they’re talking about holding instruments with respect.

When I saw it at an open day a couple of years ago it was fine for solos but useless for duets.

The bit about making the school live within its means suggests corruption………..or something.

Now I own a few microphones, and I know heaps about audio compression. Just how do you teach or assess music with the many variables that telepresence brings to the performance that do not exist in person? Just how do you work on pitch and even timing when you have latency, compression, the characteristics of different speakers and microphones designs and models? Are the ANU really going to set up a proper reference quality studio in Canberra and another reference quality studio in New York, and stream uncompressed audio over the new? No, and even then it wouldn’t be the same as in person.

Actually c_c they’re claiming that they have build such a dedicated audio link. I can’t speak for whether they’ve succeeded, but they have some pretty clever sound nerds on staff. Or they did anyway.

good luck trying to teach elite classical performance over the internet……

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