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il fonografo di Edison : Che fa Lorenzo?
di lorenzolevrini , Sun 25 January 2015 4:00
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Ma cosa stanno combinando in giro per il mondo i nostri coautori? Lorenzo Levrini - Director of Photography

il fonografo di Edison : La stereofonia e l’ingegnere del suono
di lorenzolevrini , Wed 16 July 2008 6:00
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Stereophonic sound and the sound engineer

One of the great debates in the recording industry concerns the role of the sound engineer. We all agree that his job is to put across the artist’s music in a way that does justice to the artist’s intentions, but to what extent is the sound engineer an artist himself and to what extent is he a technician?

I do not feel we can answer such an important question in such a short space, but I’d like to offer an observation which could form the start of a hypothetical discussion on the matter.

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il fonografo di Edison : Tecnologia e Musica
di lorenzolevrini , Sat 29 December 2007 8:50
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In the first article in this column, we confronted analogue and digital technologies relating to the arts and concluded that, although it is very possible for one technology to be more suitable than another for a particular job, there is no overall winner. But the situation around us does not seem to reflect this conclusion - in all of the audio-visual arts, digital technology seems to have taken over a huge chunk of the field. In this article I’d like to examine the rise of digital technology in the music industry over the last twenty-five years, and how it relates to the music itself.

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il fonografo di Edison : Guerra del Volume
di lorenzolevrini , Sat 29 September 2007 7:40
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Noise Pollution And The Loudness War

It’s a scientifically known fact that according to our auditory system, louder is better. Louder sounds are not only preferred by the ear1, but they’re much better at grabbing our attention. For this reason, record companies have always been trying to make sure that their song is as loud as the competition’s, and if at all possible, louder. The last thing any record company would want is their song to be quieter than the last song on the radio.
When vinyl was the mastering medium, this competition meant that everyone was constantly trying to push the limitations of the medium, trying to find ways of getting higher and higher peak levels out of it. This strife for the highest peak levels was dubbed the ‘Loudness War’. With the advent of the CD, however, there could be no more bloodshed over higher peak levels - CD being a 16bit digital system, the maximum level achievable is always 1111 1111 1111 1111, called 0dBFS. If higher peak levels couldn’t be achieved, however, the sensation of loudness could be augmented by raising the average level of a piece of music. So the loudness war became a useless quest for apparent loudness, which is achieved by compressing the dynamic range of a piece of music until there is no difference in level between verse and chorus. Until everything is as loud as the snare hit which originally peaked 7dB above the average level. When everything is up close to 0dBFS, we have apparent loudness, and the record companies are happy.

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il fonografo di Edison : Analogue and digital
di lorenzolevrini , Wed 29 August 2007 7:40
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[Nasce oggi una nuova rubrica (bilingue – inglese e italiano) del blog-rivista, a firma di Lorenzo Levrini. Avrà come soggetto ‘il suono e i suoni’, e per titolo IL FONOGRAFO DI EDISON. Sì, stiamo cominciando ad esagerare.]

When talking about the arts, many are convinced that analogue technology is a thing of the past. Digital is the technology of today. Their argument is usually two-pronged: quality and convenience, the latter intended as both relating to cost and use.

If we look at any area of the arts which the analogue versus digital debate can be applied to, supporters of digital technology definitely have a point about convenience. When making a record in a recording studio, a reel of two-inch analogue tape can cost several hundred euros. A suitable hard disk capable of holding many times as much information can be bought for a fraction of that sum, and can be used indefinitely. Analogue tape, in contrast, deteriorates in technical specifications (Noise floor, frequency response) after every single use. If we use a digital camera instead of an analogue one, we will never have to spend time and money developing - we can transfer and enjoy immediately. And we mustn’t forget that a typical roll of 35mm consumer photography film holds thirty-six exposures, whilst an average memory stick for a digital camera can hold several hundred.

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