Gordon Reid of CEDAR Audio talks spectral editing and his three-decade CEDAR career

Not that long ago, the promise of being able to remove the squeak of a piano stool from the recording of a piano recital – without apparently disturbing a molecule of said recital – would have sounded like some form of alchemy and, in rural Cambridgeshire, might well have got you burned at the stake. Yet this, and other sonic miracles from CEDAR Audio’s Cambridge-based armory of audio processes have been improving upon reality for 30 years now. Managing director of CEDAR, Gordon Reid, gives us the low down... 

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Source: PSN Europe

Source: PSN Europe

Recording of "sonic attacks" on U.S. diplomats in Cuba spectrally matches the echoing call of a Caribbean cricket

Beginning in late 2016, diplomats posted to the United States embassy in Cuba began to experience unexplained health problems including ear pain, tinnitus, vertigo, and cognitive difficulties which reportedly began after they heard strange noises in their homes or hotel rooms. In response, the U.S. government dramatically reduced the number of diplomats posted at the U.S. embassy in Havana. U.S. officials initially believed a sonic attack might be responsible for their ailments. The sound linked to these attacks, which has been described as a high-pitched beam of sound, was recorded by U.S. personnel in Cuba and released by the Associated Press (AP). Because these recordings are the only available non-medical evidence of the sonic attacks, much attention has focused on identifying health problems and the origin of the acoustic signal. As shown here, the calling song of the Indies short-tailed cricket (Anurogryllus celerinictus) matches, in nuanced detail, the AP recording in duration, pulse repetition rate, power spectrum, pulse rate stability, and oscillations per pulse. 

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Source: Biorxiv.org

Source: Biorxiv.org

Why Forensic Audio Isn’t Audio Engineering

You might expect the job of a forensic audio analyst to be similar to that of an audio engineer, but it’s a lot more complicated than that!

Nearly all of us have mobile phones that can be used as recording devices, and this has led to a proliferation in the use of audio recordings within the courtroom as evidence. In 99.9 percent of these cases, these recordings will have been taken in less than optimal conditions, on low-quality devices, by individuals with little to no knowledge of the recording process. Whereas studio recordings are carefully planned and recorded in a purpose-designed environment, forensic recordings are often made on the spur of the moment, in hostile conditions, and the audio quality reflects that. However, just as the typical quality of these recordings is miles apart technically from studio recordings, so too is the impact that they can have on somebody’s life.

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Source: Sound on Sound Magazine