Posts Tagged ‘Digital Audio Technology’

Circuit-Bend Electronic Toys into Sonic Monsters

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

Cogswell students with a laser harp they built

Tinkering with electronic audio gadgets seems to be in the DNA of most audio engineers or sound designers. The mindset seems to be – this is good, but I’ll bet I can make it better. Experimentation is a key characteristic of this group. This article in eMusician, examines the process of circuit bending.

The term “circuit bending” was coined in 1992 when Reed Ghazala began publishing a series of articles in the Experimental Musical Instruments Quarterly Journal titled “Circuit Bending and Living Instruments.” Circuit bending describes the modification of an electronic sound device beyond the designer’s intentions, adding new sonic and functional possibilities.

At Cogswell College our Digital Audio Technology students are encouraged to experiment as they participate in a full-range of hands on projects.

Inside Moogs New Sub Phatty Synth

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Moog’s new Sub Phatty looks cleaner, sounds dirtier. CDM-exclusive photo, courtesy Moog Music.

If you’re in to audio and you’ve never been to the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) show, then you’re in for real treat someday. The show is basically all-things-audio overload.

At the recent show in Anaheim, California, Moog showcased its new Sub Phatty Synth. To you non-audio folks that probably sounds like some creature from Star Wars needs to go on a diet but to those in the know, Moog promises a new range of bass possibilities through this compact synthesizer.

Check out this review and let us know what you think.

New Digital Audio Studio Enhances Learning Experience

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Cogswell College recently unveiled the latest upgrade to its arsenal of quality teaching/production resources – audio recording Studio C. This is the latest in a series of recent upgrades to our recording studios and we are sure it will not be the last as our Digital Audio Technology (DAT) degree program continues to grow. Since the fall term of 2010, enrollment in the program has grown 81 percent.

The DAT program strives to give students the opportunity to master a variety of different hardware and software systems widely used in the audio recording industry as well as support the broad set of passions our diverse students bring. The new studio features a 24 channel digital mixing console, 18 channels of computer IO and a brand new Mac Pro. Studio C’s location next to the campus event center, known as the Dragon’s Den, provides our DAT students the chance to record both live performances by orchestras or bands in the large Dragon’s Den as well as capture “dry” vocals, SFX or voiceovers through the adjacent voiceover booth.

The studio is highly configurable giving the students the capacity to run events, edit, mix, record and/or listen to recorded material using all or part of the installed digital audio workstation or by patching in the student’s personal system. Access, practice and the ability to collaborate with other talented and innovative students are big differentiators in gaining the necessary skills to follow this career path.

“We expect this upgraded studio to facilitate the creation of many new student audio projects,” said Timothy Duncan, Director of the DAT program. “Its strategic balance of access and privacy should be a boon to student creativity.”

If you are on campus, we encourage you to learn more about what our audio studios offer.

A Little Razzle Dazzle for Independence High School

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Cogswell College at Independence High SchoolOn Friday, November 16, 2012, a small contingent from Cogswell College visited the campus of Independence High School in San Jose to offer interactive presentations that highlighted our Audio Production and 3D Modeling majors.

Tony Dias, a faculty member in our Digital Audio Technology degree program and Matt Bard, a student in our Digital Art and Animation degree program, lead the demonstrations. Paula Cruz, Community Outreach Specialist for Cogswell, facilitated the event.

Throughout the day the group provided 7 demonstrations for more than 1,000 students. The audio side of the presentation featured the magic of sound synthesis and the flexibility it gives sound designers. Tony provided samples of digitally created sound and then let the students experiment. Matt demonstrated the power of Zbrush and Maya, software programs widely used in the digital arts industry to bring characters and environments to life through color and texture and to animate characters.

Tony, as an alumnus of Independence High, also offered advice to the students including:

  • Attend college or other professional training
  • Learn how to learn and develop good problem-solving skills
  • Be persistent and learn from failure
  • Network with both your peers and other groups
  • Plan your career and follow your passion

Thanks Tony and Matt for spreading the word about Cogswell’s amazing learning environment!

Cogswell College Presence at AES 2012 San Francisco Goes Beyond the Booth

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

This year’s Audio Engineering Society (AES) Conference, held at San Francisco’s Moscone Center, was graced by a lively Cogswell DAT booth and behind-the-scenes activity that began long before this year’s event. The AES conferences are the largest gathering of audio professionals in the world, held each year in the US and Europe.

The Cogswell booth demonstrated how sound effects and scoring enhanced the animated student film, “Worlds Apart,”  featured our Genre Electronica class tracks on  an iTunes playlist and an electric guitar in the busy show aisle with a student-built guitar amplifier. Students and conference attendees were happy to sit for a few moments and show their chops on the amplified instrument.

Beyond the booth, Cogswell DAT professor, Timothy Duncan; Systems Administrator, Evan Peebles and alumnus, Michael McConnell have all served as Volunteer Co-Chairs. Professor Duncan and Peebles in 2008, Peebles and McConnell in 2010 and this year’s 2012 event. Additionally, McConnell was the 2012 Facilities Chair for AES. What does a Volunteer Co-Chair do?

As Volunteers Co-Chairs, Peebles and McConnell worked with the Convention Committee to help plan for the convention. This involved finding, organizing, overseeing and deploying volunteers with the goal of making a convention with tens of thousands of attendees going to hundreds of events run smoothly.  This year they sought out and received nominations from nearly 30 college advisors from around the world in order to find 160 of the best volunteers.

Volunteers give up a day to help the convention in trade for a full program badge. Recognizable in bright orange tee-shirts, Cogswell College had over 18 students volunteering at this year’s convention.

By offering this chance to students, AES helps introduce those starting out in the industry to the benefits of professional organizations. This opportunity allows them to play an important role, giving them the chance to not only meet, but work with some of the heads of the audio industry. This also gives students who couldn’t otherwise afford the full program pass, the option of accessing the educational sessions.

Come Rock with Cogswell’s Rock Band

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

Auditions for this new class were held in mid-September and the house was rocked. Now, nine amazing talents are busy rehearsing for their debut gig at Cogswell College’s October 27 Open House. The band will perform in the Dragon’s Den around noon.

Faculty member, Bob Megantz, teaches the class. Megantz plays electric and acoustic guitar in a variety of styles, including jazz, latin, funk, rock and blues. He developed a unique style of finger-picked jazz guitar that allows him to play bass lines, harmony and chord-style solos simultaneously. This style evolved from his studies of Brazilian samba and bossa nova music. He currently performs in the Bay Area with Grooveline (latin rock), the Ron Gariffo Orchestra (jazz) and with his two sons, the Family Band (funk, rock, bossa nova, and jazz).

“We’re still working on the Rock Band’s repertoire; in fact, this is an important part of the learning experience,” said Megantz. “During the class we’re listening to a wide variety of music and studying theory and transcription so we can learn the songs together. We did this at our first rehearsal with “Sunday Morning,” by Maroon 5. Other songs currently in the repertoire are: “Watermelon Man” (jazz/funk), “Messin’ with the Kid” (blues), “The Thrill is Gone” (blues), “Rockin’ in the Free World” (rock), “Ma Cherie Amour” (Stevie Wonder), “At Last” (ballad), and “Give Me One Reason” (blues/pop). New songs are auditioned and added each week.”

Meet the Band:

Richard Lucas Ash has been playing guitar for 13 years, added harmonica about 3 years ago and started singing a year ago. The audition gave him the chance to display his rhythm guitar and solo guitar chops as well as sing two original songs – one that he made up on the spot. “In addition to being active in Cogswell activities, I’m motivated to be part of a ‘great’ musical group and to learn new performance techniques.”

Dylan Bruce plays the drums. While he hasn’t had any formal training, 11 years of practicing seems to have paid off. During auditions he was asked to jam along with a guitar and bass to varying styles of rock. “I want the chance to play the drums and not disturb the people who live in my apartment building.”

Jason Bursese has been playing drums and percussion for the past 17 years. During the audition he was asked to keep simple beats and jam with a bass player. His audition didn’t showcase all of his talents but he looks forward to doing more. “I love to play and I love playing with other musicians and performing.”

Kyle Johnson has been playing bass for 8 years. His audition gave him the chance to just play music. “I am looking forward to playing music while representing the school.”

Davain Martinez wants to focus on vocals which he has been working on for the past 7 years. The audition process gave him the chance to sing any song he wanted but was also asked to sing new material to show his ability to stay on key. “I want to see how a team of musicians of different backgrounds can come together.”

Sirena Mesa is a vocalist who has been singing since she was three. With no formal training, she hopes to develop skills in various genres of musical expression. “I think it will be a lot of fun and will give me a lot of practice time. I also like to meet new people and gain, with them, experience.”

Joslyn Morris is a vocalist but has also played violin, guitar, cello, viola, piano and xylophone. During the audition she sang a number of songs the judges asked for and part of the goal was to show she could follow by ear. “I love music and while I haven’t played the instruments since high school, I haven’t ever stopped singing, dancing and writing lyrics.”

Kiefer Stolte has been playing bass for 10 years. For his audition he performed “Messin’,” “Thrill is Gone,” “At Last” and “Billie Jean.” “I want to play shows.”

Jalajhn Wheeler has been playing trombone for 8 years. Her audition consisted of a prepared piece and then an improvisation. “I wanted a reason to be behind the horn again.”

Students Win Best Video, Best Narrative and Prestigious MTV Act Award

Monday, October 1st, 2012

Cogswell College is pleased to announce that three of its students have created award-winning projects for the Adobe Youth Voices Aspire Awards, including the prestigious Adobe Youth Voices Aspire MTV Act Award.

Keep Pushing, a video written, directed and produced by José Saavedra, P.J. Poloai and Diamanté Horton, received the Gold Award in the Music Video category in the 2012 competition. Their moving narrative, Angel in my Sky, received a Gold Award in the Narrative Category of the competition. 20 20 Vision, an inspiring call-to-action music video, received the MTV Act Award and the students were flown to New York’s MTV Studios in July for the official presentation. The Adobe Youth Voices Aspire Awards, introduced in 2012, is the first-ever online global youth competition from Adobe Youth Voices (AYV), the signature global philanthropy initiative of the Adobe Foundation. 2012 prize packages included Adobe software, laptops, HD camcorders and Flip Mino HD video cameras for the Club as well as a donation to the students’ charity of choice.

“These young men inspire my staff and are amazing role models for the younger kids,” said Peter Fortenbaugh, executive director for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula. “Their energy lifts everyone and provides leadership-by-example as they create these amazing works. José, P.J. and Diamanté remind us why we do the work we do for the Boys and Girls Club.”

Saavedra, Poloai and Horton met at the Redwood City Boys & Girls Club while in middle school. The Club houses a state-of-the-art production studio and provides guidance from Adobe industry professionals who donate their time to teach audio engineering, video editing and production. The Club also provides mentors who help foster the creative process.

“Adobe Youth Voices was established to provide young people with the tools to creatively express themselves through digital media,” said Miguel Salinas, program director for the Adobe Foundation. “We’re thrilled that our work with organizations like the Redwood City Boys & Girls Club provides a voice for students like José, P.J. and Diamanté, and has inspired them to pursue the digital arts.”

“We wrote Keep Pushing when each of us was going through hard times,” Saavedra said. “We kept pushing ourselves to keep coming to the Club to write, record, and one day the video was done.”

“When you can create music for the youth of today without any type of profanity, it makes you feel good,” said Poloai, who says he went through some rough times in his earlier years. “I never thought I could do anything like this before until I got into the Club’s studio.”

Horton, who provided the voice-over narrative for Angel in My Sky, is a new, incoming student to Cogswell College and is looking forward to learning music theory and other skills alongside Poloai and Saavedra in the college’s Digital Audio Technology (DAT) program.

“I know that most of our material will never be commercial because it’s not gangster rap or misogynistic,” Horton said. “That’s alright. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that other music, but it’s not what we’re about.”

Julius Dobos Joins Cogswell Audio Department as Distinguished Lecturer

Friday, September 7th, 2012

Cogswell College is pleased to announce the hiring of Julius Dobos as Distinguished Lecturer in its Digital Audio Technology department. In his new role, Mr. Dobos will teach courses in Studio Recording, Sound Design and Sound Synthesis and advise on student-based projects and initiatives.

“Cogswell is educating some of the brightest minds in the field of audio technology and music production,” said Mr. Dobos, “I am looking forward to helping Cogswell maintain its reputation for excellence as it continues to grow as an institution.”

Mr. Dobos is also the Founding Composer and Producer for The Creative Shop, a music production studio with a clientele that has included Sony Entertainment, The Discovery Channel, and Nokia. Prior to joining Cogswell, Mr. Dobos released seven musical albums, among them the platinum-selling “Connecting Images.”

He is the first Central-European composer of large-scale electronic/orchestral music to receive international attention and has composed music for notable motion pictures including “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan” and “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” as well as for a variety of television programs, advertising campaigns, exhibitions and sound installations in the United States and Europe. He brings nearly two decades of experience as a professional musical producer and composer to his new role.

“Julius’ successes as a recording- and mastering engineer, film score- and electronic music composer, sound designer and business owner offer Cogswell students a proven model of professional excellence,” said Timothy Duncan, Director of Cogswell’s Digital Audio Technology program. “Mr. Dobos has shown himself to be attentive to the instructional needs of students, practical in his approach to instruction and experienced in the styles of music that matter most to Cogswell students.”

Scoring with musical genres and themes

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

I recently read a very interesting article written by composer Bear McCreary about how he used musical genres and themes to score SOCOM 4. Essentially, the game has three main factions that he chose to represent with their own type (or genre) of music: traditional eastern music, western orchestral music, and electronic music. I found this to be inspiring, especially since I have been considering using a similar approach to writing the music for a future project of mine.


Working on the music of Worlds Apart

Monday, June 20th, 2011

This past term, I had the honor of working with composers Jeremiah Dias (pictured left) and Cameron McLaughlin (pictured right) on the music of the newest Cogswell Project X film, Worlds Apart. The film is currently rounding film festivals, so unfortunately I cannot share any samples of my work at this time (a trailer exists, but uses its own music rather than the music from the film). Nevertheless, I will talk about my experience with this project, as well as explain my role in it.