With the advent of compressed music files (MP3) and easily accessible internet file exchange and download services, consumers are increasingly turning to personal mini-databases of music files (iPod, MP3 players) for their musical enjoyment. The CD market has already taken a hard knock and many predict its imminent demise. The hi-fi market is also suffering with sales decreasing steadily every year.
In the future, the boundaries between the stereo system, computer and the television will become more and more blurred, but how the various functions will combine, and what new ones will emerge, is still ‘a work in progress’.
The Semantic Hi-Fi project explored the possibilities opened up by the digital revolution and paved the way for the next wave of hi-fi, including a number of new features likely to change fundamentally the way we listen to and interact with music.
“Music is no longer limited by a fixed format. Network-based distribution has freed music from the limits imposed by these formats and opened a whole new range of possibilities which will encourage greater interaction with musical pieces,” says Hugues Vinet of the French music and acoustics research centre, IRCAM, which coordinated the project.
Introducing the active listener
The working prototype of this next-generation hi-fi, produced by the EU-funded Semantic Hi-Fi, incorporates a number of new functionalities to help promote a more interactive listening experience.
Using either a hand-held, touch screen remote, or the touch screen display on the central unit, the user will, for example, be able to visualise the structure of a piece through a graphic display which will enable them to navigate smoothly within a piece and even to modify elements of the musical composition: slow the tempo down, speed it up, modify the relative weight of different instruments in the piece, or remove them altogether…
Some of the results of the project have already been incorporated into new products. Project partner, Native Instruments, used many of Semantic Hi-Fi’s features for its ‘Traktor DJ Studio 3’ DJ software solution, hailed as one of the market leaders in its field. The prototype developed by the project also incorporated many of these ‘professional’ tools into a home system accessible to all music lovers.
“The hi-fi of the future will make sophisticated software tools for professional musicians available to a wider public,” notes Vinet. “Owners of next-generation hi-fi will be able to do more than just passively listen, they will have a tool which also allows them to manipulate music and to create new pieces themselves.”
Hi-fis of the future will be linked up to the internet, and it will be possible to share personal works with others through peer-to-peer (P2P) systems. The project has not overlooked the issue of copyright, either.
“The P2P systems envisaged will respect the songs’ copyrights by only transmitting the information necessary for editing and modifying them,” stresses Vinet.
The ability to extract and display a whole range of information – tempo, key, lyrics, musical score – on a musical piece should also deepen the listeners musical knowledge and appreciation.
Managing your music
One of the challenges of the digital hi-fi will be managing extensive databases of music. It will no longer be a matter of simply grabbing a favourite CD from the shelf but of trawling through a database of perhaps tens of thousands of pieces. Semantic Hi-Fi, which concluded in November 2006, continued the work of Cuidado, an earlier EU-funded project, developing search engines capable of extracting information on musical content and providing tools for the effective management of musical ‘libraries’.
As a result of this work, users of future hi-fi can expect to be able to navigate easily through their collections using search criteria, such as tempo, genre, instrumentation, in addition to the traditional search criteria of artist and title. If you have a particular tune running through your head, but no information on it, you can simply hum the tune into the system’s microphone and it will find it for you!
You can also start from a reference piece and search for those similar to it according to selected musical criteria. You can classify and retrieve your songs by defining your own musical categories from a set of track examples that will be automatically generalised to your whole database. Last but not least, the system computes ‘musical summaries’ that give a global idea, within a few tens of seconds, of the main changes occurring in the pieces (intro, chorus, verses, solos, etc.), thus enabling rapid ‘auditory browsing’.
Many of the results of the project are now available for licensing and several are being developed further within the context on new research projects. Targeted applications include multimedia search engines, music portals, and automatic play-list generation.
Christian Nielsen | alfa
New cruise ship “Mein Schiff 1” features Fraunhofer 3D sound on board
05.09.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Digitale Medientechnologie IDMT
Small enclosure, big sound, clear speech
31.08.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Digitale Medientechnologie IDMT
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.
Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure
Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
23.10.2018 | Event News
16.11.2018 | Health and Medicine
16.11.2018 | Life Sciences
16.11.2018 | Life Sciences