1-bit audio: Testing audio hardware

For an upcoming performance at the Ars Electronica Festival 2020 SOUND CAMPUS, we are testing hardware to interconnect 1-bit audio streams.

For that purpose, we are using an STM32F4 Discovery Board to generate 1-bit audio streams, sent through a Future Sound Systems MTX9 point pin matrix (Figure 1) as often found in modular synthesis systems.

The software used on the STM board to efficiently generate 1-bit audio streams using DMA transfer over an SPI interface is an offspring of our DADA hardware development efforts.

Figure 1: Testing Future Sound Systems MTX9 with high-bandwidth audio signals

The FSS MTX9 can be used as passive hardware (only 1-to-1 connections), or using the MTX9A buffer board to sum over input busses.

In passive mode (Figure 2), the bandwidth is sufficient to come close to 1 MHz bit rate which allows 32-fold oversampling at usable PCM audio rates.

Figure 2: Oscilloscope screenshot of MTX9 output (purple) against 1-bit audio input (turquoise) at around 500 kHz bit rate

For active mode (using the buffer board MTX9A, Figure 3), the hardware introduces low-pass filtering, reducing the audio bandwidth to around 100 kHz. This is good enough for high quality analog audio, but not for 1-bit digital audio at high bit rates.

Figure 3: Oscilloscope screenshot of MTX9A output (purple) against 1-bit audio input (turquoise) at around 100 kHz bit rate

Clearly, it must be noted that the summing function over inputs is not strictly meaningful for 1-bit signals, where some kind of post-processing needs to bit applied to return to single bits.

“gestern-heute-morgen in der Konservierung” – Verrottende Klänge bei der Tagung des Österreichischen Restauratorenverbandes

At the annual conference of the austrian restorers association the rotting sounds were represented by Almut Schilling, discussing the <patina> as fundamental part of all preservation processes and opens valuable points of views to think about digital aesthetics of temporal deterioration.

6.-7.03.2020 Salzburg

“Fragments” performance evening

Some impressions of the “Fragments” performance evening that took place on October 2, 2019 at the Auditorium for Rotting Sounds, featuring Tobias Leibetseder, Angélica Castelló, Elisabeth Flunger and Thomas Grill.

European Researchers’ Night, September 27

We took part in this year’s European Researchers’ Night, showcasing a broad range of research projects at the University of Applied Arts Vienna.

From our ongoing research, we presented a couple of exemplary positions, such as Tobias Leibetseder’s “Fragments“, Almut Schilling’s and Till Bovermann’s “CD-R(ot)“, a part of Almut’s “The Carrier” installation, Till’s take on “Data Forensics”, as well as Thomas Grill’s “Mutual understanding” and “Reference Tone“.

Mutual understanding @ Ars electronica AI x Music festival, September 7

Our installation “Mutual understanding was selected for the AI x Music festival, part of this year’s Ars electronica festival, taking place at the monastery of St. Florian.

We had a great outside location in the Garden of the Sommerrefektorium, even if the weather was partly rainy. The installation could withstand the humid weather.

Rotting sounds masterclass at Herzen University, St.Petersburg, May 23

The “rotting sounds” researchers Thomas Grill, Till Bovermann and Almut Schilling were invited to conduct a masterclass at the Institute of Music, Theater and Choreography of the Russian State Pedagogical University A.I. Herzen, above all with the students of Andrey Bundin.

After an introductory presentation on the concepts of the research projects, we worked with/on “digital artefacts” that each of the participants brought to the workshop. The focus was on the notion of the “digital trinity”, we have established, consisting of storage material, information content, and interpretation.

Buffer Manipulations at Instruments Make Play

I represented RottingSounds at the festival/fair “instruments make play” that took place at WORM in Rotterdam, NL last weekend. I was welcomed with my “Buffer manipulation” setup in a very relaxed and informal atmosphere, in which many curious visitors stopped by to ask questions.

Table of curiosities at All About Audio 2018

Almut and Till spent some time last week to research on our project topic and eventually prepare and give a presentation at All About Audio at the FH St. Pölten. It was an intense time, yielding in very interesting and fruitful discussions and results.

We came up with (at least) two important elements for our research:

  1. the auralist — A fictional character that represents an aural culture (in the digital age) in which sound is considered the preferred medium, implying temporality (and hence decay) to be embraced. This was a rather good addition, we plan to further flesh it out and maybe turn the auralist into a true opponent that not only questions our visual/clean cultural approaches, but also our (project’s) research practice.
  2. the use of a large paper on the table — It served as note-taking and sketching medium as well as an archival container. We used the same paper for the four days and it helped us a lot to follow along all the different (but equally interesting) threads of our discussions. Many of our sketches you can find in the presentation pdf are photos from the paper.

Guests of the conference were quite interested in our approach and asked valuable questions leading into fruitful discussions.

You can find our presentation slides here.

Performance at Silence London 2018

On Wednesday, 8.8.2018, I had the pleasure to perform at Silence London, a satellite event of the Silence Festival held annually in Kaukonen, Finland.

Along with classical music performances, contemporary circus, ballet and a lecture on the influence of silence on contemporary music, I performed an improvisation piece based on computational deconstruction of silences and their counterparts that I observed around Hoxton Arches.

It was divided into a 30min sound walk and a subsequent livecoding performance based on field recordings I took the day before inHoxton/Shoreditch.

More info at the Artifacter page of

Rotting sounds poster presentation at the MDW science conclave, February 27

Yesterday I had the chance to present the upcoming Rotting Sounds project at the science conclave, an internal steering meeting of the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna. I had some interesting discussions and got really nice feedback. Very much looking forward to the project start in May.