Reference Tone

by Thomas Grill, 2019

Sine tone 1 kHz @ -3 dBFS in 1 bit (DSD) audio encoding.
Representation as ink print on paper between acrylic glass.

This is a variation on the concept of the Midnight Song object as exhibited at the Auditorium of Rotting Sounds. In this case, the print embodies the representation of a pure sine tone represented as a high quality 1-bit audio encoding (DSD) at 2.8224 MHz sample rate. The bit stream is visualized as a spiral trail running from the center of the object to its outer rim. The object contains approximately 10 seconds worth of audio.

Reference Tone at the UNDERSTANDING art & research exhibition at the Museum of Applied Arts Vienna.

The above picture shows Reference Tone at its premiere at the UNDERSTANDING art & research exhibition in the Museum of Applied Arts (MAK) in Vienna. Placed at a transitory spot in the exhibition, the object (and with it the embedded sound) will only stay pure and perfect for a certain time. Already at the opening evening, stains and scratches on the surface were noticeable, by visitors accidentally or purposefully walking over the object. Over the duration of the exhibition of one month, the audio content will transform from a “reference tone” into a noisy sound being influenced by the context of its placement.