(Garage) Rock Band

The Rock Band videogame courts garage bands.

1 min read

This month, I have a cover story in Spectrum magazine about the making of the upcoming videogame, The Beatles:  Rock Band.

But in addition to transforming the Fab Four into a videogame, the makers at Harmonix are serving up something for the unknown rockers - the Rock Band Network.  As Harmonix vice president of product development Greg LoPiccolo tells Gamespot, the company will be debuting this means through which artists can get their own songs onto the Rock Band platform.

"We have a PC tool called Magma that you download from the site, and once all of your multitrack stems and MIDI files are complete, you load them into the Magma tool, which does error checking and tells you if you've got viable stuff. Then you use Magma to transfer it into your Xbox 360, where you can audition it. So you basically play-test your own song until you're happy with it," LoPicollo tells Gamespot, "Once it's fully polished, you log on and upload it to creators.rockband.com, where all the other Creators Club folks can download it and evaluate it. It's a play test and review process where people in the closed forums can give you feedback about your song, whether it was fun, too difficult, or so forth. Then you submit it for formal peer review, which is the second phase of play test. It's more technically oriented, where people are checking for copyright infringement and profanity and technical completeness. Once it passes that, which is sort of an automated process, it gets automatically dropped into the Rock Band Network Store and people can go buy it"


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Deep Learning Could Bring the Concert Experience Home

The century-old quest for truly realistic sound production is finally paying off

12 min read
Image containing multiple aspects such as instruments and left and right open hands.
Stuart Bradford

Now that recorded sound has become ubiquitous, we hardly think about it. From our smartphones, smart speakers, TVs, radios, disc players, and car sound systems, it’s an enduring and enjoyable presence in our lives. In 2017, a survey by the polling firm Nielsen suggested that some 90 percent of the U.S. population listens to music regularly and that, on average, they do so 32 hours per week.

Behind this free-flowing pleasure are enormous industries applying technology to the long-standing goal of reproducing sound with the greatest possible realism. From Edison’s phonograph and the horn speakers of the 1880s, successive generations of engineers in pursuit of this ideal invented and exploited countless technologies: triode vacuum tubes, dynamic loudspeakers, magnetic phonograph cartridges, solid-state amplifier circuits in scores of different topologies, electrostatic speakers, optical discs, stereo, and surround sound. And over the past five decades, digital technologies, like audio compression and streaming, have transformed the music industry.

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