I recently completed the major work on a multi-year curriculum development research grant from the National Science Foundation. The project was an interdisciplinary collaboration with Dr. Jennifer Burg, Professor of Computer Science, at Wake Forest University and Eric Schwartz, a theatre sound designer and recent graduate of the UNCSA Sound Design MFA program. The result of the research project is a set of curriculum packaged into a modular textbook called Digital Sound and Music: Concepts, Applications, and Science, with a large complement of supplemental Flash tutorials, Max demos, videos, MATLAB exercises, and programming exercises. Here is a gallery of images from the curriculum material we've developed. The entire project is freely available online.
I record most of the classes I teach at UNCSA and server them in a podcast. If you're interested in theatre sound design, you might find these recordings useful.
I made some recordings with my students that can be used when testing sound reinforcement systems for theatre. These recordings are of a male and female vocalist singing in a nearly anechoic environment. The recordings were made at very high sampling rates with high-quality equipment. Since the recordings are so transparent, you can use them when tuning your sound system and trust that what you are hearing is a clean, dry signal going through your sound system into the room. We recorded each vocalist with several different lav microphones commonly used in musical theatre and recorded each microphone at various positions around the head. The recordings are available for download on the UNCSA website.
Thunder is easily the most common sound effect used in theatre (though dog bark comes in a close second). It is also the most difficult sound effect to record. You first have to predict when the thunder will happen. Then you have to find a place to record the thunder that is quiet and will also protect you and your equipment from lightning and water damage. Well, I've come up with a portable recording rig that is reasonable weather proof and I've been chasing thunder storms for a few years now trying to find that killer thunder. Many hours of recording later, I have managed to yield a handful of pretty good thunder recordings. To spare the rest of my fellow sound designers from using those same BBC and Hollywood Edge thunder recordings, I've made my recordings freely available. Here's one of my favorite thunders. The rest can be heard and downloaded at my thunder recordings site.
I chair a research project with the USITT Sound Commission to build a catalog of free or cheap software that can be used in theatre sound production. For the project I put together a wiki site where theatre sound designers can post useful applications they find for Mac, Windows, Linux, and Mobile that are free or cost less than $100. We have managed to find enough software that you could complete and entire show using free software.
In 2008 I participated on a committee with the USITT Sound Commission to develop some standards for creating sound system diagrams. The guidelines we developed have been extensively fine-tuned with my students at UNCSA and these guidelines have now been adopted by educational institutions and professionals all over the country.
Back in the days when we still used AKAI samplers for sound playback I would use the Peavey PC-1600x MIDI controller to control the sampler. After spending several shows programming the controller with the two line LCD screen I decided there had to be a better way and I wrote my own software application that fully emulates the PC-1600x and allows remote editing of the real controller. The PC-1600x has long been discontinued by Peavy but my PC-1600v is still in use by professionals in the theatre, film, and music industries and in educational institutions across the country.
When I was in graduate school I worked with a Java programmer friend of mine to develop a simple tool for determining the optimal input gain for power amplifiers in a sound system. Lining up the gain structure for line level devices is a relatively straightforward procedure but due to the massive gain that comes out of the power amplifier, matching the input gain for the amp relative to the rest of your system is not as clear. Most people just turn the amp gain to 12:00 and leave it there. With GainSet you can select the last line-level device in your sound system along with the power amp you are using and you'll be shown the optimal knob position for maximum gain without clipping.