Canonical Voices

Posts tagged with 'sound'

Calum Pringle

First of all, thank you all for your feedback in both the blog post and, most importantly, the survey. Over 2000 surveys were completed, which is amazing.

We are really quite overwhelmed with the encouraging feedback received at this stage, so I thought it worth sharing some of the highlights.

 Quotes

It almost spells out U-bun-tu.

It’s unique and modern, but has a feeling of community within it.

Its pleasant that it reflects the working of OS, smoother more user friendly

An idea of a future, dynamism and creativity

It has a “rich” quality that has generally been part of the Ubuntu soundscape.

It is unobtrusive and feels like it fits the old “humanity” as well as the new “light” theme.

It’s distinctive, playful, lively and yet restrained, soothing and modest.

This is great. What is even better is the quantity of constructive criticism that means we can start to iterate further samples and get closer to the sound.

The vote

It was very close, but the winner was sound number one. For reference, this chart shows the closeness of the averages from the scaled questions in the survey.

Remember however there were open ended questions too, so with this result and the positive feedback from the free form text questions, sound one became a clear winner.



As the results were close (as you can see particularly between numbers one and two) we will feed that back to our chosen sound designer to influence their next development.

Thanks for all your feedback!

For the next stage we intend to

  • make it more human, less synthesised
  • increase the warmth of tone
  • tighten the end note
  • lower the pitch
  • land the sound for 12.04!

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Calum Pringle

Thank you everyone for all your effort, overall it’s an impressive set from such a short deadline!

Listening to submissions for sound theme project

We’ve been busy listening to all your submissions, it’s been a challenge, but the sound samples have been whittled down to a shortlist (of startup sounds only, for now) that we feel meet the pitch brief (or are close to meeting it) and we’d like to hear your opinions.

Since last time…

With a tight deadline (let’s get this in for 12.04!) we played the submissions, both startup and notification, to a select group of participants who were asked to record feedback on a structured form. Firstly we discussed the brief that was set and what we were looking to achieve; participants then rated the submissions using a simple likert scale, measuring agreement with statements such as “Does this feel like Ubuntu”.

We now need your help to decide and critique the shortlisted sounds. Remember these are not final, so we want to know which you see the most potential for developing our sound theme.

We’d like you to use this survey for submitting your opinions of the shortlisted sounds below.

The Shortlist : Startup Sound

Please use the fields provided in the form for critiquing what and where improvements could be made; e.g. change of pitch, addition of notes, audio mastering, change of instrument; we need to remember this is a starting point, so the more feedback we receive, the better informed the rebrief.

No.1

No.2

No.3

No.4

We are looking forward to working with the finalist to develop the Ubuntu soundscape from this starting point; so your feedback is important!

Please get your friends and family to have a listen and let us know what they think too – the more the merrier, we will do the same :)

Next steps : we hope to choose one finalist whose sound can mature through further iterations, and tune it to fit with the login experience for the 12.04 release.

Those of you who don’t see your sound up here (and remember we are keeping it anonymous so don’t tell anyone if yours is there!) thanks again for your efforts, we hope to involve everyone in the decision making process for the theme as it progresses, so there will be plenty more opportunity to have your opinion heard!

Link to survey

Update : Survey Full!!! Over 2000 responses – wow! New blog post to follow :)  

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Calum Pringle

If you’re as keen as we are that the Ubuntu sound theme is on brand, now is your chance! We are calling for pitches for the Ubuntu sound theme!

The brief

As Ubuntu expands onto new form factors, with an increasingly definitive visual identity and brand, it is important to ensure that the theme of Ubuntu is reflected in all aspects of the experience. The auditory experience of Ubuntu must be included in this theme to maintain an immersive environment and consistency with the brand.

These values are a key component of our brand and should form the basis for the sound theme.

  • Reliable
  • Collaborative
  • Freedom
  • Precise

Our brand values : http://design.ubuntu.com/values

Objective

To define an Ubuntu soundscape that compliments look, feel and brand and produce a library of assets required for implementation. Provide a guideline for the Ubuntu soundscape that will allow for extension by internal and external stakeholders.

Project requirements

The concept for the sound theme should reflect the requirements of all form factors. Concepts should therefore be explored through signature moments in the Ubuntu soundscape; with an opportunity to refine a desktop startup sound for the 12.04 release. The emergent sound theme should then be articulated and guidelined.

The first stage of this project is the pitch – the deadline is Monday the 13th of February.

The pitch

Login screen

One desktop startup sound

  • This will be heard when the login screen (shown above) is ready for user interaction.
  • The device is coming alive, awakening.

One notification

  • This gives us a feel for how these sounds fit in a theme.
  • An example notification would be a calendar event.

Participants can submit as many sample sounds as they like, however the minimum requirement is one of each.

Feedback will be given by Wednesday 15th February, and we will work with the successful participant to refine the startup sound for the 12.04 release and continue to work with them on the development of the Ubuntu soundscape.

This is an open pitch, and we encourage everyone to participate; including, hopefully, some of you sound professionals out there!

Submissions should be sent to the Unity project manager Nick Tait -nick.tait@canonical.com subject “Sound Theme” in a folder entitled “firstnamelastname.zip”

For reference, the ideal length of the startup should be around 2 – 4 seconds, ogg format, 320kbps.

Some helpful links…

Design guidelines : http://design.ubuntu.com/
The Ubuntu tour : http://www.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/take-the-tour
Brand values : http://design.ubuntu.com/values

 

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Dustin Kirkland

 

Thanks for all the positive feedback to my last post!  I have made a couple of updates to the 5.1 channel Ubuntu login sound, namely:
  1. Remastered based on the original wav files, since my previous version was based on the lossy, compressed ogg files.
  2. Adjusted a couple of levels, having actually tested it on as many different 5.1 and 2-channel stereo environments I could find.
  3. Updated the ubuntu-sounds package and pushed to bzr and a PPA for easier installation on lucid, maverick, natty, or oneiric!
So now, you can install the 5.1 channel Ubuntu login sound easily from this PPA to any supported Ubuntu release with:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:kirkland/sound

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-sounds

Log out, and then log back in.  If your Ubuntu system is hooked up (correctly) to a 5.1 stereo receiver, then you should hear the login sound start in the center speaker, then spread outwards to the front left and right channels, with the sound moving from the front to the rear for the whoosh and crickets at the end.  Oh, and the bongos should be bumpin' in your sub woofer :-)

If you're interested in the sources, they're in bzr too:

bzr branch lp:~kirkland/ubuntu-sounds/834802


Finally, if you'd like to see this land in Ubuntu, mark bug #834802 as "affects me too"!

I'll embed the audio here, but it sounds really different in the various browsers I've tested (Firefox, Chromium, Chrome).  Sounds like the the multi-channel OGG is being correctly passed to Pulse Audio for proper downmixing/discrete playback in Firefox, but not in Chrome/Chromium.  So your mileage may vary! :-)




Doh! Your browser doesn't support embedded audio :-(




Cheers!
:-Dustin

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Dustin Kirkland

It was way too hot here in Austin, Texas this weekend, as it hit 110F on Sunday!  So I spent most of the heat of the day inside, toying with something that I think is pretty cool :-)  I couldn't find any OS today (Mac, Windows, or Linux) that has a 5.1 channel login sound...  I'm hoping that Ubuntu might be the first!

I have 7.1 channel surround sound in my home theater, which is great for watching movies.  Hooked up to my projector is (of course) an Ubuntu nettop, which I use to stream and serve most of my media content.

I thought it would be neat to remix the Ubuntu login sound in 5.1 channels, to exercise my theater's surround sound at boot.

So I grabbed the familiar "drums and crickets" OGG file, which you can find at /usr/share/sounds/ubuntu/stereo/desktop-login.ogg, and opened it in audacity, a phenomenal open source mixer.  I split that stereo track into two mono tracks, and then added four more blank tracks.

The first two tracks are the Left and Right channels, respectively, followed by the Center channel, the Sub woofer channel, and then the Surround Left and Surround Right channels.  I copied the Left and Right channels to the Surround Left and Surround Right channels.

Then, I opened the original desktop-login.ogg again, and mixed that stereo track to a single mono track.  I took that mono track and copied it to the Center and Sub woofer channels.

Okay, now I had 6 tracks ... time to start playing with them!

I decided that I wanted the "crickets and wind" at the end of the clip to be exclusively in my rear, surround channels.  So I silenced the Surround Left and Surround Right tracks until about the 3.85 second mark, and then faded in from 3.85 seconds to 5.43 seconds, and faded out from 5.43 seconds until the end of the clip.  Since I wanted that sound exclusively in the rear channels, I silenced each of the Left, Right, Center, and Sub woofer channels from the 5.0 second mark, until the end of the clip.  Next, I smoothly faded out the Left and Right channels from about 2.21 until the 4.54 second marks.

For the intro, I wanted the first few drum beats to emanate from the center channel, and then spread wide to the Left and Right channels, right up to the big cymbal crash and the crescendo of the clip.  So I took the Center channel and added a very long fade, from the 0.30 second mark until about 3.97 seconds.  And then I set the Left and Right channels to slowly fade in, from 0 seconds to about 1.48 seconds.

Finally, I took the bass track and de-amplified it way down.  And then I applied a low-pass bass boost filter several times, until the lowest hits of the bass drum are the only audible parts of the track.

Want to hear it for yourself?  Well, you'll have to have 5.1 speakers in a true Surround Sound setup...  If so, grab the [flacogg, or wav] file, and open it in smplayer, ensuring that you have 5.1 channel sound enabled in smplayer.



With the right equipment, you should be in for a treat!  The first few drum beats you'll hear in your Center channel along with some solid, thumping bass hits.  The sound should spread quickly from the Center, fanning outward toward your Right and Left channels right up to the big crashing cymbal!  And with that crescendo, the Left, Right, Center, and Sub should all gracefully fall silent, while the crickets and the wooshing wind sweep back to your Rear Left and Rear Right channels!

Don't have 5.1 sound?  Well, you can still listen to each track individually.  Grab the [flac, ogg, or wav] file, and open it in audacity.  You should see 6 channels vertically down your screen.  You can click the Solo button next to each track, and listen to each track one-by-one.  Make sure you un-click the Solo button between plays.  This might give you a decent idea of how each of the channels come together.


Fancy yourself a sound producer?  Remix it again and share :-)  I have the wav sources up at lp:~kirkland/ubuntu-sounds/834802. Better yet, how about creating a whole new Ubuntu login sound?  :-)  Maybe one day....

From the right side of my brain,
:-Dustin

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The following is a guest blog by Conor Curran:

I joined Canonical early January 2010 to fill the role of Sound Architect on the DX team. Ever since I have been implementing a redesign of the system sound menu. ‘Indicator Sound’ is part of a core group of system indicators which sit on the top panel of the Ubuntu desktop. Its main purpose is to allow users to control the system’s sound settings (through pulseaudio). PulseAudio which is the sound server generally used on Linux systems ( similar to Apple’s CoreAudio or MS’s WASAPI ).

From Maverick onwards the inidicator was enhanced to allow for popular Media players to be controlled from the menu. This was made possible by the good work of the MPRIS people particularly Mirsal Ennaimem, Alex Merry, Ian Monroe and Lennart Poettering. I feel our immediate use-case really spurred the new version of this MPRIS into fruition. Currently Rhythmbox, Banshee, Amarok, VLC, Xnoise, Media Player Daemon all support complete integration with the menu.


The Natty release uses exclusively the MPRIS2 protocol including the playlist extension. This will enable applications like Spotify (with the MPRIS extension) to integrate seamlessly into the menu as no extra dependency will be needed.



More information on client registration can be found in the spec. The launchpad home for the project is https://launchpad.net/indicator-sound and the source can be fetched from the development trunk at lp:indicator-sound (or alternatively you can grab a tarball of the most recent release).

I hangout on #ayatana, #ubuntu-desktop on #freenode under the alias of ‘ronoc’. Any questions please feel free to ping me any time or ask the developer mailing list.

On my roadmap amongst other indicator concerns will be a focus on the ubuntu user experience for the lightweight audio dabbler to the medium weight MP3 mixer. David Henningsson, Daniel Chen, Luke Yelavich and Rodrigo Moya have been doing great work around this area and as this is something very close to my heart I should really be more involved …

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