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On-Premises Installation Sensitive data requires exceptional security. The original content of this section has never been recovered, but the problem of the authenticity of the Watergate tape recordings brought together some of the world's leading audio experts. This forensic process was well documented, and elements of it form the basis of how we conduct forensic audio analysis today.
Some of the scientific procedures involved are detailed at the Audio Engineering Society's web site: www. Many lessons were learned from Watergate, still the most significant forensic audio investigation to date, and some of the techniques and types of equipment applied are still utilised today.
Other investigations have also played a significant part in forensic audio history, both in the US and the UK. These include Bruce Koenig's analysis of the gunshots that killed President John F Kennedy in Audio analysis of gunshot recordings played an important role in the investigation into the assassination of President John F Kennedy.
Alan French's work enhancing audio recordings helped to convict British serial killer Colin Ireland, dubbed the 'Gay Slayer'. Forensic specialists Koenig and Douglas Lacey helped to make intelligible cockpit voice recordings of United Airlines Flight 93, on September 11th, As with most music recording, the days when forensic audio involved racks and racks of equipment are gone.
Today's forensic audio investigators can call upon sophisticated, specialised equipment. However, although some analogue recording technologies are considered a thing of the past, they still have huge significance in today's audio forensics world. Analogue recordings may be less common within forensic audio, but a sound working knowledge of analogue functionality and an appreciation of its characteristics is crucial to understanding where we have been and where we may go in the future.
Law enforcement agencies are gradually trusting the digital world in every aspect of forensics, and it could be said that even the audio forensics community are catching up with the professional audio industry. Well, sort of! The remit of a forensic audio laboratory is to provide audio evidence in criminal or civil investigations.
Many of the tasks will at some point involve forensic enhancement audio for use as evidence at trial. However, general advice and guidance concerning the correct capture and subsequent review of audio material is also essential. This provides what is commonly referred to as 'best evidence'. Ultimately, the responsibilities of the forensic audio laboratory are to present evidence that can be relied upon within a court of law. The role of a forensic audio practitioner is to serve the courts, as opposed to their tasking agency ie.
This involves considerable audit of processes and procedures: our work must remain repeatable by other forensic audio specialists.
The responsibility of the forensic audio professional is to act with impartiality and integrity in the pursuit of justice for all. It has been suggested by some that experts required by either the prosecution or defence are likely to consider on the side of their tasking agency.
However, this is not my experience within the forensic audio community that I serve. So what are the ways in which forensic audio can serve the interests of justice? In brief, this is the science behind establishing whether a recording is original and whether it has been tampered with, either maliciously or accidentally.
This task is not performed by all forensic audio laboratories, and requires very specialist skills and equipment. Advances in new technologies are allowing alternative methods, currently under close scrutiny by the forensic audio world for dealing with digital audio. The technique involves the collation of ENF frequency data from the National Grid and is currently being conducted in both Europe and the United States.
All digital recording devices are susceptible to induced 50Hz or 60Hz electrical network frequency, which in turn provides an identifiable waveform signature within the recording. The frequency of the alternating current supplied by the mains grid is nominally 50Hz in Europe and 60Hz in the US, but in both cases is subject to small fluctuations.
These are consistent throughout the grid, and can be used to authenticate the date of recordings containing mains hum. ENF within the UK at any given time say, on 1st January is exactly the same in London as in the Midlands, or Scotland, resulting in a consistent signature across the whole of the UK. The same is also true of both Europe and the United States. This frequency fluctuates slightly around the 50Hz or 60Hz in the US value, so at any given time it may be fractionally higher or lower; for instance, the ENF at on the 1st January may be These variations are recorded in a database, catalogued by exact time and date.
The results may then be plotted and analysed against the database to prove or disprove the recording's integrity and qualify when the actual recording took place, thus providing evidential and scientific authentication of the material in question. This scientific process is currently under review by many of the world's leading experts, and the conclusions thus far would indicate that it is both reliable and accurate. Going from pleasant to frenetic, the MP1 ably handled impressive dynamics while displaying clarity and three-dimensional soundstaging across all channels.
There was no tube-like warmth or rolled-off highs or lows -- a decidedly good thing if you like your music presented with the full range of elements intact. The MP1 served Mahler with superb clarity. Initially I had a hard time telling them apart, which led to much consternation on my part.
Over time a couple of characteristics did surface, and they helped define the two. It has an ever-so-slightly lower noise floor that makes notes float in space unimpeded. This is a very important sonic strength in my book and one that has helped allow the Orpheus Two remain my favored preamplifier for almost two years now and that means with two-channel material, too.
The ARC MP1 is no slouch in this regard, mind you, but it does have just a hint more intrinsic noise that can become apparent in low-level listening. The MP1 countered with a musically significant strength of its own.
It bettered the Orpheus Labs Two in the ability to track dynamic passages with all of the drama and fluctuation present. It took me a while to hear this, but what became clear to me was that the MP1 was able to let go of the notes quicker, thereby not robbing the music of its life and vibrancy.
Transient response was sharp as a tack, and it was quick and agile no matter what type of music I played. Both of these preamps sound so neutral, though, that I would feel I was cheating you by not pointing out an obvious fact: both offer top-tier sound.
I can count on one hand the number of preamps I think are better, and those are only two-channel-capable units. Perhaps this is not a pivotal feature for a minimalist preamp controlling a two-channel system, but for a multichannel enthusiast who also enjoys stereo listening and home theater, system functionality and the ability to shift settings and inputs on the fly are key.
The Orpheus Labs Two is a physically small component, and that alone will attract a fair number of users. It also limits just how much real estate is available for inputs and outputs. The Orpheus brain-trust has managed some mighty slick engineering to counter this limitation. What they could not do was include balanced outputs for all channels. The ARC MP1 uses to its advantage a large back panel for all of the inputs and outputs you could ever want -- and plenty of space to access each one.
At the time of this writing, Orpheus Labs does not have North American distribution, a fact that made me pause when an audiophile friend asked me to suggest a transparent multichannel preamp.
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