The Stereo Field

With early Music Players you only got Mono sound. That is sound from one speaker. With The invention of stereo, music and movie soundtracks became much more rich and dynamic. With Surround Sound they became lifelike.The reason for this is simple. When you hear something, you hear it in a full radius around you, not from one or two directions. Stereo presents Sounds to you with two speakers, right and left. Also called Right and Left Channels.Surround sound add a center speaker for increased “in your face” ability, rear speakers, to provide realistic sensations of far away noises and movement of noises. That’s 5. surround. 7. surround sound adds two more speakers directly on either side, this increases the ability of the system to give you a full 360 degree area of sound movement.Pan is the ability to move sounds from the right speaker channel to the left. By panning any element more to one side than the other, you create both separation from the other tracks and the illusion of position for that element.When creating music the ability to move elements of the song from side to side, can help create depth and color.For example I have a dance track I created. I use one main synth loop for the majority of the track. By using Pitch shifting and effects I made the one loop sound different, while keeping the same rhythm. On some of the instances of the loop, I went in and used the Pan tool to bounce parts of the loop from one speaker channel to the other.Like this: dunt(left), duh-dunt(right), dun-ti-dunt(left), dunt-dunt(right), duh-dunt-dunt(left) di-dunt(right).You can also use it to create the illusion of sitting right in front of a band while they play.
For example: Pan the guitar off slightly to one side, the bass and keyboards to the other, with the vocals in the center. Maybe with additional vocals off to the side where the backup would be standing.For drums you can keep the kick drum centered, with the snare and tom drums arranged around the kick in an arc. Say… snare 1 is 5% left, snare 2 is 5% right, snare 3 is 10%left, snare 4 is 10% right, Tom 1 is 20%left, tom 2 is 20% right, and the big tom they only use toward the end is 40% (either, but you should get what i mean by now).Then lets say there’s a Cowbell in the center of the drum kit, so that stays centered. Lets say the band has a hi-hat and 4 crash cymbals. the first two crash cymbals are between the snare drums and snare and tom drums. So put them at 7-8% left and right, and the other two at 15% left and right. We will say the Hi-Hat is on the other side from the big tom, so we put it at 40% on the other side.By using Pan to arrange the position of the drums in the song to match what it would be like to sit right in front while the band is playing, you create a life like feeling. You can also do things like using volume and different levels of reverb to create the illusion of distance. Softer things sound further away than loud ones.In my track Demonic, there is a little beat that joins the kick beat very slowly getting louder, creating the effect of something creeping up on the listener. If you Pan Hard to one side and slowly bring it centered, while increasing volume, it sounds like something is coming closer from one side.Here’s your Home Work Assignment for this article.Listen to a song you like.Listen to it 3 or 4 times, and pay close attention to where you are hearing things coming from.

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Cementing Consumer Relationships – The Need of the Hour in the Hospitality Industry

All industries around the world are undergoing a lot of change, and the hospitality industry isn’t immune to it. Continuous technological innovation plays a major role, since it allows consumers to access information about any service or establishment within a matter of minutes. Then there is social media, which, not only permeates every industry, but also has the power to change trends and shape the future.It is no surprise, then, that consumer expectations have also increased. Gone are the days where advertising was taken at face value. We no longer have to resort to dated practices designed to collect only leads, enquiries, or hits. Today, the focus is on consumer retention and building loyalty.The hospitality industry, especially, thrives on this approach. After all, isn’t customer service everything here? Reputations hinge on popular perception, goodwill, and word of mouth. The hotel experience can be tarnished irreparably if it gets even the tiniest detail wrong about its guests, who are not averse to using social media to voice their grudges.CRM (Customer Relationship Management) hinges on the belief that building a consistent, sustainable user base is far more valuable for the business than indulging in fickle marketing practices. It also takes into account three key things in its more comprehensive form: People, processes, and technology. As the industry thrives on segmentation and uniqueness, the ‘persona’ of the hotel can only be as distinct as their consumer relationships enable them to be.This becomes even more relevant when you consider the cutthroat competition in the hospitality industry. Unless you put customer relationship at the center of all your planning and strategizing, you’ll find your audience striking your brand off their list. Then, there are other factors, like growing customer-acquisition costs, rising customer expectations, price-sensitive travellers, more sophisticated clients, an uncertain market, and decreasing brand loyalty – all of which make Consumer Relationships a focus area.Good CRM and Solid IdentityTo enhance customer relations, you need to first start working at the base, which is your brand identity. If your brand comes across as vague or undefined, your consumers are unlikely to listen to what you have to say in the first place. Your identity should be partly eternal (core values, long term mission and so on), but it should also adapt according to context.For example, millennials look for a brand that effectively uses current trends in their advertising, or a brand that is socially aware and takes steps in that direction when their services are used. They look for services that are enabled by technology and a wide range of interfaces. In this environment, if you appear traditional and antiquated, you may be falling grossly short of their expectations.Identifying your core demographic is primary. Then, you need to create a story and tonality for the brand itself, so that you can mould a concrete identity. This needs to align with your core values and company culture, because the way you treat your own employees reflects greatly on the kind of service they provide to the consumers. From then on, creating a healthy buzz about your brand on social media, keeping your audience updated about the latest in your hotel, encouraging reviewers, and addressing their concerns will become more seamless.Happy Employees and Work CultureThe hospitality industry needs to stress on employee happiness to improve consumer relationships. If your staff and other employees treat hospitality as a chore, or are driven only by fear and authority, they are hardly going to treat guests with warmth and exuberance.Hotels are also engaging in trait-based hiring, rather than simply relying on technical skills. What this means is that you need to hunt for people who find immense value in being hospitable to others. Personalities are harder to acquire, technical skills not so much.For example, take the whole process of checking in. The ‘service’ aspect is simple enough. The guest comes in, is asked for his/her ID, and then their keys are handed to them. Now, in this scenario, the receptionist can rattle off all those scripted lines they’ve picked up during training, but their demeanour, mannerism, the genuineness with which they interact with the guest matters a lot. This is where their innate characteristic of being warm and friendly shines through.An unhappy employee with a script can be damaging. Consumers are extremely smart and savvy these days and can smell fake hospitality a mile off. If your staff provides only scripted service, your guests will be put off. To set yourself apart from other establishments out there, train your employees to understand the value of emotion, warmth, and caretaking.But this cannot be achieved if they themselves are working in a stifling work environment. So, don’t forget to nurture your employees with the same warmth and consideration that you’d want them to extend to the guests in the hotel.Technological HelpFostering a good relationship with your consumers means that you will match, and exceed consumer expectations at every point. Matching expectations is significantly easier for brands that have a strong presence with a set standard of service, but that just doesn’t cut it anymore. Consumers are actively seeking out better experiences, and like we said before, the same old cookie cutter offerings and amenities holds no value for them at all.So how can you direct consumer behaviour? By implementing the right tools and technologies, of course. Analytics software is especially potent in this regard. Analytics can help you determine the following things and more:

Customer Demographic

Guest responses to specific services

Consumer interests in the current context

Distribution

Transactional Activity
This means you can identify exactly what the guests like and customize your services accordingly. In fact, personalization is THE key to differentiation in an already inundated market. Marketing campaigns also succeed if they’re highly segmented and targeted. Even pricing strategies can be manipulated, like the Marriott has been doing. They used analytics and customer feedback to rearrange their rooms according to the type of traveller that would stay there – leisure, business, or even families – where more storage space was provided. They also armed their front desk with smartphones and tablets so that they could know what to expect from customers along with their requirements.Consumer relationships are also cemented with the help of loyalty programs. However, most hotels don’t provide programs that cater to the guest’s requirements, because the don’t know what in particular will increase retention. With analytics, you can do all this and more, so definitely consider including it in your marketing strategy.Another thing to examine is split testing – you can use a sandbox to test out your potential campaigns and determine their efficacy before implementing them on a large scale. It always helps to have foresight so that you don’t do damage control later – with fora like TripAdvisor and Lonely Planet, even one mistake might dent your reputation considerably.Getting in Touch, and Extraneous ElementsAny interpersonal relationship requires communication that is open, and transparent. More importantly, it should be consistent. This goes for your customers, too, especially in a service-heavy industry like hospitality.When you talk communication, you must discuss mobile – because mobile is the most predominant channel that is used today. According to WOW Local Marketing, 52% of customers are less likely to engage with the company because of a bad mobile experience. That’s more than half of them, who are probably spreading the word about your ineptitude. Furthermore, 55% of customers focus on your website experience to formulate their opinions – so scalability for both the mobile and web matter.Customers would also like more transparent channels to communicate, and will appreciate as little redirection as possible. Remember that time you had to go through at least five representatives to solve a simple query? And remember you frustrated you got, but you had to grit and bear it all the same? Well, don’t make your customers go through a similar experience, because you don’t want them to take back negative memories of their stay with you.Empowering your employees with the power to make decisions is something I want to stress on particularly here. The more able they are when it comes to solving the guest’s problems without having to redirect them or seek permission from their bosses, the more assured the guest will be – and will surely return, owing to the efficiency of your employees.Communication channels also need to extend to collecting reviews and addressing concerns on the fly. The guest or consumer may provide critical feedback, which you will need to address immediately. If they think their opinions and queries are disappearing into a void, well… that’s exactly where your business might be headed too.Lastly, take a look at your activities in the local community. If you engage in activities that address social issues and give back to the community, the image of your brand is bolstered considerably. The guest will not only look at your brand from a utilitarian perspective, they will also feel better because they chose you, and not another dispassionate establishment that shows no responsibility towards the society at all.In the end, we all know that strengthening customer relationships is not an overnight activity. It requires patience, timed responses, improvisation and an accurate reading of the industry in order to be effective. However, if done right, it can take your brand way beyond the conventional players in the hospitality industry.

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Medicare 101: Making Your Health Care Coverage Options Easy to Understand

Simple questions like ‘What is Medicare?’ or ‘What are my health care options?’ are oftentimes followed by complex answers. Medicare beneficiaries, their loved ones and caregivers may be left even more confused and even doubtful about their health care coverage.That’s why Touchstone Health created this “Medicare 101″ series in everyday language. We will dive into world of Medicare, breaking down benefits into easy to understand informationThis four part series will explain:Original Medicare
Medicare Parts A and B
Medicare Parts C and D
Your Medicare Coverage Options?Part I: WHAT IS ORIGINAL MEDICARE?In this first installment of Touchstone Health’s “Medicare 101″, we are going to explore the ins and outs of Original Medicare.So What is Original Medicare?
Medicare is a fee-for-service health insurance plan provided by the government. Fee-for-service means you have to pay a set amount for each type of service you get before Medicare pays its share.Original Medicare is composed of Parts A and B, providing coverage hospital and medical insurance coverage directly. Part A is hospital insurance, which helps cover inpatient care in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, hospices and home health care. Part B is medical insurance, which helps cover doctors’ services, hospital outpatient care and home health care. Part B also helps cover some preventive services to help maintain your health.Who Can Get Original Medicare?
To be eligible for Medicare, you must be 65 or older, under 65 with certain disabilities, or have End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) – permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant). You may be automatically enrolled in Part A and Part B under certain circumstances.If you are turning 65 within the next 3 months, or have turned 65 within the past 3 months, now is the time to select a plan if you haven’t already done so. Waiting too long could leave you without medical coverage and cost you more in the long run.Call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 for more information about your Medicare eligibility, and to sign up for Part A and/or Part B.What Do You Pay with Original Medicare?
You usually have to pay a deductible (a set amount for your health care) before Medicare pays its share. Then, Medicare pays its share, and you pay your share (coinsurance/copayment) for covered services and supplies. There is no yearly limit for what you pay out-of-pocket.You may be eligible for premium-free Part A coverage. However, you usually pay a monthly premium for Part B.Can You Go to Any Doctor or Hospital?
You can go to doctor, supplier, hospital or facility that is enrolled in Medicare and is accepting new Medicare patients.Are Prescription Drugs Covered?
Most prescription drugs are not covered under Original Medicare. You need to sign up for a Part D Medicare Prescription Drug Plan if you want comprehensive prescription drug coverage.Do You Need to Choose a Primary Care Doctor?
No.Do You Have to Get a Referral to See a Specialist?
No, but the specialist needs to accept Medicare.How Do You File Claims? You usually don’t need to file Medicare claims. The law requires providers (like doctors, hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and home health agencies) and suppliers to file your claims for the covered services and supplies you get.- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -

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