SFOpera - Our Newest Collaboration with Music App Developer Smule

Our Newest Collaboration with Music App Developer Smule

Over the last two years, we have been working with San Francisco-based musical app developer Smule to bring songs from productions like The Magic Flute and The Barber of Seville to the Smule Songbook, as well San Francisco Opera artist performances to the Smule platform (user name: sfopera). 

Our latest exciting collaboration gives users a taste of what it feels like to sing on stage at the War Memorial Opera House with the introduction of the “SF Opera” vocal effect in Sing! Karaoke on iOS.

The “SF Opera” effect adds reverb to the user’s voice using a process called convolution where carefully recorded sounds in the War Memorial Opera House (called impulse responses) are blended together with the sound of your voice in real time. Using math and a little magic, the effect places your voice acoustically center stage in the Opera House!

In order to do this, the folks from Smule visited the War Memorial Opera House and recorded hundreds of balloon pops and sine sweeps on the stage with microphones placed all over the opera house, from the Orchestra level all the way to the far reaches of the upper Balcony. Each one of these recordings captures the way that the War Memorial Opera House reverberates at different sound frequencies from a sound source on stage to listeners’ ears, at the locations in the opera house where Smule recorded. Every music hall sounds different and Smule spent hours combing through and editing these recordings to give the “SF Opera” effect just the right sound to place users on stage with San Francisco Opera.

The effect has already been in action on the Smule Sing! Karaoke app. It was used when creating the backing tracks to a recent batch of songs from our productions of The Magic Flute and The Barber of Seville. Users may also hear it in the performance of the “Papageno-Papagena Duet" from The Magic Flute on Sing! Karaoke, featuring Efraín Solís as Papageno and Maria Valdes as Papagena.

Some of the folks from Smule took a field trip to the War Memorial Opera House this summer, where they recorded hundreds of balloon pops and sine sweeps made on the stage with microphones placed all over the opera house, from the Orchestra level all the way to the far reaches of the upper Balcony. Each one of these recordings captures the way that the War Memorial Opera House reverberates at different sound frequencies from a sound source on stage to listeners’ ears at the locations in the opera house where we recorded. Every hall sounds different and we spent hours combing through and editing these recordings to give the “SF Opera” effect just the right sound to place you on stage with the San Francisco Opera!

You can join Efraín here, and Maria here, and put your opera chops to the test! Sing! Karaoke app users find the “SF Opera” effect nestled snugly between “Indie” and “Double You” on the Vocal Effects pane at the bottom of the singing screen in the newest version of Sing! Karaoke on iOS.

The “Reverb” slider controls how much of the opera hall’s unique acoustics you want to color the sound of your voice, and the “Room Size” slider controls the general spaciousness of the reverb.

Smule recommends setting both to around 60% to start off and then playing around with it to get the sound you like. Give it a try: the stage awaits!

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