News Image - James Pinkl

Congratulations to Electrical and Computer Engineering graduate James Pinkl who won the gold award for his design earlier this month at the 139th Audio Engineering Society Convention in New York. His submission was for a wireless vocal effects unit and controller called “The Voice Grip.”

The Voice Grip is designed for vocalists with an interest in expanding their sound palette, but are often resort to restrictive alternatives. The market for vocal performance effects is currently minimal, guitar pedal rigs and laptops are powerful tools to achieve new sounds, but they limit user stage presence when repurposed for this application. The Voice Grip is a finished project which allows performers to dial in three real time effects wirelessly. With it, vocalists can maintain control of several standard audio effects without being bound to bulky processing hardware.

“Thank you so much for all the support the past three years and for giving student members such a great opportunity,” said Pinkl. “The amount of professional and academic benefits from these trips have been beyond immense.”

Pinkl was part of the AES student section of UIC that had the opportunity to attend the AES international convention. For the past two years, there have been three design submissions – hardware and software – and an eBrief presentation on spatial audio in the campus’ CAVE2.

This year, there was involvement in the design competition and the submission of an eBrief. UIC student Bryan Dalle Molle, president of AES at UIC, submitted an open source sampler project which incorporated both software and hardware design, and presented on multi-channel audio decorrelation in the CAVE2 environment.

The student design competition is an opportunity to have industry professionals review an original project and give practical and technical feedback. Judges offer insight on the design and ask meaningful questions in an exhibition setting. The results of this year’s design competition included finalists from all over the world – Japan, Columbia, Turkey, and the United States. Judges included engineers from Cranesong, Math Works, Real Industry and additional sponsors included Focal Press, THAT Corp, and Jensen Transformers.

Pinkl received his BS in Electrical Engineering in May and recently joined Shure as Design Engineer. He was one of the key founding members of the Audio Engineering Society (AES) student chapter at UIC, and received the Caterpillar Scholarship in 2012, the Olive C. and Alfred L. Kuehn Scholarship and the Roy Howard Pollack Scholarship in 2013, and Victor and Lucy Kan Scholarship in 2014, which helped him achieve his dreams. His design entry at AES was based on his senior design project which was under the supervision of Clinical Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies Vahe Caliskan, in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.


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