Barry's Page: Featured Links, rants,
fun stuff, relevant scientific info...
Because of the fluid nature of the web, some of these links
below will disappear, be swallowed up, reappear in another
dimension, be re-linked and renamed perhaps correctly, and
so on. I try to keep checking, but you know...
there are 28,668 links on this site that I have found and
I once wrote a report / thesis / diatribe
/ article about Analog is Really Digital. That is, as
you get down to smaller and smaller voltages and currents,
where do you wind up? At the individual electron stage.
Therefore a single electron represents a "something"
as opposed to a "nothing". so it's no longer
a continuum, it's "pieces".
Now this: Detecting
The Softest sounds In The Universe Shhhhh...
|The Journal of the Acoustical
Society of America has a very nice comprehensive article
about smartphone measurement apps here:
article about what happens when you spend $843 MILLION on
a concert hall.
an interesting DIY method of removing noise, pops, and clicks
Obscura again, with an article How
Sound Affects the Way You Taste Food on Airplanes
for December 2017, Atlas
Obscura has a unique story about an audio device
that bursts into flame.
Selenophone, a Short-Lived, Highly Flammable Sound-Recording
and, closer to home, this:
the Boston Public Librarys Forgotten Record Collection
links - April
(any April will do)
Time to get serious about frivolity.
The ubiqitous EveAnna Manley goes
to an audio meeting of The Hollywood Sapphire Group www.hollywoodsapphiregroup.com
and the further down their page you go, the better it
gets. In fact I don't have to post ALL the links because
you can find them yourselves. Amazing, an audio group
older than the BAS. Whuda thunk?
Well, ok. Maybe I will post just a
few links. This one is not to be missed if you want to
filter out bad sounds from your solid state devices: www.altmann.haan.de/tubeolator
Combining electronics seriousness
with fun is what www.sparkfun.com
is all about. If you're a DIY'er you'll find it fascinating.
I'm always on the lookout for interesting
Here's a superb batch: www.cepd.com/calculators.htm
The attenuator page is especially interesting and useful.
In the previous posts I have linked
to a number of interesting if not peculiar "military"
audio devices, the latest of which is here: www.gizmag.com/lrad-long-range-acoustic-device/11433
. Quite frankly the specs are not exactly exciting,
and clearly none of the military purchasing agents responsible
for the contract has ever been to a Nickelback concert.
And one last winner, passed along
by Klay Anderson of Klay Anderson Audio fame (www.klay.com)
...this sets a new low standard, even for Craigslist...
HERE !!!! Unbelievable.
links - Spring (any spring)
It's been way too long a-ramblin...
From our very own neck of the woods
(Nantucket, to be exact...) comes this story of remarkable
audio restoration, and of how Jamie Howarth has won a
Grammy Award for the restoration of a Woodie Guthrie wire
recording. The story of the Grammy Award is here: www.sciencenews.org/articles/20080209/mathtrek.asp
and their homepage is here: www.plangentprocesses.com
David Pogue, columnist for the New
York times, sums up everything you need to know about
music and video wars on the internet in this 4 minute
video ditty, here: www.ted.com/talks/view/id/196
...well, maybe not everything you need to know.
I often enjoy the rantings of technical
curmugeons, hoping to be a professional curmudgeon myself
someday, so in tying into the above video and music download
explanation you might enjoy the technical musings of Robert
X Cringley, posted on PBS, here: www.pbs.org/cringely
Hit the ARCHIVE button and snoop around.
When paper magazines arrive, over
the years I've found myself heading straight for one section
or columnist. In Mix magazine, rest his soul, it was Stephen
St. Croix. He ALWAYS said what I wanted to but
said it about 6dB funnier. In PC Magazine it's John Dvorak's
columns (and his Cranky Geeks online TV show). The jumping
off place is here: www.pcmag.com/category2/0,2806,3574,00.asp
links of the Month - July
Happy Birthday, Tesla !
General audio testing on a PC, such
as oscilloscope functions, RTA, Spectrum Analysis, measurements
in the phase domain, etc have come a long way in the last
few years, easily surpassing large/bulky/expensive dedicated
measuring devices of years past. For the fall months (and
the start of the school year) I will try to post a comprehensive
list; an update to what we already have HERE.
(See the column on the right...)
But for now, there is a very interesting
and comprehensive tutorial and demo software package available
from a Japanese company YMEC Software. The actual software
download page is here: www.ymec.com/eg.htm
The tutorial, called Introduction to Simple Sound
Measurement for your Notebook Computer is here: www.ymec.com/hp/signal2/index.htm
Nikola Tesla's birthday is
July 10th and in honor of one of my heroes, here are some
links for the month. In 1958, John Weisner and I (mostly
John...in fact 98% John...) built a Tesla coil using a
pole pig and a push-pull pair of 813's, modulated with,
um, noise, which managed to disrupt much of the broadcast
band and then some in the Albany / Schenectady area for
a couple of days at least. This is the 12 year old kid's
ham radio equivalent of today's hacking, not unlike climbing
a mountain because it's there. Over the years I
have met a few Teslaphiles who are almost religious in
their following. Enjoy!
While a google of Tesla returns more
than 12 million links (and no, I haven't quite had the
time to view them all...) some of the links are both illuminating
and worthwhile. For example:
And two other wiki articles HERE
The Tesla Memorial Society of New York: www.teslasociety.com
The Tesla Foundation of North America: www.tesla.org/
The amateur science Tesla page with MANY links: http://amasci.com/tesla/tesla.html
From our Aussie friends, there's this REMARKABLE
Jim Glenn's page of Tesla's patents: www.hbci.com/~wenonah/new/tesla.htm
In case you want to rent a large Tesla coil for your next
party, check this out: www.teslasystems.com
The BBC has their take: www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/alabaster/A486182
Tesla Technology Research builds GORGEOUS Tesla
coils for museums and such: www.ttr.com
Here are some videos: We
start with an audio modulated tesla coil video
...and another: www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tKo_3DzdSU
Here's a video and story of how a Tesla Coil is built:
There's a solid state Tesla coil here: http://hackedgadgets.com/2006/04/17/solid-state-tesla-coil/
There's an interesting summation here:
A refreshingly different Fortean Times viewpoint here:
Then we have a Wardenclyffe Project
site here: www.teslascience.org
and another article here: www.damninteresting.com/?p=703
Some fellow named Bert Hickman has
a site called Stoneridge Engineering, "Teslamania"
...while Bart Anderson has the Classic Tesla site here:
Another links page, thanks to Laura
and Emily... HERE
I saved the best for last: the motherlode
of Tesla links, here:
and THIS JUST IN:
A handsome and well done presentation! Kits! Goodies!
links of the Month -
Bob Katz and the Digital Domain
Bob Katz is a world renowned
Mastering Engineer whose accomplishments read like a who's
who in the industry. You can read all about his remarkable
facility, and his inventions, and his book,
(highly recommended) here: www.digido.com.
His site is actually quite enormous,
and the audio
FAQ section alone, with comments by most of the other
world famous engineers, will keep you busy for hours.
He has just installed a pair of JL
Audio Fathom 112 subwoofers in his facility in Florida,
are his comments.
links - Spring 2007
The issue of the speed
of sound has come up many times and I thought
I'd finally do something about it. Don Davis in his book
Sound System Engineering, uses 1130 ft/sec
and that is what I have used for the last 40+ years of
calculations. Considering the effort put forth by humans
measuring the speed of light, the relative ambiguity of
the speed of sound is positively amazing.
However certain anal retentive mathemeticians
have a plethora of their own ideas about this, which you
might wish to peruse...
google = 340.29 m/sec = 1116.4 ft/sec
(hmmm... maybe it's cold at Google headquarters because
they're overcompensating for the heat produced by the
The Georgia State physics dept. has
I admit this is my favorite one...
Nasa has their own ideas...
In Glenbrook IL, it's 343m or 1125.3
The wikipedia does have a superb explanation,
which comes out to (at 68 degrees F)
343.4 m = 1126.6 ft/sec.
Mathpages.com has a complex explanation
starting with Isaac Newton and LaPlace and progressing
through yet another unique explanation, arriving at (to
quote them) "...the true value being about 1116 ft/sec"
Wolfram research has a complete and
smoothly elegant explanation here:
Pico Technology has a chart which
shows the effects of humidity, along with a cute oscilloscope
There's a quickie explanation with
a (temperature input) calculator here, and their answer
at 68 degrees F is 343.6 m /sec or 1127.3 ft /sec
calculator which simultaneously outputs the speed of sound
in Miles Per Hour, Knots Per Hour, Meters per Second,
Feet per Second, and Kilometers per Hour:
There's also a handy frequency-to-wavelength
chart on my own website, here:
(only slightly shameless
self-promotion; after all, it's free)
These freq-to-wavelength charts are
vely helpful in figuring out room acoustics, especially
the Allison effect, explained here:
oops, I removed the link because it went to a scam portal.
As soon as I re-find the article I'll post it.
And here's another I missed: www.sengpielaudio.com/calculator-wavelength.htm
There's also an entire fascinating page of OTHER calculator
links here: www.sengpielaudio.com/Calculations03.htm
links of the Month
If you do any DIY work, are involved
with equipment construction or internal tinkering, or
get involved with any older or vintage tube audio / radio
/ ham radio equipment then you need this software: www.electronicsgenius.com
. Steve has an electronics store in Largo Florida that
almost defies description; imagine a cross between You
Do It and Apex
run by a ham radio genius from an episode of The Twilight
Zone. (and that's a compliment...) An immense identification
and cross reference of parts, components, tubes (including
Soviet, mil and vintage codes)...how about obscure phono
stylii, you get the idea. Get it! And P.S.: If you're
ever in Sun Valley, CA make it a point to visit Apex,
and similarly, if you're ever in Winter Park, Florida,
visit Skycraft. You'll be like a kid in a candy store.
Lucky for us that the world is populated
with the occasional mad scientist. This filter design
offering from AADE (Almost All Digital Electronics) (
) will keep you enchanted for hours.
For general engineering assistance,
calcs and conversions I've experimented with a few but
this one wins hands down: www.pwr-tools.com
. Barry Opdahl has done an exemplary job of squeezing
a library full of reference manuals into a convenient,
fast, and useful program, and there are 2 versions, a
free one and a "+plus" version.
links of the Month
Audioholics has a large and complex
site with forums and terrific articles. What better way
to stir up the autumn witches brew than to peruse these
Well, HALLOWEEN is about SPOOKY,
the BAS is about AUDIO, and audio is about MUSIC,
and, well, music is about VIBRATION, and well,
perhaps you can see where I'm going with this... prepare
to learn about SVP, or Sympathetic
Vibratory Physics, and their homepage... www.svpvril.com
all in keeping with the trend I started last year at this
time... and the results of my "Does Halloween affect
kids?" survey are in. Take
a look. Trick or Treat !
links of the Month
Years ago, before they invented neighbors,
I used to play the trumpet. While researching a piece
on the history of horns, I came across a number of excellent
sites that you might enjoy.
From the University Of New South Wales,
the Acoustics of Brass Instruments:
and while you're there, there are also acoustics sections
on Flutes, Clarinet, Saxophone, Guitar, Violin, and more;
and what visit to down under would be complete without
an explanation of the Didjeridu?
And there is a tremendous brass blog
here, beautifully written and crosslinked:
But back to brass and acoustics, where
this history of the bugle is superb:
And in case you're at a barbecue this
month, and anyone asks you how you like your burger, be
sure to say, "More Cowbell!"
links of the Month
A very VOCAL microphone
Wow, it's been a busy summer so far,
and I've slipped a bit in posting these blog-tomes*...
so why not let someone else do the talking?
Here then www.microphonium.blogspot.com
, a superbly entertaining blog by Bob Crowley and
Hugh Tripp of Crowley & Tripp Microphones and Soundwave
Their main website is here: www.soundwaveresearch.com
* not to be confused with the Blog-Tones,
or any of the other obscure fun acapella groups from the
late 60's such as Methyl Ethyl and the Ketones.
I also HAD to add this link
just because: http://blueballfixed.ytmnd.com
It's amazing, but someone needs to get out more.
links of the Month
A spiritual visit from I. Lirpa
Those of you who are old enough to
have met or read about the interminable Mr. Lirpa will
agree with me that ANY visit from the esteemed gentleman
is an honor, all jokes notwithstanding. For years his
brilliant and weighty (literally...) inventions graced
the pages of Audio Magazine, and it is with a tip of the
historical hat that I ever so humbly present some offerings
which I can only guess were inspired by I. Lirpa's genius.
Oddly enough, a google search will only reveal scant information
about this secretive genius, yet the mere mention of his
name in certain technical circles is enough to cause joyful
havoc among the constituents.
Actually most of the thanks for this
month's content go to Wes Phillips, one of the resident
geniuses at Stereophile,
whos columns/journals/blogs (as mentioned below, for January
2006) I would not miss (nor should you) and some of whose
links I am honored to pass along.
While nearly everyone makes fun of
Professor I. Lirpa, who among us cannot appreciate the
scientific contribution of such devices as the cement
turbo steam turntable (and rowboat), the shower microphone,
the 5kg (antivibration) tonearm, the inflatable audio
reviewer, and the ZYX phono system? I have it on pretty
good authority that the famous Rane
PsuedoAcoustic Infector ( PDF file, HERE
120k ) was inspired by the good professor's work.
Here then are some audio-connected
and I. Lirpa inspired musings for the Month of April,
starting with the web page where everyone gets 'those'
pictures from... right here - the Acoustic
See the King of Audio HERE.
Professor Lirpa would LOVE this hamster
powered midi music machine. What, you think that's
easy? OK, YOU build something that cool and submit
it for next year!
And speaking of building things, here's
... Audio clothing, (otherwise known as Sonic
Fabric), and at least one of the world's
largest subwoofers... ahhh, but here's the OTHER
Professor Lirpa would appreciate racecars
built out of cassette machines, here
... and as long as we're out on the open road how
about a little vinyl?
One of the reasons you don't hear
much about the professor any more is that someone told
me he was working for Sony. Hmmm, you don't believe me?
Take a look at this
page from free patents online, with a PDF of the abstract
(the patent site places a session
cookie on your machine and it seems you have to access
the PDF from INSIDE the first
In your audio travels you will surely
want to visit here
, one of the most enchanting and flawlessly done flash
/ audio sites around.
And if you want to beat the drums
right now, try this.
A little more animé in approach, but still self
generated, is this
site. As long as we're on track of pointless obfuscation,
(small hint: once you get inside, mouseover and
We have more "Things In A Class
By Themselves" here on our own Links
Page 5, about halfway down the page on the left, and
in case you missed last year's April fun, it's near the
bottom of this page, HERE
Surround Sound setup inspired
by the great professor
Maybe not quite in an audio vein,
but one of Professor I. Lirpa's students (and a genius
in his own right) is Professor Irwin Corey, whose homepage
I'm sure you will see the connection.
There's more to come if I can find
it, or if you can submit it, email me here: webmaster@BostonAudioSociety.org Let's
give the good professor his own honorable page in history!
links of the Month
Happy Holidays ! A time for
rejoicing, merriment and presents. And although
'tis better to give than receive, sometimes (just
sometimes) you have to get yourself a present
just to put the world into proper perspective...
So this month we examine various
add-on goodies to your audio system, from the sublime
to the ridiculous, since shouldn't a present be
a little frivolous?
For the one audio website that's
simply over the top, above and beyond; if you're
the kinda guy who simply HAS to have 2 Ferraris,
perhaps because one is always off getting polished,
or perhaps so you can A - B them through
the S-Curves, then check out www.exoticaudio.org
, and may your holiday dreams come true! This site
takes Dave Barry's line, "There is a very
fine line between "hobby" and "mental
illness" to soaring, new heights.
OOPS! sorry - as
of 2007 the exoticaudio site is closed. Sorry you
As for me, I have spent many
years experimenting and tweaking in search of ALL
the holy grails of audio and the one fabulous device
that keeps my attention AND keeps audio fun is the
204. Moan all you want about the purist approach
to audio (much more on this shortly) but the first
time you play a Miles Davis CD through this thing
and hear brushes on the snare that you never knew
were there, or hear a bowed bass playing way, way,
way in the back of the studio, you will be hooked.
And the first time you play some rock n roll CD
which used to sound like it had cardboard drums
and spitting rattlesnakes for cymbals and now you
can make it sound, well, "pretty darned good",
you will really love it. I have mine
on an umbilical cord (made from Mogami 2931, here:
) so it can sit on my lap and I can play with it
for each song. I guarantee this is the most
bang-for-the-buck fun you will ever have in audio,
for an MSRP of $399, and you need 4 RCA-RCA cables
and 4 Phono Jack -->Phone Plug adapters necessary
to interface with most home systems.
I arranged to have Colin Miller
at Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity check
one out for himself, and he has written a most remarkable
and complex review HERE.
I have also very successfully
set up 3 units ( = 6 channels ) patched in the analog
outs of a DVD player; this gives you awesome control
over all 5.1 channels of a home theater surround
presentation, ( I suggest doing this BEFORE any
Bass Management) and does a compelling job of improving
essentially anything that goes through it. Aphex
also makes a plethora of other wonderful audio processing
devices, each exemplary in their class. While most
of the processing devices I mention are intended
for professional applications, there are many reasons
to implement (or at least experiment with ) such
goodies in any exotic higher-end audiophile ( i.e.
home as opposed to 'studio' ) system. While
adjusting 36 controls might seem slightly daunting
to some, it's nothing compared with some mixing
boards with 7,000 knobs. And in all seriousness
you get used to the unit operationally VERY quickly.
Now don't get me wrong. We could
spend DAYS, if not a lifetime, discussing about
what's right or wrong about recording and mixing
audio (or whether it should be 'mixed' at all...)
and the various combinations of setups, microphones,
placement, mic preamps, wire (ahem, interconnects...)
power amps, and monitor speakers that are necessary
(or not) to capture the elusive soul of the recording,
ideally in its 3-D holographic acoustic space, and
preserve this musical splendor, with all its emotional
nuance, for days or generations to come. Whew!
But what we have, right or wrong,
for better or worse, at the end of the day, is a
REPEATABLE CD (or DVD or tape...) in our
hand. That CD, or DVD is not going to change - it's
going to be the same today, tomorrow, and next week,
(hence the oft-maligned "perfect sound forever"
line...) therefore you CAN experiment with it and
A-B various combinations of settings or preamps
or amps or speakers just as a listening experience
in and of itself, always knowing that you can go
back to square one, just in case.
Here's a spin... If we extrapolate
certain philosophies, such as espoused by Lexicon
and Yamaha - and I love to play devil's advocate
here - we might purposefully make original [studio]
recordings which are dry and 'confined' (perhaps
just close miked), and then process this dry sound
totally "choosing" the psychoacoustic
playback space, and presumably position within that
space. The playback space would be resynthesized
from algorithims made from measurements made at
all the world's great acoustic auditoriums... or
simply "invented" from front panel settings...
or perhaps drawn on a computer screen.
If we examine this philosophy
from a classical standpoint, we can then playback
a piano solo and choose whether we are in Carnegie
Hall, or the Boston Symphony - or in Smoky Joe's
Cafe. We could even introduce the clinking glasses
and background conversation chatter into the surround
channels if we wished.
But imagine we play back a rock
"concert". Perhaps we want to catch the
vibe from out in the middle of the audience. Perhaps
we want to experience what the musicians hear onstage.
Perhaps we want to feel as though WE are the guitar
player, standing RIGHT IN FRONT OF that stack of
Marshalls... or perhaps we want to A-B all of those
positions and then decide which we want to play
again later. Technically this is certainly possible,
if not a totally plausible scenario.
All if not most of the "party
modes" (and resynthesis modes, and anything
above 5 channel surround) built into modern home
theater receivers are an implementation of this
philosophy to some extent. Of course you can get
carried away... playing the London Symphony through
a "Smoky French Cafe at midnight" synthesized
reverb switch position might not exactly be your
cup of tea. Or it might.
There's a very interesting psychoacoustic
paradigm which takes over after awhile. As mentioned
below, playing with a studio reverb processor, a
pair of headphones, and a single input microphone
can be wildly entertaining. But as you slowly increase
the reverb parameters, something odd happens: as
you listen, your entire psychoacoustic mechanism
seems to phase lock onto this new "sound"...
until IT becomes the norm, and turning the reverb
down or off then becomes "wrong". This
whole enjoyable and remarkably educational field
of experimentation is not to be missed by any serious
student of the world of audio.
I had the pleasure of helping
to design and build what was considered one of the
very few ultimate equalizers in the world, built
into the Crystal Sound recording and mixing board,
designed by the late Andrew Berliner and an illustrious
plethora of outside consultant engineers. There
were many occasions when visiting mixers and audio
engineers were literally moved to tears when they
would say that for the first time in their life
(or career...), they turned a knob and finally some
electronic circuit responded in an emotionally fulfilling
way that they had only previously heard in their
Equalizers are fun. Equalizers
are interesting. Equalizers are dangerous. And of
course equalizers don't make anything equal; they
help to make things NOT equal !
If an A-440 note played
on a trumpet and an A-440 note played on a guitar
were "equal", than they would both
sound the same! The fact that they are NOT equal,
and have a completely different attack, sustain,
decay and release envelope, and have differing
amplitude and phase relationships pertaining
to EACH part of their harmonic structure, is
the essence of what enables us as listeners
to both recognize them and tell them apart.
Imagine two identical Martin acoustic guitars,
one with metal strings, one with nylon strings.
And as we get closer and closer to the "same
sound" one of the differentiations is the
panning position in the stereo mix. If we were
to hear these two instruments coming out of
the same mono speaker, we would be VERY hard
pressed to tell them apart.
So learning about equalizers
and how to use and abuse them is also very entertaining;
and while the more dramatic use would be when an
EQ is applied to each separate microphone channel,
you can certainly enjoy when the overall stereo
2-channel mix has been "fixed" (or broken...)
with an overall equalizer. During the mastering
process, MOST of the time, an equalizer is
applied to the overall mix as part of the magic
"final sonic seasoning", one of the last
steps before you, the listening and tasting audience,
get to taste the audio wares.
Probably the number one equalizer
ever made and available for purchase especially
for the home has to be the Cello Audio Palette (a
Stereophile review HERE)
built by the real Mark Levinson. Good luck on finding
one: it's a bargain at $30,000.
A more affordable and SUPERB
equalizer, with exemplary circuit design and performance,
is the Meyer
CP-10 . This is one of the very few devices
capable of properly fixing what most people refer
to as "room problems"... except that you
cannot really fix a "room problem" without
fixing the room itself, but you can attempt to compensate
somewhat in the opposite or inverse direction so
that you are attempting to subtract from the audio
coming out of the speakers whatever the room anomaly
is; in the hope that two wrongs make a right. Sometimes
they do. Sometimes the result is like seasoning
food - a little goes a long way and too much is
simply too much. But the joy of discovery and experimentation
-- that is the gift.
Many other companies make EQ's,
from combinations of parametrics to 1/6, 1/3, 1/2
and one octave adjustment points; from crossovers
to simple in-line devices that are patched in if
necessary or desired; the world of EQ is an amazing
one that should be part of your audio experience.
Check out the offerings at Rane ( www.rane.com ),
dbx professional ( www.dbxpro.com ),
and doing a search on google
will pleasantly overload your inputs for days.
Perhaps you're located in the
chilly northern parts of our fair land, and you
need something to warm you up. Well TUBES
RULE as you will no doubt notice if you
where Eveanna Manley will keep you warm and entertained
for hours with her unique brilliance and awesome
We have our own links section
devoted to tubes on links PAGE
4, as well, and there is a nice page of tube
(ahem, valve) links here: www.audiotools.com/valve.html
There are plenty of interesting
and fascinating tube designs out there. Here are
a two: Jim Fosgate's all tube surround sound processor:
; and Kevin Hayes offerings: www.vac-amps.com
There are also other processors
that are simply interesting, weird, bizarre, but
nontheless fun, and I would be remiss if I didn't
include professional reverb /echo devices. I once
spent a week one night buried under a pair of headphones
connected to a Lexicon PCM70; the input to the unit
was a SINGLE MICROPHONE sitting on the table. Simply
playing with the sound(s) of my own and others'
voices kept me enraptured for a long time. Our own
Lexicon, in Waltham, was and is one of the original
manufacturers of professional digital processing
/ reverberation devices, and their studio units
are the standard of the world. Investigate them
We all know that much of the
time, one hand has no idea what the other hand is
doing: the AM radio world doesn't speak to the FM
radio world; the HIFI world doesn't speak to the
Surround-Sound world; and as an even more extreme
example, the live sound world (i.e. rock concerts)
doesn't speak to the world of installed sound, such
as houses of worship and discos... neither speak
to the "70 Volt" world of distributed
sound in airports... and yet their common denominator
is audio, amplification, speakers, microphones,
and so on. Yet the philosophies, jargon, buzzwords,
and so on are rather different. MOST of the so-called
PRO audio equipment, while suggested for the +4
world of "Pro" nonetheless interfaces
quite well, thank you, with the "consumer"
world of "-10". And yet, because
of dealership and distribution, the worlds of HIFI,
Pro, "Installed Sound" and MI hardly ever
mingle. That is one reason when I suggest (or demonstrate)
a Professional piece in a so-called consumer system
everyone is always so blown away -- they had NO
IDEA such things were possible, or even available!
If you have difficulty interfacing
so-called consumer / semi-pro / prosumer / PRO equipment,
check out these remarkable interface boxes made
by (again) Aphex: the Model
228 Audio Interface and the Model
124 Audio Interface . One of the best tutorials
for interfacing audio equipment is the PDF user
manual of the Model 204, here: www.aphex.com/pdf/204/Aphex_204_user_man.pdf
1.4Mb). The 204 mentioned above needs no additional
interfacing devices other than perhaps an adapter
(or 4 wires...) ; it connects to and from anything.
Take a look at some of the offerings
from Drawmer ( www.drawmer.com ),
TC Electronic ( www.tcelectronic.com ),
Eventide ( www.eventide.com )
( check out the H8000 HERE ),
Behringer ( www.behringer.com )
, and read about the grandaddy of the digital reverb
devices, the EMT 250 HERE
with some nostalgia about the older metal 'plate'
reverbs and how they were built. Do you think that
the 'digital' sound of CD's or DVD's is harsh?
Do you yearn for the kinder, gentler days of soft
tape saturation and pleasantly involving even-order
harmonic distortion? Check out what Rupert Neve
has done, HERE.
If you really want to have the
last word in control of your audio environment,
(bad pun...sorry) check out the Vocal Eliminator:
. Now you can sing along with Sinatra, or replace
him with your own voice track. The history of their
development from simple "wiring channels out
of phase" to today's digital processing is
quite an accomplishment, and a story of dedication.
ALL of the devices listed above
are real hardware boxes. Some processing gadgetry
is ALSO available (or sometimes ONLY available)
as software plug-ins for digital audio workstations,
but even in their best implementation there is no
substitute for the hands-on analog feel of a real
processing device - as cute as the computer screen
pictures make the gadgets look. Some of the processing
devices really are ALL ANALOG (such as the Aphex
devices) while some are all really digital inside,
with an analog front end input and corresponding
analog output, but all digital in the middle. All
the Lexicon and Eventide reverb devices would be
an example of this.
Perhaps you want to have a bit
o' winter fun without disturbing others - you need
headphones/earphones, right? Not those $2.98 (or
even $29.95) foam earbuds that everyone has plugged
into their ipods, but something, well, more serious.
Very much more serious. Of course the BAS has done
wonderfully comprehensive reviews of headphones,
and we have a links section here: links
page 4 (right column, near the middle). My suggestion?
You haven't lived until you connect up Etymôtic
Research model 4's, HERE
directly to your power amp, with buildout resistors,
and a good dual pot... (email me HERE
if you need the circuit) These are not a toy! As
I used to say in my audio store, Prepare to be Amazed!
So here's the scenario: Santa
comes down the chimney, and decides to relax for
a bit, sitting in a superb
leather "theater" chair, a pair of
4's nestled in his beard, a just-big-enough
subwoofer strapped to his chest, and the chair
is loaded with buttkickers,
and they are properly timed for the best psychoacoustic
response with a nice Rane
digital delay, and the Buttkickers are also
equalized with a nice Rane
EQ, and the whole mix is going through a Dolby
Headphone circuit, as our Santa enjoys his milk
... And if I were Santa, I'd put a shot of Amaretto
Di Saronno into that milk or toddy or coffee or...
This section started out as
a links-of-the-month page, and due to the branching,
sometimes schizophrenic nature of the web, it's
all too easy to just let the mouse wander about
by itself, and see what happens... well, this month's
click only offering is here: www.one-electron.com/links.html
Above all, enjoy the holiday
season, and may your season be filled with magic
and love and great audio.
links of the Month - November 2005
aware that many offsite links attempt to place malware,
scumware, spyware, scripts, tracking cookies and ads on
your computer, and having a cognizant program of protection,
such as using Webroot AND Malwarebytes (they get along)
is a very prudent move.
ON THIS BELOW
November... Time to kick back, relax,
eat too much turkey, and sit in the ol' easy chair (sweet
spot to you audiophiles) and soak up some tunes. But wait,
what shall we listen to this year? Where are the cool
places to find music that's recorded (and perhaps mixed)
well, not some crummy clipped compressed low bitrate hodgepodge
that some kid did on his laptop, but some serious audio
goodies, destined to show off our awesome systems and
fill up our emotional spaces with the nuances of great
performances? Where indeed!!!
To get your blood going, and warm
things up a bit, check out John Novello's new CD,
ORGANIK, on his own site, www.KeysNovello.com
. Be prepared to enter another dimension of jazz fusion...
He also has amazing stories to tell and some incredible
books. Don't miss it.
Somewhat more local to Boston is a
most unusual band / group / experience called BellevueCadillac.com
, which bills itself as Jazz, Gospel, Blues & Soul,
Swing on top of Rock N' Roll... which about says it
all! They play the local area (and then some) and have
worthwhile CD's and DVD's available. Professor Bell will
Magazine has its own Records
To Die For section, the if-I-were-going-to-a-desert-island-what-would-I-take
collections, and yearly, they make for some lively reading
On the other side of the pond we have
a similar bent, assembled for us by the kind folks at
Hi-Fi & AV Online . (try saying that fast 6 times)
Look for the links to Digital Discs and
then the Year and Month on the menu
on the right side of the page. The page can't be easily
linked because it's in nested frames...
Perhaps you want some visuals with
that audio, for your new Home Theater? Well, Audio Video
Revolution and Modern Home Theater have teamed up to provide
some VERY well written and extensive reviews of DVD's
Of course being audiophiles, we love
to experiment - with nearly everything. And here's just
the ticket: a foray into the perception and memory for
sound, with extensive examples, albums, and a decidely
scientific and professional bent that should enchant you
for some time. Check out Philomel
Records and Diana Deutch's own page, HERE
And if you just happen to be into
collecting sound effects (as oppposed to, say, music...)
Project will be a nice surprise.
But back to the basics (and I don't
mean sine waves and test tones) but to building a classical
collection, especially if you're just starting and need
a bit of a push... look at www.classical.net
and also www.classical.com
each perhaps intended to outdo the other...
Let's not forget the more mainstream
record companies, many of whom have superb new listings
and websites. Here's Sony
and BMG , BMG
/ RCA Red Seal, Brana
Records , Angel
Music (let's not forget John Eargle's exemplary work),
Classics , NAXOS
in Denmark, and don't miss the Sibelius
Academy in Finland (The Sibelius violin concerto is
one of my favorites).
The British Library has a master listing
of classical record companies HERE
, and there's an oddly complete and esoteric overall listing
, at Trovar.com, which somehow manages to convey the dusky
smell of the back bins of a record shop in the 50's, and
since I don't have my scent synthesizer turned on, I just
don't know how they do it...
December - audio goodies & add-on gadgets for
January - Maybe Tubes. You gotta keep warm, right?
February - Maybe DIY projects for a snowed-in week
March - no, not marching band music. I Promise. Probably
DRM as below...
April - I Lirpa Resurrection
May - getting ready for outdoor audio
PART B: Now about the malware warning
above, repeated here:
be aware that many offsite links attempt to place
malware, scumware, spyware, scripts, tracking cookies
and ads on your computer, and having a cognizant program
of protection, such as using Webroot AND Malwarebytes
(they get along) is a very prudent move. This
suggestion extends to 2019 !
Besides all the dangers of surfing
naked, recently it was discovered that Sony has placed
an intrusive ROOTKIT software program on certain CD music
discs under the guise of DRM (Digital Rights Management).
There's an article about it here, in Wired Magazine:
and a short but sweet page in PC Magazine, here:
And there have been a number of other repercussions in
the last few days. There's a list of the affected CD's
(with some pictures) on the Electronic Frontier Foundation
The original discovery was made by Mark Russinovich of
Sysinternals.com, who has a superb explanation about it
in his column / blog here:
A fellow writing on Slashdot has his version and list
of the affected items here:
The Washington Post has a number of related articles here:
which deal with the class action lawsuits which are invariably
coming, and news of even more developing scams, where
one emailer claiming to "help" actually is using
the embedded program as a "carrier" for further
Of course the premise is they think
they're doing this because if you are playing the CD in
a computer you are "obviously" copying it, otherwise
what rational person would want to actually listen to
such bad audio?... There is no danger if the CD were to
be played in a CD or DVD player, only a windows computer
where the drive is under control and management by the
It's certainly logical and rational
to view this from both sides. Sony and the musicians are
darned tired of being ripped off (I would suspect
the musicians way more than Sony) and the end user often
thinks he or she can do anything they want with the disc
once they "buy" it, which, unfortunately, is
simply not true.
And this just in, (Nov 11) if you
think you might "have" this problem, Sophos
has published a removal program and rather intense explanation
To add insult to injury, I see that Apple
has started an equally (to me) offensive practice / tactic
of forcefully installing a drive-by mini download of Quicktime,
placing executable startup files and .dll's in the windows\system
folder, and modifying the registry, all by simply visiting
a page where the user has placed a quicktime presentation
into their web page --- the video does not even have to
Personally, I would never install
quicktime, nor would I ever allow it on machines on my
network or that I had control over. On the 2nd driveby,
to a different page, luckily I had Spysweeper installed
and running and it alerted me, (to the next-time-startup
action) but I still had to delete these unwanted vermins,
by both finding and deleting things manually AND by having
to patch the registry manually, a task not necessarily
for the faint of heart. Be aware of the insipid blue weird-looking
"Q" (or maybe it's a "q") showing
up in the systray. Of course you might actually WANT this
on your machine...that's your business. Some people actually
use Netscape and like Bose speakers. Whatever.
In the instances where these surf-by
intrusions took place, I am 100% sure that the posters
of the websites HAVE NO IDEA that this is taking place,
and, most likely simply don't know otherwise and view
Quicktime as an innocuous method of showing a cute video
on their site.
Perhaps in a future column we can
examine and see who is the lesser of the multiple evils,
and what to do about it. Those of you who are determined
to examine this more closely might notice that a surprisingly
large portion of the windows registry is taken up with
reporting your 'playback' activities to the CDDB. And
that's the tip of the iceberg.
For a further glimpse of all of this
and way more of what's coming - and if you think cookies
are bad wait till you hear about PIE - get this month's
issue of PC Magazine or look at the article here:
. It would appear that Macromedia, once the company
that you loved to love, has gone over to the dark side
now that they're in bed with Adobe. Perhaps an in-depth
examination of where this is all going and has come from
is in order, certainly as it pertains to music, the "content"
that we all listen to on our aforementioned audiophile
systems. Stay tuned for that.
Here it is October; time for
Halloween and spooky goings-on in audio, and while
we're at it, other 'sciences'.
Let's contact the dead through
audio - starting with EVP, Electronic Voice Phenomena,
Then we have the psycho-phone,
from Thomas Edison: www.sdparanormal.com/page/page/265918.htm
As Thomas Edison put it, when
working on his own device for contacting the dead:
I am inclined to believe that our personality
hereafter will be able to affect matter. If this
reasoning be correct, then, if we can evolve an
instrument so delicate as to be affected, or moved,
or manipulated by our personality as it survives
in the next life, such an instrument, when made
available, ought to record something (Scientific
American, October 30, 1920.)
- from the article You Can Hear dead People,
from FATE Magazine, HERE
[probably one of the FEW times
he agreed with Tesla on anything...]
There is a lovely article here:
Then we have the world of ITC,
or Instrumental TransCommunication: www.worlditc.org
Atlantis Rising magizine has
an ITC article here, that's quite complex:
An alert reader and otherwise
brilliant audio engineer has sent in this link...
and there's more audio (.mp3 files) here:
Here's a story about a sonic
And NPR has a story about NLAD
(Non Lethal Audio Devices) here:
Here's an article about "The
Acoustics of War":
To stretch a point, this article
extrapolates the frequencies out to RF... with "The
Military Use of Silent Sound":
The raven1.net website is dripping with strange
and interesting pages dealing with audio. For example,
this page is about audio mind control via heterodyning:
. The name E. Byrd keeps popping up, and perhaps
sometime, we'll investigate the links for Mr. Byrd.
If you thought you were being
attacked by audio frequencies, or other frequencies,
you might want to construct an aluminum foil deflector
beanie, shown here: http://zapatopi.net/afdb/
Some of these people are quite
serious. Check out the American Association [of]
Electronic Voice Phenomena here: www.aaevp.com/
No spooky audio page would be
complete without a look into the Taos Hum . The
actual Taos Hum page is here: www.amasci.com/hum/hum1.html
Some audio phenomena are not
necessarily spooky, just "different".
I would suggest that this page and its links offers
a WHOLE new perspective on what constitutes "audio",
as an informational / entertainment / psychological
/ psychoacoustic phenomena:
The root URL is: www.johnduncan.org
We generally mean "audio"
to mean "sound"; and we generally mean
"sound" to encompass 20Hz -20kHz. Theoretically,
of course, mechanical vibration at ANY frequency
might be considered sound, even if it isn't within
the 20-20k realm of our normal hearing perception.
The range of infrasound would therefore extend downward
from 20Hz down to essentially the leading edge of
the big bang, with a frequency of 1 Hz per x-billion
years (that's 1.6 -17Hz ,give or take
a few milennia); and then there's ultrasound, from
20kHz up to some frequency limit that may be arguable;
I suggest 200kHz, since we consider above that to
be radio waves (i.e. R.F., since the regular AM
broadcast band starts at 540 kHz...) although something
could be VIBRATING at 540kHz mechanically,
could it not?... although the medical profession/industry
calls up to perhaps 15 MHz "ultrasound"
so you won't be concerned or frightened that you
are being bombarded with "RF". The word
"sound" sounds so benign.
...and here's a spooky page
(literally) about infrasound and bass: www.barbelith.com/topic/14012
As we enter the realm of Halloween,
we expand outward like an amoebic psuedopod into
the gray moist areas of psuedo science and what
I like to call "comic book science", (i.e.
everything from "Beam Me up, Scotty" to
food replicators to transporters...) and we have
a plethora of people and websites claiming to concern
themselves with "vibrations", the frequencies
of which are not always mentioned or explained...
This site has a "Brain
The root URL, with lots of links at the bottom of
the page, is here: www.braintuner.com
That Raven net site keeps popping
up. Here's their page on (low frequency) GSR:
Here's a site which is just
so cool I had to include it: www.biof.com
This page includes devices which fall in to the
range of "audio".
Enjoy all the links ! More surprises
PS - if you're going to try
and record voices of dead people, I'd suggest using
a phantom powered mic.
Our ears are the last (and neglected)
frontier, so to speak, in the long chain of this game
we call "audio". Just how neglected are they,
and what do we do about it?
Let's start with this article from
...and move right along to the House Ear Institute: www.hei.org/
There's Hearing Education
Awareness for Rockers: www.hearnet.com
and the E.A.R. protection
, site root HERE
British Columbia has a very interesting
There are some earplugs with flat
response attenuation here:
The Deafness Research Foundation has
a superb site, with a great interactive model of the workings
of the ear: www.drf.org
They have a brief, but compelling history of hearing science
Plenty of technical research "bites"
Cochlear implant info here: http://wuphysicians.wustl.edu/dept.asp?pageID=15&ID=8
And here in the Boston area, we are
honored to have The Eaton-Peabody Laboratory of Auditory
Physiology at the Mass Eye and Ear Infirmary, who have
an exemplary website:
The Acoustical Society of America
has a window into the world of sound: www.acoustics.org
has an article about DSP hearing aids here:
For those of you whose ears are wet
(not wet behind the ears that's another issue...)
might benefit from this interesting device: www.dryear.net/
I (and Dennis Colin) had our own personal
theory of tinnitus being the inability of the differential
processing circuits in the ear-brain circuit to self-null;
the ears' own oscillations are then perceived... Here's
a lively discussion of "otoacoustic emissions",
"Hopf Resonators", "Stereocilia",
Cochlear waves and sound processing:
...and this just in (Sept 13 2005)
an article from Wired, "Young People With Old Ears":
with links to the
And here's one I forgot to add...:
Can you hear me now? Can
you hear me now? Can you
hear me now? Can you hear
me now? Can you hear me now?
Can you hear me now?
And you think you have hum because
you have a bad RCA cable?
Buddy, you don't know what HUM IS ! Here, then,
the story of the TAOS
Do not read this page if you have a Hummer.
John Mulcahy has conjured up some pretty
nifty software called "Room EQ Wizard" which requires
not only an in-depth investigation, but suggests all sorts
of further study and comparisons as to how we measure things,
are we measuring the correct things, can we hear various
differences with different measuring techniques, and so
For example, a pet bugaboo of mine
has been a ballpark measurement of "THD" when
we clearly know that odd order harmonic distortion and
even order harmonic distortion sound completely different,
and therefore a summation statement of "THD"
is essentially meaningless, because it doesn't specify
which distortion is predominant... This noble effort of
John's has started to provide some discussion on AVS forum,
the thread of which is here:
...and he is to be congratulated for providing such an
interesting and insightful tool.
Opinions in audio get pretty entertaining
- sometimes as entertaining as listening to audio itself.
Kudos to Arthur Salvatore for having such a bold presence
and taking the time to share his thoughts with all of us.
And here's another view from the Boston's
area own Ted Lindblad, who has the site www.highendaudio.com
The nice people at Tracer Technologies
have tons of information about "doing audio on your
computer" in one handy place: Articles, help, software,
hardware, gadgets, goodies, acoustics, etc. www.TracerTek.com
announced the name to its previously dubbed 'Azalia'
next-generation audio specification due out by midyear,
under royalty-free license terms. The Intel High Definition
Audio solution will have increased bandwidth that allows
for 192 kHz, 32-bit, multi-channel audio and uses Dolby
Pro Logic IIx technology 'which delivers the most natural,
seamless and immersing 7.1 surround listening experience
from any native 2-channel source'. The architecture is designed
on the same cost-sensitive principles as AC'97
and will allow for improved audio usage and stability."
Here's a novel method for retrieving
data [audio] from otherwise damaged recording tape: http://www.nist.gov/public_affairs/techbeat/tb2000_07.htm#Forensics
Here's a hot flash from Pioneer... and
now for something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT: HERE
This site deserves HOURS of your attention,
maybe days. www.audiotools.com
Everyone deserves to play with the power
of the web. The issue is that in order to construct a coherent
and complex hyper-threaded web experience, we have the moral
equivalent of writing a serious technical book and given
the 'free' nature of the web and the lack of financial reward,
the effort to produce complex websites for free is becoming
limited to the level of insane hobbyists (i.e. There is
a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental
illness." Dave Barry) that is essentially
shared to some extent everyone visiting this website. Here,
then is something truly hyperlinked -- and made by hand
-- which will provide an entertaining and very educational
|Oh, one last thing...
If you have a subwoofer in a middle eastern country and
it's not wired right you get Hummis.
A series of audio oddities that has
every audio person talking starts with the following and
expands outwards, both perceptually and politically.
Start here: www.popsci.com/popsci/bown/article/0,16106,388134,00.html
There's an explanation of "Hypersonic
Sound" here: www.atcsd.com/tl_hss.html
Dakota Audio has some speakers available
wants to learn about DVD's. Here's the DVD dilemma, by John
On the +PLUS side (pun intended)
we have: the Read/Write Alliance at www.dvdrw.com
On the -Minus side, we have the DVD Forum, at
There are some interesting and important
white papers on the Harmon International site
by Floyd E. Toole and others HERE
On a lighter note, turn any [flat] surface
into a speaker with this
Every now and then a site comes along
that simply pushes everything else aside with its unusual
slant, take, bias, vision, or opinion. Here's one for this
month: Somewhat complicated and involved, but watch for
some relevant links to provide "closure" to some
and the homepage: http://www.belt.demon.co.uk/index.html
Fun Stuff and Other Over the Edge Oddities
of the month
if words, not pictures are your thing... and
if pictures, not words, are your thing. Could be boring,
could be great.
Tesla? Einstein? This guy's in good company...
the Conclave Obscurum, HERE
. Don't say I didn't warn you. (!!!)
Something Awful website. Go figure.
Badges Website (Everyone needs a hobby...) click
HERE for the .wav
vintage retro urban suburban Americana with a modern twist.
Thumb Wars high tech prestidigitation
at its finest. Thumb Wars, BatThumb, ThumbTanic, more...
YouTube Here's Steve
Bubble Wrap. Turn up your audio...
Foundation. May be too intense for mere earthlings.
interdimensional aluminum foil mind shielding hats, Lord
Kelvin, and Sasquatch all team up for some comic book