Boston Audio Society Audio Featured Links of the Month
the best audio links on the internet
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 26,900 links on
this site that I have typed myself...
|Here's an interesting DIY method
of removing noise, pops, and clicks :
|Atlas Obscura again, with an
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... CLICK
HERE !!!! Unbelievable.
links - 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:
...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 site:
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
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: www.classictesla.com
Another links page, thanks to Laura and
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 - May 2007
Bob Katz and the Digital
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
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, and here
are his comments.
links - Spring 2007
You'll forgive me if I didn't get too
silly this year for April Fool's Day. It was just too somber
a time to get frivolous. You'll have to revert back to last
years' April section, below for the
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
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 lava lamps...)
The Georgia State physics dept. has a
I admit this is my favorite one...
Nasa has their own ideas...
In Glenbrook IL, it's 343m or 1125.3 ft/sec
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 experiment,
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 - Winter 2006
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) ( www.aade.com
) 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"
links of the Month - Fall 2006
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 articles?
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 - August 2006
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 - July 2006
very VOCAL microphone company !
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 Research
Their main website is here: www.soundwaveresearch.com
* not to be confused with the Blog-Tones,
or any of the other obscure acapella groups from the late
60's such as Methyl Ethyl and the Ketones.
I also HAD to add this link just
It's amazing, but someone needs to get out more.
links of the Month - April 2006
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
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
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
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
And if you want to beat the drums right
now, try this.
A little more animé in approach, but still self generated,
site. As long as we're on track of pointless obfuscation,
(small hint: once you get inside, mouseover and click)
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 is here.
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
LINKS OPEN IN A NEW WINDOW )
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
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 missed it.
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 Aphex
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,
) 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
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
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 head!
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
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
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 peruse www.manleylabs.com
where Eveanna Manley will keep you warm and entertained
for hours with her unique brilliance and awesome equipment.
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: www.fosgateaudionics.com/products/FAP-V1.asp
; 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
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: www.vocaleliminator.com
. 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 Etymôtic
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
links of the Month - November 2005
LINKS OPEN IN A NEW WINDOW )
Please 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
Norton Antivirus AND Webroot Spysweeper, is a very prudent
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 amaze!
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 Inside
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 here: www.revolutionhometheater.com/dvd/
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...) the Freesound
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.
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 your
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 Norton Antivirus AND Webroot Spysweeper,
is a very prudent move.
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 site, here:
The original discovery was made by Mark Russinovich of Sysinternals.com,
who has a superb explanation about it in his column / blog
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 trojan
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 operating system.
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 here: www.sophos.com/support/disinfection/rkprf.html
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 play.
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.
LINKS OPEN IN A NEW WINDOW )
Here it is October; time for Halloween
and spooky goings-on in audio, and while we're at it,
Let's contact the dead through audio
- starting with EVP, Electronic Voice Phenomena, HERE
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
- from the article You Can Hear dead People,
from FATE Magazine, HERE
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 weapon:
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
...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
This site has a "Brain Tuner":
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
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
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 Mix
...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 page
, site root HERE
British Columbia has a very interesting
There are some earplugs with flat response
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 have my 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 on.
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. www.high-endaudio.com
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 experience. http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/hph.html
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 of this...
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
Tesla? Einstein? This guy's in good company...
may just be the best website of all time. This IS
why the internet was invented. Turn down the lights, crank
up your soundcard ... Look for squeee and
framina... and email
me if you need a hint. This site is WAY larger
than you might think.
In a similar vein, check out the Conclave
. Don't say I didn't warn you. (!!!)
Something Awful website. Go figure.
Badges Website (Everyone needs a hobby...) click
HERE for the .wav file
vintage retro urban suburban Americana with a modern twist.
High tech prestidigitation at its finest. Thumb Wars, BatThumb,
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 science.