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...
|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 because: http://blueballfixed.ytmnd.com
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
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.
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
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 a gramophone
... 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
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
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 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 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
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
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
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 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 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 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: 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 great audio.
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
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
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:
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 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
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, other 'sciences'.
Let's contact the dead
through audio - starting with EVP, Electronic Voice
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
There is a lovely article
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: www.borderlands.com/archives/arch/gavreaus.htm
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 and its
associated phenomena. Here's a good starting place:
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 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
Enjoy all the links ! More
surprises next month.
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 Mix Magazine:
...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" at: www.DefeatingDeafness.org
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
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
...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 here: www.dakotaaudio.com
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 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 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.