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...
links - April
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
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: www.ted.com/talks/view/id/196
...well, maybe not everything you need to know.
I often enjoy the rantings of technical curmugeons,
hoping to be a professional curmudgeon myself someday, so in tying
into the above video and music download explanation you might
enjoy the technical musings of Robert X Cringley, posted on PBS,
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.
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.
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: www.flyingmoose.org/truthfic/tesla.htm
A refreshingly different Fortean Times viewpoint here:
Then we have a Wardenclyffe Project site here:
and another article here: www.damninteresting.com/?p=703
Some fellow named Bert Hickman has a site
called Stoneridge Engineering, "Teslamania" HERE...
...while Bart Anderson has the Classic Tesla site here: www.classictesla.com
Another links page, thanks to Laura and Emily...
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 Domain
Bob Katz is a world renowned Mastering
Engineer whose accomplishments read like a who's who in the industry.
You can read all about his remarkable facility, and his inventions,
and his book,
(highly recommended) here: www.digido.com.
His site is actually quite enormous, and the
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 frivolity.
The issue of the speed
of sound has come up many times and I thought I'd finally
do something about it. Don Davis in his book Sound System
Engineering, uses 1130 ft/sec and that is what I have
used for the last 40+ years of calculations. Considering the effort
put forth by humans measuring the speed of light, the relative
ambiguity of the speed of sound is positively amazing.
However certain anal retentive mathemeticians
have a plethora of their own ideas about this, which you might
wish to peruse...
google = 340.29 m/sec = 1116.4 ft/sec (hmmm...
maybe it's cold at Google headquarters because they're overcompensating
for the heat produced by the lava lamps...)
The Georgia State physics dept. has a lovely
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" : www.mathpages.com/home/kmath109/kmath109.htm
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
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
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
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
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 Laboratories.
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
Actually most of the thanks for this
month's content go to Wes Phillips, one of the resident geniuses
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 hamster
powered midi music machine. What, you think that's easy? OK,
YOU build something that cool and submit it for next year!
And speaking of building things,
here's 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
(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
Surround Sound setup inspired by the
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
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, here: www.mogamicable.com
) so it can sit on my lap and I can play with it for each
song. I guarantee this is the most bang-for-the-buck
fun you will ever have in audio, for an MSRP of $399, and
you need 4 RCA-RCA cables and 4 Phono Jack -->Phone Plug
adapters necessary to interface with most home systems.
I arranged to have Colin Miller
at Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity check one out
for himself, and he has written a most remarkable and complex
I have also very successfully
set up 3 units ( = 6 channels ) patched in the analog outs
of a DVD player; this gives you awesome control over all
5.1 channels of a home theater surround presentation, (
I suggest doing this BEFORE any Bass Management) and does
a compelling job of improving essentially anything that
goes through it. Aphex also makes a plethora of other
wonderful audio processing devices, each exemplary in their
class. While most of the processing devices I mention are
intended for professional applications, there are many reasons
to implement (or at least experiment with ) such goodies
in any exotic higher-end audiophile ( i.e. home as
opposed to 'studio' ) system. While adjusting 36 controls
might seem slightly daunting to some, it's nothing compared
with some mixing boards with 7,000 knobs. And in all seriousness
you get used to the unit operationally VERY quickly.
Now don't get me wrong. We
could spend DAYS, if not a lifetime, discussing about what's
right or wrong about recording and mixing audio (or whether
it should be 'mixed' at all...) and the various combinations
of setups, microphones, placement, mic preamps, wire (ahem,
interconnects...) power amps, and monitor speakers that
are necessary (or not) to capture the elusive soul of the
recording, ideally in its 3-D holographic acoustic space,
and preserve this musical splendor, with all its emotional
nuance, for days or generations to come. Whew!
But what we have, right or
wrong, for better or worse, at the end of the day, is a
REPEATABLE CD (or DVD or tape...) in our hand. That
CD, or DVD is not going to change - it's going to be the
same today, tomorrow, and next week, (hence the oft-maligned
"perfect sound forever" line...) therefore you
CAN experiment with it and A-B various combinations of settings
or preamps or amps or speakers just as a listening experience
in and of itself, always knowing that you can go back to
square one, just in case.
Here's a spin... If we extrapolate
certain philosophies, such as espoused by Lexicon and Yamaha
- and I love to play devil's advocate here - we might purposefully
make original [studio] recordings which are dry and 'confined'
(perhaps just close miked), and then process this dry sound
totally "choosing" the psychoacoustic playback
space, and presumably position within that space. The playback
space would be resynthesized from algorithims made from
measurements made at all the world's great acoustic auditoriums...
or simply "invented" from front panel settings...
or perhaps drawn on a computer screen.
If we examine this philosophy
from a classical standpoint, we can then playback a piano
solo and choose whether we are in Carnegie Hall, or the
Boston Symphony - or in Smoky Joe's Cafe. We could even
introduce the clinking glasses and background conversation
chatter into the surround channels if we wished.
But imagine we play back a
rock "concert". Perhaps we want to catch the vibe
from out in the middle of the audience. Perhaps we want
to experience what the musicians hear onstage. Perhaps we
want to feel as though WE are the guitar player, standing
RIGHT IN FRONT OF that stack of Marshalls... or perhaps
we want to A-B all of those positions and then decide which
we want to play again later. Technically this is certainly
possible, if not a totally plausible scenario.
All if not most of the "party
modes" (and resynthesis modes, and anything above 5
channel surround) built into modern home theater receivers
are an implementation of this philosophy to some extent.
Of course you can get carried away... playing the London
Symphony through a "Smoky French Cafe at midnight"
synthesized reverb switch position might not exactly be
your cup of tea. Or it might.
There's a very interesting
psychoacoustic paradigm which takes over after awhile. As
mentioned below, playing with a studio reverb processor,
a pair of headphones, and a single input microphone can
be wildly entertaining. But as you slowly increase the reverb
parameters, something odd happens: as you listen, your entire
psychoacoustic mechanism seems to phase lock onto this new
"sound"... until IT becomes the norm, and turning
the reverb down or off then becomes "wrong". This
whole enjoyable and remarkably educational field of experimentation
is not to be missed by any serious student of the world
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
So learning about equalizers
and how to use and abuse them is also very entertaining;
and while the more dramatic use would be when an EQ is applied
to each separate microphone channel, you can certainly enjoy
when the overall stereo 2-channel mix has been "fixed"
(or broken...) with an overall equalizer. During the mastering
process, MOST of the time, an equalizer is applied
to the overall mix as part of the magic "final sonic
seasoning", one of the last steps before you, the listening
and tasting audience, get to taste the audio wares.
Probably the number one equalizer
ever made and available for purchase especially for the
home has to be the Cello Audio Palette (a Stereophile review
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
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 here: www.lexiconpro.com/products/products-pro.asp
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
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
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
... 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
( OFFSITE 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 move.
ON THIS BELOW
November... Time to kick back, relax,
eat too much turkey, and sit in the ol' easy chair (sweet spot
to you audiophiles) and soak up some tunes. But wait, what shall
we listen to this year? Where are the cool places to find music
that's recorded (and perhaps mixed) well, not some crummy clipped
compressed low bitrate hodgepodge that some kid did on his laptop,
but some serious audio goodies, destined to show off our awesome
systems and fill up our emotional spaces with the nuances of great
performances? Where indeed!!!
To get your blood going, and warm
things up a bit, check out John Novello's new CD, ORGANIK,
on his own site, www.KeysNovello.com
. Be prepared to enter another dimension of jazz fusion... He
also has amazing stories to tell and some incredible books. Don't
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 and
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), EMI
Classics , NAXOS
in Denmark, and don't miss the Sibelius
Academy in Finland (The Sibelius violin concerto is one of
The British Library has a master
listing of classical record companies HERE
, and there's an oddly complete and esoteric overall listing HERE
, 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
December - audio goodies & add-on gadgets for your system
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
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
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 here:
A fellow writing on Slashdot has his version and list of the affected
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 activity.
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
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 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 30, 1920.)
- 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
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: www.borderlands.com/journal/nux.htm
The actual Taos Hum page is
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
The root URL is: www.johnduncan.org
We generally mean "audio"
to mean "sound"; and we generally mean "sound"
to encompass 20Hz -20kHz. Theoretically, of course, mechanical
vibration at ANY frequency might be considered sound, even
if it isn't within the 20-20k realm of our normal hearing
perception. The range of infrasound would therefore extend
downward from 20Hz down to essentially the leading edge
of the big bang, with a frequency of 1 Hz per x-billion
years (that's 1.6 -17Hz ,give or take a few milennia);
and then there's ultrasound, from 20kHz up to some frequency
limit that may be arguable; I suggest 200kHz, since we consider
above that to be radio waves (i.e. R.F., since the regular
AM broadcast band starts at 540 kHz...) although something
could be VIBRATING at 540kHz mechanically, could
it not?... although the medical profession/industry calls
up to perhaps 15 MHz "ultrasound" so you won't
be concerned or frightened that you are being bombarded
with "RF". The word "sound" sounds so
...and here's a spooky page
(literally) about infrasound and bass: www.barbelith.com/topic/14012
As we enter the realm of Halloween,
we expand outward like an amoebic psuedopod into the gray
moist areas of psuedo science and what I like to call "comic
book science", (i.e. everything from "Beam Me
up, Scotty" to food replicators to transporters...)
and we have a plethora of people and websites claiming to
concern themselves with "vibrations", the frequencies
of which are not always mentioned or explained...
This site has a "Brain
The root URL, with lots of links at the bottom of the page,
is here: www.braintuner.com
That Raven net site keeps popping
up. Here's their page on (low frequency) GSR:
Here's a site which is just
so cool I had to include it: www.biof.com
This page includes devices which fall in to the range of
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
Our ears are the last (and neglected)
frontier, so to speak, in the long chain of this game we call
"audio". Just how neglected are they, and what do we
do about it?
Let's start with this article from
...and move right along to the House Ear Institute: www.hei.org/
There's Hearing Education
Awareness for Rockers: www.hearnet.com
and the E.A.R. protection
, site root HERE
British Columbia has a very interesting
There are some earplugs with flat
response attenuation here:
The Deafness Research Foundation
has a superb site, with a great interactive model of the workings
of the ear: www.drf.org
They have a brief, but compelling history of hearing science here:
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
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.
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 Virata:
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 www.dvdforum.org
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
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 (66k)
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.