President's Message
November 2000

1. Audience members at Pierre Boulez's 75th birthday concert in London were able to take home a CD of the concert they had just attended, made possible by new technology at the South Bank Centre which allows high speed duplication of recordings. [BBC Music Magazine 5/2000]

2. In the March 2000 Physics Today is a review of the field of infrasound, i.e. frequencies below the audible band (below 20 Hz). Interest in infrasound peaked during the Cold War as a means of monitoring nuclear explosions, but as far back as the Krakatoa volcano in 1883 and the Great Siberian Meteorite of 1909 the barometers around the world were able to track the pressure waves as they passed, even two or three times. In the animal kingdom, the songs of whales extend into the infrasonic range, raising concerns about interference from human activities. Katy Payne's book Silent Thunder describes how elephants can communicate over long distances through infrasound.

3. Researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution report that singing humpback whales change their tunes in response to a low frequency active (LFA) broadcast from a nearby Navy vessel. Some cut their tunes short, others crooned longer as if to compensate. At full force the LFA--developed for long range submarine detection--could affect whales for hundreds of miles away. [Scientific American 9/2000 from June 22 Nature].

4. "Fans of DVD movies will love DVD-A, which not only adds multichannel digital surround sound to music recordings but reportedly offers sound quality that's 200 times better than a compact disc's." [Playboy 9/00]. 5. "Tool for hard-of-hearing is helping pirates, too" Boston Globe 31Jul2000. Bootleggers simply request an ALD (assisted listening device) at an arena concert (required by federal law) and tap into the high quality FM broadcast sound for a recording source. This is the soundboard feed and is free from the crowd noise and other distortions. Typical is a 3 CD set of the Aug. 22, 1999 Springsteen concert, advertised on the Internet as "soundboard quality", mentioning that it was done with ALD. A review said "the instrumental separation is outstanding and well-mixed, making this set a joy to listen to." "Oh my goodness! What concerns me is if this becomes prevalent that the service is dropped," said Mercy Coogan of Gallaudet University, the Washington D.C. college for the deaf and hard-of-hearing students.

6. Audio Amateur Publications has announced that it will be combining its three publications--Audio Electronics (formerly Audio Amateur), Glass Audio, and Speaker Builder--into a single monthly mag called AudioXpress.


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updated 11/11/04