1. A class action suit filed on behalf of CD purchasers from 1995 to 2000 has been settled with a pay out that is to be distributed
in equal shares among people who purchased at least one CD from a retailer in that period. Payment is in the range from $5 to $20 and you do not need
proof of purchase. If the amount is less than $5, it will be given to charity. Deadline is March 3. To apply, fill out a simple form at http://www.musiccdsettlement.com/english/default.htm.
2. All CD players have muting circuits to prevent nasty noises as the circuitry is acquiring the digital data stream. The
beginning of a CD allows 2 seconds for this; each track has a .3 sec "un-mute" time allowed in the original specification. Usually this doesn't
matter--for my work I generally allow 1 second between the track time and the beginning of the music which gives a more natural sound.
However if the music is continuous a shorter gap may be appropriate. I recently had a client who wanted the track to start as close
as possible to a particular note--he didn't want to hear the decay of reverb from the previous note. I put the track .3 sec before the note, but wondered
what was the actual acquisition time. To investigate I made a special CD with 16 tracks, each starting at a precise minute, i.e. 2 minutes, 3 minutes
and so on. Then I placed a 1 msec pulse at full amplitude a specific distance from each track time. One minute, .35 seconds; 2 minutes, .30 seconds;
3 minutes, .25 seconds and so on to 15 minutes, -.6 seconds.
By playing this disc, searching for each track, and noting at which track the pulse disappeared, I could tell at what point in time
the CD player was acquiring the music. The results were surprising: all of my 3 players cued exactly at the track location. So no margin of safety is
needed. I plan to test some more players to get a wider sample.
3. Under the header "Rediscovering a Secret of 60's Sound: Vacuum Tubes", Roy
Furchgott reports on the continuing fascination with tube technology. The prevailing but highly arguable theory is that while all stereo components
introduce distortion, tube circuit distortion is itself musical. "Vacuum tube circuits produce almost exclusively even-order distortion,"
said Lou Johnson, a partner in Conrad Johnson Design, a company in Fairfax VA, that manufactures
both tube and solid state components. "These tones are essentially one octave apart." So tube distortion is basically in pleasant harmony.
"A traditional transistor circuit produces odd-order distortion, so it tends to be discordant," he said. [Sounds plausible but not really
so. Almost all tube amps use push-pull output stages to cancel even order distortion, so like transistor amps they have both even and odd order distortion,
just lots more at high levels].
Solid state fans say that while tubes may add pleasant inaccuracies, they are still inaccurate. "Music isn't always pleasant,
lush or velvety, or the other things attributed to tubes--sometimes it's harsh," said Bill McKiegan, VP for sales and manufacturing at Krell
Industries. Krell is so dedicated to reproducing unaltered sound that it provides no treble or base [sic] controls on its gear. [NYT 19De03]
President, Boston Audio Society