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President's Message
February 2004

1.  V24nr4 of the BAS Speaker has been published. It features the long awaited results of Alvin Foster's Headphone Clinic, featuring frequency response plots of a couple dozen headphones, with square waves, impedance plots, distortion tests, listening test and more. Also featured is a visit to Al Southwick's basement studio, acoustically engineered from the ground up and the walls in, and isolated from the the house above by lead sheets. David Weinberg analyzes his Lexicon surround processor's handling of low frequencies. In a reprint from Stereophile, John Atkinson compares the SACD with the CD layer, both by listening and by lab tests. 33 pp

2.  For those interested in trying noise canceling headphones, MCM Electronics is selling them for $35.39, part #35-1115. ( Direct link HERE )

3.  In "From Vinyl to Digital, Hold the Crackle," Roy Furchgott reviews the hardware and software for denoising LPs. He quotes Brian Slack, co-founder of Widget Post Productions in Culver City CA as saying "Generally the higher the sampling rate, the better the fidelity....Higher sampling rates than the [standard CD] setting of 44.1 kHz and 16 bits will not play on regular home CD systems. To capture the best sound possible, set the ripper at a higher level, like 24, 96 or even 192 bits (sic!) resolution, which is what the professionals use." [Unfortunately, Furchgott propagates the myth that higher sampling rate than 44.1 provides better sound quality. He doesn't mention the program I find transparent and effective--Steinberg Clean! 2.0] NYT 1Ja04. [Webmasters note: Steinberg Clean is now Pinnacle Systems HERE]

4.  "Reconstruction of a Mechanically Recorded Groove" [AES paper HERE in PDF format] discusses research on using image based techniques to recover audio from disc and cylinder recordings. The record is scanned with a digital camera or laser and the image quality is remarkable--as good as the George Alexandrovich scanning electronic microscope photos (BASS 7-1) but without having to gold plate the groove and view in a vacuum chamber! In fact the images can be received in real time with a bit rate of .5 to 5 Gbyte/sec. The total file is 100 to 1000 Gbytes, which is manageable with today's technology. By examining the groove one can determined the optimum region (least worn) of the groove to use for processing. A reconstructed 78 record showed lower noise than with stylus playback. They see it as an improvement over the ELP laser turntable (BASS 24-3). AESJ De03

5.  Recently I watched the DVD of "Russian Ark", billed as the first feature film generated in one take. In the supplementary materials, one of the engineers proudly states that the High Definition recording was straight to hard disk and was uncompressed (unlike many professional HD formats). Ironically the sound is grossly compressed, most noticeably in the ballroom scene at the end with Gergiev conducting an orchestra. But then who pays any attention to audio when the picture is so good?   [Synopsis HERE ]

David Hadaway

President, Boston Audio Society



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updated 11/11/04