President's Message
June 2007

1.  V29N2 of the BASS has been published. It features one meeting summary, Micha Schattner on Recording (October 2003) by J.P. Leger and a report on the plight of New Orleans audiophiles by Henry Heier Also 2007 CES reports by David Weinberg and measurements on potentiometer volume control characteristics by David Hadaway. 31 pp

2.  The new 24 bit analog to digital converter chips from Texas Instruments, PCM4220 and PCM4222 boast a 124 dB SNR. They operate on 4 to 5 volts. ( This is about 20 to 21 bits. Is this the state of the art? A higher supply voltage would allow better performance. --DBH) Electronic Design May 10, 2007

3.  "The Wizard of Menlo Park: How Thomas Alva Edison Invented the Modern World" , by Randall Stross, examines the reality and myths surrounding the Edison legacy. Edison is famously associated with the beginnings of movies, but also he deserveds to be credited with another invention: the application of celebrity to business.

One illustration from his middle age: when Henry Stanley, of "Dr. Livingstone , I presume" fame visited his lab, Edison demonstrated the phonograph, which Stanley had never heard before. Stanley asked in a low voice and slow cadence, "Mr. Edison, if it were possible for you to hear the voice of any man, whose voice would you prefer to hear?" "Napolean's," replied Edison without hesitation. "No, no," Stanley said piously, "I should like to hear the voice of our Savior." "Well," explained Edison, "You know, I like a hustler." He had strong musical opinions--Jazz was for "nuts", Rachmaninov was just a "pounder."

To Edison, the technical problems of recording before the inventions of microphones were the most interesting. He spent a year and a half overseeing research on how to record and clearly reproduce the word "sugar" perfectly. Two more months were needed to master "scissors." He wrote,"after that the phonograph would record and reproduce anything." This was not wholly true. Recording an orchestra with pre-electric acoustic technology presented insoluble problems. He did his best, ordering the construction of the world's largest brass recording horn, 128 feet long, 5 feet in diameter at the end that received sound, tapering down to 5/8 of an inch at the other. Its construction required 30,000 rivets , each carefully smoothed on the interior surface. It was a marvel of metalwork, but never worked very well. (It did serve its country well, however, being sent of for service in World War II in a scrap drive).

Edison convinced hiimself -- without consulting others, in typical fashion-- that he could simply opt out of competition for stars, scouting out church choirs and glee clubs. Eventually he did add Anna Case, Sergei "the Pounder" Rachmaninov and others, but refused to print the name of the artist on the record. He used his fame as the Wizard to market his inventions, but could not abide others -- in this case his own recording artists -- using fame, even though much more modest, for their own commercial interests. NYT 11Mr07

President, Boston Audio Society

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updated 7/1/07