The Rudiments of (Sound) Wisdom

Jun 27, 2008

For an entertaining look at "how things work," check out Tim Hunkin's "Rudiments of Wisdom" web site (click here). Of course, the main reason I bring this up to BAAS is the section on "Music." In this section, Hunkin explains why guitars sound different, that sound travels 3X faster in steel than air, and the shellfish-based origins of the trumpet. A quick & easy (and educational) read. Good for kids too.

T Bone Burnett Says CD-quality Sucks

Jun 13, 2008

Accomplished producer Burnett lashed out at CD and [iTunes-quality] downloads in this interview: "We've been fighting digital sound since it came out twenty years's gotten to a place that's harder to listen to. It's stepped down from tape to digital to compressed digital, so people are now listening to a Xerox of a Polaroid of a photograph of a painting." So what does T Bone recommend? Interestingly, its not vinyl (or other analog media). Rather, he focuses on DVD-A (?) and other re-res digital formats. T Bone has produced "Raising Sand" (left) and many other hit recordings.

New Release on Blu-Ray and Hires Downloads

May 31, 2008

The net is atwitter with talk of the first musical release on Blu-Ray (click here for an example. But these articles fail to let us know how to get it. So it was time for Google.... I found not only where to buy, but also a very cool website full of high-resolution downloads. All this from freedom-loving Norway. (If you haven't sampled the Scandinavian music scene, you're missing some great music.) Enjoy!

Say Goodbye to the ‘Audiophile’

May 26, 2008

Well, the CNET Blogs recently published yet-another article describing the extinction of the high fidelity audio industry (click here). In that article and its comments, many reasons for the imminent demise were cited - with the iPod portrayed as the #1 assassin. FWIW, here's my version of the decline: It begins with the record companies and RIAA joining Microsoft in "missing the internet boom." Response to downloads = lawsuits & DRM. Opinion on jewel-boxed (yuck) CD's = perfect forever. Huh? The next gremlin was the poor broadband coverage in America (and the world). This makes downloading SLOOOOWWW. The market's response…

Is SET superior? Prove it…

May 17, 2008

There's an interesting dialog running on - and another provocative topic! Here's an excerpt: Excuse me for sounding a little like a heritic [sic] but I figure that if the statement "the crushing superiority of SE triode amplifiers with no feedback" were so obviously true, then it is would also be possible to define "why" in engineering terms. Click here to read the thread. The current edition of UK mag Hi-fi News (HFN) has a great article on the audible effects of clipping. Two key conclusions: Clipping at 3dB is largely inaudible, but 6dB is audible, and 9dB and…

The First Recorded Music – Edison Was Second

Mar 28, 2008

We were all taught that Tom Edison made the first recordings, using his famous wax cylinders. This recounting certainly fits well with our typical US-centric mindset. As it turns out, this article in Nature reports that Edison was probably two decades late. It turns out that Edison was probably bested by a Frenchman (Edourard-Leon Scott), who recorded music on a visual medium using a phonautograph. But did the 1860 phonautograph technology really work, i.e., does it create reproducible music? Listen to this MP3 for yourself, and come to your own conclusion!

Describing What We Hear

Mar 11, 2008

We have all been in hundreds of discussions centering on a description of "what we heard" - usually to evaluate the quality of a given system, component, mix, or piece of music. And we've all been alternately mesmerized and frustrated by the unusual things that we read and hear, such as: "Where's the air? The music has no air or sense of space!" "God that's sweet and syrupy. Makes me want to cry."; or "There's just more 'there' there!" (with emotion) Perhaps we've even used these phrases ourselves. But what do they mean? Is there any logic at play? The…

Monster Cable vs Coat Hangers

Mar 05, 2008

If you haven't seen the latest "audiophile cables are hype" saga, click here for the Engadget article (courtesy of RichardT). On a related note, RichardT (a BAAS member) shares the results of his own informal testing: Two friends and I recently did a careful test of audio input cables using two high end cables and a worst case pair of beat up radio shack cables. We made a switcher that instantly let us go back and forth seamlessly. Each of us sat in the sweet spot and did the test many times. After listening and going back and fourth, we…