Archive for June, 2008

The Rudiments of (Sound) Wisdom


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.

Friday, June 27th, 2008 Bob, General Comments Off

Should Software Fix Performance Mistakes?

perfect_pitch.jpgIn (almost) all areas, software continues its relentless pursuit of “fixing” things.

Some would say that these “repairs” are taking some of the zest out of life. Is F-1 auto racing better because of traction control, antilock brakes, and stability augmentation?

How about music? Are perfect performances requisite for enjoyment? Is that what we want?

Some think so, and this New York Times article discusses some of the latest advances in the art and science of “fixing” recordings….

Sunday, June 22nd, 2008 Bob, Music Comments Off

Audiophile Ethernet – Pushing the Snake Oil Barrier?

denon-ethernet.jpgDespite all the heat I took from my last “snake oil” article, I’d like to think that I’m open-minded about the performance of tweaks.

This one, however, pushes the limits another step – it appears to be an audiophile-quality ethernet cable priced at $500!

In truth, it seems that most pundits at Wired, Slashdot, and elsewhere are assuming that ethernet is the underlying hardware standard and TCP/IP is running on top. But just because  the cable looks identical doesn’t mean it is identical. And Denon describes the ‘Denon Link’ as a proprietary standard capable (in V3) of transporting SACD and PCM natively.

Now that the geek-speak has made everything clear as mud, I’ll offer that:

  • Were I a betting man, I’d say that this is a standard “ethernet” cable; and
  • I’ve not heard these, and so can’t comment on their sonic efficacy. (Personally, I use radio waves as my ethernet transport at home.)

And, as in all such things, YMMV….

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008 Bob, Equipment 1 Comment

T Bone Burnett Says CD-quality Sucks

sand.jpgAccomplished 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 ago…music’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.

Friday, June 13th, 2008 Bob, General, Uncategorized Comments Off

Head-Fi Meet on Sat, Jun 28th in San Mateo

silverphones.jpegIf you haven’t been to a headphone get together, you’re missing something. They’re a hoot., the very popular ‘phones web forum, is having their summer meeting in San Mateo.

Check it out!

Click here for details.

Thursday, June 12th, 2008 Announcements, Bob, Events Comments Off

Vinyl Acendant?

abbey.jpgCNN reports that even as CD sales fade, sales of LP’s are on the rise:

According to the Recording Industry Association of America, manufacturers’ shipments of LPs jumped more than 36 percent from 2006 to 2007 to more than 1.3 million. Shipments of CDs dropped more than 17 percent during the same period to 511 million, as they lost some ground to digital formats.

So while LP’s make up only 0.5% of non-download sales, they are actually increasing in popularity.

The #1 LP seller these day? “Abbey Road” of course.

The comments of one LP buyer were interesting:

“Once I got my first iPod … I’m looking at my wall of CDs and trying to justify it,” Millar said. “The things I like — the artwork, the liner notes, the sound quality — it dawns on me, those are things I like better on vinyl.” He welcomed back the pops and clicks, even some of the scratches.

“I like that fact that it’s imperfect in a lot of ways, live music is imperfect too,” Millar said.


[Many thanks to AaronK for pointing this out.]

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008 Bob, Music 2 Comments

Single-Driver Discography

3blindmice.jpgMike from Teresonic played the following at our last event:

  • The Famous Sound of three blind mice vol 1 (TBM CD 9001)
  • The group called Bassiona Amorosa and the CD I played was “Live in Der Philharmonie Berlin” but they have some other very nice recordings as a quartet and as a sextet. Quite interesting. The web site is here and it takes a 2-3 weeks to get them after ordering.
  • Tracks; Oscar Peterson piano solo (MPS-Most Perfect Edition)
  • Centerpiece; Giacomo Gates (Origin 82428)
  • Bach Prelude No1 by Jacques Loussier Trio – Live in Paris (original hard to find but Telarc issued remastered hybrid CD)
  • These Bones by Fairfield Four (although there are five of them in the group :) Warner Bros
  • Time after time by Ben Webster
  • She is a lady by Patricia Barber

nilslive.jpgI played:

  • Nils Lofgren “Keith Don’t Go’ from LIVE ACOUSTIC
  • Stephen Stills “Black Queen” from STEPHEN STILLS
  • Sting “Desert Rose” from BRAND NEW DAY
  • Donald Fagan “Morph the Cat” from MORPH THE CAT
  • Diana Krall “A Case of You” from LIVE IN PARIS



Friday, June 6th, 2008 Bob, Events 1 Comment

KEF Muon Speaker Demo in Bay Area

muon.jpgThe $145K KEF Muon “uber-speakers” will be demonstrated at Audio High in Mountain View this week.

Times are 11AM-7PM Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

Worth seeing/hearing IMO.

BTW, we’ll be having an event at Audio High in the near future….

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008 Announcements, Bob 1 Comment

GerryG’s System

gerry.jpgVinyl Focused System

Digital Source:

* Denon DVD 3910
* Spectral 330 interconnect

Analog Source:

* Basis 2500 Signature
* Graham Phantom / Two Wands
* Koetsu Onyx Platinmum Signature
* Lyra Titan Mono
* Hovland phono interconnect
* VH Audio Airsine PC

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Monday, June 2nd, 2008 Member's Systems 4 Comments

‘Full-range Driver’ Event (pictoral)

sde10.jpgFirst, let me thank Bay Area Audio (BAA) and Teresonic for their key roles in making the four-hour event a great success. BAAS looks forward to a continuing partnership with both.

I think that it’s safe to say that we covered the spectrum of single-driver options pretty well, from the affordable Horn Shoppe ‘Horn I’ ($800) to the Teresonic ‘Ingenium’ ($10K).

We also saw some stunning video in BAA’s state-of-the-art home theater room.

Let’s look at some of the moments….

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Sunday, June 1st, 2008 Bob, Events Comments Off