Archive for June, 2012

The NPR “Tiny Desk” Concerts (Adele) and the Master of Autotune

Beautiful 3-song set, huh? The sheer power and authenticity of “live” is tough to beat. Masterful artists combining in real time in ways that machines never will.

For more of the same, I would urge you to explore all of NPR’s “Tiny Desk” videos – they are as cool as they are diverse. (Thanks to my brother Dave for pointing them out to me)

Contrast this with the world described in this NYT feature detailing the efforts of Kuk Harrell and the “vocal producers” of today’s major pop acts. Oh my, what a difference.

I’m not writing this to suggest which is better. And I’d guess that Adele has used vocal producers. I’m just contrasting (for the n-th time) the differences in approach and feel.


Saturday, June 30th, 2012 Audiophile, Bob, General, Music, News Comments Off

BAAS History from One of the Founders

Wanted to introduce myself. Dennis Davis and I started BAAS circa 1995 after we met at a audio show (Stereophile?) in San Francisco. We hit it off immediately and thought it would be cool to start up an audiophile society. As you know Dennis was active in the Northern CA Audiophile group that eventually faded away for lack of participation (no one wanted to organize events). We published a want-ad in the SF Chronicle and at (I wrote that piece you published in a recent BAAS note I think). There were really no officers (sort of just Dennis and myself).

Anyway the first meeting was at my house in SF and we had about 30-40 people if I recall there, including some of the current members such as Jason Serinus, Herb Cygan, Manny LaCarrubba (inventor of the cool B+O 360 degree speaker) and Manuel. Anyway, the first few years was a lot of fun and we had some excellent meetings including ones at Mobile Fidelity at their vinyl pressing plant in Petaluma, presentations of various audio products at a now-defunct high end dealer in Sausalito (Music by Design) as well as discussions about vinyl vs. digitial. A number of our get-togethers were at the Josephine Randall Museum Theater in the City. My participation waned after a few years because of personal issues. Dennis was left pretty much on his own to run the ship. Mea culpa.

Part of the difficulty at that time was lack of volunteers to organize meetings and events. System hopping was just getting started. Organizing and producing get-togethers was a lot of work and usually only a small number of people (2-3) were willing to put in the time to develop these. I believe that is why Dennis eventually also dropped out.

Fortunately people like yourself and Jason have kept BAAS alive and thriving. My hat’s off to both of you. The BAAS web site is wonderful, promotes ongoing interest and provides a way of sharing ideas and news without publishing a hard copy newsletter. I thought the High Note in its day was great but was pretty labor-intensive. I still remember stuffing envelopes! The title was “borrowed” from the name of an audio salon we found in one of the audiophile magazines. We also had a cool looking membership card that we distributed to members – I thought I still had a stack of these but couldn’t find them – maybe I gave them to Dennis.

Wilson Lem

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012 Audiophile, Bob, General, News 4 Comments

Are the “Loudness Wars” Ending?

We have covered the battle to regain dynamic range in recordings before.

Now, several champions of the cause are claiming significant progress, with maybe an end in sight. They even cite a new “standard” measure – the LU – for loudness.

I don’t listen to a lot of pop, but the little that I hear gives me less cause for enthusiasm.

What do you think?


Tuesday, June 26th, 2012 Audiophile, Bob, News Comments Off

Wildest Audiophile System Ever?

OK, I’ve seen a lot of serious hardware, including that of the Greeks.

But I don’t think anything beats this crazy 5-horn rig.

Hint: Structural concrete is involved….



This is the mild part...

Thursday, June 7th, 2012 Audiophile, Bob, News 3 Comments