Two-speaker Surround Sound – The future?

spkr cloudAs some of you  may know, I went to grad school at Princeton. Professor Edgar Choueiri, one of the prof’s in my old department is an audiophile and doing very-cool research (funded mostly by Sony). He’s also partnered with David Chesky.

Anyway, he came over to my lab (AKA house) last week and set up his gear as a source to my system. Oh my, the sound was truly incredible – a 200-or-so degree soundfield with only two speakers – and no change in tone, transients, or level.

Then he did the same thing with my AKG 701 headphones. That was even better. in fact, if I had it I’d seldom tum on my power amps.

He later embedded the loudspeaker transform into a plugin (VST and AU) before he left. So I can still approximate the effect in my home.

There are caveats: (1) binaural recordings are required  to get the wrap-around effect; (2) the transform is valid for one speaker/room configuration only; and (3) the effect is only good for one listening position. But IME only the last constraint is hard & fast. Most well-recorded stereo recordings benefit as well. Demonstrably so. And I switched speakers and still prefer to keep the plugin active.prin

I also prefer the this technology’s sonic presentation to most “surround sound” that I have heard. It sounds more natural.

At some point, I may run a BAAS open house so that folks can hear this tech. It’d be tough given the narrow sweet spot though. In fact, the tighter the dispersion of the speakers, the better the effect. (Based on my recommendation, Edgar now uses electrostats from Sanders Sound as his references.)

- Bob

Saturday, July 27th, 2013 Audiophile, Bob, General, News 1 Comment

Memorial – Frank Zappa

I came late to the genius of Frank Zappa. this video provides another look at his art and his modus operandi. As a small bonus, there’s some cool footage of Dweezel at a mixing board, analyzing and enjoying his father’s master tapes. (Frank owned all of his masters.)



Monday, May 27th, 2013 Audiophile, Bob, General, Video Comments Off

Sound from Sight

The recordings are analog, but the medium is ink on paper.

This article describes the process used by Indiana University, and contains recordings from the nineteenth century.


Friday, April 5th, 2013 Audiophile, Bob, General, News, Technical Comments Off

Audiophile Porn – 27,000 Pictures of Gear

xoverThe HiFi Shock website fills a unique niche, specializing in showing what’s inside audiophile gear.

Some very interesting images.

New startup idea: do video.




Thursday, March 28th, 2013 Audiophile, Bob, General Comments Off

DSD Audio – The Next WAV?

The video below will help prepare you for what might be the next wave in high-end digital. It will also serve as a great intro for our next session at Blue Coast Records.

(There’s a lot of good info to be had from the various RMAF videos.)




Sunday, February 3rd, 2013 Audiophile, Bob, General, Video 1 Comment

Cool “Live vs Recorded” Video and Free Downloads

Check out this thread on What’s Best’s audio forum. You’ll find the video by MA Recordings and the Pac NW Audio Society – featuring our own John Stone!wb logo

You’ll also discover a bunch of free high-resolution downloads, some in DSD. Todd G, like Cookie M, is sold on DSD.

The WB forum is one of the best IMO. Several BAAS members participate….


Thursday, December 20th, 2012 Audiophile, Bob, General, Music, Video Comments Off

How to Describe Sound Quality (Audiophile 101)

The illustration below (source unknown) provides some pointers on how to be more exact with your audiophile jargon.

As a very course mnemonic, you can use the three decades of the audio spectrum to define bass/midrange/treble:

  • Bass:  20-200 hz
  • Mids:  200-2K hz
  • Treble:  2K-20K hz




Sunday, November 25th, 2012 Audiophile, Bob, General Comments Off

The Price of Audiophilia

Not much new here, but this article from seeks to plot the price spectrum of audiophilia – with the aid of local McIntosh vendor House of Music.

Also referenced is a framework that I had almost forgotten about: The Gizmodo Audiophile Sound Quality Index. (Site currently down due to the storm.)



Tuesday, October 30th, 2012 Audiophile, Bob, General, News Comments Off

Japanese Synchronicity

You’ll “get it” by halfway mark…feel free to skip ahead if you must!

Leave a comment if you can explain….


Hint: Think Newton’s 3rd Law, and how it may play here.

Friday, September 28th, 2012 Audiophile, Bob, General, Video 3 Comments

HRT and Schiit Impress NYT Listening Panel

‘Tis not often that a publication like the New York Times conducts a DAC shootout. But they just did.

Further, they even use audiophile terminology: “[the HRT] sounded closest to the original CD versions” and switching from the Schiit “was like going from stereo to mono.” Whoa.

I’ll leave it to interested readers to delve  deeper….


Thursday, September 13th, 2012 Audiophile, Bob, General, News 2 Comments

CNET Writer Claims Audiophiles Shun Accuracy

Long-time CNET writer Steve Guttenberg now claims that audiophiles – like most consumers – prefer colored

Sound Analyzer

sound (article here).

IMO, the article is simply chock-full of unsubstantiated assertions. In fact, I think that a more reasonable thesis can be drawn from the evidence presented: manufacturers of audio gear make equipment that produces flawed sound.

In any case, decide for yourself….


Monday, August 27th, 2012 Audiophile, Bob, General, News Comments Off

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 – Hires video reviews, factory tours, and show reports

For those of you looking for additional Memorial Day entertainment, check out the AVshowrooms web site.

Lots of high definition audiophile video. I found the Audio Note UK tour particularly enjoyable. Old world, minimalist design ethos. The YG Acoustics tour was a nice bookend – new world, high-tech approach and materials.

I like the overall concept. It strikes me as a useful adjunct to the written word, and valid means of getting greater exposure to the brands. I would think that quality manufacturers would value the service as well.

Sample below. Go “full screen” for best effect.




Monday, May 28th, 2012 Audiophile, Bob, Equipment, General, Video Comments Off

How musical are you – really?

Go to this link to take a very interesting “test” of your musical skills and proclivities.

You’ll also be helping the BBC with their research.

Hint: A couple of the tests take a while to load. Don’t do what I did and skip them. You will get a low score! (Like me….)




Tuesday, May 15th, 2012 Announcements, Audiophile, Bob, General, Music Comments Off

Attend the California Audio Show and BAAS Membership is only $10

The California Audio Show (CAS) is running a promotion wherein BAAS members get a $10 discount on their 3-day tickets.

Since the membership fee for BAAS is only $20, new members can essentially join BAAS for free!

Just follow the link above to join, and I’ll send you the link for the $10 discount to CAS.

Great deal for Bay Area audiophiles….


Wednesday, May 9th, 2012 Announcements, Audiophile, Bob, Events, General 2 Comments

“Dramatically New” Living Stereo Video

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012 Audiophile, Bob, General, Video Comments Off

The Beginnings of BAAS

On 9/26/95, the notice below was posted on the newsgroup by one of Dennis Davis’ officers. (Dennis was president.)

This current incarnation of BAAS was a restart of the earlier “Northern California Audiophile Society.” This, in turn, sent the “other BAAS” into a bit of a tail-slide.

Much more recently, BASS was used as the inspiration and template for the Shanghai Aidiophile Society.


Tuesday, April 24th, 2012 Audiophile, Bob, Events, General 1 Comment

Video Evolution of an Audiophile’s System

What percentage of components shown can you identify?


Tuesday, April 24th, 2012 Audiophile, Bob, General, Video Comments Off

New Book from Ethan Winer Has Audiophile Appeal

Ethan Winer has been an outspoken critic of the more extreme — some would say mainstream (!) — aspects of our hobby. In fact, his (in)famous Audio Myths Video has been the subject of both scorn and admiration. The guy is certainly opinionated.

But he’s also knowledgable, passionate, and – it turns out – an excellent writer. All of this comes out in his new book: The Audio Expert – All You Need to Know About Audio.

Rather than go into details here, just read my short review on Amazon. Suffice to say, I think that many of you would find the book both useful and enjoyable.


Sunday, April 22nd, 2012 Announcements, Audiophile, Bob, General 1 Comment