Friday, December 26, 2008

What is B Stock?

Sometimes you hear about deals on so-called "B Stock" items and you might wonder what it is.

A B-Stock product is a product that for some reason cannot be sold as "New". B Stock includes used items that have been returned, or defective items that have been fixed. Often in places like Amazon.com you will see items listed as "refurbished". This is essentially the same as B Stock in that the item has been checked by someone and usually carries a "new" warranty, but not always.

B Stock items might have small marks, wear, be missing some packaging, or have other minor defects that may be visible or invisible. It could also be items that made it to the package but fail in other ways, such as cosmetic marks, or have some other small-ish problem. How important is that? High speed tires = important. Galvanized pails, who cares?

So if you see "B Stock" or refurbished, you can equate that with "used". Used is not necessarily bad. How many of us have brand new everything in our lives? Not many. I personally could be considered "used" but perhaps not completely used up.

I like to think the B stands for something different! A male cow, a large sausage! Why don't they just say used? That car on the lot - "previously owned".

We don't sell anything marked "B Stock". This probably does not surprise you.

There is also a class of stock called "Class B Stock" that has nothing to do with products. It is a type of share that founders of companies sometimes have that brings special privileges or powers. That's not what this post is about

Ice Dams

Here in beautiful Ashland MA we have the usual wintry freezing snowy weather known in the high latitudes. Last week we got about 18" of powder over a two-day period and it was cold, so all the melting snow on the metal roof of Soundwave Research Plaza hardened into an icy mass, and backed up through the roof, then down two floors to the machine shop.

Here is a Haas MiniMill being protected by a 0.002" thick PE film. You gotta love polymeric films. Their impervious nature is exactly what is needed for all kinds of products and applicances in so many fields.

Or, you can use them to deflect water. Note the missing ceiling tile in the upper left. This fell in a sudden gooey plop just as I approached it. I had just come from Shaw's parking lot, where a woman hit me with her car while I was walking in the lot. Wham! That hurt. Then she called 911 and reported "...a man on the ground in the parking lot". Indeed! Talk about personal responsibility! Enough ranting for the moment. Merry Christmas!

2009 - the year of Roswellite.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Red Red Red

In time for the Holidays. A Christmas Red el Diablo box lined with elfin violet felt, and with a Santa-friendly super tough Roswellite Ribbon inside a stainless steel body.

What a nice gift for that special someone!

$2750
ONE available.


From the custom shop.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Mr. Peabody and the WayBack Machine

Peabody here.

Sherman, set the WayBack machine to when we first released the Studio Vocalist and place the link here.

Mr. Peabody, the glasses-wearing beagle/academic, was one of my favorite characters on The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.

In Massachusetts, we have a town named Peabody, and a frequent visitor to the blog from Peabody. Except here we say "Peebidee" like chickadee, not "Pea Body". That Boston accent will mess with you if you don't know. We also have a town named Billerica, pronounced "Bill Ricka". Many newcomers have wondered who this Bill Ricka was.

Paying attention? Heads up on "foils". It is illogical for us to offer anything but the best to our customers. Since the success of Roswellite, and its several very obvious advantages, we are going to switch over to an all Roswellite product line in 2009. Naked Eye Roswellite together with el Diablo are a success, and account for most of our sales today. Naked Eye Roswellite's nearest price competitor is a "foil" mic that costs more, so we more often than not get the sale in a competitive situation. The Naked Eye Classic will become the Fender Broadcaster of Crowley and Tripp, and appreciate in value over time. El Diablo is available in a couple of different finishes, and at AES we showed Studio Vocalist Roswellite. Technology moves forward and so must we. Now that the new technology is in place, and everything is set, getting it to the customer has become the priority. Getting anything "in the channel" is crucial to commercial success of course, especially as production quantities increase. There are several traditional ways and some nontraditional ways to do this. We tend to follow what we have learned from past successes in the medical device industry.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Adapt!

Each Naked Eye Ribbon Microphone comes with one of these knurled fittings made of chrome plated brass with a female thread of 5/8-27 and a male thread of 3/8-16. We continue to use the English system in most, but not all, of what we do. Although metric is convenient, it lacks the tradition, history, and most important - the human scale of the English system, which is being outlawed in England!


But not here. In America, we can use cubits if we like. (Though ISO and ANSI would give us some trouble).

DON't GIVE AN INCH!

Seaver Leslie is the head of Americans for Customary Weight and Measures. The idea is that the scale and proportions of everything around us are greatly influenced by the measurement systems used. For instance, a pound of ham, or a kilo of ham - very different. A 4 by 8 sheet of plywood just isn't the same in metric proportions. It's not about numbers, but art, culture, and history. The English system is scaled to humans. The metric system is scaled to the globe - also valid, but I think quite a bit less connected personally.

Don't get me wrong, I am not some Luddite who clings to the old or doctrinaire. On the contrary, we seek out the new, unusual and useful, and work in microns all the time, and nanometers and Kilohertz and other metricized quantities as we wish, all the time.

Smoother & Better!


2nd Staff of Tokyo - a great dealer - has gone all the way on their website:

See here

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

JRF Magnetic Sciences


Now this is a cool site. If you appreciate the benefits of analog, you will be intriqued. Look for the page with ONE INCH two track setup. See here.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

LA Music Awards - Single of the Year - Adult Contemporary - to Anthony Resta

AJR has done it again.

Click here to listen to the song and read about the award.

Anthony writes:

Just posted " To the Stars" LA music awards single of the year (adult alternative catagory)written by cohesive and anthony j. resta
nick f: vocals (recorded with a Crowley and Tripp Studio Vocalist)
Mike L: Drums
Ajr: guitars, bass, drums, synths, casio piano,background vocalscheck out ajr's guitar solo: really unconventional tone.produced at bopnique by ajax
recorded and mixed by karyadi sutedjathanks to Ed Roland for the inspiration to write songs like this.

Friday, November 14, 2008

November 1932 Electronics about the Ribbon Microphone


In the November 1932 issue of Electronics, author Julius Weinberger writes about everything you need to know to make a good ribbon microphone for music and broadcast applications. The work comes from RCA labs where of course Harry Olson worked. His article on ribbon microphone response is in the October 1932 issue and is not nearly as interesting as this one.
At the risk of offending the copyright holder, I have scanned in an excerpt from the paper magazine, converted it into a pdf, and attached it here.
Note that phantom power or at least power to the microphone was in use at that time. Also the use of a shunt reactor for tailoring the upper ranges.

By the end of 1932, the US and most of the world had been in a fairly deep recessionary period, with some ups and downs. It remained that way for a number of years and was made worse by bad weather in the Southern Midwest - the Dustbowl Years - a period of drought that got about a million farm people to head for California. Ten years later WWII was raging, deficit spending, and a labor shortage brought out by an emergency draft of men up to 50 years of age reduced unemployment to nearly zero.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Art Deco Style Microphone Body

In the spirit of the infamous Argonne AR57, and inspired by the hotels of South Beach, this cylindrical black and white mic body seems rather flat when viewed from the side. You may notice that I have used the term "Art Deco" when in actual fact a more precise term would be "Art Moderne". Incidentally, don't just say "deco" unless you want to have the art illuminati look down their noses at you. Always use the complete term.

There was a piece of antenna mast around with a black anodized finish and that was the inspiration of this component. You can see it here all put together.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

FPDimages


Leighton Jones, proprietor of FPDimages, a sign company, has a collection of amusing images of signs. He recently made some very nice decals for my bike, and now I am thinking of some Naked Eye stickers or something....

Monday, November 03, 2008

I forgot to mention....

Stelios Arcadiou, artist, experimenter, presumed-nonconformist and resident of the UK contacted us a while back about his arm ear.

It seemed that Stelios had heard about our medical device experience, and, putting two and two together with our microphone business, thought we might have a way to enable his arm ear to work with an implanted microphone. The idea was to run a wire under the skin to an implanted transducer, the other end of the cable to be routed we know not where.

After discussing the legal, ethical and practical complexities of this potential project, we respectfully declined to get to work on it. But there may be merit to the idea, in the future at least, when implanted devices become very commonplace, when RFID implants are the norm (anyone watch The Last Enemy on PBS?) and a real marketplace develops for ears on arms, legs, stomachs or other bits placed here and there.

Believe it or not, we think we do know how to accomplish the insertion of a working transducer and wiring, and even a way to connect to it without an irritating external connector, but no thanks.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Naked Eye Classic Currently Sold Out

We will have more in a couple of weeks. The post AES sales were better than expected. We recommend you select Naked Eye Roswellite anyway! Look at this and see why we do.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The "T"


If you visit Boston you will inevitably encounter the "T" or nowadays, the MBTA. But don't go by this old map. Several of the stations shown on this 70s-era T placard are gone or have changed names, and some new lines have been added, such as the Silver line. I grew up riding the Green Line, mainly into Kenmore Square near Fenway Park, or to Park Street to change over to the Red Line, and get to Harvard Square. "The Square" as it was called, was filled with little restaurants, bookstores, and record shops and other businesses that made it a destination. Now Harvard Square is mainly occupied by banks, and of course, Harvard. Out of Town News is closing because nobody buys print magazines anymore, nor do they seem to need today's The New York Times - it's all on line.

All-Tube DX-100 AM Transmitter

Thousands of these Heathkit transmitters were built by radio hams on a budget back in the 60s, and many are still around in various stages of operation or decomposition. Here is a typical example: Its homely appearance, inept grey on grey paint styling attempts, and general boatanchor aspect make this both a perennial favorite among those who wish to transmit a powerful signal, and a burden.

It weighs about 100 pounds, and getting it up the stairs is a struggle indeed. Opening and servicing are too. There are many faults, aside from the lackluster styling. The VFO is hard to control, the audio quality is so so, the overall construction is crude and the heat it produces is prodigious. This example also has a lot of scuffs and dirt. It only puts out CW or AM. It is ugly. On the front panel, where the mic is connected, it says "mike".

Like many other analog technologies, Amplitude Modulation had its day, went into decline, and now is enjoying a bit of a comeback.

Yet hundreds of these, if not thousands, are still on the air today. Despite the limitations and shortcomings, hams have kept them going and putting out healthy signals. Over time, many modifications have been developed to improve the efficiency and audio quality to the point where they can sound quite good. One of these can cover the entire New England, New York, Quebec and Pennsylvania area, on a good night. A typical microphone for this rig is the ubiquitous D-104.

Is this a gem in the rough, or a permanent boatanchor to be dealt with at an estate sale? Can such as relic be rejuvenated, or is it too late? Zoom in to see the crud and the filth that might be cleaned up with some elbow grease and effort, and creative use of a spray can.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Ajax on Reverbnation

Check out Anthony Resta (aka Ajax Ray O'Vaque)here at Reverbnation.

Reverbnation has been kind of messed up.  I suggest you check out Anthony's new web site

www.bopnique.com

Soundwave Research Lab Receives 2008 Best of Ashland Award - NOT!

This is a scam - read here

They try to sell plaques. Thought I would publish this for your amusement.

Here is what came in email:

Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Soundwave Research Lab Receives 2008 Best of Ashland Award

U.S. Local Business Association’s Award Plaque Honors the Achievement

NO SUCH ORGANIZATION

WASHINGTON D.C., October 20, 2008 -- Soundwave Research Lab has been selected for the 2008 Best of Ashland Award in the Research Labs category by the U.S. Local Business Association (USLBA).

The USLBA "Best of Local Business" Award Program recognizes outstanding local businesses throughout the country. Each year, the USLBA identifies companies that they believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and community.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2008 USLBA Award Program focused on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the USLBA and data provided by third parties.

About U.S. Local Business Association (USLBA)

U.S. Local Business Association (USLBA) is a Washington D.C. based organization funded by local businesses operating in towns, large and small, across America. The purpose of USLBA is to promote local business through public relations, marketing and advertising.

The USLBA was established to recognize the best of local businesses in their community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations, chambers of commerce and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to be an advocate for small and medium size businesses and business entrepreneurs across America.

SOURCE: U.S. Local Business Association

CONTACT:
U.S. Local Business Association
Email: PublicRelations@USLBA.net <----baloney

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Propeller - Big Bass at AES

I have no idea what this propeller-driven subwoofer sounds like, but it certainly looks like it could move some air.

Who makes this? Lots of curious onlookers.

Brian Loudenslager - Lauten Audio

Also at AES this year was Brian Loudenslager and his new series of Lauten Audio microphones. Brian and his father-in-law (a scientist of some type) have been working on capsules and other improvements for some time, said Brian.

Monday, October 20, 2008

100% Roswellite

The day's shipment - all Roswellite ribbon microphones and nothing but.

That's the trend these days - in a down economy, people seem to want the assurance that their hard-earned money will get them something that will last and maintain its value for the long haul.

Here's engineer Desiree checking a UPS label. She designs most of the components and oversees the building of all Crowley and Tripp Microphones.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Well Come

A nice Fall day here and time for a little cruise around The Village of Sudbury. Perhaps I will visit the Stone Boat, or the Labour Exchange. Click on the image to zoom in on a telling detail.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Dave Bock, Bock Audio

Aside from being a great guy and friend, Dave Bock makes the only historically-based LDC that I would approve of. Check out the super quality product he makes at Bock Audio.

Latch Lake - Jeff Roberts

I can think of no other company servicing the pro audio industry with as much metal as Jeff Roberts and his company Latch Lake. The Minnesota-based company makes explosion-proof latches, super heavy duty microphone stands.

Jeff gave me a great gift - THANK-YOU Jeff!

Click here to see the excellent Leo Kottke deluxe brass slide! I love it.

Now I have to start practicing slide guitar again after many years. I know where this will lead: I have already looked at new slide guitars online....

JoseTenorio at the booth


We were fortunate to have the expertise and product knowledge of Jose Tenorio, engineer at Artist Lyfe Recording in Oakland. Jose spent many hours demonstrating the mics to vocalists and others who were in attendance.

The booth attendance this year was about half of what it is usually in New York. The San Francisco show is smaller and there is a smaller attendance, so that's expected.

AES 2008


Peter Reardon of Shadow Hills showing off his spectacular gear. Those who are familiar with WWII radios such as the Hallicrafters SX-28 will appreciate the detail and stying of Peter's compressors and other electronics. I suggested to Peter that he submit one of his designs to MOMA for consideration as they do collect post modern products that are unusual and break new ground. In this case, by going back into the mid century aesthetic, and amplifying it, Peter and others have created a new style (that I will not label retro, but you may if you must) and that new style, to my eyes, invokes the idea of technology as a life form, work of art, possessing the soul of the maker, historical reference, and other attributes that that are used to intentionally influence the user's perception and appreciation of the product, combined with the knowledge/belief that the result is improved.

In microphones, musical instruments, and certain other human-technology interface devices, we know this to be an important factor. The user must have confidence and a sense of the overall aesthetic meaning, and that comes through in the final result.

AES 2008


Michael Chiriac showing his new RCA-77 inspired bidirectional ribbon microphone above, and Jonathan Little of Little Labs below with an as-yet unidentified friend at the show.

Lotta Naked Eye Roswellites

But not enough. This mic is a hot seller and we keep shipping them out, despite economic disasters, the sinking of the Dow and S&P, the absurd price of heating oil, and the general economic malaise we are likely to be in for the next two or three years.

People want them and they are sure of it. The fact that Roswellite is strong and won't change or break is the deal-maker.

People want to put their money on a sure thing these days.

Gauss and his Meter

What is a Gaussmeter?

A Gaussmeter measures magnetic flux, or field, in this case with what is know as a Hall-Effect probe, an unusual transducer that changes its resistance as a magnetic field is varied.

Gaussmeters are used all over the place to check and measure magnets, and we of course use a Gaussmeter to measure the strength of the magnetic field in a ribbon microphone, and to check for proper orientation of the magnets.

Gauss is one of the most important mathematicians of all time. The so called 'bell curve" is more correctly known as a Gaussian Distribution, at least in the scientific world, and in statistics. Gauss and Chladni layed the groundwork for Quantum Mechanics. Chladni demonstrated "forbidden modes" with his sand-covered vibrating plates, and Gauss developed the math used to describe the distribution of values around a nominal quantity. It turned out to be quite important: every thing, every deal, house, cat, air sample, Queen Mary, is subject to the uncertainties of Gaussian variation. Nothing is quite precise, except perhaps the number itself. Piles of snow, averages of anything, and even you as a person, fall somewhere within a Gaussian distribution. Taken in sets, such as sets of real estate bargains, Gauss assures us that out at the ends of the distribution there are a few very horrible and a few unbelievably great deals. Though few they may be, Gauss tells us to look for them, especially when we need only one.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Crowley and Tripp to be visited by local member of Congress


US Representative James P. McGovern (D), shown on the right, will be visiting Soundwave Research Labs to discuss one of the topics brought up on this blog several times: Enforcement of the Made in USA regulations.
I've written about this a half dozen times in an effort to clarify what is, and what is not, legally "Made in USA". Naturally we are mostly concerned with microphones and other products relating to the field. I've asked the Federal Trade Commission for assistance in the past, but have not been successful.
While here I intend to bend the congressman's ear a little about needed improvements to intellectual property law with respect to small businesses.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Lost Tape - Found

WThe very first recording I did with Stan Ambrose was of a fusion group led by Mark Zamcheck on Fender Rhodes and Lee Gesmer on guitar, Gian Caterine, bass, (now John Cate), and Joe Cartier on drums, later with Paul Freidlander (deceased) a great guitarist.

We let someone borrow the original, shown here on 1/4" 1 and 1/2 mil Scotch tape, recorded at 7 1/2 ips using two Sony dynamics, an EV 664, and a Shure mixer.

Though it is noisy, it is still one of my favorite "basement" recordings. Of course the playing was good and the compositions more advanced than anything EST would have done at that age.

We looked all over and finally found out that Jon Oshima had kept it safe (actually this is a second gen tape, we came to realize) all these years. Now transcribed to digital, it is circulating again, the cover of the CD the very same as you see here.

We have no idea who Pam Judson is.

Today's Doings

I went to art school to learn how to paint artistic images, do sculpture, ceramics, machine art, and a few other things.

Logo painting was not in the curriculum.

This is the scene today as we catch up on logo painting prior to AES. I'm about to head out the door but thought you'd like to see that my hand-eye coordination isn't completely shot - not yet at least. I don't paint many logos these days, I admit.

AES and any trade show is a bit of a grind. Potluck and Tapeop were a lot of fun and easy to do, because they are casual affairs. At the large centers such as the Moscone Center you have to deal with the various departments in the facility who provide such niceties as electric power, a carpet over the cement space, and other things at extra charge over the exhibitor fee we pay to AES.

You should see the chaos ahead of the show as exhibitors set up booths and get everything wired up. Then there is the show, and all is nice and neat. The second the show closes, off go most of the lighting in the hall (to save energy costs) and also the AC for the same reason, the carpets get rolled up immediately, and the pandemonium of breakdown and pack up and ship out begins.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Relic from the past



This is the second ribbon mic we made. The first one doesn't even have a body! The bottom cap is made of wood. The body is a part of an antenna mast that blew down and was machined and had some slots added. The blue foam is that stuff that Radio Shack has. We still have it and it still works, sort of.

Y'gotta start somewhere. Circa 2003. Even that far back, "nano" was in the plan.

Dick Dale and a Twister

Check it out.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

AES

We're preparing for AES which will be held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco this year on October 2 through 5. Exhibits open on the 3rd.

This year we have a much better booth location, thanks to a swift move by Brad Lunde of Las Vegas Pro Audio, who had a cancellation and offered it to us even though his company does not distribute our products. It's the type of thing we like about this field and the collegial manner that is held by many, though perhaps not all, of our fellow gear makers and sellers, is very welcome and appareciated.

Everybody asks us what we will be bringing that is new. I can assure you that there will be something new, and it might not be as simple as a new product, but will represent the rapid shift toward Roswellite ribbon microphones over the obsolete "foils". Enough for now.

This year, we are pleased to have Jose Tenorio joining us at the booth. Welcome Jose!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Great Review of el Diablo Ribbon Microphone


Sound on Sound is one of our favorite print magazines and this month's issue has a glowing review of el Diablo in it. Reviewer Hugh Robjohns recounts his experience with el Diablo, the Mercenary Edition, performing various studio duties, including the kick drum of course. His conclusion: There is nothing else like it. Roswellite makes all the difference!

SOS is a print mag, and I recommend you subscribe. You can get the online review here.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The speed of gravity

what is the speed of gravity? Find out here.“That one body may act upon another at a distance through a vacuum, without the mediation of any thing else, by and through which their action and force may be conveyed from one to the other, is to me so great an absurdity, that I believe no man who has in philosophical matters a competent faculty of thinking, can ever fall into it.” Isaac Newton.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Infinity Basslink II - blown out

Anyone have one of these subs? Mine has decided to quit, after a couple of years of acceptable operation (although it interfered with my AM radio severely) .

It just keeps blowing its own 20 Amp fuse.

the question most asked...

"when will all of your ribbon microphones use Roswellite?"

Saturday, August 23, 2008



Time to get on the old Raleigh Sport and pedal around a little while the Summer weather is great.

Look forward to seeing everyone at AES!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

First ever Naked Eye

Labeled "BBob" after REI started sending me flyers and ads with that name on it. I used it for anything new after their mistake persisted, as they must have sold my name to other retailers and credit card companies and I still get mail addressed to "BBob".

This is the original gray color that Naked Eye started with but in the photos it turned a green/blue shade that we liked and eventually duplicated.

This was my first Naked Eye, made it essentially for my own use and with the idea that one side could be rather bright like a quality condenser and the other more neutral to dark like a lot of ribbon mics are. Still have it. We have sold a ton of Naked Eyes and it is becoming a standard, with the only real decision being whether to pay the extra for Roswellite so you never have to worry about reribboning. I think that is definitely worth it, if only to remove the last morsel of doubt anyone may have about using a ribbon on stage (thick ribbons don't help very much) and where the so-called "patchbay incident" can still occur, which stretches a number of conventional "foil" ribbons that are out in the realm. Manufacturers make no money on doing a reribboning job under warranty, and in fact it probably costs about $100, so it was time for an improvement.

We will see you at AES in San Francisco! What new products will there be?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Wise advice


From Salt Pond Beach Park in Hanapepe.

A lousy day for Massachusetts medical device companies

Governor Deval Patrick signed the health care cost containment bill into law yesterday afternoon. The bill, as enacted, orders the Mass. Department of Public Health to establish a code of ethics for life science companies in Massachusetts. Furthermore, the law requires companies to report any payment of $50 or more to health care practitioners and prohibits payments for meals outside of the doctor's office or hospital setting. The law also prohibits technical training on medical devices prior to the point of sale.

This means that if MDs come and visit us to discuss a medical device or invention, we cannot feed them, since obviously, food costs money and isn't free. I'm going to tell them to bring their own lunch.It means that if some kind of instructions are needed to operate the equipment, we cannot have the doctors involved in the development of the training to make sure it operates properly.

Governer Patrick and the state legislature have gone into an extended "extreme stupid mode" that has led to the enactment of laws that protect nobody and harm the ability to develop new lifesaving medical devices and procedures.

Further from the press, is this incredibly insulting and outrageously wrong remark by a state senator in favor of the bill who is nervous about the unpleasant reaction the legislature is getting:

Sen. Montigny, who decried the influence that marketing dollars exert on doctors and physicians, said that the legislation is a compromise and, as such, contains both good and bad news.

"The good news is that there are no more trips to the Super Bowl, no more seminars in warm climates or $100,000 payments to people for ghostwriting pieces they did no work on," he said. "The governor also signed it without sending it back for any amendments. If he had amended it, since we are no longer in session, that would effectively have killed it."




Thursday, August 07, 2008

What sounds good?

Here's a biggie: Ever since the Edisonian reproduction of recorded music began, terms such as "realism" and "High Fidelity" really haven't cut it. Not really.

Like art of any kind (we know what we like when we see it) our tastes are established early on, added to perhaps by passive or active learning and further understanding of the very complex languages they arrive in to our ears or eyes.

I'm going to make this easy: We all have a favorite album, CD, vinyl, or perhaps wax cylinder. It's the one you have listened to more than once, probably many times, and thought "wow, this sounds really good". Visceral, sumptuous, hard, soft, dynamic, melodic, rhythmic, timbre-rich - whatever you like - it's unbelievably fantastic, and you are sure of it.

Think about what you like. At the core, usually (unless you are a sound effects album collector as I am) is an idea, an aesthetic, a groove, something tuneful or tuneless that gets you going.

But there's more: The bass, the treble, the attack, the spatial cues, how it drives like a racecar or a rocket through your ear brain combo, and how your own local equipment, albiet limited, may handle it. It makes you fly. You know what I mean.

And the meaning - Literal? Abstract? Nostalgic? The playing? Great songwriting? Something else? Is it the art at the center that could still be great if it did not sound "so good", or is it the art that sounds so good? It depends, doesn't it. I can think of "bad" recordings that are the found objects of art predicted by Marcel Duchamp in movie trailers and TV jingles, I can think of Motown greats that sound nearly as good on a 7 transistor Panapet. Would I change them? Maybe.

Think of one or two and get back to me. Think of why, and describe it. You tell me yours and I'll tell you mine. I'm listening to it now. You probably guessed that already.

Link to "Theme from a Summer Place" Picked by Larry in comments below. This was an important song and incorporated a strong postwar theme with a mild contemporary doo wop. It seems to accommodate Cage's theories of "music as furniture" which today is true, as music's ubiquity is virtually complete. A pretty tune that wafted from many kitchen radios in its day, equally at home in a restaurant, or a commercial, or an airport. Hats off to Larry for coming up with this example that to me almost seems like the precise halfway point between classical and ambient. Because it was such a success and popular Muzak theme, it might be discounted. I was astonished at the many YouTube slideshows people have put together to Percy Faith's famous performance of Max Steiner's piece, and it is important that despite its mid century modernism, its humanity is intact. I wonder what will be thought of this in another 50 years and will it have a different meaning? I will
have to find a good vinyl example (should be easy!) and really give it a listen. The above link sounds almost a whole note flat vs the filmed Percy Faith link above - anyone know if this is a technical artifact or intentional? The key makes quite a difference I think.

In any case, Weather Report's Sportin Life (1984) seems to me to be a penultimate recording with everything in it that is good.
The vinyl version NOT the CD. Of course with the likes of Zawinul and Shorter, you could hardly ask for better performers. But that's just part of it that you simply must hear by placing needle on plastic and let it spin. I know of no other recording with such great dynamics and sound in general and it it immediately obvious that this is so when hearing it. Astonishing in fact. Weather Report are well known but chances are you have never heard this record. I encourage you to get the TT lubed up and a new stylus, and go find this gem. This album was completely panned by the critics who could not get over the fact that Weather Report strayed from "traditional" fusion into a world beat. WAY before its time (1984 was a long time ago) and strongly related to several of the hooks and themes later seen and used by P5 and Cornelius.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Naked Eye Roswellite Takes a Bike Ride


Over to UPS for an early dropoff of a Naked Eye Roswellite sent overnight service. We are fortunate to have a UPS depot within a mile of our lab so in case we don't want to wait for daily pickup we can just drop it off.
I was going that way, scooting out early to enjoy a bit of Summer weather before the T-storms predicted for tomorrow.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Questions and comments


From gearslutz: So it seems that the NE is a great mic for electric guitars. But how do you like it for acoustic stringed instruments (steel- and nylon string guitars, mandolin, violin)? Is the NE less noisy than e.g. a AEA R84 (often I record very quiet sources using a Forsell SMP-2 pre)? Have you tried M/S with the NE (I know due to it's dual voicing it's not ideal for this)? Are there better ribbons for this than the NE (or the NE roswellite)? Has anbody compared the NE to a Royer (R122, R121 or SF1)?

Would you prefer the roswellite over the classic for this applications (if yes: why?)?

Oliver


I use mine for classical guitar and also the Japanese end blown flute. Both are soft instruments. I know violin players who will only use Naked Eye.

The NE classic and Ros are less noisy than the 84, and have more output.

I tried NE on blumlien and it works ok. I don't see any reason that it would not work in M-S though there may be timbre differences across the sound field. There are more symmetrical "better" mics such as the Proscenium.

I have compared them to the 121. As far as tone goes, the front of the Naked Eye is quite similar in tone to a 121. The back is far brighter. Naked Eye Roswellite has a much higher SPL and dynamic range.

The Naked Eye classic has a self noise of about 13 dB and the Roswellite version is about 1 dB more than that as it has a slightly higher terminal Z. I prefer the Roswellite version as it has a much stronger ribbon and will be worth more in the future, but in quiet situations it is very hard to tell the two apart.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Invention of Roswellite Expected to Produce Rapid Growth in Ribbon Mic Segment

Ashland, MA August 1, 2008:

Soundwave Research Laboratories, Inc., producers of Crowley and Tripp Ribbon Microphones, today announced that it expects rapid market growth in the ribbon microphone category, primarily due to its invention and introduction of the new nanomaterial "Roswellite" tm that overcomes the long standing durability problems inherent in all previous ribbon microphones.

"The invention of Roswellite is a breakthrough that was made possible through a concentrated materials development program alongside a focused product and market development mission" said Robert J Crowley, president of the company. "What was once a niche segment is poised to grow and compete head-to-head with condenser and dynamic microphones for virtually any sound pickup application, and now is growing at a very rapid rate of over 20% annually".

Crowley also thinks that the status-quo will soon be eclipsed; "Ribbon technology is finally durable, repeatable and manufacturable in modern production environments to maintain the highest quality standards" he said. "The larger manufacturers have avoided the service problems that are associated with the "foils". Roswellite is so much stronger, and yet produces a sound as good or better than traditional-but-fragile materials."

Chris Regan, Product Manager of Crowley and Tripp Ribbon Microphones, sees a quadrupling of the ribbon market in a relatively short time. "Most current ribbon microphones are sold through smaller sales channels and serve minor markets, but all that has changed with the introduction of Roswellite. Ribbons have gone from a "nice to have" to a "must have", he said. Regan asserts that the market potential is quite large, claiming every musician with a computer who wants to make a high quality recording represents a possible customer, and observed that ribbon microphones are increasingly becoming the preferred tool of choice for many vocalists, guitarists, percussionists, as well as traditional string and brass musicians. "We are experiencing a very rapid change where skilled artists select all of their instruments, including the specific recording gear" he added.

Hugh Tripp, co-founder of Soundwave, made additional observations based on his experience making precision medical devices: "The Roswellite material obsoletes the old materials, and we are seeing that our customers are readily accepting it" he remarked. "It was time for an improvement, and this is the first fundamental improvement to any of the major microphones types in several decades. We are in a happy place today."

Crowley and Tripp Microphones are made in Ashland MA by people who know the art and science of acoustics. Roswellite-equipped ribbon microphones include Naked Eye Roswellite ($1295) and el Diablo ($2750) premium ribbon microphones.

http://www.soundwaveresearch.com/index_proaudio.html

Friday, July 18, 2008

Ajax Ray O Vaque Schedules New Release


Click on the image for a close up view of the collection. Click on this link for more stuff.

From Anthony Resta's Blog:

"Wednesday, July 16, 2008

new ajax ray o vaque cd release date

July 2008

This thanksgiving...Ajax Ray O Vaque will release (the much anticipated by white dwarf stars everywhere) his follow-up to the critically forgotten "Demos of Saturn" recordings that defined the sci-fi mambo sound.

The album will be released on thanksgiving day 2008 unless an asteroid with the name "Earth" embroidered
on its jacket collides with and subsequently destroys all that we see, feel, know, think, etc...

Side effects may include extinction after bouncing around the universe like a superball. (this includes your basketball-like head that the universe will quickly slam dunk through a black hole of bad sitcom t.v.)

If you are one of those hypo talka talka radio dj heads who has assigned yourself importance after laughing at 89 percent of your dumb jokes, your head will fly further than the average joes...

skull cracking earth crushing joke stopping asteroid impact = no cd release or thanksgiving.

Too much peering through the Hubble telescope and not enough "*******" make ajax a dull sci-fi mambo
poet...

Prepare for sonic alchemy or to join the ranks of fossils!!!!

ajax"


Monday, June 30, 2008

500th Post on Microphonium.blogspot.com


The now-famous Hofner Verithin, shown in hi-rez. Hofner aficionados will notice that the knobs look stock, but that the inserts are not. That's the bridge that was on it when I bought it from Tom Allman. This is the same 1962 Verithin that we show in our banners and in various places on our website and in print. Click on the image to view the patina.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Happy Chladni Day! June 29

Click here for some animations that are related to the work of Chladni. Think about how they relate to the motions of microphone elements.


Chladni Day is celebrated on June 29 in Massachusetts, Maine, and Puerto Rico. This year Chladni Day falls on a Sunday, so we won't be having any gala event at the lab, however, you should know that the work of Chladni continues on today! Chladni was the scientist who determined that meteorites were of extraterrestrial origin. His studies in acoustics are fundamental to the field and led to the basis of the mathematics used to describe "forbidden modes", very important in Quantum Mechanics.


Here is a link to a previous post about Chladni. Enjoy!

What is this?


This "Alien Gun" image looks like it is made out of old microphone parts. I spotted it - here - well worth a look! - and if you are the owner of this please allow me to show it, as it is very artistic indeed! The knuckle is like many 60s era Electrovoice and Shure mics, but the handle looks more like a Webcor/Webster tape recorder mic or maybe some communications-style mic. Details please!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Analog Planet


There are many motifs being developed today to reflect the appeal of hollow state and vintage recording devices, tube technology, and the styles that grew up with them. Drew Townson isn't a dealer of Crowley and Tripp but I thought that you ought to see this symmetrical, formal Art Deco or Art Moderne (more like it) inspired logo he has developed. It seems to me to have a blend of the Collins winged emblem and Fritz Laing's Metropolis in there, specifically, Maria's "body panels". The bisected reverse neon saturn, shown edge-on, is a nicely atomic, simple and sharp. We use a similar vertically extended font which is stylized and often associated with pre-war advertising.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Researchers: "Ice and more seen in Mars trench at Ashland MA laboratory"

Click on the image for a close up time-lapse animation
Ashland, MA June 20, 2008: Researchers at a Massachusetts-based laboratory have been studying recent images from Mars and have commented on the images of Martian ice, including their interest in the shape of an outlined object revealed in today's images. "The outline of the ice-rich area indicates an area of high ice density relative to the surrounding soil" remarked Robert J Crowley of Soundwave Research Laboratories, who works primarily in medical imaging. "When we see a well defined outline surrounding an area we think is wet, we know we are looking at some boundary condition" he said. "After the ice sublimates or evaporates, there is a distinct dark area within the border, something that was present with the ice, something with low reflectivity, such as carbon, or oxidized materials, or it could simply be that after the ice dissipates, small voids comprise a less dense surface with low relative reflectivity."

Crowley thinks there could be even more to it. "There is a slight chance we are looking at the outline of more complex chemical processes that have been laying frozen for centuries, or longer" remarked Crowley, who had previously identified sinkholes on Mars from sets of Mars Orbiter images, which he studies. "The reason for the sharp boundary has to be explained. What mechanism could be responsible for such a clear edge surrounding what appears to be an ice-rich center?"

A previous observation by lab researchers is posted here. And here there is more reason for us to keep looking at things that NASA might miss. The next SkyCrane lowered Mars Rover will have a fantastic array of equipment and experiments onboard. Mars is alive - at least with Robots from Earth! Learn about the Curiosity Mars rover and its unique Sky Crane landing in this SPACE.com infographic.
Source: SPACE.com: All about our solar system, outer space and exploration

Monday, June 16, 2008

Darron and Wes at PotLuckCon


Michael Chiriac (Cascade Microphones) was kind enough to send me this nice shot of Darron Burke (Makeshift Studio, Boston) and Wes Dooley (AEA) in front of the Crowley and Tripp table last week.

Darron brought along his DB-1, which was, secretly, the very first Naked EYe with Roswellite, but in another color, and we didn't tell Darron, just asked him to give it a try. He brought along the Roswellite Phantom Menace (tm) Video too, and played it on his Mac, to the astonishment of those who know what happens to ribbons that are stretched so far they pop out of the magnet structure. Fortunately, for this Roswellite demo, the ribbon just snaps back and recovers its shape, which it is designed to do.

We had a good time at this show which is always a friendly one with plenty of conviviality.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Headphone Measurements from McGill

Here is an interesting set of measurements of popular "pro" headphones from McGill University that will send curvemeisters spinning.

Look at what they got from the MDR 7506. Compare that with the Bose. The slopes are so radically different that it is no wonder we are hearing absurdly high freq EQ and mastering treatment in some recordings.

On the other hand, one could question the measurement methods. You decide

Here it is.

Layout Instructions - Wet

Getting an idea across over the telephone can be impossible, and you need a picture. We were in Kauai at the time this was done and we have continued to use this layout or the same flipped left to right in Sound on Sound and Performer print ads.

The wet spots ad a nice touch, I think. It had just rained and the sun was coming back out, and I was eager to get the shot done and go back to Poipu Beach.

Here is the result.

Box Weights and Measures

This Crowley and Tripp vertical storage box is used to ship the Studio Vocalist, Soundstage Image, el Diablo, and Proscenium ribbon microphones. Here it is on the scale getting weighed in. Our old box was made of rare endangered American Cherry and now we have rare endangered mahogany or the like same as used in a lot of musical instruments. Believe me, if I could get these in White Pine, from Cow Hampshire or Ver-Mont, I'd do it, but there ain't nobody to make them in these parts anymore. So, these come from the South - Pawtucket Rhode Island to be exact.

Joni 7


Who knew she had her own 7 transistor radio? The little pair to the left and right aren't so bad either. In the back, the ever present Mcgoohan and his damned Village. Grenada is finally doing a remake of the series, I hear, with PMG slated for a cameo. Perhaps he will be Rover? Or maybe one of those rotating busts with the TV camera eyes?

Oh honey you turn me on
I'm a radio
I'm a country station
I'm a little bit corny
I'm a wildwood flower
Waving for you
Broadcasting tower
Waving for you

And I'm sending you out
This signal here
I hope you can pick it up
Loud and clear