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.