Natural sound as we hear it in "real life" is pure analog, but recorded sound is, with few exceptions, chopped up into digital bits. So other than live music concerts pretty much every note you hear is digital. Whether you're listening to an iPod, the internet, TV, CDs, DVDs, or the radio, they're all digital in one way or another. We have as a species evolved over the eons to hear analog sound, and it's only over the past 25 years that digital has taken over. And it hasn't been very pretty. The only … Read more
Great music, not just dance music, is supposed to get you to feel something. Which is, I think, the point. Daniel J. Levitin had a great Op-Ed piece, "Dancing in the Seats," in the October 26th New York Times examining the question of how profoundly we're affected by the sound of music. Levitin, a neuroscientist, runs the Laboratory for Musical Perception, Cognition, and Expertise at McGill University in Montreal. Levitin observed that "Our species uses music and dance to express various feelings: love, joy, comfort, ceremony, knowledge, and friendship." Oh, and when everything's clicking … Read more
Playing music and movies really loud is a lot of fun, too bad most of you are missing out on that part of the experience. Obviously, the speakers built into TVs aren't up to the job, and that's the way 80% of you experience TV. HTIB owners are likewise out of luck. Yeah, they may boast of having "1,000" watts on tap, but if you believe that, well, puhleeze! That 8 pound amplifier may, on a good day, squeeze out a few hundred watts.
If you really want to feel something when you're watching … Read more
Granted, home theater and multichannel sound go together like peanut butter and jelly, but music, even now in the twenty first century is pretty much a stereo-only affair. Ergo, if you listen to more music than watch movies, ditch the hassles of the 5.1 channel, satellite/subwoofer model and get yourself a decent stereo receiver and a pair of really nice speakers.
Outlaw Audio's RR 2150 "Retro Receiver" sounds spectacular with music and better yet, it's a refreshingly simple to use alternative to all of the stupidly complicated seven-channel A/V receivers I've used.… Read more
They're fast disappearing in my neighborhood. The Blockbuster shuttered a while back and only two of the five independent shops are left, but their days are numbered. For me it's like deja vu all over again, I remember in the '80s and '90s when record stores were dropping like flies. The real death knell came last year when Tower Records slid into oblivion, and I really miss the two NYC stores.
I think it's sad when local businesses whither and die, and we customers send our dollars and those lost jobs out of state. NYC is turning … Read more
A reader wrote asking the age old question--Do all amplifiers sound alike? "Mr. Guttenberg, I've been enjoying what you write about since I am a budding audiophile. A guy I know claims that amplifiers do not alter the quality of the sound and pointed me to a web site with a $10,000 challenge by Richard Clark that states that the human ear cannot discern the differences between amplifiers. What are your feelings on the subject and do you think there is any merit to this man's challenge?"
Well, I do believe that there are important … Read more
KEF, one of Britain's leading speaker manufacturers, had a press event earlier this week in New York City to show off their new Muon speakers. I was curious to see the speaker in the flesh, and now that I have I can say the pictures don't do it justice. They are the most beautiful speakers I've ever seen.
Designed by Ross Lovegrove (a top industrial designer), they are indeed works of 21 century art, fabricated from malleable sheets of heated aluminum. The process was required to produce the Muon's complex curves, dictated by the design's … Read more
The Audio Engineering Society was holding court at the Javits Convention Center in New York City last week. The show is aimed at recording industry professionals, but I figured I'd find stuff that would possibly appeal to consumer oriented buyers.
I heard a great demonstration of multichannel music at the ATC room. When I strolled in they were playing an Elton John recording, and the five big speakers punched out an incredibly dynamic sound. Classical music was natural and very, very clear. The big monitors are used in recording studios, but ATC offers consumer models as well.
When I … Read more
Goldmund, a Swiss-based company, announced the availability of its media room "that exceeds the quality and performance of the nation's top commercial movie theaters and director's screening rooms." They call it "perfection in an imperfect world." Goldmund competes in the ultra-luxury stratosphere of the audiophile universe.
The Goldmund Media Room has up to 128 channels of audio, individual amplifiers for each speaker, and uses proprietary technology to overcome challenging room acoustics. Using their high tech room modeling software, Goldmund's team of professionals determine the number of speakers, and designs all the signal processing … Read more
Premium car audio systems from Bose and Mark Levinson are all too commonplace, so it's about time one of the world's leading high-end speaker manufacturers, Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) joined the fray with its all-new system for Jaguar's gorgeous XF sedan. At a joint press event last week in New York City Jaguar and Bowers & Wilkins showed an advance prototype of the 2008 XF model.
Unlike most car audio/auto manufacturer relationships where the audio supplier is forced to work with the "leftover" spaces to place its speakers and electronics, Bower & … Read more