SIGNALS

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Sep 27, 2016 1 comments
It’s a presidential election year in the United States (did you catch the debate last night?), and some of us are unhappy with our electoral choices. But things could be worse—much worse. Take the old Soviet Union, for example. Choices in this totalitarian state were extremely limited, to say the least. During elections, there was one name on the ballot, and the candidate received 99 percent of the vote. On the bright side, the comrades, at least the subversive ones, had bone records.
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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Sep 20, 2016 2 comments
Unfortunately, your house is on fire. Which of the following should you do?
(a) Call 911.
(b) Grab your fire extinguisher.
(c) Grab your garden hose.
(d) Crank up the bass.
The answer, of course, is (d).

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Sep 06, 2016 3 comments
Velodyne. Subwoofers. Actually, really good subwoofers. When you're talking to your buddies, running down your list of home-theater equipment, you pause ever so slightly before you say "Velodyne subwoofer" because you know that pause will add even more of an impression to an already impressive name. But Velodyne is more than subwoofers. Much more.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Aug 30, 2016 2 comments
All men shall become brothers. At least that’s what Schiller proposed in his Ode to Joy, a proposal tunefully endorsed by Beethoven. In practice, we sometimes act more like distant cousins, or like neighbors who scream at each other and throw dog poop on each other’s lawns because one guy votes democrat and the other votes republican. Local law enforcement knows who we are. And then there’s analog audio guys and digital audio guys.
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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Aug 23, 2016 3 comments
Why does everyone suddenly hate the headphone jack?

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Aug 09, 2016 1 comments
In case you haven't noticed, a beach volleyball tournament is going on, apparently in some large city with a beach. This tournament, which includes miscellaneous other non-beach volleyball events, is on TV. Also, in case you haven't noticed, the quality of the TV audio feed is, um, variable.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Jul 26, 2016 3 comments
Things you will find on the side of the road: shredded truck tires, plastic hubcaps, baseball caps, too-fast squirrels, too-slow turtles, Bud Light cans, men’s underwear. And, of course, scratched, shattered, and otherwise discarded CDs. It wasn’t always like that.
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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Jul 19, 2016 6 comments
If the rumors hold true, the next iPhone, iPhone 7 or whatever Apple calls it, will not have a headphone jack. As Chicken Little noted, "The sky is falling!" Or is it? Is it possible, just possible, that losing the headphone jack could net us a nice step forward in audio playback quality?

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Jul 12, 2016 11 comments
It is summer. Soon it will be fall. That means Apple will introduce a new iPhone. Reportedly, the new phone will be thinner, more water resistant, have a better camera, have more memory, and not have a headphone jack. Wait. What?

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Jun 28, 2016 7 comments
Your daily driver is a Bugatti. Your "casual" wristwatch is an Audemars Piguet. (Note: Rolexes are for tourists.) Your third home is in Jackson Hole. I hate to break the news to you, but you are a 1 percenter. Fortunately, now you can drown out the cries of the masses with a superb new loudspeaker from Devialet.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Jun 14, 2016 1 comments
Do you hate the silvery sound of CDs? Then you can rejoice because a bunch of them just got crushed. Do you think LPs are just scratchy pieces of plastic? Then be happy because a load of them just got crushed too. In fact, a misunderstanding between two bands with automotive-inspired names recently resulted in an apocalyptic day for physical media.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Jun 07, 2016 12 comments
A couple blogs back, we discussed the ascent of glorious stereophonic sound in “The Rise and Fall of Stereo (Part One).” Stereo was a true revolution in audio playback, and it quickly condemned monaural to an eternity of lo-fi hell. Audio manufacturers’ marketing departments had an easy time convincing consumers to upgrade to stereo; everyone could easily hear the improvement. Now, 50 years later, stereo is unraveling.
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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: May 24, 2016 0 comments
I don't always carry my phone because having a high quality music library and player is more important to me than checking Facebook on a phone and I'm too lazy and uncoordinated to carry two things at once. Sure, there are phones with good music storage capacity and good music playback fidelity. But because I am an audio snob, those phones just aren't good enough. That might change.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: May 17, 2016 2 comments
In the beginning, Edison created the phonograph, and it was good. It was also monaural. The vertical modulation (referred to as hill-and-dale recording) of the groove neatly encoded the amplitude variations of the analog-input waveform and likewise could reproduce the waveform. If engineers had stuck with hill-and-dale, the world would be a very different place. But they kept tinkering, as engineers are wont to do, and they found an improvement.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: May 10, 2016 1 comments
Referring to the sound of the 12-cylinder engines in Ferrari cars, conductor Herbert von Karajan said it was, "a melody that no conductor would ever be able to reproduce." Considering that the maestro was not modest when speaking of his abilities, that is quite a compliment. He was right, of course; some engines, tuned with the right exhaust, yield a glorious sound. With further tuning, apparently they can also yield glorious music.

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