SIGNALS

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: May 13, 2014 2 comments
Unabashedly, I admire the power of the individual to accomplish great things. Nothing fascinates me more than extraordinary individuals who start with an idea, build an enabling means (such as a corporation), and then use that resource to change the world. Consider individuals like Bill Gates (Microsoft ), Steve Jobs (Apple), Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Google), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), and let’s not forget Thomas Edison (General Electric). These are men and women possessing genius (defined by Edison as 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration) who can profoundly rattle the status quo.
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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Mar 10, 2015 2 comments
Meridian Audio Ltd. does some pretty cool stuff. Its hardware products are well known in audio circles, but it is their innovation at the further reaches of audio frontiers that really catches my eye. The latest example of Meridian's creativity, via Bob Stuart, is Master Quality Authenticated (MQA). MQA is an infrastructure of technologies designed to promote a high-quality signal path from the master recording to playback loudspeaker. More specifically, MQA is designed to stream hi-res files more efficiently than a brute-force transfer, and Meridian claims that it can improve the playback quality of the original file.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Mar 24, 2015 0 comments
Last time, we took a quick look at some of the workings of Meridian's new MQA (Master Quality Assurance) technology. As we observed, MQA claims to shoehorn all the fidelity of a high-res file into a standard-res file size. Terrific. But with 24/192 and lossless formats already well established, what is the incentive to introduce a new format? It turns out that there are plenty of incentives.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Jun 30, 2015 0 comments
Many of the age-old audio problems have been solved, or at least beaten into submission. Ever since Edison recited “Mary had a little lamb,” countless audio engineers have poked and prodded, pulled all-nighters, made minor adjustments, had genius-caliber brainstorms, and generally worked far above their pay grade to lift audio technology to a very high state of the art.
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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Jan 20, 2015 13 comments
I am shopping for a new car. For me, a car is more than basic transportation. In fact, getting from point A to point B is far down on my list. For example, I would gladly trade a practical item such as a spare tire in return for a bit more performance. Things like cargo capacity and riding comfort are unimportant, while horsepower and 0-to-60 times are critical. I’ve always appreciated slick audio/video gear. Same thing with cars.
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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Oct 06, 2011 0 comments

I always enjoy logging onto The Onion. Its faux news stories are wicked funny. Their specialty is satirical stories that seem vaguely plausible, but of course are completely bogus. Occasionally, people actually believe Onion stories. Recent Onion tweets reported that armed Congressmen were taking schoolchildren hostage and demanding $12 trillion in cash.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Oct 07, 2014 4 comments
We loved them. We cherished them. We truly believed that we had purchased the last TV we would ever need to purchase. That's because picture quality could never get any better. Plasma was awesome! Wow! Look at those black levels.

Then, as they say, time marched on. Technology improved. Market sentiment shifted; people wanted something newer and cooler. Much like the dinosaurs, plasma TVs looked up in the sky and wondered—what's the deal with that huge flaming mass of asteroid hurtling down at me?

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Jul 25, 2012 0 comments

I get press releases. Oh boy, do I get press releases. My inbox runneth over. You think spam is bad? Multiply that by 100, and you’ll get an idea of my daily press-release pile. Everybody is flacking their newest and most innovative stuff. And occasionally they flack their oldest and least original.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Mar 18, 2014 0 comments
It’s been awhile since I’ve heard anything from new from Pono. When it was first unveiled, at least in concept, two years ago, Pono was a bit of a head-scratcher. Brainchild of rocker Neil Young, Pono was his response to the scourge of lo-fi music. Pono was a new music player and/or file format and/or music delivery system that would resurrect recorded music. Stay tuned. So, it was interesting to see Pono surface again at SXSW last week.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Nov 26, 2013 0 comments
Whether you support it or not, few of us are completely comfortable with the fact that the government can read our e-mails and listen to our phone calls. On the other hand, without much thought, most of us freely give away our privacy to various companies. Now, that privacy debate is coming into our home theaters.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Oct 03, 2012 0 comments

When you buy a Rolex Submariner from a guy with a dozen of them in a cardboard box in Times Square, there is absolutely no chance of misunderstanding. Both parties fully understand that the timepieces in question are fakes. But what if you buy a pair of high-end headphones from that kind-of-weird stereo store across from the mall?

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Apr 22, 2014 2 comments
Editor’s Note: The following article appears in the May 2014 print edition of Sound & Vision.

How Was Your Day?

Friday afternoon, McCarran Airport. The International CES ends today. Some bitter-enders are still at the convention center, but for me, the show is over. With a mixture of relief and regret, I toss my press pass into a recycling bin. As I wait for my boarding call, I pull out some notes, trying to make sense of what just happened.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Jul 14, 2011 0 comments

I have two cars but only a one-car garage. As you might expect, my favorite car (a red 1968 Porsche 911 Targa) gets the garage. Plus, since it’s vintage, it deserves indoor parking. From a performance standpoint, that car is still impressive. It’s lightweight, with lots of horsepower, and since the laws of physics haven’t changed in the last 4 decades, it can blow away most modern cars.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Jan 21, 2014 3 comments
“My my, hey hey. Rock and roll is here to stay. It's better to burn out than to fade away. My my, hey hey. Out of the blue and into the black. They give you this, but you pay for that. And once you're gone, you can never come back. When you're out of the blue, and into the black. Hey hey, my my. Rock and roll can never die.”

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: May 19, 2015 9 comments
Hi-res audio is having problems. Not your garden-variety problems. These are the life threateningproblems. Where do I begin? Well, Neil Young used Kickstarter to raise $6 million to fund his Pono project and deliver it into the hands of music enthusiasts. Good for him. Good for music. Good for hi-res playback. Of course, nothing is ever that simple.

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