SIGNALS

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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: Dec 02, 2014 2 comments
It is the patriotic duty of every American man, woman, and child to go shopping for a TV on Black Friday. After spending most of Thursday up-armoring me and my vehicle, I went to a Best Buy on Friday morning. Two observations: First, I lived to tell about it. Second, it takes about 20 minutes for the ambulance to drive from the Best Buy to the nearest ER.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Dec 17, 2013 0 comments
Ah, once again, it’s that magical time of year. Malls jammed with shoppers looking for that elusively perfect gift, parking lots jammed with cars competing for that even more elusive parking space, and everyone’s favorite—the joyous strains of holiday music. When I say “strains,” I mean as in you straining not to go insane when you hear Little Drummer Boy for the umpteenth time.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Dec 16, 2014 2 comments
The plunging, fiery death of plasma TVs, the mind bendingly questionable benefits of curved TVs, the looks-awesome-up-close-and-personal 4K TVs, the ridiculously low prices on ridiculously big TVs, the intriguing new investments in quantum-dot TV manufacturing plants—the wide world of televisions is lively with fast and furious developments. But there is one development in particular that, I think, will overshadow all the others.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Oct 01, 2013 0 comments
Much to the dismay of audiophile old fogies, the audio scene has been overrun by punks and their celebrity endorsements. Everywhere you look (Dre, I’m looking at you) you see audio gear, headphones in particular, with a famous DJ or other artist name attached. Of course, even old fogies were young once, and now it’s another generation’s turn to discover how cool audio is.
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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Dec 14, 2012 0 comments

A post on the Olive One by my colleague Al Griffin got me to thinking. For a modest dollar sum, you can own a cool audio component with audiophile-quality specifications. But here’s the paradox: if it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, can audio gear really have audiophile cache?

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Feb 18, 2014 2 comments
Is it just me, or is there something really weird about this video? I’ll invite you to watch it after the break, but meanwhile, at least IMHO, someone has gone off the rails here. Maybe it was a marketing big-wig at Sony’s HQ. Maybe it was just some regional manager. Or maybe the whole thing is a put-on, a spoof specifically designed to encourage suckers like me to recommend that you watch it. In any case, the video might go viral, but I’m pretty sure this marketing concept never will.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Sep 19, 2011 0 comments

Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the stream.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is but a dream.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Dec 30, 2010 0 comments

Blu-ray players are changing — and your HDTV might not like it. However, if your TV has an HDMI input, and it’s HDCP-compliant, you don’t need to read any further. You have nothing to worry about. This article doesn’t concern you. Put down the magazine and do something else just as constructive, like, oh, I don’t know — how about you go check your car’s windshield-washer fluid. . .?

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Nov 02, 2012 0 comments

There is one thing that Disney does better than anyone: monetize intellectual property. It isn’t easy to build an empire on the back of a rodent (trust me, I’ve tried) but Walt pulled it off. Now, with its newest acquisition, Disney is ready to expand beyond its earthly properties.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Dec 18, 2012 0 comments

It is the job of engineers to push the envelope and design the products of the future, not the products of today. When the first Compact Disc players were on the drawing board, 780-nm lasers were extremely expensive, but engineers anticipated that low-cost versions would soon become available. They bet right: cheap laser modules were perfected just before the CD format’s launch.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Aug 12, 2014 2 comments
You probably read about it in the news. Some filmmakers were making a documentary on the history of Atari, and they became intrigued by an urban legend of lost video games. To solve the mystery, they brought in heavy equipment and dug into a concrete-covered grave.
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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Aug 05, 2014 3 comments
Although MP3 files may not entirely deserve all the scorn heaped on them, it is widely accepted that it was the proliferation of those files that put the whammy on high-end audio. Despite the availability of higher quality formats like CD, SACD and DVD-Audio, conventional wisdom says the convenience of MP3 led consumers to dumb down their audio expectations. Now, is it possible that an old-school audio company and a brand name largely associated with cassettes could lead the way back to high audio quality?

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