SIGNALS

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Ken C. Pohlmann  |  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.

Ken C. Pohlmann  |  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.
Ken C. Pohlmann  |  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.

Ken C. Pohlmann  |  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.

Ken C. Pohlmann  |  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.

Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Apr 26, 2016  |  2 comments
Quick. What's the company everyone loves to hate? The cable company, of course. The aggravating installation, the inexplicable outtages, the maddening programming bundles, and the fees. Oh yes, the fees. But there's hope, and possibly change. President Obama has endorsed a proposal that would eliminate perhaps the most annoying cable TV fee. That's good, right?

Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Apr 19, 2016  |  12 comments
I am sorry. Only certain people will be allowed to read this column. To ensure that you are qualified, you must first correctly answer this question: What is the relationship between cassettes and pencils? If you can answer that, feel free to read on. If you can’t, please move on.

Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Apr 12, 2016  |  8 comments
Vizio recently unveiled its new P-series models. And they are pretty impressive, featuring 4K UHD and the very cool SmartCast app that essentially builds in all the capabilities of Google Cast. Since they are Vizios, they are very competitively priced. Very nice. The problem is, if you want to be a stickler for details, these devices aren't actually TVs.

Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Apr 01, 2016  |  1 comments
Every audio and video gearhead is familiar with the world-famous Lirpa Labs. We can count, using many of the fingers on our hands, the number of wonderful Lirpa products we have owned over the years. Whether you have an average IQ allowing you to recite the alphabet from A to Z, or a super IQ and can recite it from Z to A, only a few people can truly comprehend the genius of Lirpa. Yes, indeed. Lirpa. Yes, indeed.
Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Mar 29, 2016  |  1 comments
Depending on how long you keep your cars, it's entirely possible that your next car will drive itself. Even if you're two years into a three-year lease, given the furious development of autonomous technology, self-driving cars are a fait accompli. But more to the point, given the interests of this site's readers, self-driving cars open the door to entirely new kinds of vehicle entertainment systems. Case in point: this patent recently issued to Ford.

Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Mar 15, 2016  |  2 comments
Sonos is a terrific company with terrific products. I reviewed their first-generation wireless speaker, back when no one had ever heard of streaming, and it blew my mind. Since then, of course, Sonos has become the Gold Standard for whole-house playback. But suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, Sonos is changing course and laying off employees. What the heck?

Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Feb 23, 2016  |  0 comments
I'm on record (ha!) stating my opinion that the vinyl resurgence is socially and morally significant. Interest in vinyl is up, vinyl sales are up. Are downloads and streaming in trouble? Well, of course not. Still....

Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Feb 16, 2016  |  60 comments
Which of the following statements is false? 1. The sun rises in the east. 2. The hands of a clock go clockwise. 3. New technology is always better than old technology. This last statement, of course, isn’t quite as gospel as the others. Sometimes old technology has advantages that cause it to linger longer than we’d expect, or in rare cases, even make a comeback.
Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Feb 09, 2016  |  0 comments
When's the last time that Circuit City crossed your mind? It's probably been so long that you can't even remember the last time you thought about it. And yet, the name Circuit City is instantly familiar to you. That's called name recognition. And clearly, rather than starting from scratch to build name recognition, you'd prefer to start with something well known. That is why Circuit City is being resurrected.

Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Jan 26, 2016  |  2 comments
You've done the factory tour at Zuffenhausen. Eight times. You once got in a fight and lost a canine, defending the IMS bearing in your M96 engine You patiently explain to newbies why the ignition switch is on the left side. Of course, you have "911" tattooed on your bicep. And, you just bought a Porsche Design soundbar.

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