The S&V Interview

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Bob Ankosko  |  Oct 14, 2021  |  0 comments

A conversation with Tony Ostrom, president of the Wireless Speaker & Audio Association.

We’ve tracked the progress of the Wireless Speaker & Audio Association (WiSA) since its humble beginnings many years ago. A lot has changed since those early days when the Association showed up in a CES hotel room to demonstrate a home theater system devoid of speaker cables. It was a remarkable demo, not just because it worked, but because the enabling technology made it possible to send uncompressed 24-bit/96-kHz audio signals through the air from an AV receiver to seven speakers and a subwoofer. Today, wireless music is everywhere and better than ever but in those days transmitting hi-res audio wirelessly was a daunting task. It’s been a few years since we checked in with the Association so we caught up with WiSA president Tony Ostrom to get an update on the technology and the products it enables.

Mike Mettler  |  Jul 02, 2021  |  0 comments
Bob Clearmountain knows how to move mountains with his mixes. Ok, ok, maybe I'm exaggerating just a little bit here—but the fact is, Clearmountain has been a go-to mixer/engineer/producer for A-list musicians for decades, having shepherded the sound of landmark albums by artists like Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones, Simple Minds, Bryan Adams, and Roxy Music. (And that barely scratches the surface of his top-shelf mixing C.V., btw.)
Bob Ankosko  |  Jul 01, 2021  |  0 comments

15 Minutes with Jon Kiachian, VP, Hearing Health Technologies at Knowles Corp.

Jon Kiachian has spent the past 16 years working with the likes of National Semiconductor and Texas Instruments in technology-management positions. Today he is a vice president and general manager at Knowles, the global company responsible for developing the tiny microphones that allowed us to hear sound from the surface of Mars earlier this year. Kiachian oversees the business unit that develops technology to improve sound quality in a variety of electronics devices — a pursuit that’s more important than ever as high-resolution (hi-res) music reaches the masses through the likes of Amazon, Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal, Qobuz, and other streaming services. In his role at Knowles, Kiachian has become a hi-res evangelist of sorts who believes audiophiles are “duty bound” to convince the millions of listeners who settle for bad sound that there’s a better option — a way to make the music they love really come alive.

Mike Mettler  |  Jun 04, 2021  |  0 comments
Whenever we talk about artists who changed the course of rock history who aren't The Beatles, one group with perhaps the most unassuming yet wholly appropriate name tops the bill: The Band. Their homespun July 1968 debut Music From Big Pink literally turned the rock world on its collective ear to such a degree that contemporaries like Eric Clapton instantly renounced their virtuosic "look at me" playing styles and adjusted their thinking toward creating more organic and more authentic music truer to their essential selves.
Bob Ankosko  |  May 13, 2021  |  1 comments
Since CEDIA sold the rights to the annual CEDIA Expo trade show a few years ago, the organization has been busy honing and expanding the world-class educational programs it produces for professional integrators who design and install A/V entertainment and smart-home systems. The Indiana-based association also plays a key role in developing industry standards with the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). We recently caught up with Walt Zerbe, CEDIA’s senior director of technology and standards, to learn why industry standards and recommended practices are important and what they mean for enthusiasts.
Mike Mettler  |  May 07, 2021  |  1 comments
"Audio is my thing," declares Peter Frampton. "And the thing is, I could go on about it for days! I am a big audio freak."

It's not hard to see (and hear) why, considering how Frampton has been most meticulous about getting the exact sound he wants on record, thanks in no small part to his fruitful, decades-spanning collaborations with ace producer/engineer Chuck Ainlay. For sonic evidence of their work together, check out the tone, breadth, and character of this-century Frampton albums like August 2003's , September 2006's Fingerprints, and June 2019's All Blues, for starters.

Bob Ankosko  |  Mar 18, 2021  |  0 comments
Few companies in the home entertainment electronics industry have as storied a history as THX, the company born out of George Lucas’ desire to bring the movie-going experience as close as possible to how he envisioned his theatrical creations on the big screen. Disappointed by the sonic limitations of movie theaters when the original Star Wars film was released in 1977, the celebrated screenwriter/director engaged a team of audio engineers to define a series of technical parameters theater owners could follow to achieve what we would call today an immersive experience. The theatrical program was a huge success, eventually finding its way into the home, and the rest is history. We caught up with Peter Vasay, general manager and senior VP for home products at THX Ltd., to get an update on what the iconic brand has been up to lately and where it’s headed.
Mike Mettler  |  Mar 12, 2021  |  0 comments
It's not a complete misnomer to observe the audience for King Crimson music tends to skew more towards the male side of the listening ledger—but that statement in no way means their forward-thinking music holds little or no sway with female music aficionados and audiophiles alike. In fact, far from it.
Mike Mettler  |  Jan 29, 2021  |  6 comments
"I like to upset people, because it means I'm doing the right thing."

And that, my friends, is Steven Wilson for you in a nutshell. The once and future king of surround sound has taken yet another giant creative leap forward with his new solo album, The Future Bites (Arts & Crafts), which, after a pandemically induced half-year deferral, is finally being released on January 29, 2021.

Mike Mettler  |  Dec 18, 2020  |  2 comments
Gavin Harrison knows what he wants, and he knows how to get it. The critically celebrated, session-bred progressive-oriented British drummer vaulted into superstar status during his jaw-dropping eight-year stint as a member of Porcupine Tree, and he's since moved even further up the wide-acclaim foodchain thanks to all the mind-bending work he's done during his current, ongoing gigs behind the kit with both King Crimson and The Pineapple Thief. The thing is, Harrison pays little or no heed to the constant praise for his innovative drumming, nor does he spend much time ruminating over his impeccable legacy.
Bob Ankosko  |  Nov 19, 2020  |  0 comments
15 Minutes with HDMI Forum President David Glen

Three years ago the HDMI Forum released the highly anticipated Version 2.1 of the HDMI specification, which paved the way for a major boost in A/V performance with support for higher video resolutions, high-dynamic range (HDR), and increased bandwidth plus important features like variable refresh rates (VRR) for gaming and eARC (enhanced Audio Return Channel) for simplifying system setup. We recently caught up with Forum president David Glen to get an update on where HDMI stands today and where it’s going in the future.

Mike Mettler  |  Nov 13, 2020  |  0 comments
Like most musicians, Jakko M. Jaksyzk was not planning on spending the bulk of 2020 at home. For one thing, the celebrated progressive-leaning British guitarist/vocalist was more than ready to continue with King Crimson's ongoing 50th anniversary tour that had begun in earnest in 2019. (Sidenote: most of Crimson's 2020 dates have since been reset for 2021.). Not only that, Jaksyzk had composed a short set of experimental, narrative performance pieces that were commissioned by BBC Radio 3 for him to perform solo during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August, but that event was also scotched.
Bob Ankosko  |  Oct 22, 2020  |  3 comments
15 Minutes with ATSC President Madeleine Noland

Most Americans don’t know it yet but NextGen TV is already on the air in many markets across the country with dozens more gearing up to launch the service in the coming year. NextGen TV, also known by the technical name ATSC 3.0, greatly expands on the capabilities of the ATSC 1.0 standard that put HDTV on the air 20 years ago. In addition to enabling broadcasters to deliver free, over-the-air access to 4K Ultra HD programming with high-dynamic range (HDR), enhanced color, and immersive surround sound, NextGen TV also allows them to stream local content such as news, weather, and sports updates as well as offer features that enable viewers to personalize and customize that content. A lot has happened since we spoke with Mark Richer, president of the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC), back in 2017, so we sat down with his successor Madeleine Noland to get an update on how things are progressing with the new TV broadcasting system and what we can expect in the near future.

Mike Mettler  |  Oct 16, 2020  |  3 comments
"See? I told ya!"

It was April 2010, and I was sitting across from Tom Petty in the living room of his home in Malibu, California, where we had just spent a few hours talking about his journey west from Gainesville, Florida in the mid-1970s to the recording of June 2010's Mojo for a Sound & Vision cover feature that would appear later that summer.

Mike Mettler  |  Sep 18, 2020  |  2 comments
Two words I'd never dream of associating with Nick Mason would be "idle hands." If anything, the longtime co-founding Pink Floyd drummer has always liked keeping himself busy, whether it's been behind the drum kit or handling the respective steering controls of exotic cars and/or flying machines (a.k.a. airplanes, in everyday parlance).

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