SIGNALS

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Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Oct 25, 2016  |  1 comments
You’ve seen the ad on TV. The little boy is playfully offered the keys to his dad’s Subaru. But then he imagines all the hassles of driving; stuck in traffic gridlock, he cries out in frustration, “You’re killing me!” That exactly describes my attitude toward the rise of Bluetooth headphones.
Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Oct 18, 2016  |  4 comments
Let's see a show of hands. How many of you often listen through headphones? Thanks to that camera looking back at you from your device, and some pretty cool software I got from a guy in Russia, I can see that many of you do indeed listen through headphones. You can put your hands down. My question then, is why aren't you listening to binaural recordings?

Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Oct 04, 2016  |  0 comments
Thursday, September 29, was supposed to be the big day. The Federal Communications Commission was scheduled to vote on a plan to liberate our cable TV boxes from mandatory rental fees. Billions of (our) dollars hung anxiously in the balance. Then, abruptly, the vote was pulled from the meeting agenda.

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

Ken C. Pohlmann  |  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.

Ken C. Pohlmann  |  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.
Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Aug 23, 2016  |  3 comments
Why does everyone suddenly hate the headphone jack?

Ken C. Pohlmann  |  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.

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

Ken C. Pohlmann  |  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?

Ken C. Pohlmann  |  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.

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.

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