Aaron Clinton

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Everything posted by Aaron Clinton

  1. The stars are matter. We are matter. But it doesn't matter.—Don Van Vliet Only sensibilities trained on poetry can wholly appreciate it.—T.S. Eliot (writing about Djuna Barnes's Nightwood) In the 17th century, steam engines began appearing throughout Europe and Asia, ushered into existence by any number of different inventors. More recently, multiple inventors conceived and cooked up the atomic bomb, the jet engine, and the solid-body electric guitar. Tue, 03/03/2020 View the full article
  2. (February 28) High End 2020, aka Munich High End, has been canceled “due to the current worsening trend with respect to the spread of the novel coronavirus.” Fri, 02/28/2020 View the full article
  3. Hi-fi is like cake. Most people enjoy listening to music, and most people like cake. People who like cake tend to like different things about it. Some people like a flourless cake, some people like a fluffy angel food cake, and some like a cake loaded up with little pieces of carrot and God-knows-what-else. People who like hi-fi also tend to like different things. Some like punchy, forceful sounds, some like realistic, natural tones, some like texture and color, some like "air," and some like to hear things go whooshing from one speaker to the other. It's all okay. Fri, 02/28/2020 View the full article
  4. The Sonus Faber Olympica Nova 1 ($6500/pair) is the company's latest stand-mounted, two-way monitor—a lineage that began with their first speaker, the Minima, which I reviewed some 24 years ago. Like the products that followed, the Minima featured a 1" silk-dome tweeter and a 4" reflex-loaded paper-based midbass driver, both attached to a leather-covered baffle and housed in a beautiful wood cabinet, hand-crafted in Italy. I enjoyed the Minima's sound, as did this magazine's Sam Tellig, who praised its "sweet, forgiving, slightly rolled-off on top, and somewhat ripe . . . mid-to-upper bass," with superb focus and imaging that was a "treat for sore ears." Thu, 02/27/2020 View the full article
  5. On Friday, February 28, 3–7pm, Audio Advisors, at 2271A Palm Beach Lakes Blvd., West Palm Beach, Florida, will present the new Wilson Audio Chronosonic XVX loudspeaker. Wilson's Peter McGrath will be there. Space is limited so please R.S.V.P. to Rudi, either by email rkothe@audioadvisors.com or phone, at (561) 478-3100. Wed, 02/26/2020 View the full article
  6. The components I needed to choose for my first system were never in doubt: a turntable or record changer, an integrated amplifier, and a speaker. One of each, please, in those mono days. Today, even in stereo, that trinity would be regarded as rather traditional—or, if you prefer, purist. Digital has exploded the range of source options and loudspeaker options. Yet amplifiers have not changed much in how and what they do. Wed, 02/26/2020 View the full article
  7. The idea of using digital signal processing (DSP) to convert digital audio data sampled at 44.1kHz or 48kHz to a higher sample rate is not new. I first heard the beneficial effects of upsampling at Stereophile's 1998 hi-fi show in Los Angeles, where a pro-audio dCS 972 digital-to-digital processor was being used to convert 16-bit/44.1kHz CD data to a 24/192 datastream. Tue, 02/25/2020 View the full article
  8. January's Industry Update included a report on a scientific article presented at last year's AES meeting, in which the authors used test tones and a modest audio system (albeit in an anechoic chamber) to prove that listeners can discriminate between high-rez and CD-rez audio. This is important because scientific evidence of an audible difference between high-rez and CD-rez music is considered weak by some, even as anecdotal evidence grows stronger by the day. As I pondered this, I recalled a recent paper I'd seen in the Journal of the Audio Engineering Society but hadn't yet read. "High Resolution Audio: A History and Perspective," which the AES has made available free online, does precisely what the title says: reviews the history of digital audio beyond CD-rez and frames the issue of high-rez audio's audible superiority on the basis of the available evidence. Mon, 02/24/2020 View the full article
  9. In an era when polar opposites compete as absolutes, it can be a challenge to acknowledge the different and equally valid ways in which audiophiles approach musical truth. But the reality is that our perceptions of how reproduced music should sound are determined, to a large extent, by how we approach the live experience. Fri, 02/21/2020 View the full article
  10. In the 1980s, the CD nearly pushed the LP to extinction. Nearly. For all the claims of "Perfect Sound Forever," the main thing offered by the CD was convenience. Then, in the mid-1990s, the MP3 and the Internet made it easy to extract and distribute the information encoded on a CD. Secret websites raced to be the first to distribute free MP3s of new recordings, sometimes even before they were released. This went on for years, undermining record-company profits, before Napster came along and gave the record industry a high-value lawsuit target: no more suing widows and small children. Thu, 02/20/2020 View the full article
  11. The proposal could save costs and thousands of tons of electronic waste, advocates say, but previous measures have fizzled. View the full article
  12. B>Cecilia Bartoli: Farinelli Cecilia Bartoli, mezzo-soprano; Il Giardino Armonico, Giovanni Antonini, cond. Decca 4850214 (24/96 download). 2019. Arend Prohmann, prod. and editor; Philip Siney, eng. Performance: ***** Sonics: **** When I first heard mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli in person some 29 years ago, at her West Coast debut in the "Cal Performances" series at Berkeley's Hertz Hall, she was just 24 years old. Along with the rest of the audience, I was astonished at her ability to ally phenomenal coloratura technique with an out-of-the-box range of expression—unheard since the prime of Maria Callas. It was clear why Decca had already signed her and released her first recording the year before, when she was just 23. Fri, 01/17/2020 View the full article
  13. We wanted à la carte television, and now we have it — and it costs more than cable. Here’s how to watch your favorite shows without overpaying for a dozen apps. View the full article
  14. Don’t let Facebook, Instagram or Twitter become negative aspects of your life. Here’s how to fix them. View the full article
  15. He originally received pushback from his employer, Xerox. But his invention eventually became nearly ubiquitous in every office and home. View the full article
  16. It's 3am. You're lying in bed. Something woke you up—you don't know what it was. You pull back the covers, get up, and tiptoe out to your listening room. There, standing by your record rack, thumbing through your prized LPs, is a man in black (no, not Johnny Cash—a different man in black). You see a bulge in his pocket; it could be a gun. Something shiny catches your eye—there's a switchblade knife between his teeth! At his feet, leaning against your record shelf, is a cudgel. Oh, and it looks like he might have some infectious disease. You, of course, are in your PJs. You notice, at the top of the stack of records that he holds under his arm, that one record, the one you love the most, the one you can't live without. Wed, 01/15/2020 View the full article
  17. My first exposure to current-mode phono preamplification was maybe a dozen years ago, when such products were new. The one I received, though nicely packaged, was not ready for prime time. I never smelled smoke, but I never heard sound, either: If it wasn't DOA, it was at a minimum DSAA—Dead Soon After Arrival. Tue, 01/14/2020 View the full article
  18. On Friday, January 17 from 5-9pm, Innovative Audio in New York City will debut the Wilson Chronosonic XVX, Wilson's flagship loudspeaker. Mon, 01/13/2020 View the full article
  19. The cab business is down 75 percent in less than a decade. The plan is to make taxis a lot more like their app-hailed rivals. View the full article
  20. In September 2019, I made an afternoon visit to National Sawdust, a vibrant, innovative performance space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to attend a demonstration of the new Constellation and Spacemap systems installed there by Meyer Sound. According to Meyer Sound designer Steve Ellison, the two systems permit control of the space's acoustics (Constellation) and empower performers and sound designers to construct a soundscape (Spacemap) in which voices, instruments, and other sounds can be located virtually anywhere within as well as beyond the confines of the performance space. Mon, 01/13/2020 View the full article
  21. At the 1992 Winter Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Audio Research showed a line of reference products that represented the pinnacle of founder William Z. Johnson's life work as an amplifier designer. Although the all-tubed, fully balanced preamplifier and tubed monoblock power amplifiers were shown as works-in-progress, it was clear that these were products aimed at advancing the state of the amplifier art with no consideration for cost. Mon, 08/01/1994 View the full article
  22. From the front, the LS5 looks identical to Audio Research's popular LS2: two knobs on either side of the Audio Research nameplate, and a row of toggle switches along the bottom. But that's where the similarities end; the LS5 is a completely different animal from the LS2, or even the balanced LS2B. Mon, 08/01/1994 View the full article
  23. Tell me now: When you're there in the scene, watching Lord Voldemort chase Han Solo through the Cave of the Klan Bear, how often do you notice that the sounds you're experiencing are being pumped at you from five black-painted room boundaries, while the flickering-light images approach from only one? Moreover, in a parallel, more quotidian reality, you're sitting upright in your seat, noisily chomping popcorn while absorbing—and processing—massive amounts of sensory data: Did you ever consider the sensual, mechanical, and psychological complexity of a moment like this, and how fundamentally unnatural it is? Wed, 01/08/2020 View the full article
  24. Sales doubled in 2019, but the industry’s tipping point — severing ties to the gas pump — still lies ahead. These cars will help make that happen. View the full article
  25. Of the celebrated triumvirate of John Scofield, Pat Metheny, and Bill Frisell—the most original and influential jazz guitarists of the past 50 years—none is more distinctive, or self-effacing, than Frisell, a true changeling of the guitar. Frisell is a jazz-based musician, but his music crisscrosses genres, and his guitar playing isn't bound to or limited by a specific technique. He's a master illusionist, able to alter a song's meaning far beyond its original intent with the aid of a Telecaster guitar, a modest effects chain, and, most importantly, his rich imagination. Tue, 01/07/2020 View the full article