“I think that no audio component that does less gets written about more than speaker cables and interconnects. A visit to the AudioQuest web site will confirm this. In the preparation of this review I downloaded 30 pages of cable theory and physical descriptions, with dozens of names and their acronyms. And this is just to describe something that gets an audio signal from one place to another. After reading all this stuff it starts to become like mythology.”
“Before talking about the individual films, let me offer a little background about the IMAX format. The large film frame allows for a picture on a huge screen that fully fills one’s field of vision, immersing the viewer in the experience. IMAX is distinguished from OmniMax in that its screen is curved, but not curved overhead into a semisphere, and image distortion is much less. The actual frame size is larger than 70mm, with very high resolution, running at twice the standard speed for reduced motion artifacts, such as 35mm’s backward turning wagon wheels in westerns…”
“The Great Barrier Reef has the same sparkling cinematography, though here much of the scenery is underwater. The diversity of colours among the swimming life is amazing enough, and it is all captured with startling clarity. There’s also some serious shark footage, and this film makes a good followup to The Living Sea, and it’s happily Streep-free, narrated by Philip Clarke and Rosalind Ayers, who are probably Australian actors. They are suitably dramatic, and do well to fight a rather intrusive musical soundtrack…”
“Special features include trailers, commentaries, and a surprisingly amateurish Making Of documentary, with grainy, jerky video, poorly edited and presented interviews with various of the filmmakers, and a preoccupation (10 of the doc’s 21 minutes) with the gimmickry of the opening (and closing) shot in which the camera seems to rise and move around a dunking Jordan. Hey, special effects are special effects, and we don’t rhapsodize about every similar shot in The Matrix, so, guys, get a life! They should look at the McGillvray Freeman Making Ofs…”
“If we are to predict and perhaps guide the progress of today’s new digital audio formats, it may be useful to ourselves seek the guidance of history. And there’s lots of that when we look back at audio and video formats that have succeeded or failed, or, more likely, limped along mired in conflict and confusion for years until superseded by technology that clearly appealed more to the consumer…”
“After the AES Seminar in May I hunkered down with some DVDs and SACDs (I’ve been collecting the latter for over a year) and started to listen critically to both formats. Multi-channel SACD has only been demonstrated at shows, and players and discs do not yet exist for consumers, but will soon, to the dismay of those who bought 2-chennel players (myself included). DVD-Audio, meanwhile, is trying to be all things for all channels (well, 5 of them at least), and some old 70s masters are being remixed to sound fresher for the new millennium…”
“Here’s a system designed and assembled in Canada, though the origins of the components lie far to the east. Since being bought by Lenbrook Industries, NAD has done all product development at its international headquarters in Pickering, Ontario, while PSB loudspeakers are designed by founder Paul Barton and his team in the same facility…”
“There’s a lot more to this compact speaker than meets the eye, especially if you look at it only from the front. The AML1 is not only a powered loudspeaker, it is bi-amped, with a sophisticated electronic crossover built in. In fact, it’s a truly hybrid Bryston/PMC product, with the all the circuitry of a 3B ST driving the woofer/midrange (140 watts rms), a 2B ST driving the tweeter (70 watts rms), and a modified 10B providing the driver integration after the balanced XLR input (pin 2 hot)…”
“Until recently it seemed that things in the world of digital audio were getting a bit simpler (save for the confusion and complexity associated with the ongoing rollout of DVD-A and SACD). After a long period in which outboard DACs and various other little boxes tasked with eliminating digital jitter were de rigueur for any serious digiphile, the last few years have seen a return to prominence of the single box CD player, and even very good sounding single box DVD/CD players…”
“My last column wasn’t particularly “pro MP3.” In case you missed it, I was voicing concerns about the limited sound quality of digital music on the internet, as compressed digital file based music is poised to be the next major audio format. However, what doesn’t sound quite good enough for the home system can be plenty decent in the car, as I’ve discovered first hand…”
“Every once in a while an album comes along in which the listener is overwhelmed with the sensation that if there was no release for this music, the artist may have died. This notion is the very height of pretension, and I love it. The concept of rock `n roll as an explosive medium is basically a lie-the number of bands that can twist your guts and make it feel good are few and far between, and their lifespan is almost always more insect than human…”
“For most of us on this side of the Atlantic, any awareness of the Beta Band most likely starts with the film High Fidelity. In one of the film’s most memorable scenes record store owner Rob Gordon (played by John Cusak) boasts to one of his employees that he will sell several copies of a Beta Band EP in the next several minutes. Not long after “Dry the Rain” begins to flood the store, jaded, know-it-all record geeks are asking after the band and picking up copies of the EP for themselves. “It’s really good”, one of them says to Cusak, who responds with “I know”…
“The Texas blues begin and end with Mance Lipscomb and Lightnin’ Hopkins. Both were tremendous innovators, featuring a conversational singing style and masterful guitar work. Mance was too busy sharecropping to get to the studio before he turned fifty, but Lightnin’ had already been recording for the better part of twenty years by the time he got to Goin’ Away, at the age of 51…”
“My wife didn’t buy it, but for the last year or more I’ve felt handicapped in reviewing the latest video gear because I didn’t have a high resolution digital television. That meant no component inputs, no progressive scan capability, and limited resolution in image display. OK, work with me on this…I needed a newer, bigger, better video centrepiece…”
Outside the Speakers
Random Thoughts on the Music Mask
NPR on Whether Audiophiles Still Exist
Audiophile Grade Mics?
CDs Sales Die, LP Sales Fly
Some High End 'Phones from CES
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