Category Archives: Editorial


Parts is Parts.

No one will believe me, but I have to call it like I see it: I am convinced that how a driver is used, and how it fits the system requirements, has at least as much to do with sonics as the make and model of the parts.  Sure, there are tweeters that I have come to like a lot over the years, but this has mostly to do with consistency, reliability, ease of use, cost-performance and well-thought out specs. Just as with cars and drivers, and chefs and food, average components in the hands of a pro will almost always sound better than expensive, fancy parts in the hands of a someone without training and experience.

I used to judge various amateur speaker building contests, and got to listen to the best efforts of both first-time and well-known amateur designers, year after year. Submissions invariably used very well-regarded drivers, yet it was very rare for any of the judges to find a submission that was of sufficient sonic quality to make it commercially at any price.

I’m not meaning to be snobby. Anyone can learn to be a great speaker designer. But, you have to learn, and you have to try dozens and dozens of different designs, over and over.  Most importantly, you have to hone the skills to listen very quickly, analytically and brutally, and then understand exactly how to correlate the listening to engineering, without philosophical biases.

If you think that the finest drivers make the finest systems, you aren’t paying attention!! Ingredients are only a start.


Like Factoids, but not….



Audio technology is different than any other type of engineering I know of. In normal engineering, we start with a certain problem, and then try to invent a solution to this problem. But, in audio, most of the time, we start with an invention. Then we try to discover what it might be good for. However, just because one has a cool invention does not mean that the invention is useful or any improvement to the art.


News from the Audio Club of Johannesberg.

I thought this was a brilliant send up of militant audio subjectivism when I posted it on AK today.  However, everyone else pretty much ignored it, probably wondering if I had gone off the deep end completely.


Accused Murderer Oscar Pistorius Changes Plea.

Published March 22, 2013

Dissociated Press
JOHANNESBURG – A lawyer for Oscar Pistorius says he has decided to change his plea in the murder trial of model Reeva Steenkamp to, “Innocent By Reason of Subjectivity.” According to Pistorius’ lead attorney Pearce Harrimon, “The mainstream media has widely reported that my client shot and killed Ms. Steenkamp. This is a blatant and cynical misstatement of his actions. In reality, just prior to his arrest, Mr. Pistorius was engaging in the act of “Re-Capping” his girlfriend, in a mutually agreed attempt to improve her performance.”

Harrimon went on to explain that while some may consider the small steel capacitors used on Ms. Steenkamp to be harmful to important aspects of her functioning, “Oscar was there. He heard and saw the results with his own eyes, and reported being extremely satisfied with the results of his efforts. How could anyone in their right mind challenge his direct and personal experience confirming that a person he knew well, a person he had lived with was, in fact, ‘substantially improved?’”

In a written statement to the court, Pistorius explained his position. “I am not a doctor. But, I do know what I hear and see. The modifications we performed resulted in a more ‘open’ Reeva. Background noise was virtually eliminated. Others had recommended lead caps. Some traditionalists advised against any re-capping at all, despite the fact that Reeva was over 30 years old! I’m so glad I did what I did. Reeva is back in my system with steel and polyester replacing the old chemical technology. All I can say is that, guys, if you are thinking about this, try it. It works great!”

“Guilty? You have to be kidding,” added Harrimon. “That’s just a bunch of meter-reading idiots showing how little they know about measuring life. My client is more than innocent, he’s a trend setter!”

Friends! Please reconsider your vote for Romney.

I very rarely take presidential politics very seriously. But this year, I am donating whatever I can find, organizing, working volunteer phone banks, etc. I am so utterly convinced that Romney’s policies would be an unmitigated disaster for our economy now.  Campaign promises not withstanding, it takes more than four years to restructure the world’s largest economy. Bush had eight, and look what happened.  Can you remember the hopelessness, the fear, were were living in just four years ago?

Now that Obamas policies are finally, slowly, starting to get real traction, (employment, business lending, stock markets, housing starts, etc.), you want to stop that dead in the water? And, with essentially the same policities that led directly to the Great Recession? It isnt logical.

Obama has been a good man, He is learned, honest and he tries. Of course he has his flaws. But, Romney has shown no character or principles. He has swung NRA-Birther-Tea Party extremist, then pivoted to support many of Obamas own policies. Like a good Sales CEO, he will say what he needs to to close the deal. It is obvious that many Republicans want Obama out for very visceral and irrational reasons, and will do almost anything to see him fail.  That is, to me, patently unAmerican.  So please, think about it. Think which party really supports the kind of America you and your family want to live in, an honest, hopeful society driven by ideals and knowledge, or a bitter race to the finish line, steeped in hostility, flexible facts and moral relativity?  Thanks for listening…. see you on the other side!!

via New Media. – – Gmail.

Law of the Democratic Instrument.

When a society holds the torch of freedom, everything begins to look like a referendum.

Binders of Women? Personally, I use NTFS.

Dateline: Boston, MA

The FBIs “Operation Big Politics” is reporting that six women from the State of Massachusetts Missing Persons case files have been successfully located in Mitt Romneys binders. Thankfully, all are alive and in good health, though most report extreme boredom.


But, seriously, from the Boston Phoenix:

“What actually happened was that in 2002 – prior to the election, not… even knowing yet whether it would be a Republican or Democratic administration – a bipartisan group of women in Massachusetts formed MassGAP to address the problem of few women in senior leadership positions in state government. There were more than 40 organizations involved with the Massachusetts Womens Political Caucus also bipartisan as the lead sponsor. “They did the research and put together the binder full of women qualified for all the different cabinet positions, agency heads, and authorities and commissions. They presented this binder to Governor Romney when he was elected.”See MoreLike · · Promote · ShareWrite a comment…

via Ken Kantor FB.

What cannot be affirmed, cannot be denied.

We are free to disavow our own words and disown every single act we commit.  We kiss off our loves, our dreams, our past, our possessions.  We disown our families, if we must.  Abandon our party or our faith, if we should.  But, never, I believe, should we attempt to disavow our own unconscious.   It is the only realm where truth and falsehood might ever be reconciled.

Off Topics.


Migrating some old blogs over here. 

The spread of Freud’s thinking put the final nail in coffin of "insightful" art, as photography had to "representational" art.   The dominance of conceptulism in the 20th Century, including the more intellectually coherent forms of "abstract" art, were the direct result.  It gradually became impossible to an educated artist to work without some degree of self-analysis.  Given the somewhat ubiquitous endgame of successful psychoanalytic introspection, the territory was soon well-mined by the surrealists.  
Artist became increasing focused on the primacy of the process, not the piece.   No doubt, this was also influenced by the widespread adoption of almost metaphysical frameworks in the natural sciences, and by a general trend away from materialism in intellectual circles.

I’ve Looked At Clouds From Both Sides Now.

I’m an audio guy, not a computer scientist.  Still, I’ve been a heavy user, and sometimes a designer, of computer-based communications for more than 30 years now.  From slow-scan and acoustic couplers, to Arpanet, TCP/IP and dial-up BBS, to early Compuserve, Usenet, WWW, through the rise of distributed hosting, social networking, the modern world.  Having worked with mainframes in the late 60’s, done hardware and software design on 1st-gen uP’s in the 70’s, up through the latest in DSP and embedded systems these days, has given me the opportunity to spend many hours studying and talking with the best and brightest in the field. 
Perhaps because so much of my social and professional communication was and is electronic, my goal of maintaining a personal blog has consistently eluded me.  It’s a very different processes to write in a diaristic way than to engage in discussion or participate in an interview.  But, I am going to try again.  There is much I want to write about related to the business and technology of audio, along with the usual doses of armchair philosophy.  Over the years, I tried to use various public venues on line to do this kind of thing, but the noise level now is just too high to allow meaningful commentary and dialog to exist.  Internet fora have become essentially useless.  Everything is debated endlessly, even the most established and incontrovertable facts.  Similarly, the parties who prevail in these debates are most likely those who have the most time on their hands, and who reinforce popularly prevailing beliefs.  Since there is no barrier of entry, and anyone can craft an identity and even register a domain, the amount of bad information available has mushroomed.  The vast majority of online readers have no way to differentiate real experts from eloquent hobbyists, or even educated trolls. 
As a result, most true audio professionals have long-since abandoned the internet as a vehicle for education and communication.  Many have urged me to do so over the last several years.  But, the internet is an important source of education for many consumers and hobbyists, and I have kept at it, sometimes skillfully, sometimes counterproductively.  So, now I am going to try blogging again.  This is a personal blog, and makes no pretense at being organized, useful, professional, academic, reviewed, concise, dispassionate, etc.  The posts will be topics that occur to me, and particularly, those related to audio, though the relationship is not guaranteed and may be very tenuous. 
"I may agree with what you say. But, I will defend to the death my right to ridicule you for saying it!" -Millie Voltaire