Years ago I wrote an essay titled, Why Horns, which you can find here on the OMA website in the About section. I wrote it to explain a bit why horns can be so valuable in audio, increasing efficiency, improving directivity and solving a host of other problems associated with conventional, low efficiency direct radiator speakers, which in audio today describes almost everything else.
I recently spent a Sunday afternoon attending a seminar on the “Chemistry of Wine for Professionals”. I’m not a wine professional, nor did I much like chemistry in school, and it turned out to be a very technical afternoon indeed. I found myself wondering what I was doing there. But some of the subjects, like how and why we perceive a wine to taste “mineral” seemed very interesting. The gentlemen sitting next to me, who was very much a wine professional, at one point asked me why I had come?… Read the full article
MORE NOISE PLEASE
When people come to the OMA showroom for a demo, they always start with an analog LP, typically something around 50 years old. Time permitting, I’ll often jump to mono LP’s, and that can get even more ancient. I don’t do this because I have a fetish for old stuff, I do it because I want my guests to hear something many have never heard- what recorded music sounded like for most of its history.
I just finished an excellent new book by Damon Krukowski, The New Analog (The New Press, 2017).… Read the full article
We’re at a very interesting point in audio right now. Music reproduction is at a crossroads. From now on people will be consuming music either virtually and digitally (streaming), or physically and analog (records). There will be no more digital, physical formats in the future, no more CD’s, SACD’s, or other supposedly superior digital formats on disc. CD production has fallen off a cliff. Streaming has essentially killed off the physical sales of music in the digital domain. The irony, of course, is that the one hundred year old technology of vinyl records, which has not really changed much since its inception, has prevailed over “Perfect Sound Forever” ™.… Read the full article
Every once in a while, I’ll see something published in one of the audio magazines, especially in the newsletter emails I receive, which has me perplexed: Are they really giving it up? This passage is from an entry titled “Too Good to be True”.
“Two letters from readers (see below) started us thinking again about something we’ve mulled at, off and on, for the past year or so: Does today’s high-fidelity equipment, for all its vastly improved performance, actually sound that much better than the best of the early components?… Read the full article
Last Sunday I had the pleasure of hosting a dozen young industry professionals and soon to be professionals, mainly graduates of the program at the University of Connecticut at Hartford in acoustics. Some were working as acousticians in New York City, others were music producers or engineers, I think everyone was in their 20’s. There was a theme, suggested by the young man who organized the event (an acoustician) who had visited OMA prior, and heard me play a reissue of Duke Ellington’s Masterpieces on vinyl, a Long Play mono LP recorded on December 19th, 1950.… Read the full article
There are certain things in our experience as humans today that are unprecedented. We experience things which before you would not be able to live through and tell about. Speed is one such experience- to experience great velocity meant falling off a cliff or into a ravine, not exactly something repeatable or pleasurable. Being on a horse was about as fast as you could go until the 20th century. Now owning a car or motorcycle capable of 200mph is, if not commonplace, possible without even being a professional racer.… Read the full article
People tell me, “I hate horn speakers”. Only audiophiles tell me this, of course, but more often than you might think. Ordinary people don’t even know what a horn loaded loudspeaker is, and many of our customers talk about the “cone things” on top of their speakers. Horn hating is an audiophile thing.
Audiophiles have a good half century of training behind this prejudice. When Edgar Villachur and his company Acoustic Research invented the first small direct radiator speaker in the late 1950’s, the AR1, it changed audio forever.… Read the full article
I recently found a small neon sign on Ebay made by RCA in the early 1930’s. It guaranteed “Sound Satisfaction” for any moviegoer because RCA equipment was in the house. That was a time when sound really mattered. I lost the auction but it did get me thinking on the subject of what sound quality means today and what’s happened since that sign was made.
It’s impossible to understand the impact of recorded sound on human civilization. It’s a little more than a hundred years ago since you had to be there to hear music.… Read the full article
The speed of change has become daunting. Our personal lives have changed because of the computer, the smart phone, the creation of social media and the new ways in which people relate to each other. As I walk down the street in New York City, most people no longer look around, they’re busy with their phones. Even at nice restaurants many would rather be with their phones, taking pictures of their food or selfies, than enjoying the company of others. … Read the full article