Archive for April, 2008

Daily Blog – John E. Johnson, Jr. – April 9, 2008: IT’S ALL IN THE POWER SUPPLY.

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

Denon has released a new power amplifier that has 10 channels at 150 watts rms per channel. It weighs 132 pounds. They also have a receiver that has 150 watts per channel x 7. It weighs 63 pounds. The amplifier is priced at $7,000 and the receiver at $5,200.

What is the difference?

The power supply.

Denon has made several high-end power amplifiers over the years. I was very interested in some of them back in the 1980′s.

The power supply is probably the most critical component in the power amplifier, and is really the foundation for great sound. It boils down to having a big transformer and lots and lots of capacitors. The quality of the capacitors is important, but probably not as much as just how much capacitance you have in there, because caps these days are all pretty good.

A sign that there is a nice power supply is the double-down of power output at half the impedance, and the Denon is rated at 150 watts with 8 ohm loads and 300 watts with 4 ohm loads. You won’t find that kind of spec in any receiver.

The reason mass market receivers don’t have big power supplies is very simple: the cost. Transformers and capacitors are the most expensive parts, and consumers want a lot for their bucks. A 4 ohm double-down rating is not part of that “want”.

However, the larger power supply also allows the designer to have some other benefits, one of which is not needing so much negative feedback, and perhaps not so many gain stages.

The SSP part of the receiver benefits from clean power, but it does not need so much of it. So, one thing you can do to improve your home theater if you have a small receiver is to purchase a better power amplifier and use the pre-outs from the receiver to drive it. In fact, this can improve your sound in a very big way.

So, the next time you are shopping for receivers or power amplifiers, look at the weight. Heavier is definitely better. 

Liberty Wire & Cable Expands Customer Service Department

Monday, April 7th, 2008

Cable and Connectivity Specialist Increases Staff and
Technical Expertise Available to Still Growing A/V Market

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO, Apr. 7, 2008 — Liberty Wire & Cable, worldwide supplier of a broad range of wire and cable products for the audio/video trade, including custom installers and systems integrators, has announced a major expansion of its Customer Service Department in response to a continuing surge of growth in demand for its 7,000-plus products. (more…)

Daily Blog – Jason Victor Serinus – April 5, 2008: SURE OF SCHUUR.

Friday, April 4th, 2008

Barely five minutes into our increasingly intimate phone conversation, jazz great Diane Schuur broke into tears. Twice. The first time was when she discussed the death of her 31-year old mother in 1967, about three years the singer, then 11-years old, went professional. [The entire interview will eventually appear on this website].

“I kept on going,” says the woman whom everyone addresses as Deedles. “Mama was no longer around, and I had to be one of the breadwinners. I was blind at birth, and my twin brother overcame a hearing deficit that might have also been part of the birth thing. I had a choice. I could have just stayed in Puyallup, Washington – one of the places I lived after my brother and his wife got married – or gone on to do the things I’ve done. I made the choice, and never looked back.”

Deedles’ “amazing journey” includes 18 years as a recovered alcoholic, “very scary” potentially voice impairing neck surgery for degenerative disc disease, and her current work “from the inside out” to master a lifelong eating disorder. Nonetheless, she has come back in a major way. Her latest album, Some Other Time, has been receiving glowing reviews, and for good reason. It’s wonderful.

A collection of standards she learned from jazz recordings her parents played during her childhood and adolescence, Some Other Time features songs by the Gershwins, Irving Berlin, Sammy Cahn, Rogers and Hammerstein, Vernon Duke, and others. The penultimate track, “September in the Rain,” was recorded by an instantly recognizable, surprisingly deep voiced babe at the Holiday Inn in Tacoma in 1964 when Deedles was all of ten-years old. The tribute CD ends with “Danny Boy,” fulfilling a promise she made to her mom to record the song.

For an artist whose last Billboard chart topper was a 1994 collaborative recording with B.B. King, the disc represents the triumph of an indomitable spirit. The voice seems untouched by age, the ballads quite moving, the break into irresistible swing in parts of some songs – catch the ending to “Blue Skies” and the middle of “Without a Song” – positively ecstatic. If you’re wondering why this disc is receiving so many great reviews, listen to the soulful, instant classic rendition of the title song, “Some Other Time.”

David and I attended Deedles’ April 1 opening night in the Rrazz Room in San Francisco’s Nikko Hotel. For me, it was a curious transition from a meeting with Oakland’s Public Safety Director in Oakland City Hall to the darkened ambience of the Rrazz Room. As we were asking for our press tickets, Diane made her understated entrance through the lobby, holding the arm of her tour companion, Owen. When I introduced myself as Owen exited from Diane’s little pre-show “dressing room,” he immediately welcomed us to meet Diane.

All of a sudden, there we were, hanging with Deedles in her dressing room. Amazingly relaxed, she chatted away, cracking us up no end. What a joy this woman is! As soon as space allowed, I gave her the gift of the round hairbrush she had told me during our phone interview that she needed to buy now that she was letting her hair grow long. I also gave her my whistling CD, which I hope she likes.

After playing with the brush for several minutes, saying hello to a few more visitors, and chatting away as though making an impression on opening night was no more challenging than brushing one’s teeth, Deedles invited the two men she could not see to join her for post-concert dinner in her hotel room. How could we resist?

Then, glancing at my watch, I said that we would give her a few minutes to settle in before the show began. Maybe five minutes after we were seated, we sat amazed as she, at the tail end of three weeks of deep bronchitis, began a non-stop 80 minute set. Her band, which travels with her, was excellent, and the sound system was surprisingly good. There was a tremendous amount of respect and, dare I say, love in the room for this legendary trouper who is again making a name for herself.

Deedles concluded the last number, “Blue Skies,” with some very high improv scat singing that, although a bit masked by the otherwise excellent sound system, went pretty far toward raising the roof. She later told us that she used to do far more of that kind of singing, until some critics claimed that it was shrill. No way, José. These ears know shrill when they hear it, and Deedles’ voice is in no way shrill in her extended head range. Here’s hoping she’ll grace us with more of her spirited improvs in the coming years.

Afterwards, we joined Diane in her hotel room. Soon after we were left alone with her, David and I were giving her an extended two-man massage. The trust, vulnerability, and (dare I say) innocence of this woman as we were crawling all over her bed and body touched me in ways words cannot describe. Then we shared chicken soup over a video feed of a show she had taped at home in S. CA and relayed from the DeedleRocket pad directly to her computer. (I was in my non-TV watching 20s and 30s when the show was in its heyday, but David knew all the characters and was trading tidbits with Deedles throughout the episode).

We are going to stay in touch with Deedles, of course. What a wonderful, dear human being! And what truth there is in her voice. By all means check out her new CD. And don’t miss her show when she gets to a venue near you. She closes at the Rrazz Room tonight at 8 and 10:30.

Four Velodyne Dealers Receive Electronic House “Home of the Year” Awards

Friday, April 4th, 2008

Morgan Hill, CA (April 4, 2008) – Four Velodyne dealers were presented with Home of the Year awards from Electronic House magazine at an awards ceremony at the Electronic House Expo in Orlando, Florida in March. Each installation incorporated one or more Velodyne subwoofers. (more…)

Daily Blog – Ross Jones – April 4, 2008: HOW TO SPEND THAT STIMULUS CHECK.

Friday, April 4th, 2008

April 15th is fast approaching, which means “stimulus” checks from the Federal government will be arriving soon.

You know, those checks ranging from $600 up to $2,000 that we’re supposed to turn around and spend right away to help out the economy?

I had been planning on using the money to pay some bills and reduce debt, but was told that if I did that then the terrorists win. So I’m waiting to see what the A/V industry does to stimulate enthusiasm to spend those checks.

My good buddy who lives in Anchorage, like all Alaskan residents, gets a dividend check every year from the state, and the airlines are all over that stuff. They have special deals priced exactly in the amount of the dividend checks, so you just sign over the check and away you go. If the home theater industry expects me to stimulate them, I want to see some special, patriotic pricing from manufacturers and retailers; really great deals that just happen to be priced in $300 increments.

Omnimount Takes Furniture in Bold New Direction

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

Moda Collection Breaks New Ground in A/V Furniture Category

PHOENIX, Ariz. – April 3, 2008 – OmniMount, the global leader in consumer and commercial A/V mounting and furniture solutions, has added six new pieces to its Moda Collection, offering a fresh alternative to conventional A/V furniture. The stylish additions strike an ideal balance between aesthetics and functionality with unique and contemporary designs. Each piece in the line, which includes the Vent 65, Silhouette 65, Silhouette 48, Echo 63, Echo 50 and Echo A3, features ample space for components and cable management. (more…)

NuVo Technologies Continues Growing with New Hires

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

Whole-home audio innovator adds Western Regional Sales Manager and National Product Trainer. (more…)

Daily Blog – John E. Johnson, Jr. – April 3, 2008: CPR ON OLD AUDIOPHILES.

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

As a middle-aged American, I recently decided to become CPR-certified along with my wife. We took the Red Cross Adult CPR course in a community near our home. The cost was $45/each and took 4 hours. It was very thorough, and I left the course confident that I might well be able to save someone’s life if they were in cardiac arrest and had stopped breathing.

We were given a small Red Cross packet that attaches to our keychain, which contains a pair of thin latex gloves and what’s called a Breathing Barrier, which I will explain in a moment.

A photo of the packet attached to my keychain is shown below.

 red-cross-keychain.jpg

On the news a few days ago, there was an announcement that citizens who find someone that needs CPR no longer should bother with mouth to mouth respiration (blowing your breath into their lungs). The reason for this seems to be that most everyone is a bit squeamish about putting their mouth on the mouth of a stranger, even if it means saving their life. Who can blame them? I would feel the same way. Who knows what infectious disease they might have?

So, anyway, the recommendation is now that you should just perform pressure on the heart, which means pushing down on the sternum (breastbone) 30 times in about 20 seconds, about 2″ deep. Not mentioned is that you will hear the bones crack, because that much pressure will break the cartilage that attaches the ribs to the sternum. Some doctors say that if you don’t crack the ribs that way, you are not pushing hard enough.

I guess they figure that it will be better if you do something, i.e., the short pushes on the heart, rather than do nothing because you don’t want to put your mouth on theirs. They mentioned that the victim will likely have some gasping for breath and that will put some air in the lungs. That is correct of course, but the reason for the gasping is that the diaphragm is desperately trying to make the victim breathe because the brain is becoming starved for oxygen.

You can do what they say, but there is an alternative: Get one of these Red Cross packets for yourself. It can be purchased from the Red Cross for about $5 here: 

http://www.redcross-oregontrail.org/miva/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=ARCSEA&Product_Code=53310004&Category_Code=03

It has some gloves so you don’t have to get someone’s blood on your hands, but just as important, it has a breathing barrier, which you lay across the victim’s face, and there is a little filter where the mouth is. That lets you blow air into his/her mouth without your mouth actually touching their skin. It also covers their face. I imagine it is not totally a barrier to bacteria or whatever, but it sure is something that will make you feel a lot more comfortable about being 1″ away from a stranger’s face and mouth.

The idea is that you first check to see if they are unconscious, and if so, tell someone to call 911, then give two “Rescue Breaths” once you get the barrier onto their face, then remove the barrier so they can breathe, and then start the heart pressure movements. Thirty presses, then put the barrier back on, two breaths about 1 second each, then 30 more heart presses. Repeat until the ambulance arrives.

Some people are also afraid of lawsuits. Well, legislation was passed called the “Good Samaritan Law“. This means you can help someone in good faith, and not be sued, as long as you are helping them without any expectation of compensation. If they are conscious, you must ask them if you can help them. If they say, “No,” then of course, you can’t help them directly, but you can still call 911. Otherwise, if they are unconscious, it is implied that you can help. If they are conscious and need their medicine, whatever it is, and you get it for them, you can place it in their hand, but you cannot place it in their mouth. If you put it in their mouth, that is implied as “treating” the victim as a doctor would, and that has legal issues.

So, be a good Audiophile, and save someone’s life if the occasion arises. He/she is very likely to be an audiophile too.

Note: This blog is for entertainment purposes only. The author takes no responsibility for its use for any purpose by anyone under any circumstances.

Omnimount’s New Additions Highlight Sales Force Restructuring

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008

Bill Muster and Kasey Cave Rejoin Newly Reinforced Sales Team

PHOENIX, Ariz. – April 2 , 2008 – OmniMount, the global leader in consumer and commercial A/V mounting and furniture solutions, is pleased to announce that Bill Muster and Kasey Cave will rejoin the sales team as general manager of consumer sales and sales support administrator, respectively. The new additions to the team are part of OmniMount’s reinforcement of its sales force to better serve its customers. (more…)

QSONIX Wows With New Screen Size And Super Storage – Plus, New Version 2.42 Software

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008

QSONIX WOWS WITH NEW SCREEN SIZE AND SUPER STORAGE
PLUS, NEW VERSION 2.42 SOFTWARE LAUNCHED

Westlake Village, CA (April 02, 2008) – Qsonix indicates size counts as the maker of the most powerful and user-friendly music management systems anywhere introduces its new 17-inch touch screen controller. At the same time the industry leader in high quality media storage announced staggering storage capability along with additional powerful new hardware and software enhancements in the latest 2.42 version of their Q110 system. (more…)

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