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About bluesman

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    Crusty Old Curmudgeon

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  1. The mirror strip is to let you check out how cool you look using a meter 🤪
  2. Actually, it's not at all off topic and it's well worth discussing. Many of the people who buy high end audio support the arts by buying high end, high quality program material - and many also patronize live music venues of all kinds. And many of the young 'uns whose systems center around their phones (both mobile and head) are, in fact, attending more and more arts events of all kinds. From US Trends in Arts Attendance, we learn that "between 2012 and 2017, the share of adults who attended visual or performing arts activities grew by 3.6 percentage points to 132.3 million people, representing nearly 54 percent of the U.S. adult population. Performing arts events range from dance to theater performances while visual arts events include going to art museums, galleries, and craft festivals For most art forms on the survey, including musicals and non-musical plays, classical music, jazz, ballet and other dance performances, opera, and Latin/Spanish/salsa music, attendance rates held steady despite a five percent growth in the adult population over the five-year period. Therefore, the number of adults attending those events increased over the time period studied 29 percent increase in the rate of attendance at these types of activities is reflected in greater participation by demographic subgroups—specifically, African Americans, Asian Americans, and 25-54-year-olds". Art and culture (like language) evolve through use. So it may well be that Mahler et al will go the way of Gregorian chants as civilization embraces and supports change in the arts. I suspect few miss Pachelbel's presence in major concert halls. But those who buy high end audio pieces have to be listening to something! The average person between 16 and 64 in the 20 largest music markets worldwide listens to music 18 hours a week, and 87% of them use on-demand streaming services. Local music genres are flourishing: 66% of consumers in Japan listen to J-pop, 69% of consumers in France listen to Variété Française, and 55% in Brazil listen to Música popular brasileira. Even better, 96% of consumers in China and 96% in India listen to licensed music. This is all quite positive and reassuring. The 2018 music industry sales stats show that 25% of revenues came from physical media, 12% digital, 47% streaming, 14% performance rights, and 2% synchronization. The last category is fascinating and important to this discussion - it represents "...investment record companies are making in their offerings to artists, in their people and in their global presence. Record companies are investing more than one-third of their global revenues, or US$5.8 billion, in Artists & Repertoire (or A&R) and marketing each year, to break, develop and support artists". So I'm not worried about the future of the arts because it's strong and growing worldwide. I'm also not concerned that those who buy $1500 headphones would have bought more music programming if they'd spent less on their cans, because I don't think it's true. I'm not worried about Shostakovich, who replaced Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev in the hearts and minds of many Russians after they fled to the US. And I'm not worried about the younger generations because they're listening to more music and attending more and more art events every year. It's not 1950 any more, and it's not going to be 2019 all that long. If we don't adapt, we'll atrophy.
  3. I don't fault your logic or your goals, and I agree that our global society might well distribute its collective resources with more of an eye toward doing good than feeling good. But a free society empowers each of us to do as we wish with what we have, short of violating generally agreed upon societal taboos (e.g. laws). It's far easier to define "value" (i.e. worth / cost) than it is to define "good", "better spent", etc. We have neither the ability nor the right to reallocate the wealth of others, except in specific circumstances and through societal systems and processes. Sometimes I wish it were otherwise, but I'm generally more laissez faire than utilitarian. I've been taken to task for this analogy, but for me the classic example of resources wasted through maldistribution is the relationship between hunger and obesity. One pound of body fat represents about 3500 calories, which is enough to sustain an adult human for 2 days. There are about 200 million obese+ Americans today, with the average excess poundage being somewhere between 30 and 50 (which represents enough caloric intake to sustain one person for 2 to 3 months). There are 40+ million Americans today who are starving, many getting less than 1000 calories daily. So just the food that ended up in the belly fat of obese America (i.e. not counting the ongoing daily excess needed to maintain that excess weight) represents enough dietary intake to feed every starving American for a year. And if all those obese people lost their excess weight, the food they'd leave on the table while dieting plus that they'd no longer need to maintain the fat they lost would go a long way toward feeding the rest of the world's starving population. Can and should we impose dietary restriction to reduce the money wasted on excess food and associated societal costs like diabetes and heart disease? As a physician and a taxpayer, I'd love to be able to do this - but in my heart, I know it's unreasonable. One very dramatic example of societal violation of individual rights in the name of art is the Barnes Foundation. If you don't know about this, you should - it's the largest private collection of impressionist art in the world, and it's absolutely breathtaking. But Dr Barnes left a will that mandated his collection be kept intact in its long term location within his home just outside Philadelphia. The courts eventually broke his will and moved the collection to a wonderful new building in which the collection is better seen, better cared for, better protected, and far better off. But they violated the man's will to do this - and I have a great deal of difficulty with that. Check out a movie called The Art of the Steal for more. This was a long and difficult fight for many people on both sides. Does anybody really need a $1000 speaker cable when that money would keep a child from starving for several months? Sadly, it all depends on whose ox is gored.
  4. It's not a biased sample. In addition to being a competitor for decades, I was the race physician for Philly Region SCCA for about 20 years and for VSCCA and SVRA at multiple events from 1984 to 2000 - and I fished many a wealthy dilettante out of the wrecked exotic he had no business buying let alone driving in competition. I pulled the same lawyer out of the same ex-Gurney GT-40 at Summit Point in '87 or '88 and the Grand Bahama Vintage grand Prix in '86. We had guys driving Allard J2Xs who couldn't handle a 948 bugeye. One of my friends wrecked a gorgeous Turner in an end-over-end at Summit Point and his 944 on a local road - so he bought an E-type. My wife's former dentist totalled his 944S in a "track event" at Watkins Glen. And so forth and so on. These guys also have great audio systems.......
  5. The good news is that you can't have too many guitars 😎
  6. I understand your point. But I have many friends and colleagues who spend so much on frivolity and luxury that they really do compromise their health and safety and that of their families. For example, I’ve had many patients from my neighborhood who turned out to have poor or no health insurance despite appearances suggesting they should. One complained to me about having billed him for his $500 deductible. I pointed out that he drove to my office in his new 911 and was wearing an 18k DayDate, so it seemed a bit inconsistent to me. He did not understand. This behavior is common, in my experience. And it can pose serious risk.
  7. Let's go back to basics: the traditional business definition of value is "worth divided by cost". Before we can decide what cost is reasonable, we each have to decide what's worth what to us. If worth were determined only on the basis of sound quality, I suspect there'd be far fewer 5 and 6 figure products and systems in audio. The worth of some high end pieces might reasonably be related to the cost of design, creation, manufacture etc - but a lot of it seems to be driven by hype as much as by its actual cost basis. Many buyers of high priced equipment seem to find value in elements of ownership that have nothing at all to do with listening to and enjoying music. Some are buying (or trying to buy) the adoration of their jealous friends and neighbors or a false sense of accomplishment. Others think they're buying the appearance of wealth, taste, etc. And yet others are simply distracting themselves (at least temporarily) from ego-dystonic thoughts and feelings. More than a few owners of high end equipment of all kinds believe that having bought it proves them to have superior knowledge, skill etc. Of course, driving a McLaren doesn't mean you're a world class driver. Those who hear (or think they hear) a difference and believe it and/or some other perceived benefit to be worth the cost are being true to the above definition of value - they simply have a skewed sense of worth. As most such determinations are based on subjective observations lacking widespread agreement, many (most?) of us choose not to spend $100k on a pair of speakers because our sense of worth tells us the cost is too high for the benefits we would realize from ownership.
  8. This is definitely legit! See this post from Jazz Times for more info. What's so bizarre about it is that he's a full time faculty member at UCLA and (as confirmed by UCLA per the linked article) he has full health coverage and benefits. So I don't quite understand how it got this bad, and neither does UCLA. Nevertheless, it's true. The Jazz Foundation of America is also now involved (see this statement from them), and it appears that he'll now get the support he so badly needs. The GoFundMe campaign has raised about $130k, so the Burrells are secure for the present. The fact that anyone can have such trouble is depressing enough. It's even more scary when it's one of our national treasures in his senior years, still contributing to society despite adversity after decades of a positive productive life. Depressing for sure!!
  9. Another thought - if the output stage of your Audiolab is cross-coupled (aka servo-coupled) and your adapter leaves pin 3 floating, you’ll get the distortion you seem to be describing regardless of output level.
  10. I don’t know the Audiolab device, so these are just general comments that probably apply to your problem in some way. Balanced XLR outputs send out of phase signals from pins 2 and 3. Shunting 3 to the shield at the unbalanced end sends the out-of-phase signal to ground, and this can drive some unbalanced line inputs nuts. Transformer coupling is often used in the output stage of balanced devices to power a second (unbalanced) output. You may need an inline coupling transformer for impedance matching between your balanced output and unbalanced input. Also, the signal level is usually hotter from a balanced output. Most devices with balanced inputs have trim pots or switches to attenuate as needed. But devices with unbalanced inputs do not, so you may simply be overdriving your amps.
  11. Absolutely! My Prima Luna amp is soooo fine, and hand carved Eastman guitars are wonderful at about 1/3 the cost of equivalent American models. OTOH, I've heard from some Eastman dealers that their QC isn't what it used to be and an increasing number are returned by dealers because they're unacceptable.
  12. The term was used by the MIT club in the context of their model train signals, not computer code. It then caught on with their AI lab, who later (~1970, as I recall) decided to write their own OS for the DEC computers they used rather than use the one written for the PDP 10. What the collective actually did was to create the internet, although neither they nor the rest of the world knew where their efforts would lead. I was there. I went to Brandeis, where we only had a puny IBM 1620 for student use. But we were allowed to go over the Charles to MIT to use their brand new system 30, and that scene was truly thrilling in the mid-60s. I’m not sure how hacking morphed from good to bad, but it’s now back to good again.
  13. You're certainly within your rights to consider it whatever you wish, but you're bucking a worldwide community of innovators. Here's a list of 2019 North American hackathons with some info you might find eye-opening. And here's a classic example of a high level hackathon that's a truly fine event here in Philadelphia, with great output that benefits us all. You're also bucking the wacky world of linguistics. Language has to evolve in order to remain useful, and your examples clearly illustrate this even though you seem to be denying the value of such evolution. Rooting used to mean cheering for your team, and jailbreaking was....um..... breaking out of jail. Similarly, lean just used to mean skinny - but now it also means use of Toyota's patented Lean process improvement programs. Six Sigma meant 6 standard deviations from the mean, but now it's a process design and improvement process at the core of a huge industry. The SCRUM to which I assume you refer is yet another patented process / approach to problem solving, around which there is a growing for-profit industry of teaching and certification entities. Remember when it was just a rugby term? And, of course, hijacking used to be the criminal offense of stealing a vehicle by force 🙂
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