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About bluesman

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    Crusty Old Curmudgeon

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  1. "Communication with Amazon has been nearly impossible".....and typical of their interaction with stakeholders who aren't major players in their business plan. I've been building an internet startup for about 2 years now, and signed the business up as an Amazon Affiliate over a year ago so we could host ads on our website for relevant items and generate some operating revenue along with exposure. Their requirement for maintaining Affiliate status is at least one sale by click-through within the first 180 days. We had 5 - but they canceled the account anyway. When I asked why, I got a bizarre response that they don't count purchases made by anyone already known to our business because they have this program to generate new customers. My response was that the purchases were made by individuals from IP addresses easily verified as independent of us and on the other side of the country, and that so many people already have Amazon accounts that it's almost impossible to find customers truly new to Amazon. I got no response to this. Amazon has some of the finest, most creative minds on the planet working for them, along with world class solution designers, coders, etc. And their IT infrastructure is among the best in the world. I migrated my entire web presence (5 active sites at present) to AWS about 2 years ago because it's so good and such great value. They must also have some experienced audiophiles among their ranks. So they really ought to be able to come up with a more elegant solution than this one, given that they have the entire music supply chain covered from source material through delivery.
  2. He and I communicated a few times about this as we worked & made sure our efforts were complementing each other. That new board looks great - it's on my list of toys to be had. FWIW, I'm loving the new Pi 4 with gigabit ethernet, 4 gigs of RAM, "proper" USB management etc. It's so much faster than the 3b+ that it's now close to a "real" computer. I'm about to load a full JRMC instance on it to see how it functions as a stand-alone JR device. Even on a 3b+, JR is very slow to respond to the helm. The minimal testing I've done with the 4 suggests that SQ isn't consistently any better than a 3b+ with Roon Bridge, but I haven't tried it in multiple systems with different DACs etc yet. Ahhh - there's just no rest for the weary!
  3. !!! There's an endless set of combinations and permutations among the latest crop of value hardware components - we've only scratched the surface, and look at the SQ from the systems we've already put together! We can almost certainly optimize SQ from systems like yours & mine with meticulous mating and configuration of hardware and software. Random association of components is the rule, and that approach has the same probability of achieving poor synergy as it does of being optimal. It's rare in my experience that the same effort is put into choosing the components of a $500 system that goes into selecting a $5000+ system, but I suspect that the effort would pay off in even better SQ if we took the same approach. Given the low cost of the components we're discussing, we can directly and extensively compare multiple components and systems in our own settings for very little money, eventually reselling unneeded or unwanted pieces to recover some of the cost of comparison. I haven't heard the Abacus speakers and would love to find a pair to compare to my JBL 305s (which can now be found for about $100 each every few weeks at one of the large musical instrument chains). Power supplies alone could fill a month or more of experimentation - look at your experience with the ifi PS. I just bought a few USB "power banks" of various sizes and quality to see if and how they affect SQ driving a Pi. They were on sale for $1.95 to $9.95 at Microcenter - that's almost free!!! Thanks for your great work!! Let's keep at it - sonic nirvana awaits our discovery 😀
  4. I love the 21st century!!! PS: You forgot a critical part of the ritual: checking the jacket and sleeve for damage and trying to heal any with glue, tape, and/or prayer.
  5. That Peavey part to which Kal provided a link might drop in if the mounting screws are spaced right. Unless you can buy an exact replacement from the manufacturer or a vendor, you’ll probably have a hard time finding another jack set that will seat properly and be securable with the original screws. To force fit an inexact replacement, you may have to cut / drill the panel and/or use high tack mounting tape - and neither of these is a good idea. I can’t see the whole panel in your pics, so I can’t tell if one or more of the input jacks is an identical piece to the broken one. From the screw pattern, it looks like the input jacks are a single assembly, in which case you can’t just short & insulate the leads to an unused input and move it to the output location. But you could disconnect the input leads from one you don’t use, leave them shorted & protected in place, and move the output wires to that pair of jacks. If you choose this solution, be sure to label the new output location! The rest of the RCA jacks on that unit are probably made the same way and the same age - so they’re prone to the same failure. The cause may have been the cable ends, the construction of the jacks, corrosion, etc. Crimping the plug shield to make it fit more tightly can cause or contribute to this failure, as can leaving lower quality fittings undisturbed for a long time. This also happens when high quality, tight fitting plugs are inserted into jacks of lesser quality that can’t take the required force for removal. Unless you figure out why this happened and do something to prevent it, you may have the same problem with other jacks on that unit.
  6. We love N’awlins!!! Here are some of our NOLA favorites- I suspect few of you know the music of Jon Cleary or Walter Wolfman Washington. Try this taste of gumbo greatness.........
  7. I too use Roon for pure listening enjoyment plus associated art & information far more than I do vinyl. But the vinyl experience has always been as much an enjoyable process (OK, maybe it’s a ritual) as it is a way to hear my music. I liken it to the fine art of tea, in which every step from selecting to prep to brewing to serving is an equal part of the pleasure. The ceremony is an integral part of the joy.
  8. For me, the catalyst for change was retirement and moving from a 4000 sq ft house to an apartment. I do love my hard copy, but now I can read my Stereophile anywhere I am on my phone or tablet. I still have several years of Downbeat from 1959 and a fair pile of the BAS Speaker (plus Road and Track from Vol 1 #1 to the present and an almost complete set of Sports Car Graphic - I couldn't bring myself to get rid of them either). But I gave or threw away hundreds of back issues of other mags.
  9. Although there are many possible issues with pre-Catalina apps on Catalina, the main change here is that 32 bit apps will not run on it. On recent versions of MacOS, you can list all your apps by clicking the Apple, then about this Mac - system report - apps. There’s a “64 bit” column in the list that will say yes or no for each installed app. A yes is not a guarantee that it’ll run on Catalina, but a no is a guarantee that it won’t. I suspect that most 32 bit apps will not update to 64 bit versions, but I hope I’m wrong for all you Mac people.
  10. The Delaware Valley (as the greater Philly area is known) has produced some world class blues people, but it's never been a center of blues culture. We've produced some fabulous blues singers, songwriters, & players - but at least as many of the Philly blues elite are behind the big names a among them. Philadelphians like Steve Guyger, Randy Lippincott, Jimmy Pritchard, (seen together in this video), Billy Baltera (Sonny Rhodes' guitar player for many years), Georgie Bonds, and many others have put out some fabulous music backing others and forging a local reputation. But we've never had a strong regional blues club and concert scene to bring our own to the national forefront. We had about half a dozen blues clubs from about 1990 to about 2010 - but they're sadly gone now (and most were demolished for coffee shops or condos). Most were trashy bars like South Street Blues, where the band got $100 and free beer (regardless of the number of players in it). In about 1993 or 4, an upscale club called Warmdaddy's opened and brought national blues talent through on a regular basis. The club was nice and the crowd was huge, truly eclectic, and delightful. I loved playing there and was called as a sideman for many touring artists who picked up local pros for gigs. We had Kenny Neal, Sista Monica, Chris Cain, Larry Garner, Luther Allison, etc. Because of Warmdaddy's success at the time, non-blues clubs started booking blues (e.g. Larry McCray played the Middle East Restaurant!). But the scene dried up for a number of reasons. Local club owners didn't go the extra mile to attract world class talent, they didn't increase the pay scale as worldwide demand for the performers grew, and it only took a few years for the big guys to stop coming here. Crowds thinned as the shows shifted back to locals (who were not presented with the support and enthusiasm they needed to build their own crowds), and it became a downward spiral for most of those places. WD's is still open, but it moved down to South Philly and simply doesn't have the variety and quality of blues that made it what it used to be. By about 2010, I was driving up to Black Eyed Sally's in Hartford and Road's End Cafe in Hazelton (PA) for blues gigs and playing very few here. We're experiencing a bit of a resurgence now, with 3 regular blues jams (Twisted Tail, Ashburner Inn, and Jamey's House of Music) supported by the Philly Blues Society. More local bars are booking us again, so you can find live blues somewhere in the greater Philly area at least a few nights a week again. Philly is and has always been a jazz town. From the dawn of the jazz age, we've produced greats you know and love. The Phildaelphia composer and bandleader Frank Johnson (1792-1844) was probably the first serious jazz maker of modern times, and by the early 1900s Philly was a center of jazz. Our own Eddie Lang was by most accounts the father of the jazz guitar (yeah, yeah, I know about Charlie Christian - but Lang was first and, in my opinion, better). Many moved here to hone their chops and become great: Dizzy, 'trane, Jimmy Heath, McCoy Tyner, Louis Jordan, Benny Golson, Clifford Brown, Bobby Timmons, Jimmy Smith, Buddy Defranco etc etc etc. And we're still producing world class jazz today that's heard and loved around the world.
  11. We’re currently building the Philly Blues Society into a serious effort after years of dormancy. An outreach program for regional schools is being planned now, in which we’ll go to the schools (from lower through high school) to give illustrated talks after which we’ll play the music for and with them. Most schools have programs for guest artists, through which we can provide world class people from their teens to their eighties to educate & entertain. It’s the future of the blues!
  12. That Nord in front of me does a great B3, complete with drawbars and a Leslie. I've played many a B3 over the years - unless it's been restored and/or perfectly maintained, an old B3 (and they're all old now) will sound bad. The tonewheels are a complex system that has to be in perfect shape to be in tune, and there are a million miles of wire inside that must all be in great shape. It's a nightmare to keep it running. I played the Hudson River Park Blues Festival in lower Manhattan a few years ago backing Larry Garner, and they gave me a real and excellent B3 with Leslie to use. It failed during warmup, and they had a tech on site to run on stage and fix it. Because of the mechanical problems with them, I use Native Instruments B4 (a great software B3 emulator that sounds as good as a perfect Hammond) on a laptop or my Roland guitar synth on most gigs that call for me to play both guitar and organ. That Nord is a great keyboard, but it's heavy as lead and very expensive.
  13. Cables clearly and dramatically affect electric guitar sound. They vary greatly in capacitance and we often have to use long ones (25 feet +) on stage. Wireless systems sound OK but only the really expensive ones come close to my favorite cables (George L brand) for a great jazz sound from my big 7 string arch top. I can’t justify their cost. For the blues, we push our amps to clipping and compression, so the cable is part of the system. The amp peeking out from my right side behind me is a Fender Vibrolux, which has a wonderful, fat sound that smooths out when cranked - but that sound comes from major THD and is hardly high fidelity. We have an equivalent to the audio cable controversy, though. For example, Eric Johnson claims he can hear differences among battery brands in his effects pedals...........
  14. You do not want to use your laptop's boot drive for music storage. Putting music files on a drive other than your boot / OS will minimize or eliminate file access problems and ensure smooth playback of even the highest res. SQ won't be any different unless the main drive is being hit by enough other demands during play to cause stuttering, dropouts etc. But there's no good reason I know of to clog a boot drive with music files. Your options start with a simple external USB HDD and run through the world of network storage devices. I've used a 4T (dual 2T drives) WD MyCloud MIrror for a few years now with great performance. But I also have simple Seagate USB HDDs that work well on secondary systems, along with a Buffalo Station NAS I use for experimenting. You really need to back up your music files off site. Anything that physically destroys your hardware (e.g. fire, flood, etc no matter how unlikely) will also destroy on-site backups like a second NAS or USB drive. I've used Livedrive (a British company) for several years and am very happy with them. I haven't lost any music over the years, but I did lose hundreds of important photos some years ago when a power outage took out multiple drives at home despite "protected" UPS. So if I were you, I'd get a nice NAS and a subscription to an online backup service.
  15. If you mean my blues band, it's easily arranged. My main blues band is the Philly Blues Kings. We're the house band at Jamey's House of Music in Lansdowne, PA where we host a regular Sunday blues brunch and jam. We did it weekly for about a year, but some of us got a little busy in other genres over the summer - e.g.my jazz quartet ("Groovelox") has become a hit at the pub in our local Whole Foods (one of the largest locations in the chain) and I played solo jazz guitar there for at least one Sunday brunch a month all summer. So we cut the blues jams back to the first Sunday of every month into the fall. It looks good for Jamey to expand a bit over the next few months, so we'll probably be back to a weekly blues brunch and jam on Sunday along with a jazz session Thursday nights (led my me with my jazz trio) and national acts Fridays and Saturdays (which we do now). We do stream the Sunday jams live and will probably do the same for added sessions as above. A word about my singing - I'm lousy at it and I hate to do it. But our vocalist (Gwen Jackson, a truly world class person and performer) has a real life and can't always be with us for the beginning of a gig. So I'm our default backup and have been for about 10 years. I should not be singing. Here are a few links to Sunday jams. For those who don't know what they are, a jam is hosted by a house band and brings musicians together to perform. Most blues jams attract a large following of amateurs and we're always happy to bring them up and help them along. A well run jam rotates the players and keeps at least one or two pros on stage to make sure the feel, tune, tempo, pace etc are maintained well. The object is to make the jammers feel at home and sound as good as they can - and to encourage them in their efforts. Like most regular and well known jams, we also get a few pros (local people plus national acts who are touring in our area), so you never know who's going to be on stage with us. These videos are raw and unedited in any way - so there's a lot of dead air and more than a few glitches in the performances. I'm the tall old dude playing guitar and keys at stage right (and trying for all I'm worth the keep the groups on track). Our band does a set for the last hour of each session, so you have to forward the videos to about an hour from the end to see us together. July 2019 (the band set starts at about 2:04) August 2019 (band set starts at 1:57) September 2019 (band starts at about 1:56) (Yes, the sound mix is often a bit grotty on the videos - the house mix is much better. Jamey's the sound man for most shows, but for the Sunday jams everything's generally left set for the band that played there the night before. The board's at the back of the room, and no one mans it during our Sunday sessions)
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