Here’s a riddle. What’s the most important electronic piece we almost never think of? (Hint: it’s the last stop in the chain where everything funnels into). It is the power amplifier. It sits quietly without benefit of an interface, requires nothing more than power and good cables to connect, yet has more of an impact on sound than anything else in the system except loudspeakers.
You play a CD, high resolution audio file, or vinyl record and trust your best efforts at retrieving and preserving music’s information to this last piece in the system; yet rarely do power amps not lose something essential to the music, for theirs is one of the most difficult of tasks in the entire chain.
So it was no surprise to me when my friend Rob, after his first listen to the BHK Signature’s promise of information preservation, asked: “Where was all that detail hiding?” He had brought familiar tracks to hear for himself what was missing.
Are you curious how this new power amplifier lets pass details we didn’t even know were in the music? The full story, including an hour’s worth of video presentations, are now online.
Just click here and start with the overview page, then move to the more details page for the full story.
Few products are powered by batteries, most plug in the wall. Do the quality of power cables connecting equipment to AC power matter? And if so, why? Paul’s Post is starting a new series where we examine these very questions. And I’ll be upfront with you; I do not know these answers. I do have, however, some ideas and clues to the nature of the changes we hear and why they exist.
Over the next week or so we’ll spend time discussing these issues and together, we will at least gain some measure of new insights into this often asked question.
Join us, if you’re interested.
[wpanchor id=”musicians”]From an early age, musicians learn complex motor and auditory skills, which they practice extensively from childhood throughout their entire careers. Musicians are skilled in performing complex physical and mental operations such as the translation of visually presented musical symbols into complex, sequential finger movements, improvisation, memorization of long musical phrases, and identification of tones without the use of a reference tone.
It is probably no surprise that close examination of their brains turns up results different from those of us that don’t practice the keyboard hours a day. Two neurologists, Christian Gaser and Gottfried Schlaug, have examined the brains of musicians to find these differences and their finding, while written in dry academic speak, are at least intriguing. I was particularly taken by the differences found between amatuer and professional musicians.
Click here to read.
[wpanchor id=”wine”]Few among us have not enjoyed a great piece of music with an equally good glass of wine. Like food, do the types of wines we choose to enjoy with music matter? A crisp Chardonnay with a lighter musical piece, or a full bodied red with a bold symphony? And what of purchasing wines? There’s a great article in the Wall Street journal about this.
“Several studies produced over the past couple of decades demonstrate how music can influence the wines people buy—and even how a wine’s taste is perceived. A 1999 study by members of the psychology department at the University of Leicester, published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, analyzed 82 wine buyers in a suburban English supermarket. The team found that when shoppers heard French music in the store, French wine outsold German wine by a ratio of five to one. Likewise, when German music was playing, German wines sold well. (No mention was made of California wines, but maybe Beach Boys music was hard for an English supermarket to track down.)”
Click here to read the article.
[wpanchor id=”streaming”]Most of us have large physical media collections, mostly CDs. I certainly do and I know many of you have them as well. This year, and for the first time, streaming music downloads outsold physical CD sales.
“Streaming music services accounted for more music industry revenue than CDs in the US last year, beating the dominant physical format for the first time. In total, streaming services were responsible for $1.87 billion in revenue, compared to CDs’ $1.85 billion. Those streaming services include subscription options like Spotify, radio models like Pandora, as well as other platforms like YouTube and Vevo. Though it was only by a slight margin this year, the trend is clear: streaming services are moving toward the top of the industry, while CDs continue to fall. The figures were released this week by the RIAA.”
Click here to read the article.
[wpanchor id=”spring”]One of my favorite times of year is spring for a couple of reasons: winter’s over, I can think sunshine, and Lawrence Schenbeck releases his best of series. If you’re passionate about music (and who among us isn’t?) you’ll want to read his article on Spring Keepers. There are musical snippets to audition, suggestions for great music to purchase, and some fascinating insights into what’s special about them.
Click here to read.