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Audio Classics Newsletter
2021-09-03 A Trip Back in Time

A Trip Back in Time- Audio Magazine's December 1958 Issue The website of World Radio History ("WRH"), a non-profit organization, is an enormous, free repository of television and radio broadcast, electronics, music, and technology journals and magazines, some popular, but many arcane, that span from at least the turn of the 20th century to almost current day. Examples of the hundreds of publications on this site are The Westinghouse Engineer ("the technical publication of Westinghouse, covering everything from [the] early generation of power to nuclear power plants as well as radio and electronic equipment," from 1941), Vacuum Tube Valley ("90's and [20]00's magazine about tube technology"), and 73 Radio ("A United Stated-based amateur radio magazine that was published from 1960 to 2003").

Given enough food and drink, I could spend the rest of my admittedly geeky life on WRH website. After admiring the diversity of its publications, I headed to its selection of audiophile rags and selected the December 1958 issue of Audio magazine. Remember, stereo sound had only recently become widely available to the public at the time the issue was released. [...more]

Audio Classics Newsletter
2021-08-26 Remember, it's all about the Music!

The line "music hath charms to soothe a savage breast," from William Congreve's 1697 play The Mourning Bride, likely refers to the human heart. Of course, music has the ability to deeply evoke our emotions and it stimulates virtually every part of the brain. In technical terms, when we listen to music, dopamine, a chemical that serves as a messenger between the brain's neurons (i.e., cells), is released. This typically makes us feel good or elated. It's been found that music can also reduce anxiety and the chance of depression. [...more]

Audio Classics Newsletter
2021-06-24 Meters, Beautiful Meters

Analog VU meters with bouncing needle displays have long been present on audiophile components, particularly amplifiers and tape decks. Think of the 1970’s and 1980’s vintage gear made by companies such as McIntosh, Audio Research, Luxman, Nagra, Phase Linear, and Accuphase. Simply stated, VU meters indicate the average level of an audio signal and provide an indication of perceived loudness. As McIntosh explains on its website, its familiar blue-panelled amplifier meters protect speakers from overload by “allow[ing] the monitoring of sound level balance and output level. [...more]

Audio Classics Newsletter
2020-03-31 The Power OF Music

Greetings! It is oft said that music has the power to heal. I will go further and say that music has the power to save lives. Case in point: I'm thinking of a guy who writes a music newsletter, and his home is currently occupied by his brother-in-law for a stay extended by the current stay-at-home situation. Currently, his home is mine (Let's face it -- you saw through my thin disguise). The pressure builds as we discover that unlike with his sister, we are not compatible to co-habitate. [...more]

Audio Classics Newsletter
2020-03-24 The Newsletter Continues

Greetings! A few readers raised questions about my reported experience upgrading my amplifier from a McIntosh MC352 to an MC462. And good questions at that. Since the MC352 was traded in to afford the MC462, I could not go back to the MC352 for a proper comparison. Mine was an incredibly subjective observation. Even though objectivity is my goal, I know my perceptions are governed by much more than facts and figures. Mood is major sound component in my book. [...more]

Audio Classics Newsletter
2020-03-17 Best Seat In The House

Greetings! Over the past six months, four out of five concerts I had tickets for were postponed. Half of those were partly my fault for choosing to see people just either side of 80 years old. I have noticed young performers cancelling shows too, but they were going into a different form of rehab. The older guys had leg and back issues. However, last two cancellations were due to the coronavirus outbreak. I expect my one remaining upcoming show to be cancelled shortly as well. So, it seems all performances for the foreseeable future will be taking place in my basement where my entertainment system resides. Suddenly, my audio system is paying for itself. [...more]

Audio Classics Newsletter
2020-03-10 Tuned Out

Greetings! These days you can’t even get a virus without it becoming political. For this, and many other reasons, I wish to stay home and shelter in place. This is where having a good audio system really pays off. Since I don’t have much in the way of canned goods, I suppose I shall face the world sooner or later. The latest inspiration for wanting to hide is a now former reader of this newsletter, who figured out I was a "liberal" by my mentioning NPR in last week’s subversive article about FM Tuners. He writes, "I'm not sure why exactly you would even mention NPR if not for political purposes." I mentioned NPR simply because that is what the writer of the email listened to. [...more]

Audio Classics Newsletter
2020-03-03 Tune In

Greetings! Peter, a reader of this newsletter, emailed to suggest an article about something "old school," namely, FM radio. At first glance, I dismissed this idea based on my having not powered on my home stereo's FM tuner in well over a decade. Even in the car, I have only heard FM radio for a few seconds at a time, when I accidentally hit the BAND button and SiriusXM disappears for a moment. After another moment’s consideration, however, I realized I do have to write about something. I really do like radio. Somehow, hearing a DJ pick a song sounds better than when I choose the same song. There is a randomness and a personal touch to radio, though there is less of both in recent years. [...more]

Audio Classics Newsletter
2020-02-25 I'm Listening

Greetings! There was a tremendous response to last week’s newsletter. Many -- if not most -- felt I should have been harsher towards current popular music. Some suggested language that I have hereto avoided in this space in case a child should happen to read this. I am not above viscous criticism; while hosting a Karaoke night, I told a singer who had just destroyed "My Cherie Amour" that if Stevie Wonder had heard that, he would want to be deaf as well as blind. Soon after that I decided to make a semi-concerted effort to not publicly humiliate innocent people. I try to extend this courtesy to Billboard hit singers and/or people well-armed. [...more]

Audio Classics Newsletter
2020-02-18 This Must Be Wisdom

Greetings! I realized my article last week mentioning hearing loss once again established me as old. It's not a good thing to be old for many reasons, the least of which is it pretty much disqualifies me from writing about today’s music. I have noticed that my wife, who is younger, seems to know the words to songs that I do not even recognize. Songs that surround us as updated Muzak in stores or from passing cars that act as mobile woofers. Being old, (I am 57 -- not old by many standards, but ancient in the terms of popular music’s demographics), I have ready-made opinions about this music that I know nothing about. Realizing that these opinions are just my prejudice of the known over unknown, I decided to critically listen [...more]

Audio Classics Newsletter
2020-02-11 Good News, Bad News

Greetings! One of the most important -- if not the most important -- parts of an audio system is something that we cannot buy. It is our ears (and our hopefully attached brain). Over time, our ability to hear may diminish. The good news is that our ability to listen can improve. I have no doubt that my range of hearing is considerably less than it once was. I have been scolded by several readers about my love of loud music. My stint in a loud factory took its toll as well. I never want a hearing check to see what my range actually is. I may find I really don’t need those tweeters. But over the years, I have discovered [...more]

Audio Classics Newsletter
2020-02-04 $16.36

Greetings! It’s all about the music right? The thousands of dollars I (and many of you) have spent on equipment is for the music. Music, the incredible phenomenon that makes it seem less foolish to be moving and twitching on a dance floor. The thing that allows us to say things like "Doo Wah Diddie" or "Ho-la-la-ee-ay Ho-la-la-ee-ay." The thing that thousands have stood in mud and rain to enjoy. Millions of people are employed to bring music to us. Manufacturers, artists, the staff of Audio Classics, all work to bring these pleasing collections of sound waves to our ears. I am happy to have spent my hard-earned dollars for this industry. I am much happier supporting music than many of other life’s necessities. Is it a necessity? Sure, it's not up there with food and shelter, but it can’t be much further down the list. Yes, there are some on this planet that do not care about music, but since it's unlikely that they are reading an audio company’s newsletter [...more]

Audio Classics Newsletter
2020-01-28 What About Tomorrow?

Greetings! After a couple of weeks, I'm happy to report that I have absolutely zero buyer’s remorse over my investment in a new amplifier (McIntosh MC462). Even my wife, who is somewhat indifferent to the hobby and quite against the cost, appreciates the difference in sound. I don't have much trouble justifying a purchase that I will enjoy for life and that will outlive me. It's harder for me to justify spending a four-digit sum (or what I would call real money) on more temporary products. Music streamers fall into this category. No matter which one you chose, a decade or so down the road, you're looking at the equivalent of a VCR. Or perhaps worse than a VCR. A VCR can still play those old tapes until one or the other breaks. A music streamer is [...more]

Audio Classics Newsletter
2020-01-21 The Quest

Greetings! I almost earned my one-year chip for not upgrading my audio system. I said I was happy with everything. I even wrote those words in this very newsletter. So last week, I upgraded my McIntosh MC352 amplifier to the MC462. A nice feature of McIntosh equipment is that it holds its value, so the MC352 provided a substantial down payment for its replacement. The remaining balance was paid through a combination of rationalization, optimism and credit. After the transaction, the next obstacle was relocating the 150 pounds from my trunk to my basement [...more]

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