Sunday, June 29, 2003

Just got back from the beach. Great to sleep in my own comfy bed again. I was pretty frustrated at the beach. Weather very hot and humid. Stuck inside the condo.

I was fairly productive with my new Dell 600m. I wrote a little music snippet in Acid. Since I didn't bring my M-Audio Oxygen MIDI keyboard I tried composing using the MIDI piano roll. Surprisingly, I was able to get something interesting out. I call it Experiment 01 - Jazz From Hell as it turned out sounding a little like Frank Zappa's Jazz From Hell synclavier experiments. It seems to reflect my state of frustration at the time.

I went out and purchased the M-Audio Revolution soundcard for my upstairs workstation. This was necessitated by the fact that my recent purchase of the M-Audio MobilePre USB turned up a glitch. Namely, the driver doesn't re-init after coming out of sleep mode. This was not tolerable for me so I decided to get with a PCI card and I can use the MobilePre whenever I want to record an instrument.

Very excited to be going to the free Nickel Creek concert at the Kennedy Center today. I'm expecting a large crowd so I am going three hours early. We'll see.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Currently at beach. Catching up on reading, etc. w.blogger app is having a problem with some kind of switchover at Hope they resolve it soon since I very much prefer using w.blogger now.

Weather getting hot. After a long delay, summer has apparently arrived.

Friday, June 13, 2003

I've been working on converting the BMW Films to VideoCD. I finally seem to have a good method to convert between the source WMV files and custom MPEG 1 files using the excellent TMPEnc encoder. I did a test burn using the equally useful VCDEasy. While watching the film Chosen, I noticed something new at the end of this Ang Lee directed film. In an apparent nod to his forthcoming film, The Hulk, the band-aid has a cartoon of the Hulk. Chosen was made quite some time ago so this is a nice little wink and a nod to the audience. I wonder if the Chosen will be played before the Hulk at its screening?

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

I have mixed feelings about the new Showtime series Out of Order but there were some bits of music that caught my ear. The wife of the protagonist, who is suffering from a mental illness, frequently sits at her piano and plays the very pretty and melancholy Debussy composition Reverie from the Children's Corner suite. This has always been one of my fave piano collections so I knew it immediately. I poked around the Showtime web board and saw that someone had misidentified it as another Debussy piece. I of course set the record straight.

Saturday, June 07, 2003

I was interested to note that David Hafler died this past week. Due to my long running audiophile obsession, I built a Hafler amp kit about 20 years ago. The amp is still running to this day as part of my brother's stereo system. I was so excited when I received the kit that I stayed up all night and finished it in one night. It worked from the first time I turned it on and continues to this day.

Hafler's influence in the nascent audio industry is right up there with the other greats such as Fisher, Marantz, etc.

It is also interesting that my latest preamp, the McCormack MAP-1, uses an Ambient Recovery Mode (ARM) that has some basis in the equally famous Hafler Circuit. I feel I was somewhat of a pioneer when I installed my first car stereo in my VW bug in the late seventies and built a rear speaker platform that used this Hafler Circuit. The crux of this setup is that you send the positive connectors of both the left and right amplifier channels to the third rear channel. The sound that is emitted from this third speaker is the difference between the two channels which is in essence the out of phase "ambient" information included on the recording. Needless to say I had one of the coolest car sound systems in my school and it led to a minor career in car stereo installation during high-school.

And to think that many think surround sound started with home theater and DVDs?

Thursday, June 05, 2003

Well the rain has cleared and the sun shone gloriously for the first time in a long time.

Finally got some yard work done today.

Lots of goodies coming from my cute FedEx lady with the cool truck and of course the men in the brown shirts have been depositing things almost daily.

I've had another Vinyl breakthrough with the installation of the Monolithic PS-1 phono preamp. This replaces my Lehman Black Cube. I bought the PS-1 with the HC-1 power supply. This is a phenomenal product and fulfills my search for Vinyl nirvana. Background noise is nonexistent and very black. Trotted out my usual reference disks - Gallery (ECM), Todd Philips, Chico Freeman (Tradition in Transition) and they were all spectacular through the PS-1. And this is from the product straight out of the box. Can't wait to hear this as it gets broken in.

On the computer side, I continue to tweak and tune my new Dell 600m Centrino. Still coming to terms with Windows XP. I've been playing with some themes and visual styles and am currently trying the Aqua interface on for size. Quite pleasing.

As a result of attending recent Computer Audio seminars (M-Audio, Cakewalk) I've been making purchases. Just received the new Project 5 from Cakewalk. Should have a lot of fun with this. I also tried to purchase the M-Audio MoblePre USB from Chuck Levin today but they were out of stock. Should have it in next week.

Decided to do some silencing work on my downstairs system and bought two Zalman cooling products. Installed the passive northbridge heatsink last night since the existing fan/heatsink had started to whine. Pretty straight forward install using the heatsink glue method. Did encounter a brief scare when after about an hour the system locked up and would not restart and emitted just beeps. Turned out that the memory had become jostled probably as a result of removing the original heatsink. After a few attempts at re-seating the memory, I got things working again and ran the machine for about 6 hours straight without a relapse. I decided to buy some new memory for this PC and went with a good deal I got from TigerDirect on some Ultra memory. I went with a single stick of 512mb SDRAM to replace the dual sticks of 256mb ram. I wonder if I will see an improvement in stability with just one stick?