Peppers did a secret show yesterday at the Roxy and seeing them do a club gig is always fun but this was especially rocked!
**** Living Room Reinforcement System ****
Today is 'meet my stereo' day. For the tech heads that like the specs, it is comprised of a 15" on the LF, 12" on the LF, 6" mid plus dual 3" mids, a 2" compression driver highs and a super tweeter for the ultr-highs. The frequency response is from 25 hz to an unbelievable 45Khz and every component has been hand selected to perfectly align and meld into a coherent and unified sonic presentation system. Whether you immersed in the articulation of the delicate high fidelity glistening and cascading toward your ears or drawn in and mesmerized by the connected fluidity of the rolling hypnotic lower registers, one thing is for sure, the sound you here will be unlike any other you've heard before, so let's start with stage left:
Radiating the lows is an unusual triangular shaped single 12" cabinet most likely about four decades old, made of thin laminated wood with a brown wrinkle finish. None of those features improve the sound but I like the way it looks and it has warm husky tone to it. When I purchased it and inquired about it's history I was told that it originally came with an old movie projector. It was really the only cool thing they had at the yard sale up the street, but for for five dollars I figured what the heck. So, I guess would make me the Decorator
Just above, please feast your eyes upon two small side by side 3" speakers originally from Bose system. I personally modified them by spray painting the outside black over the previous owners choice of white spray paint. They were designed to be full range but I put a radio shack capacitor on the back that makes it approximate a midrange. It and 9 of it's twin brothers were purchased at an auction from another much larger sound company that has since faded from it's hey day of admiration to a niche of insignificance. They were in a tub in my garage for a few years before I used them so I am the Utilitarian.
The little shiny speaker on top is a Pioneer ET-703 and is, in my opinion, one of the most incredible tweeters ever made. With a near flat frequency response out to 45K and a 1 1/4" beryllium diaphragm, it has the capability of high frequencies more than double what they say we can hear to. It originated as a demo unit maybe 15 years ago that I ended up buying or maybe they forgot I had it. It is the only thing in the system that actually was built to sound great and I have it because I am the Audiophile (hmmm, which type?)
The silver thing balanced on the pole is an old Shure 55 mic. It does nothing but I like the way it looks more than I like listening to Elvis who used to sing into a mic like it. I guess you could refer to me now as the Show Off but in some stretch of the term.
Moving left to stage right the lows on this side are handled by a single 15" speaker mounted in a wooden floor standing enclosure. I discovered it in an alley while bike riding with my daughters a few years back and drove over later in the day as the image lingered. Surprisingly the only issue with it was a torn grill and some bad wiring. Especially interesting is the coaxially mounted 6" speaker. I wired this up with some bits I had laying in my electronics box to be a mid range, though it was originally the mid/high speaker. I figure it was born in the 50's. It has a name on the speaker that I could spend time looking up but I don't need to know anything more than it seems happy in my home. Since it's big for home speaker, it is the Thrill Seeker in me that likes it.
The heavy thing plopped on top with four copper plumbing pipes holding it up is called a Jim Lansing 375 signature series by Ampex 2" compression driver. Jim was a brilliant speaker designer and this is one of his most legendary creations. Though she was meant to be mounted on a horn and was originally designed as part of a battleship siren, I enjoy her just as she is. Her creator's middle initial is B and went on later to start his own company using his initials JBL, a company you may be familiar with. She came into my life while on tour, I found her lost and lonely and saved her from a life discarded. She is not especially outwardly pretty but there was something about her that has inspired me to keep her in my life all these years. Perhaps Jimmette's presence is my Vintage side showing?
If you look carefully, you will discern a little black oval below Jimmette. That is a very precise sonic redirector unit that began it's life as leather cup coaster given to me by the Offspring and it has a little scull on it. Other than the fact that it falls down occasionally, it helps bounce Jimmette's sound in the general direction of the listener kind of. Sometimes I switch it out for the nearby wooden Babushka doll purchased in Prague, to change the dispersion pattern to circular.
Sweeping a bit back toward center I introduce you to the driving forces behind the sub sonic's of this motley crew. The black boxy thing is Jimmette's great great great cousin and plays the part of a self powered JBL sub woofer and adds the warm rolling vibrations to the sound presented. It was bestowed upon me as a thank you gift after I arranged a ticket to Coachella for someone's daughter.
The remainder of the speakers are supplied their pumping power by a BGW Model 85 rack mount power amp. In the 'live world' we used to use them as headphone amps, though it tended to fry the headphones. BGW was known for building some of the most robust amps ever made before being eaten by another company and fading into nostalgia. This fairly clean beauty set me back $ 50 at an auction last year of yet another sound company sold off as modern times has done to so many. With it's industrial heritage and blood line The 85 carries enough credibility make me the Professional.
Last and most likely least, dressed in red for show is an 80 gig MP3 player loaded with an eclectic mix of music that spans decades of diversity. It will play for days and someday I hope to hear everything in there. MP3's sound like crap, all of them but who cares that it is the first major step backwards in audio quality and it is the most successful format. I find them unlistenable at the standard 128K rip rates in headphones but miraculously they sound fine in my living room. In order to get the best of the mediocre, I found myself forking $ 350 over to Costco which is a very cool company by the way, you could say they are an anti-Wal Mart in their business practices. Why not an iPod you ask? LOL! That is a story for another day.
My stereo has no EQ, no special effects (well maybe inside of the red thing, but no reason to go in there), no dolby, no 5.1, no loudness button, no remote control and no matter what you do, you can never get the left and right sides remotely close to sounding the same. It was never planned out, just an ongoing evolution of clustering stories wired together with cut up AC extension cords and anything else I find around the house. Each item makes it's own donation to the sound with which I have no quarrel with, leaving me nothing but the sound of the music and a decision of how loud I want it emanating from my Lo-Fi unbalanced mess.
Gee, I wonder if I need some of those $ 450 wooden knob? Maybe that will fix the sound and make me happy
The already happy,
P.S. If you were wondering where the turntable is, I keep it in my bedroom next to the scratched records.
i agree 128k sounds terrible, hi-hats and splashes sound all crackly, etc. but 192k seems to get by sonically and is not that that much larger. but, lossy is still lossy, just as soup IS soup.
i was in love with how many mp3s i could fit on a cdr. my drummer, whom is mp3 illiterate, (but has an ear that could hear what type of wing nuts a drummer was using; on regular cds anyway) did not like the cds i made him at all. so i listened to the examples and heard the crappyness. i swore that i would never compromise cd sound again. longstoryshort, i went for a higher bit rate, 320k. i made a few cds for him, in which he was impressed and said "its good, way better than that other !@*&", which i guess is progress. so upon re-ripping my entire library, i found that 320k was about twice as large as 128k...damn! 192k was the compromise, and just to be sure, i did a double blind test on my drummer and another audiophile guy. they could not tell the difference between the 320k and 192k. sorry, i did not make a case study. (although it would have a been a nice read)
I use 192 as well and the quality is good enough. There is a cool CD that can be bought from http://www.aes.org/ that demonstrates the sound quality issues cause by MP3 style encoding. Interesting stuff but beware, after you listen to it, you tune in more easily to the sonic issues and it messes up your ability to enjoy MP3's even more.