August 1


The mercury is rising, with a heat wave on the way and I've been busy spending most of my time on the roof top. It's a major renovation project, and I'm doing the majority of the work. I'm implementing special construction techniques to ensure that the structure holds together during those extreme listening sessions.

We were putting up sheet rock and I was putting in screws every 3". I was being chastised for putting in so many screws, by my two helpers. I explained that besides hurricanes, I had another very good reason for the overkill construction.

During a smoke break, everyone was out in the parking lot and I slipped down into the studio and put on that Korean soundtrack, yes that sound track, the one with the awe-inspiring bass notes. One of the guys, upon hearing the music start up, decided to come in and check out the stereo. When he got down to the basement level, he started to hesitate, sort of like coming upon a burning building and realizing it's a lot hotter than first thought. Well, he did enter the room, and I started to advance the volume a little bit more. I think I made it to 10 o'clock on the master volume when he darted out of the room. He had his hands over his ears the whole time he was in here. Later, his friend described the look of terror on that guy's face as he emerged from the basement. He himself told me that even with his ears plugged, he couldn't take the sound pressure. So this is how people with normal hearing react to a modest dose of pigging out on bass. It was another one of those barometers, telling me that I'm somewhere beyond the fringe end of nuts.



August 8


This site has had some minor updates. One frequent request for a block diagram of the system has resulted in the quick sketch on Page 2. It's not perfect, nor totally complete, but it conveys the basic topology of the system blocks and how they go together.



August 29


This summer has been a grueling, busy period for me. I've spent little time in the Lair, and most of my time either on the roof completing another segment of a major renovation project, or taking classes in preparation for taking the state test for my insurance license. September should see me ready to do business, with a mortgage license and an insurance license in-hand, working as an independent agent for a subsidiary of CitiGroup Financial.

Sure, I occasionally get down here to listen to some music, but often it is not until 9:30PM, and as such, I have to really keep it down, because the lower bass notes carry quite far. When I want some "pseudo loudness", I engage what I call the "cheap disco DJ EQ" -- cut all bass below 60Hz, a narrow boost around 80hz, a broader boost around 900hz and a broad boost around 8KHz, for that authentic DJ sound system sound. Yup, it makes the music sound louder, without penetrating to the outdoors as much. Of course the woofers make no visible excursion and the signal present LEDs don't bother lighting up on the QSC amplifiers, but it sounds loud and feels like you're standing in front of the subwoofer at an event.

I've been listening to a lot of vintage music lately and some of it sounds remarkably good, despite its age. Some of the older music has little or no processing and seems uncompressed, with a sense of openness and kick to it that is quire refreshing. Of course just hearing some of the hits of the 50s, 60s and early 70s, remastered, makes it like hearing those songs for the fist time, as one of my visiting friends described his listening experience here at the Lair. One thing does stand out: there wasn't much low bass in those days, Today's electronic music has incredible bass.

Well, the display on the Kurzweil K2600RS finally bought the farm last week, after running in pink mode for 8 months. It had dimmed to almost nothing in January and then experienced a 'rebirth' albeit a pink one. I spent a couple of hours disassembling the unit and its display panel. I found that instead of the usual electroluminescent panels most Kurzweil owners discuss, mine has a light box with a CCFL tube inside. This has to be the world's smallest fluorescent tube, as it is just 140mm long and 2.6mm in diameter. I did some research and asked around and found a supplier for this rare item. Two new tubes are on order and should arrive in a week. Hopefully I can reassemble the LCD display properly. It is a very delicate assembly, with a laminated blue glass assembly that has a faint gold sputtered array of about 500 contacts that can only be seen in specular lighting. A rubber strip, with a laminated sandwich of 500 or so contacts, transfers the connection from the PC board to the LCD glass. Quite amazing, it almost seems like alien technology from another world.

As winter approaches, I need to focus on some studio building improvements. One of them is to move the ac wiring for the rack to a permanent installation in the ceiling. Some general cleaning is in order. The sheer quantity of dust that those Bassmaxx woofers have shaken loose from the ceilings is just dreadful. It looks like I'll have to push up each ceiling panel and vacuum around the runners and cross tees, so that there is no more dirt that can be shaken down. Just a few seconds of BASS! leads to a lot of mess down here.