SIGNALS

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Mar 28, 2017 0 comments
Perhaps you remember the story from two weeks ago. A woman (pictured) wearing headphones on a plane was burned when the headphones exploded and caught fire. The woman was relatively okay, but it's never good when a piece of gear catches fire, especially when it's on a plane and especially if it's near your face. With the rise of battery-powered headphones, are in-ear explosions yet another thing to worry about?

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Mar 14, 2017 2 comments
Without question, voice control is the hottest thing in audio. Tomorrow it will be something else. Today it is voice control. In particular, Amazon's Alexa is all the rage and is poised to appear in phones, cars, refrigerators, and pretty much anything else that is powered by electrons. But Alexa is really just the gateway drug to the Internet of Things.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Mar 07, 2017 7 comments
I remember it like it was only yesterday, but in reality it was probably more like 30 years ago. I walked into my favorite hi-fi store—the one on Dixie Highway. The owner greeted me by name. He was very active as a recording engineer for classical-music groups, and a trusted name in audio. His inventory was pretty high-end and a little spendy for a lowly college professor like me, but we had done some critical listening together and I greatly respected his opinions.
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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Feb 28, 2017 3 comments
I am not a fan of Bluetooth. In particular, I regard Bluetooth audio as the worst thing to happen to audio fidelity in 20 years. When Harman first announced its wireless CarPlay technology, I recoiled at the thought of yet another wireless audio option. But, now I see there is a glimmer of hope.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Feb 14, 2017 8 comments
Suppose you had a perfectly fine bucket. As you poured water into your bucket, you marveled at the way it perfectly held the water. Then one day a miscreant drilled a hole in your bucket, and put his own bucket under yours. No matter how fast you pour water into your bucket, it inevitably streams out the bottom. To make it even more frustrating, the hole just keeps getting bigger and bigger. All of which brings us to sales of DVD and Blu-ray.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Feb 07, 2017 3 comments
OK. First we need to talk about the picture. His name is Graham. Don’t get too creeped out. He’s not a real guy. He’s just a rendering. You’ve probably already seen Graham. His picture has been floating around the web-o-sphere for a while. He is what a guy might look like if he’s evolved to survive car crashes. But I’m pretty sure it’s also what you would look like, after Alexa has her way with you.
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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Jan 31, 2017 0 comments
Suppose that you are the world's largest TV manufacturer. Everyone wants to buy your TVs. In fact, you can hardly make them fast enough. To ensure a steady supply, you contract with other companies to make LCD panels for you. Now suppose those suppliers suddenly cancel the contract. What do you do? You haul their asses into court, that's what you do.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Jan 17, 2017 3 comments
You probably have at least a passing awareness of James May. He was one of the trio who hosted Top Gear (recently reincarnated as The Grand Tour) and is a bona fide cool car guy. But he has also hosted a variety of interesting, verging on odd, television shows. Perhaps the oddest show, and my favorite, is The Reassembler in which Mr. May, well, reassembles things.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Dec 20, 2016 0 comments
It's here. That most special time of the year. You know—when people judge you by the presents you give them. In the 5 seconds it takes them to tear away the gift wrapping, all their apprehensions about your character are raised to the surface, and then suddenly revealed to be correct, or not. In other words, finding the perfect gift is extremely stressful, as well as terrifying.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Dec 06, 2016 0 comments
It has become trendy to bash corporations. And in some cases, if a corporation is big enough and faceless, it's easy to suppose that it's merely a shareholder profit machine that is uninterested in the needs of individuals. But of course many companies certainly do not fit that profile. Instead, you'll find that many small and medium size companies take a very different view of their role in society and, in many case, are family-run businesses. Case in point: Sennheiser and the Sennheiser brothers.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Nov 29, 2016 5 comments
It’s official. Analog video is dead. On the other hand, analog audio is still alive and well, thank you very much. Why is that? Why was analog video so unloved, while analog audio is beloved?
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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Nov 22, 2016 0 comments
In a world overcrowded with wireless speakers, Wren is carving out a niche and a name for itself as a higher-end alternative to plastic me-too models. The older Wren V5PF12 model has long been a favorite speaker in my office, so when pre-production samples of two new models became available, I jumped at the chance to audition them.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Nov 08, 2016 0 comments
On one hand, an audio amplifier can comprise electrical components like resistors, capacitors, inductors, transistors, integrated circuits, power supplies or batteries, and vacuum tubes or power transistors. On the other hand, an audio amplifier can comprise a block of wood.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Oct 25, 2016 1 comments
You’ve seen the ad on TV. The little boy is playfully offered the keys to his dad’s Subaru. But then he imagines all the hassles of driving; stuck in traffic gridlock, he cries out in frustration, “You’re killing me!” That exactly describes my attitude toward the rise of Bluetooth headphones.
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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Oct 18, 2016 4 comments
Let's see a show of hands. How many of you often listen through headphones? Thanks to that camera looking back at you from your device, and some pretty cool software I got from a guy in Russia, I can see that many of you do indeed listen through headphones. You can put your hands down. My question then, is why aren't you listening to binaural recordings?

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