THE S&V INTERVIEW

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Bob Ankosko  |  Mar 09, 2017  |  0 comments

15 Minutes with Dirac Founder Mathias Johansson

Mathias Johansson, CEO and co-founder of Sweden’s Dirac Research, has devoted his professional life to developing technologies that improve sound quality—whether that sound is music heard over headphones or car speakers, or an intricate Dolby Atmos soundtrack played over a high-end home theater system. “Our passion is to invent new sound technologies that offer a better sound experience regardless of the sound system,” he says. “We want to be a quality seal for good sound, and we want to achieve this through scientific methods.” If the accolades the Dirac Live room-correction system has garnered among enthusiasts is any measure, Johansson is not only on the right path to elevating sound quality but making tangible progress.
 |  Feb 22, 2017  |  0 comments
“Give the drummer some” is a phrase you hear a lot in this business of ours, and it often refers to shining the spotlight on a band’s timekeeper during a specific drum break or extended solo section. In the case of Free and Bad Company founding drummer Simon Kirke, however, it’s time to give the man different kind of spotlight as steps out on his third solo album, All Because of You (BMG/The End). Kirke and I sat down in an open-air lounge to discuss the making of You, how music can connect you with your kids, streaming, and loving Ringo. The sun and moon are definitely shinin’ on this skinsman.
Mike Mettler  |  Feb 10, 2017  |  2 comments
Neal Morse is a busy man. The former Spock’s Beard vocalist/keyboardist found much great success after embarking on a long and fruitful solo career 15 years ago. Morse also runs his own label, Radiant Records, and he somehow finds the time to front two other sonically adventurous progressive-leaning bands, Transatlantic and Flying Colors. Before venturing across the Pond for an upcoming European tour in March and April, Morse called me from his home studio in Nashville to discuss how the journey of how The Neal Morse Band's new double-disc release The Similitude of a Dream came together, where you can find the album’s special “yacht rock” moment, and why he just can’t get behind the concept of streaming.
Bob Ankosko  |  Jan 30, 2017  |  1 comments
15 Minutes with WiSA President Tony Ostrom

Tony Ostrom, president of the Wireless Speaker & Audio Association talks about the past, present, and future of high-resolution wireless audio technology.

Mike Mettler  |  Jan 25, 2017  |  1 comments
Uriah Heep burst onto the music scene at the dawn of the 1970s, and their heavy-but-melodic sensibilities instantly catapulted them into the hard-hitting Brit-rock fraternity collectively known as The Big Four, placing them right alongside Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and Deep Purple. A full-bore Uriah Heep reissue series is now underway, having commenced late last year with the two-CD set Your Turn to Remember: The Definitive Anthology 1970–1990 (BMG/Sanctuary) and followed by the band’s first two albums — namely, 1970's ...Very ’Eavy ...Very ’Umble and 1971’s Salisbury — with scores of bonus tracks to boot. I got on the horn across the Pond with co-founding Heep guitarist Mick Box to discuss the ins and outs of putting together the Anthology, how the band recorded an actual tea kettle onto the classic 1972 track “The Wizard,” his thoughts on streaming, and the band’s future plans.
Mike Mettler  |  Jan 11, 2017  |  0 comments
Glenn Hughes is known as “The Voice of Rock” for good reason. The bassist/vocalist’s long and storied C.V. reads like a playlist that’s been culled from the best British-bred AOR from the ’70s right up to the present day, including the likes of Trapeze, Deep Purple, and Black Country Communion. I called Hughes to discuss the latest twist on his writing process for his new solo album Resonate, how also being the album’s producer enabled him to stretch creatively, and how spinning vinyl and streaming music are very different listening experiences.
Bob Ankosko  |  Dec 29, 2016  |  0 comments

15 Minutes with Cleerline President Robert D’Addario

Fiber optics has been around in audio gear for years. Verizon’s Fiber Optic Service, better known as FiOS, has 7 million Internet subscribers in nine states with plenty of expansion potential. Google, too, has been rolling out its Google fiber service in recent years, though on a much smaller scale with limited service in seven states. Meanwhile, copper is still far and away king of signal transmission both inside and outside of the home. But for how long? To get a sense of what role fiber will play in the future, we sat down with Robert D’ Addario, president of Montana-based Cleerline Technology Group, an innovator in optical cable.

Mike Mettler  |  Dec 21, 2016  |  0 comments
Rainbow was looking for a hit, as bandleader/guitarist Richie Blackmore wanted to hear his songs on the radio. After scores of vocal auditions in 1979, they finally hit upon Graham Bonnet, who sang lead on Rainbow's breakout track, “Since You Been Gone.” Bonnet got on the horn to discuss his new solo album The Book, where he likes to hear his vocals in a mix, how he transformed “Since You Been Gone” from a pop song into a rock hit, and coming to grips with living in the streaming universe.
Mike Mettler  |  Dec 07, 2016  |  0 comments
Besides having one of the coolest band names ever, Van der Graaf Generator has been making deeply adventurous music since the late ’60s in a style that, frankly, is hard to pigeonhole. Sure, it’s easy to call what they do “progressive,” but I’m inclined to agree with VdGG guitarist/vocalist Peter Hammill, who describes VdGG music as being “barely controlled chaos.” It’s also a good way to define VdGG’s recently released 13th studio album, Do Not Disturb (Esoteric Antenna). I connected with Hammill to discuss the sonic template for DnD, what it’s like to be admired by a punk legend, and VdGG’s possible future (or not).
Bob Ankosko  |  Dec 01, 2016  |  0 comments
A few years ago Sonos published an infographic that traces the History of Hi-Fi from Edison’s phonograph through Apple’s introduction of the iPod in 2001, stopping just short of documenting its own arrival in 2002. Long before anyone even heard of streaming, the company set out to reinvent stereo with an Internet-connected wireless speaker and introduced one of the first iPhone apps—a controller for its first system—just a few months after the App Store opened in 2008. By the end of the decade Sonos had captured the imagination of a public that seemed to be waiting for its fresh, cloud-based take on classic hi-fi. Today Sonos is a billion dollar company offering a variety of products, including the Top Pick-winning Play:5 wireless music system. We recently sat down with Patrick Spence, who took over the reigns as president in July, to talk about Sonos, past, present, and future.
Mike Mettler  |  Nov 18, 2016  |  1 comments
Elvis Presley would have loved to have taken advantage of today’s meticulous recording standards. Fact is, The King was very much a stickler in the studio. Elvis also had an affinity for orchestral arrangements, something his estate was able to realize last year with If I Can Dream: Elvis Presley With the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RCA/Legacy), which has sold over 1.5 million copies worldwide to date. A worthy sequel, The Wonder of You: Elvis Presley With the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, has just been released. I reached out across The Pond to get album producers Don Reedman and Nick Patrick’s takes on the sonic differences between the two albums, how a certain mantra guided their respective hands and ears, and what aspects of modern recording Elvis would have embraced.
Mike Mettler  |  Nov 02, 2016  |  0 comments
Photo by Travis Shinn.

Gary and Dale Rossington have been making beautiful music together in their special union for over 35 years and counting — much of it as fully integrated members of the extended Lynyrd Skynyrd family. They've now further cemented their musical bonds by stepping back out on their own again as Rossington to produce a heartfelt, soul-grabbing, and absolutely blues-tastic new album, Take It on Faith. I called Gary and Dale during a Skynyrd tour stop in Dale’s home state of Indiana to discuss the genesis of Faith, Gary’s guitar-tone mastery, and why Skynyrd’s music must endure. Turn it up...

Bob Ankosko  |  Nov 01, 2016  |  0 comments
Laurie Fincham has a storied career in speaker design and engineering that began in England in the early 1970s when he worked for Goodmans Loudspeakers, Celestion, and KEF. By day, he delved into speaker theory and design. By night he played stand-up bass in a jazz group to supplement his income. While at KEF, he co-developed the Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) system for measuring and modeling speaker. In the early ’90s, he moved to the U.S. to work for Infinity before joining THX in 1998.

Today, as senior vice president of audio research and development, Fincham manages the audio side of the company George Lucas founded to raise the bar for cinema sound...

Mike Mettler  |  Oct 19, 2016  |  0 comments
Rik Emmett is an artist who’s always reveled in the creative benefits of teamwork and collaboration. The former guitarist/vocalist of Canadian power trio Triumph has forged quite the formidable and far-reaching solo career since he left the band in 1988, but he’s quite adamant about the all-for-one, band-centric, and exhilaratingly electrifying flavor of RES 9 (Provogue Records), the forthcoming album from his new four-man collective that’s been appropriately dubbed Rik Emmett & RESolution9. I called Emmett, 63, to discuss the sonic impetus behind RES 9’s audio identity, how life experience informs his songwriting, and the ongoing impact of Triumph’s Allied Forces, which was released 35 years ago this past September. “I got a burning heart/I got a hungry soul,” Emmett sings on “Human Race.” RES 9 more than RESolves the pangs of those cravings.
Mike Mettler  |  Oct 05, 2016  |  0 comments
Rickey Medlocke's latest pet project has been to shepherd the next-generation incarnation of his beloved Blackfoot, who have committed their hard-charging sound to the grooves of a new album, Southern Native (Loud & Proud Records), that beautifully meshes traditional tones with modern sensibilities. I got on the horn with Medlocke to discuss the genesis of Southern Native, keeping true to his analog-centric inclinations, and what it was like working with his grandfather Shorty Medlocke back in the early days. It’s a highway song that keeps going on and on...

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