the next step

I’m not talking about GRE’s or Wedding Registries. I’m talking about nice analog sound. Right now the 1979 solid state Denon PMA-850 integrated amp is doing a fine job. There are two things hooked up to it, an older Philips 437 record player and the Edirol UA-5 USB sound card that functions as the DAC for FLAC’s and MP3’s. Zoe’s 7 year old Dell laptop does duty as the “media server/player”. What more could I want? Eventually new speakers. Zoe’s dad’s that we are borrowing, though they match the “70’s retro decor”, are old Bose 301 Series II omni-directionals, that sound fine for what they are, but the next step I feel is designing a complete system around a tube amplifier and ultra-efficient horn-style speakers.

From my readings, even 2 watt per channel output on really efficient speaker designs can give plenty of output. So that would be the plan. What is speaker efficiency? To quote Wikipedia, “Typical home loudspeakers have sensitivities of about 85 to 95 dB for 1 W @ 1 m – an efficiency of 0.5-4%.” That is, less than 1% of power in a system gets converted to sound. Okay, but by using using highly efficient horn designs it is possible to 50 times more efficient at converting electricity into sound out of air, ergo 2 watts can be a lot.

I was looking into replacements for the aging Philips 437. The only thing that really caught my eye was the Garrard 301. There is a gallery of these fine machines here. These things were the British tanks of the mid-century. When built onto custom wooden plinths with new tone-arms these things are gorgeous (and apparently sound great). You can just see it in the care people take in restoring them. Or should we just move to Argentina? Which is it?

J. Giesting’s 301Ed Quinten’s Garrad 301

A bit of the Ludwig van

The 320 kbit .MP3s of “A Clockwork Orange” Soundtrack are not as beefy as they could be. The FLAC files will sound better. I have Beethoven’s 9th on vinyl as well, and it sounds better, though the old Phillips 437 Synchro Belt Drive needs some TLC. I agreed to go work for Tim/Mike/Jamison/et al. tomorrow [ed: today] on Cashmere Mafia. I did a couple weeks on the Coen Brother’s film they’re shooting here in the city. It’s not that I’m tired. More ready for change. Ready to stop painting the apartment. Maybe it’s sort of what Chris felt when he was in the depths of organizing his iTunes library and downloading all the album covers for his iPod. Ready for the endless nature of this show business to be done. But yeah, “Ode to Joy” is nice. Schiller. A bit of the ‘ole ultra violence. Freude and all.

the bounty
So much sand.
It was hot
Battery Park with Zoe - 4

Serra & more rocks

Zoe and I forked out for a MoMA membership today before going to the Serra 40 Years retrospective in hopes of going to more of their film screenings and not having to eek out on free Fridays for like 45 minutes with the insane crowds.  And it’s cheaper to bring a guest now.  The larger stuff Serra’s built, since the late 80’s-90’s it seems, is pretty amazing.  Sort of makes you want to build your house with giant plates of weatherproofed steel.

I’ve had an exhausting week of not drinking caffeinated beverages.  Seemed like a good idea.  I am noticeably less tense, don’t feel like I’m grinding my teeth all the time, sleep better, more deeply.  But coffee is so good.  I had a cup of decaf today, and it is amazing how good decaf can feel.  Zoe and I had a really great trip up to New Hamshire.  Did some great bouldering at Mt. Rumney.  The lake was beautiful.  Six hours from New York doesn’t seem that bad.  It’s just getting out of the city that is a pain.  But we took the train to New Haven and that made things easier.

The weekend is now gone. Hoping to climb with Erik tomorrow at the Near Trapps in the Gunks. Josh, Taylor, and I climbed at Rat and Cat rocks today in lower Central Park. It was wicked hot. But I finally did a nice clean climb up the Cat arête, V1. Worked on the Polish Traverse to no avail, topped out on the high Rat Rock wall but still cannot do the low really crimpy starts. We were sweating buckets working on the line “Felix V2”, shouldn’t be so hard, tough knee drop and crimp to get to the sloper before the mantle. Seems we’re heading into V2/3 territory pretty consistently now which is good.

We need to get the apartment straight before Zoe’s dad arrives this weekend. And I’m going to cook dinner now. Working on a film this week from the guys who made “Fargo”.
The cleanest photo this 3 year old camera can take.
Mt. Rumney, New Hampshire - 2