Monday, July 1, 2013

Jeremy Kipnis' ManCave Masterpiece

For my system, I'll take two NASA transformers please; then throw in a few tubes.
Jeremy Kipnis ManCave
Always ready to be impressed with extreme expressions of what I love, I would like to share this video of Jeremy Kipnis system. In this video, Jeremy gives an exclusive tour of what makes his Home Cinema the BEST in the World!
Kipnis Studios is a 6-time Winner of the Guinness World Records. Starting in 2008 and continuing to this day, he has outperformed absolutely everything out there.
In addition, his masterpiece has been named "ManCave Designer of the Year" for 2010 by Woman's Day Magazine & The Yellow Pages Online.
The multi-award winning Audiophile Recording Producer & Engineer is also a 4K 3D HFR (high frame rate) Director. From McIntosh tube and Mark Levinson transistor audio amplifiers, to professional projectors to NASA grade power transformers that balance and isolate the power to the system, the system resembles more a control center than anything else.
Enjoy the presentation.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Copper or Aluminum? - A Design Question

Don't get ripped off. Make sure to get the wire you paid for.
Today's high electronics prices make it prohibitive to install the absolute best in all corners of your audio system. But whether on a budget or building the next masterpiece, it is important to know what you are buying.
Launch Video on YouTube
Many retailers have stopped selling copper cables in favor of aluminum ones. Many aluminum cables even look like made out of copper. These are referred to as CCA wires, as in Copper Clad Aluminum.
Copper has traditionally been the best choice for conductors. Copper is second only to silver in conductivity. Silver, because of its incredibly high price, is generally not an alternative for most people. Copper is more conductive and more expensive than Aluminum, but their price to conductivity rations are somewhat constant and fair.
While aluminum power cables are a viable choice, many consumers purchase copper products but receive aluminum ones instead. Believe it or not, this happens all of the time. Whether because of sales person ignorance or just plain theft, consumers should know what they are getting.
This video is meant to inform you to help make better investments on your sound system. If you pay for copper, you better get copper.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Once Cool Like This

Yes, I was once useless to society. Oh, the memories!
There was a time when life was no more than fun in the morning, fund in the afternoon and fun in the evening. Back then, I made a living under layers of fiberglass and wood dust. Whatever income I earned did not provide much of a lifestyle. All I had went into my show car.
I didn't even have enough to pay for travel expenses to attend shows. I remember once when we were crossing Kansas on our way back to Nebraska in the middle of the night. After realizing that we would run out of gas before making it home, we stopped at an all-night gas station. There was nothing else around. We told the attendant the story and about our show cars. He agreed to give us free gas. Now, that's something that you could not do today. People are no longer the same. Back then, everyone cared.
We often slept ten to twelve per room at the cheapest motel we could find. One of us would get the room and everyone else would sneak in later. It made no sense to spend on a room because we stayed awake working on cars the whole night. The motel room would become our base more than a place to sleep.
Accidentally cutting through arm chairs with a jigsaw or drilling a hole through the night table were not unusual. We always tried to correct the mistakes, but the extended hours made us not think straight.
While not rock stars in the full sense, we actually had groupies. While we worked, our groupies would party. The rooms turned into wrecks by the next morning. Once, during the 1991 IASCA finals in Oklahoma City, we became such a nuisance the first night that the hotel paid for a cop to park outside of our door the rest of the weekend. If they only knew that we had to re-install the bathroom door with bigger screws after they got knocked out by a drunken groupie.
Always broke and always tired, those were fantastic times. Sound offs where awesome and our cars ruled!
Car audio did nothing for my general education. My personal relationships also suffered. Girls came and went. Today I wonder why I wasted so much time. Then again, it was incredible while it lasted.
Launch Video
At IXOS, we recorded a video compilation of the lifestyle activities that our customers enjoyed most. While my fun days happened wayyyyy before this video was first aired, it nonetheless has made me remember what I once was. It was therefore natural that I would bring back the video to be shared with anyone who loves audio as much as I do. I hope that you enjoy the link to Youtube where it is being preserved for future generations to make fun of.
A big congratulations goes out to the weekend warriors who have made sure to perpetuate the sport that created so much pleasure for me and my friends.


Monday, June 10, 2013

Test the Misunderstood Stiffening Capacitor

Listening to the sweet sound of music is great fun.
Every great experience starts with the care given to details. I was often asked "how is it possible that you get this level of transparency" by those listening to one of my creations. Inevitably, though, giving them the facts was the wrong answer. They, specially experts, would response: "no way, that doesn't work".
So let me understand, you first ask me because you are surprised with the performance, you then tell me how it is impossible? While this was not my response, I sure hope it would have been. Instead, I would simply ignore the comment and let them keep their prejudices.
Most people ignore the fact that great discoveries arise from mistakes and that only an open mind catches such discoveries. Trying to prove one's preconceptions is sure to lead to frustration and to missing of learning opportunities. An open mind is a scientist's main tool.
At the same time, many of what I did had to pass a test: it had to be repeatable and predictable. If results were not always there, then I would simply discount any theory I had.
Finally, I understood my fallibility. If I found something that gave predictable and repeatable results but which I did not understand, I would simple be happy knowing that I was ignorant. Of course that I would try to understand first. But one needs to know that many things happen beyond our ability to comprehend. Thinking that we have to know everything is a sure sign of personal insecurities.
Launch Video
So, one day I decided to test the speed of large carbon capacitors. I will discuss these tests in another post. For now I will focus on the fact that, thanks to these tests, I found that class D amplifiers dumped incredible amounts of noise to the power source. The noise was correlated to the input signal at the amplifier. This meant that applying pink noise to the input would result in pink noise dumped onto the power grid of the system.
Once I knew this, I developed a measuring system that would allow me to find ways to reduce the impact of the noise.
I also conducted extensive evaluations on the sound characteristics of what the newly developed testing system showed.
As usual, much of what I did would not be audible in many systems. Yet, its results were constant in any one of mys systems. The reason, I though, was the fact that other systems did not have enough transparency. I felt that such systems masked the nuances contained within the music recording. As a result, I am not surprised when others disagrees with my findings. If they own a system based on professional-audio techniques, for example, their system will maximize efficiency and dispersion at the expense of time response. This compromise makes systems dynamic but flat. Small changes in sound are often not noticeable.
When I originally posted this video to YouTube, response was polar in nature. Many people were very thankful for the insight. On the other hand, many industry experts were furious that I would imply that their great amplifiers produced noise, that capacitors would make a difference at all or that the difference would be audible.
I honestly do not care now any more than I did before. As I previously said, many would ask how and then disagree with the answer. They ignored the results achieved and the fact that such results were repeatable.
Capacitors in Power Supply
What these experts also missed is the fact that I gave them the test to be conduct at their own leisure. Rather than ask people to trust me, I wanted them to do the test themselves.
The test shows that class D amplifiers dump noise to the power grid at levels equal to those from the alternator. The test also shows how a good quality electrolytic capacitor can help. Today, many experts dislike the use of these capacitors without considering that all of their electronics use them internally.
What the test does not show is that the system noise is audible. But this would be difficult to show in a video.  In my experience, signal processors are most susceptible to power supply deviations from DC.
Try the test for yourself after getting your system to a higher level of transparency. See if you find the test to be a good tool for system design.