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Articles, Quotes, Research, Links, Information

Please investigate and enjoy this fair use cornucopia of interesting and educational information.


Tubes vs Transistors:
  • Tubes vs Transistors - Is There An Audible Difference? ( PDF ) by Russell O. Hamm, Journal of the Audio Engineering Society, Sep. 1972 -- Don't miss this paper [PDF] on op-amp distortion comparisons.
  • Tubes vs Transistors In Electric Guitar Amps ( PDF ) by W. Stephen Bussey, Robert M. Haigler, Proceedings of the IEEE, Ch. 1610, May, 1981
  • The Cool Sound of Tubes by Eric Barbour & IEEE
  • Transistors vs Tubes - Feature Comparison adapted from IEEE & Eric Barbour
  • Truth In Car "Tube" Amp Designs - A Schematic Comparison: "A tube bracketed by semiconductors does not nearly comprise a true tube amp."
  • Milbert Amplifiers and The David Berning Company entries on wikipedia.org.
  • Tubes overload and compress comparatively gently, while transistors tend to abruptly clip as they "crash hard into the rails." A guitarist might explain: "At overload, tubes squish and transistors crunch." With several parallels, tubes can be thought of in terms of warm, incandescent light versus transistors as harsh fluorescent light. Not as a rule but generally, transistors make great "digital" switches with hard electrical edges, while tubes are inherently more "analog" and smooth. While some people insist that physical differences are not audible, internally, tubes are mostly vacuum, with a "space charge" or electron cloud that is electrostatically controlled by a varying voltage on a metal grid. Transistors are mostly resistive silicon, purposefully contaminated with impurities to enable conductivity in their crystalline lattice that otherwise insulates.
  • Tubes use a charged electron plasma cloud in vacuum, while transistors force audio signal current through something not unlike dirty sand --possibly why 'brittle, hard, sharp, gritty and scratchy' often describe "transistor sound". Whereas rather linear tube circuits are usually simple, most transistor circuits require high negative feedback and more complexity. The All American Five was for decades a popular and common radio, requiring only five tubes. "Transistorization" happened for economy, not better sound --in this case, cheaper was just cheaper. In terms of gracefulness, straightforward simplicity and perhaps ultimately sound quality, transistors fall short.
  • "We have called it the Transistor, T-R-A-N-S-I-S-T-O-R, because it is a resistor or semiconductor device which can amplify electrical signals as they are transferred through it from input to output terminals. It is, if you will, the electrical equivalent of a vacuum tube amplifier. But there the similarity ceases. It has no vacuum, no filament, no glass tube. It is composed entirely of cold, solid substances..." - Ralph Bown, Bell Laboratories, upon publicly introducing the transistor in 1947, only a few months after the peculiar Roswell incident (See also David Flynn on video and Maurice Cotterell on video).
  • Tubes Vs. Transistors, from newsletter #47 of The Absolute Sound magazine:

    "... if you want to try to break across the border into something approaching realism, I still think you have to use tubes." --Harry Pearson, editor

    "...tubes are more realistic. They have more bloom; they have more light; they have more body. They do that thing I call 'action,' which solid-state doesn't... tubes just eat solid-state alive." --Jonathan Valin

    "... what you almost never get out of a solid-state piece of equipment is a sense of continuousness..." --Harry Pearson

    "... there is a subtle but unmistakable sense of roundedness and solidity that tubes have..." --Paul Seydor

    "... [tubes] give you the sense of having much more power. A 60-watt solid-state and a 60-watt tube amp never sound equivalent in terms of power." --Harry Pearson

    "... I hear more stuff with tubes..." --Jonathan Valin

    "You can tell some things from measurements ... but that tells you nothing about how the amplifier communicates the music. You get that from listening." --Robert Harley


On Tube Sound and Musical Emotion
  • "There is no genuine musical experience without ecstasy." --Glenn Gould [1]
  • "Without a doubt, digital was the worst-sounding technical 'advance' of all time; for most of us, it was the first time a technical leap actually sounded worse than what it replaced, if you forget tubes to transistors..." --Stephen St. Croix, Mix magazine, Nov 2005, p.24 MIX Magazine Online
  • "There is a clear and distinct difference, and in [30] years of testing equipment, I can't recall any situation where vacuum tubes didn't sound superior to transistors. ... I have always felt the deficiency of the sound of transistor equipment. Knowing this, I have always run a studio full of tube gear. Because of my 30 years' prejudice, I go to great lengths to be sure that this does not bleed over into the listening tests that we do." --Walter Sear, Sear Sound Studios, NY searsound.com
  • EE's At Fender Put Guitar Amps To Work EE Times magazine, 13Mar2000
  • 'Most people can sense and appreciate the subtle differences between a good meal and a great one, while others will deny there are any differences at all without ever tasting the food.' --adapted from George Short, North Creek Music northcreekmusic.com
  • I also love to cook and find considerable parallels between cooking and loudspeaker design. Specifically, 1) a simple recipe with the best ingredients is generally better than a complicated recipe with the best ingredients; 2) using the same recipe, the better the ingredients, the better the dish; 3) there are significant differences between the flavor of "identical" ingredients, just like there are significant differences in the sound of "identical" coils, capacitors, and resistors that come from different manufacturers. Also like crossover parts, I have learned that most people can sense and appreciate the subtle differences between a good meal and a great one, while others will deny there are any differences at all without ever tasting the food.' --adapted from George Short, North Creek Music northcreekmusic.com
  • "I proposed it would be really cool if we could combine the warmth and depth - tonal realism, if you will - of the sound produced by an audio tube, with one of our state-of the-art motherboards ... Laughter turned into raves a few months later when we did our first lab demo ... The reproduced sound was absolutely amazing. It left everyone stunned." --Al Peng at AOpen America, about the AX4B-533Tube PC motherboard.
  • "... then SPL [boom events] took the limelight ... SPL competitions have put us at a bit of a disadvantage ... it became a science: we've taken the entertainment out of it ... spectators are listening to a couple of short spurt burp tones ... nothing more than a few metallic rattles ..." --Paul Papadeas, AutoMedia magazine, May, 2004, pp. 38+, writing on what's wrong with car audio at large.
  • "I've been selling home stereo equipment for over 15 years and I've found that when customers listen to a system in the store, 50% of them will prefer the sound of vacuum tubes and 50% will prefer the sound of transistors. But when you let the customer take the equipment home for a trial and play it on their own speakers in a system they are familiar with, just about all of them prefer the vacuum tube sound. It's the transistor equipment that they return. I think it is just because the vacuum tube sound is more pleasant to listen to. It doesn't get on your nerves after a while the way a transistor amp does. The few who prefer transistor sound may not be quite as familiar with the way real musical instruments sound." --stereosalesman, comment posted on digg.com, 10Aug2005.
  • "I think people will always respond to emotion and to great songs sung well, and I think the vocalists in particular will always be in demand. There's nothing that approximates the human voice. In the end, when you come down to it, people want to feel something." --Janis Siegel, The Manhattan Transfer
  • "I remember being with Stevie Wonder when he got his first Sony 2-track PCM recorder. Man, this thing sounded terrible! Anything it recorded took on a special broken-glass-sliding-on-sheets-of-stainless-steel character. But...it was noiseless and had startlingly low distortion. It was a new and novel sound, to say the least, and Stevie, as a technical pioneer, was committed to using it. Without a doubt, digital was the worst-sounding technical 'advance' of all time; for most of us, it was the first time a technical leap actually sounded worse than what it replaced, if you forget tubes to transistors and transistors to integrated circuits." --Stephen St. Croix, Mix magazine, Nov 2005, p.24
  • "Panasonic B-flat Tube CQ-TX5500D is the world's best car receiver with a built-in vacuum tube. Another break-through by Panasonic in 2003 in search of excellence in sound. Ultra high quality amp section with separation in both signal and power for pure sound quality enhancement." --Panasonic advertisement, 2004 [They finally realized what so many have known for so long!]
  • "We all know that vacuum tubes are the heart and soul of all legendary amps and are paramounts to their warm, rich tones. So we delved deep into the process of individually measuring every amp and painstakingly analyzing its dynamic properties in every detail. We spent a fortune building up a comprehensive collection of the most popular amplifiers, cabinets and effects in order to thoroughly analyze their tonal aspects, trying to reveal their sonic signatures. Our engineers have spent years getting to understand all there is to know about tube-powered amps, including how different tube types respond under various conditions. They've studied how a tube processes an input signal, how the signal affects other parts of the system, and then modeled them virtually. In vain. ... We started realizing what "tone" means, learning that a guitar amp actually "breathes" and that analyzing frequency diagrams doesn't get you anywhere. Transistors simply couldn't reproduce tube warmth and performance." --marketing blurb from Behringer on its V-Amp Modeler, 2007 (source PDF)

  • "Yet technically, the violin playing was perfect. Hi-fi can be like that: perfect in terms of test-bench measurements, but soulless, even clueless, in terms of re-creating the musical experience." --Bill Conrad, Conrad & Johnson, Stereophile, July, 2008, pg. 26
  • Who knows? Take a chance. "...and the [now-executive hippie has] got his feet on the desk and he's saying, 'Well, we can't take a chance on this, because it's just simply--it's not what the kids really want, and I'm--I know.' You know, and they got that attitude. And the day you get rid of that attitude and get back to, 'Who knows? Take a chance.' You know, that entrepreneurial spirit where, even if you don't like or understand what the record is that's coming in the door, the person who's in the executive chair [realizes and expects that he] may not be the final arbiter of taste of the entire population, you know." --Frank Zappa, youtube
  • Although tube amplification and vinyl records were his special interests, [Harvey "Gizmo"] Rosenberg had soul enough to embrace music in any format. In Gizmo's view, the compact disc, vilified by analog purists, offered limited listening enjoyment primarily because of lack of imagination in the recording studio. "The reason that 90% of the CDs produced are musical gross-outs is because of artistic and intellectual incompetence of producers and engineers, not because of the inherent limitations of the old digital format," he wrote. "Ninety percent of the people who record and produce music haven't got a clue, or don't care, about music quality because their highest musical standard is 'How Will It Sound On The Radio?'" --Harvey "Gizmo" Rosenberg

Like many audiophiles, Sprey believes that translating music into numbered code creates a concoction that is cleaner than it is real, too perfect for people, sound with no soul. "Digital is like a horrible step backwards," Sprey says. "You have to use your ear to sort out where the new technology helps the music and where it hurts...especially with the most expensive and most complex stuff that conventional studios are using."

"Essentially, all the technology you have today works to hurt the music. ... It makes life convenient for engineers [and consumers]. It allows ... people who can't make music very well ... to sound pretty good. ... But all those electronic bells and whistles - the extra reverb, the extra equalization, the compression, all those things ... take a little life out of the music. And by the time you've applied 50 or a hundred of those things, the music doesn't sound anything like it would if it were played in your living room. ... Digital is like a horrible step backwards. ... You have to use your ear to sort out where the new technology helps the music and where it hurts."

What used to be called the "record business" ... quickly grew to become the "record industry," and now is metamorphosing into global conglomerations like Time Warner and MCA. As a result, Sprey claims, decision-makers at the major labels are so far removed from the creative process that the artists they choose to record are often as ill-prepared as the recordings themselves.

Dan Fesperman, Baltimore Sun, March 2002, from an interview with Mapleshade Records

  • "Many criticisms directed at the 16-bit/44.1kHz format are a result of the use of so-called steep brickwall filters which cause nasty phase shift artifacts to creep their way into audible frequency ranges. Current high-speed DACs and digital manipulation processes such as upsampling and oversampling attempt to minimize these problems by pushing anti-aliasing artifacts into the ultrasonic range...there is a growing underground movement in the digital world that contends that these new DACs, fancy filters and hi-tech processes actually do more harm than good. They possibly subject the waveform to phase shifts and ringing that allegedly distorts the music hiding in those pits of your favorite CDs. Their argument? You are hearing an altered version of the recording encoded on that disc." -- Current to Voltage conversion in a DAC with no digital or analog filtering
  • Auditory Perception of Nonlinear Distortion ( PDF ) by Lidia W. Lee and Earl R. Geddes (115th Audio Engineering Society Convention, 10 October 2003). Abstract: A new approach to the perception of distortion was recently proposed by Geddes (2002). Psychoacoustical data were measured, correlation and regression analysis were applied to examine the relationship and predictive value of this new metric to the subjective assessment of sound quality of nonlinear distortion. Furthermore, conventional metrics such as total harmonic distortion (TDH) and intermodulation distortion (IMD) were also compared. Thirtyfour listeners participated in a listening task, rating twenty-one stimuli using a 7-point scale. No significant relationships were observed when comparing the subjective ratings with TDH and IMD metrics. Significant correlation (r=0.95, p<.001) was observed between the subjective ratings and the new proposed GedLee (Gm)metric. Furthermore, robust predictive power was verified utilizing the GedLee metric. GedLee metric has demonstrated remarkable potential to quantify sound quality ratings of nonlinear distortion.

  • "...there's a very nebulous thing [about music]: No one can say why it affects one person positively, [while it may have negative or] no effect at all on someone else. I, for instance, am immune to Mozart, but I love Wagner. How could--there must be something wrong with me to be immune to Mozart, because it's obviously so brilliant. But that' just the way music works. And so the audience is not a random selection, and the critics are. And 'The Real Thing' is the response of the audience in the seats [versus whatever critics may think or write]." --Stewart Copeland interview with Bob Costas, 1990 youtube


Music, Emotion, Matter, Development

  • Life vibrates.
  • "Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life." --Berthold Auerbach
  • "Architecture is the frozen music; music is the flowing architecture..." - Goethe
  • "Do you think music has meaning?" "Oh yeah, definitely, it's more spiritual than anything." --Dick Cavett and Jimi Hendrix, youtube
  • "You can hypnotize people with music, and when you get them at their weakest point, you can preach into their subconscious whatever you want to say." --Jimi Hendrix youtube See also back-masking.

  • "In January 2005 London Underground announced that it would play classical music at stations prone to loitering by youths. A trial had shown a 33% drop in abuse against staff." Apparently it matters what you hear, and it probably matters how you hear it. --Wikipedia London Underground » » » »
  • Watching from 8:08 into this video (youtube): Billboard Magazine (23 Jan 1999, Vol. 111 Issue 4, p4), Dr. Richard G. Pellegrino (president of Daydream Productions, an entertainment and consulting company): What's Behind The Subliminal Power of Music: "Brain specialist Dr. Richard Pellegrino declared that music has the uncanny power to '...trigger a flood of human emotions and images that have the ability to instantaneously produce very powerful changes in emotional states...Take it from a brain guy, in 25 years of working with the brain, I still cannot affect a person's state of mind the way that one simple song can." (local and source)
  • "Music directly represents the passions or states of the soul: gentleness, anger, courage, temperance...if one listens to the wrong kind of music he will become the wrong kind of person..." -- Aristotle (renowned secular philosopher, contemporary of Plato), youtube
  • "Good music re-arranges your molecules." --Carlos Santana
  • "If you listen to the wrong kind of music you become the wrong kind of person." --Aristotle
  • "...weighty evidence suggests malfeasance in the establishment of A=440 standard tuning."
  • Brain imagery studies show that musicians' brains are structured differently than non-musicians. "...music has an immense effect on our ability to function, [it] is more than stimuli, it is a part of our being." -- "Studies and Statistics on the Importance of Music Education" by Ryan Sapp, C. Joy Reyes: "Music puts the brain to work in ways other mental functions do not, causing it to grow. ...music actually exercises the brain�not merely by developing specific music skills, but also by strengthening the synapses between brain cells. The synapses control the brain's ability to hear, see, read, understand symbols, speak, use and coordinate muscles, evaluate actions, experience pleasure, and remember. Music makes use of every single one of these systems. ...UCLA brain scan studies indicated that music more fully involves brain functions in both hemispheres than any other activity the researchers studied. The Mozart Effect is the most famous of the music/brain research findings...The group listening to Mozart received scores eight to nine points higher from merely a ten-minute listening experience." (local, google cache, source, source) .
  • "Music in the Classroom: Its Influence on Children's Brain Development, Academic Performance, and Practical Life Skills" by Jenny Nam Yoon, 2000: "Scientific literature suggests that music is part of one's biological heritage." "A growing body of research reveals the beneficial effects of music on education. Research indicates that music plays an important role in the brain development of a child. Furthermore, researchers believe that children, who have more exposure to music and music training, benefit from enhanced brain activity, which has been shown to increase students' abilities to perform on certain academic tasks. In addition, many practical life skills are acquired through music learning and music training. Therefore, music education is believed to deserve the status as an equally significant core subject. A review of the literature demonstrates the benefits of music education, discussing the influence of music on the child's brain development, academic performance and practical life skills." (local PDF and source PDF)

  • "Uh, yes my schooling had a great effect on my musical thinking. It was all negative." --Frank Zappa on youtube
  • The Rise of the Modern Music Industry (on Red Ice Creations) refers to Musical Revisionism: "For almost 200 years the lives, careers and musical achievements of a small handful of composers [out of over 20,000 documented] have literally dominated the teaching and learning of music and its history. This domination of the subject is presented to students and ordinary music lovers as justified. But it presents us with an absurd, grossly simplistic and often false picture. Amongst the leading idols of western musical culture are figures such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Josef Haydn and Ludwig van Beethoven. Whose giant status has, virtually from the start, been funded by, propagated by and defended by the controllers of the music industry, (also by the tourist industry and other areas of commercialism). So that a cultural pantheon teaches us to revere and consume what is conventionally taught of these 'great' composers. This domination of our musical culture and education by a handful of approved men has become the context within which the history of music (so-called) has been widely taught and believed in all that time. And we can hardly imagine it in any other way. But the extent to which other composers, patrons, editors, publishers and propagandists were involved in the building of the reputations of these iconic composers is seldom discussed. And even more rarely appreciated." See also The Manufacture of Mozart.
  • If you're a musician or music lover this may interest you: Research ( PDF ) by Dr. Leonard Horowitz reveals profound manipulation of all modern music, specifically that 'A440 "standard tuning" was chosen to cause harm, hatred, anger, aggression, dissonance, distress, negativity, mass hysteria'. His paper includes sources, connecting the dots and supporting theory with evidence. See also James Tobias' research paper: "Composing for the Media: Hanns Eisler and Rockefeller Foundation Projects in Film Music, Radio Listening, and Theatrical Sound Design" ( PDF archive )

    "... musical frequencies most beneficial to health, psychosocial harmony, and world peace have been suppressed."

    "This amounts to enslavement for the conduct of genocide. ...Music bioenergetically affects your body chemistry, psychoneuroimmunology, and health. Your body is now vibrating musically, audibly and subliminally, according to an institutionally imposed frequency that resonates in harmony with aggression and in dissonance with love.

    "Intensive research into the military and commercial value of compelling 'herd behavior' with music to induce stress, promote diseases, and suppress spirituality..."

    "What few people realize, regardless of the type of music played in the Western World, the standard Anglo-American tuning for instruments and voices was instituted at the same time, by the same agents and agencies, advancing acoustic war studies for inducing mass hysteria. ... ultimate power and control is waged bioenergetically (i.e., biospiritually), through frequency modulations or electromagnetic manipulations affecting consciousness and impacting biology, physiology, and human behavior.

    "Between World Wars I and II, accelerating during the 1930s, scientific studies in musical frequencies best suited for war-making were funded...A major objective of this war, and profitable population control, research was to determine the musical factors capable of producing psychopathology, emotional distress, and mass hysteria.

    "This knowledge best explains why so many musicians intuitively feel better tuning up, or down, a bit sharp or flat, from A=440Hz 'standard tuning.' More natural alternatives [Solfeggio: A=444Hz C=528Hz, and Verdi A=432Hz] have been growing in popularity. Recording artists seek the ultimate musical expression reflected in Divine-human communion. Musicians who are spiritually-sensitive to pitch are compelled instinctively to reject intrusions to pure creativity in harmony with the flow of sacred cosmic energy.

    "These findings offer a most reasonable, simple, pleasant, and powerful remedy residing in restoring naturally preferred frequencies to music. Instruments and voices tuned to A=444Hz frequency are far more acoustically pleasing, instinctively attractive, kinesthetically stimulating, spiritually refreshing, scientifically linked to genetic repair, and arguably, even resonating pure love."

    "Many musicians, mathematicians, physicians, physicists, and even geneticists, now celebrate the emergence of truth about A=444Hz (C(5)=528Hz) as an apparent carrier wave of love, broadcasting universally from the heart of the electromagnetic energy matrix. The vast majority of objective investigators now view these revelations as an opportunity to rediscover our spiritual roots in music, in accordance with an accelerating Spiritual Renaissance. The emergence of this knowledge is perfectly timed to remedy otherwise impossible problems imposed on the world by unelected leaders of economic and geopolitical chaos.

    "Thus, musicians, vocalists, and audiences are urged to discuss these findings, reject the militarization of music that has been secretly administered, and retune instruments, voices, and ears to frequencies most sustaining and healing. Restoring integrity to the performing arts and sciences this way will impact populations most beneficially."

  • A brief history of the establishment of international standard pitch A=440 Hertz ( PDF archive )
  • History_of_pitch_standards_in_Western_music
  • "I love the solfeggio tuning conspiracy, i've been regularly tuning my guitar to 444 but i prefer 432, it makes your guitar sound like Hendrix. I still use 440 but only when i'm feeling like jamming with the devil." »
  • Musical Temperament
  • "The 'electric church' as an ambition...was this speaking metaphorically? It's just a belief that I have. We do use electric guitars, everything is electrified nowadays. So, therefore, the belief comes through electricity to the people. That's why we play so loud, because it doesn't actually hit through the eardrums... We play for our sound to go inside the soul of the person, actually...and see if we can awaken some kind of thing in their minds, because there are so many sleeping people. You can call it that if you want to." --Jimi Hendrix on the Dick Cavett Show, youtube

  • Forgotten In Time: The Ancient Solfeggio Frequencies (2010-10-22)
  • Tuning the guitar to the 528 frequency

    Set any tuner so that A4 = 444 Hz (instead of A4 = 440 Hz), then retune each subsequent string to this new A4 = 444 Hz base note. Do not tune to an A flat: go a little sharp, but not quite a half tone. A4 = 444 Hz (instead of A4 = 440 Hz) gives a C5 = 528.008 Hz.

    "528 Hz ... has been mathematically proven fundamental to all sacred geometry and cosmology. It is reported to repair damaged DNA. It is C5 on the ancient diatonic scale [when A4 = 444 Hz, versus A4 = 440 Hz of "standard tuning"]. It is the third note, MI tone, of the original Solfeggio scale credited for producing miracles...

  • Do particular frequencies emote (pardon the pun) certain "sacred" or other recognizable, fundamental geometries? Cymatics is the study of the effects of sound vibrations on matter. Images of research by Dr. Emoto into how sound vibrations and other energies manifest certain geometries in water, ice crystals, matter.
  • Biological and Brainwave Frequency List includes list, bibliography and glossary
  • Mains Hum, particularly interesting regarding brain wave entrainment, tube heater hum and Ground Loops
  • The Matterhorn is a subwoofer model completed in March 2007 by Danley Sound Labs in Gainesville, Georgia after a U.S. military request for a loudspeaker that could project infrasonic waves over a distance. The Matterhorn was designed to reproduce a continuous sine wave from 15 to 20 Hz, and generate 94 dB at a distance of 250 meters (820 ft), and more than 140 dB for music playback measured at the horn mouth. It can generate a constant 15 Hz sine wave tone at 140 dB for 24 hours a day, seven days a week with extremely low harmonic distortion. The subwoofer has a flat frequency response from 15 to 80 Hz, and is down 3 dB at 12 Hz. It was built within an intermodal container 20 feet (6.1 m) long and 8 by 8 feet (2.4 � 2.4 m) square. The container doors swing open to reveal a tapped horn driven by 40 long-throw 15-inch speaker drivers each powered by its own 1000-watt amplifier. The manufacturer claims that 53 13-ply 18 mm 4-by-8-foot (1.2 � 2.4 m) sheets of plywood were used in its construction... A diesel generator is housed within the enclosure to supply electricity when external power is unavailable. Of the constant tone output capability, designer Tom Danley wrote that the "target 94 dB at 250 meters is not the essentially fictional 'burst' or 'peak SPL' nonsense in pro sound, or like the 'death burp' signal used in car sound contests." At the annual National Systems Contractors Association (NSCA) convention in March 2007, the Matterhorn was barred from making any loud demonstrations of its power because of concerns about damaging the building of the Orange County Convention Center. Instead, using only a single 20 amp electrical circuit for safety, visitors were allowed to step inside the horn of the subwoofer for an "acoustic massage" as the fractionally powered Matterhorn reproduced low level 10�15 Hz waves. wikipedia

Recording Technique, Compression, Dynamics

  • "As with everything in technology, once the new technology comes in, then people abuse it because they can do things they could never do before. I think we're getting to a point now where we realize that loud is not better. Everything used to be squeezed into this very narrow bandwidth, which meant the quietest and the loudest sounds were not very far apart...When everything is loud...your ears get tired and it creates a kind of energy that maybe you don't want...You don't realize that when you turn it off, there's a relief, because you're agitated emotionally just because it's such a loud sound, like being in a steel factory or something." --George Lucas, Mix magazine, Nov. 2004
  • CD vs. LP :: "This finding supports my own subjective impressions comparing the CD against the LP. I much prefer listening to the LP over the CD on my system. The CD sounds dull, congested, muddy, and lacking in dynamics. If I push up the volume, the sound becomes noticeably harsh and artificial. The LP on the other hand sounds more 'dynamic' and 'exciting.'" --Christie Tham, Comparison of CD, DVD, SACD article: part 1part 2part 3part 4
  • "Everyone is in love with the way vinyl sounds." --Tom Biery, Executive V.P. for Promotion, Warner Brothers Records, source
  • Most pop-culture modern music is artificially hyped up, just like the super nicotine in cigarettes. "Record companies are using digital technology to turn the volume on CDs up to '11'.", source
  • "Everything is loud, everything is bright, there's no subtlety in it at all, it's a sound that one would tire of fairly quickly." -- Steven Hoffman, specialist at remastering classic rock albums, source 2007
  • "The music available today isn't musical at all. It's best described as anti-music. It's anti-music because the life is being squashed out of it through over compression during the tracking, mixing, and mastering stages. It's simply, non musical. It's no wonder that consumers don't want to pay for the CDs being produced today. .... It's time for all of us in the music industry to wake up! Our musical heritage is being threatened by this wave of anti-music." --Bob Speer, "What Happened to Dynamic Range?"
  • "Wimpy, loud sound: All the punch ... is gone, along with much of the feel of the music that comes with some parts being louder than the others. When there's no 'quiet' there can be no 'loud'." --The Loudness Wars explained and demonstrated in under two minutes. A recent Mastering HOWTO showing the focus is all about maximizing loudness. See also Gateway Mastering
  • Graph showing volume level of 1983 CD: sound is not highly compressed or "maximized": notice the relative differences among the peaks and troughs and how the signal does not fill the entire graph: There is headroom.

    How long do you enjoy listening, when everything is screaming loud?

    Graph showing volume level of 1999 CD: sound is totally ruined: notice how everything is shouting loud (and therefore nothing is relatively quiet) and how the signal is pushed unnaturally (and unpleasingly) to fill the entire graph. When the music blares at full blast no matter the number or volume of instruments is it still music? At least one entire dimension is lost, compressed into homogeneity.

  • Turn Me Up -- "To preserve the excitement, emotion and dynamics of the original performances..." -- A non-profit music industry organization campaigning to give artists back the choice to release more dynamic records. The goal is not to discourage loud records but to encourage awareness of and choice for much greater dynamism.
  • The Loudness War Analyzed - Paul Lamere, Music Machinery Music & Technology Blog - Spectral/Loudness graphs of numerous songs presented and analyzed: "Recorded music doesn't sound as good as it used to. Recordings sound muddy, clipped and lack punch. This is due to the 'loudness war' that has been taking place in recording studios. To make a track stand out from the rest of the pack, recording engineers have been turning up the volume on recorded music. Louder tracks grab the listener's attention, and in this crowded music market, attention is important. And thus the loudness war � engineers must turn up the volume on their tracks lest the track sound wimpy when compared to all of the other loud tracks. However, there's a downside to all this volume. Our music is compressed. The louds are louds and the softs are loud, with little difference. The result is that our music seems strained, there is little emotional range, and listening to loud all the time becomes tedious and tiring."
  • Guns 'N Roses: Dynamics And Quality Win The Loudness Wars - Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer - Gateway Mastering & DVD
  • Fans Complain After "Death Magnetic" Sounds Better On Video Game Than CD - Rock & Roll Daily, Rolling Stone Magazine
  • The Death of High Fidelity - Robert Levine, Rolling Stone: "Over the past decade and a half, a revolution in recording technology has changed the way albums are produced, mixed and mastered � almost always for the worse. 'They make it loud to get [listeners'] attention'... Engineers do that by applying dynamic range compression, which reduces the difference between the loudest and softest sounds in a song. ... relying too much on this effect can obscure sonic detail, rob music of its emotional power and leave listeners with what engineers call ear fatigue. 'I think most everything is mastered a little too loud... The industry decided that it's a volume contest.'"
  • Will the Loudness Wars Result in Quieter CDs? - Tim Anderson, The Guardian: Florida-based recording engineer Charles Dye, whose mixing and recording credits include Bon Jovi, Jennifer Lopez and Shakira, hopes to bring about change with a new initiative called Turn Me Up (turnmeup.org), co-founded with musician John Ralston and studio owner Allen Wagner. The aim is to address the anxiety felt over recordings which are quieter than their competitors.
  • Loudness War - Wikipedia
  • For Tom Petty Fans, the True Sound of Vinyl, Also Captured on a CD - Robert Levine, New York Times: "Everyone is in love with the way vinyl sounds." --Tom Biery, Executive V.P. for Promotion, Warner Brothers Records
  • Why Music Really Is Getting Louder - Adam Sherwin, Times Online
  • How CDs Are Remastering The Art Of Noise - Tim Anderson, Guardian Unlimited
  • Why New Music Doesn't Sound As Good As It Did - Yahoo! Tech
  • The Loudness War - Mark Donahue, Performer Magazine
  • Loudness - Chicago Mastering Service
  • "Remember putting 'Dark Side of the Moon' on the turntable or slipping 'Graceland'" into your CD tray? Your kids won't. Not only will the concept of music delivered via molecules--hard media--seem totally 20th century, but the entire concept of an album (let alone a 'concept album') will be lost on them. Over the past decade, sales of complete albums--even the nonmolecular versions--declined 55 percent to less than 400 million in 2009, according to Nielsen SoundScan. During roughly the same period, sales of individual digital tracks have soared from zero to nearly 1.2 billion. Apple iTunes and file-sharing networks have nearly obliterated the notion of listening to more than one song by one artist in a row." Sources: 1 2 3
  • Oral History of the Audio Engineering Society - Snippets from video interviews with numerous industry luminaries - watch Les Paul's AES interview snippet and appearance with David Letterman ("Oh, this was the Devil" at 4:54 into video).

Subjective Sound Quality vs Objective Measurements

  • "The subjective correlation between Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) and what you actually hear is close to zero. After all, a low-fi rack-stereo receiver has far lower THD than the best-regarded triode amplifier. Does that mean that "all amplifiers sound the same?" No, certainly not ... Is the converse true � that measurements are meaningless? No, that's not true either; there are plenty of amplifiers with terrible measurements that do indeed sound terrible. . The fault is not with the subjective perception of the listener, but rather in the measurement itself...you can measure all you want, but a mass spectrometer isn't going to find a lot of difference between lunch at a high school cafeteria and the best dinner at a four-star restaurant. To foolishly assert that the mass-spectrometer is right and the restaurant customers are all deluding themselves is an example of simple ignorance trying to cover its nakedness with the fig-leaf of Science. ... All we can say for certain right now is that simple THD figures are not the right measurement for electronics!" --Lynn Olson, The Sound of The Machine, 1997-2003 ( source )
  • Interesting excerpts from Lynn Olsen's "The Sound of the Machine: The Hidden Harmonics behind THD": "...how traditional measurements result in unwise decisions for amplifier design. The lower harmonics are nearly inaudible compared to the upper harmonics, yet they dominate almost any THD measurement! The meter is steering the designer, the reviewer, the dealer, and the consumer away from good sound."
  • The Components of Sound A summary of factors affecting sound quality.
  • 'Amp Defects Not Covered by Specs' by Norman Crowhurst
  • The Perception of Pitch PDF, Frederic L. Wightman, David M. Green, American Scientist vol. 62, Mar. - Apr. 1974, pp. 208-215
  • Essential Differences Between Good & Bad Guitar Sound by Dr. Samo Sali, Jul. 2004 salilab.org
  • A New Methodology for Audio Frequency Power Amplifier Testing Based on Psychoacoustic Data that Better Correlates with Sound Quality, 2001 Masters Thesis by Daniel H. Cheever PDF An investigation of the hypothesis that accepted measurements of quantifying amplifier fidelity fail to correlate well with subjective sound quality. ... Specmanship rears its ugly head throughout the history of audio. As higher power density output devices (lower cost per watt) became available they were always less linear and so more required more negative feedback to correct. The more feedback, the sharper the onset of clipping, and the more abruptly higher-order audible distortions are introduced.
  • The Look of Distortion adapted from Steve Bench
  • Sound of Distortion by Jean Hiraga, Glass Audio magazine, May, 2005
  • Waveforms, seen and heard in Reason adapted from psylux.com
  • Science and Music by Sir James Jeans, Cambridge University Press, 1937: The timbre depends only on the relative energies of the various harmonics and not on their phase-differences. Differences of phase produce no effect on the ear. Colud tihs be due to an ecfeft saliimr to the alitbiy of msot ppleoe to raed smlbcraed wdros as lnog as teihr ladnieg and trliniag lteerts are crrecot?
  • A Future Without Feedback Stereophile magazine, January, 1998:

    "Some aspects of perceived sound quality are not explained by established theory. There is a growing suspicion that some of these aspects --a loss in natural timbre; a duller, less expressive performance; increased aural fatigue; and missing life and energy in reproduced sound-- may be consequences of the application of negative feedback. Many of us working in the audio industry have long been aware that measurements do not fully describe sound quality. Moreover, it seems that measurements fail to describe some of the more important aspects of subjective perception. For example, we may guarantee that an amplifier will have a perfectly flat frequency response under normal conditions of use, yet we cannot explain why it may still sound duller or brighter than another comparably 'flat' amplifier.

    "We can measure crosstalk, channel separation, distortion, and noise to incredibly low levels, yet we cannot explain why some amplifiers have greater perceived stereo depth, resolution of detail, and low-level ambiance than others. While we know that 0.3-0.5% of third-harmonic distortion is just audible in the midrange, how can the overall sound of a tube amplifier be judged "just fine" when we can measure 1.5% of second harmonic and 0.8% of third at moderately high listening level? Still more intriguing is the matter of dynamics. Some electronics sound flattened and dulled in terms of musical expression; others may be wonderfully revealing of this quality even at quiet sound levels. Or consider rhythm and timing: One power amplifier gets your foot tapping, another leaves you reading the sleevenotes. I can identify no measurement associated with rhythm or musical dynamics.

  • Scientists vs Audiophiles, Stereophile magazine, March, 1999, condensed:

    I'm not claiming that spooky or mystical events occur when you listen to your system. ... Every link in the chain, from the vibration of your stylus to the goose bumps on your arms, is grounded in physical processes. ... But that doesn't mean that we understand exactly what those processes are�especially the ones inside the brain. ...

    You can stand behind complicated truths or you can cling to simple mistakes. Those who feverishly insist that science tells us everything about audio treat science as an exact, finished product. But, any good scientist will tell you that there's much more in the world that we do not understand. Close examination almost always reveals increasing complexity. ...

    Some dissenting scientists and engineers may not immediately appreciate good audio, much as people who go to museums but have no idea why Picasso, Pollock, or Rothko are good painters. They're seeing exactly what everyone sees, but they're seeing it quite differently. ... Some may never be able to see why Picasso is a great painter or appreciate high-end audio; they remain rigid, unconvinced and unconvincible.

  • "Substance is something I never appreciated until I had decades of experience under my belt. A discount lens usually offers more features like faster speed or wider zoom range for less money. Likewise, cheaper cars usually offer better specifications, like fuel economy, horsepower or number of radio presets, for a lower price than, say, a Mercedes. You may realize that the Mercedes has a lot more substance and fundamental quality for which there is no numeric specification, and so you probably understand why a Mercedes costs more and delivers in ways not typically measured." -- adapted from Ken Rockwell on photographic lenses, specifications and quality
  • THD, Power and Perceived Loudness

  • AutoStylin magazine Tech-Corner article ( PDF )
  • Think of it as a Sparkplug for your Car Audio System
  • Why Tubes?
  • Summary of Sound Therapy and Vibrational Healing Concepts I - a compendium of interesting articles concerning History of Sound, Frequency Therapy, Harmonics, and Musical Scales and Relationships.
  • R. G. Keen's article on Using the Carbon Comp Resistor for Magic Mojo
  • Weckl, Gadd, Colaiuta and Snare Tuning
  • Luke Manley's comments on unusual design
  • "I had also determined through trial-and-error experiments over the years that the amplifier is sonically the best component to connect to earth ground, not the preamp (as is stated in some texts) or any other component of the system. While one-time TAS writer, Enid Lumley, is credited by Laura Dearborn's classic audiophile text, Good Sound (William Morrow & Co., Inc., New York, NY, 1987, p. 229) for the amplifier-is-the-best-spot theory, this is an error. Enid Lumley was in fact adamant in her writings that ALL earth grounds should be cheated for best sound. And while I agreed with her in 1987, once I moved to a residence which I had made sure had a properly implemented copper grounding rod as an earth-ground reference, and as the environment has become increasingly polluted with RFI and EMI from modern electric and electronic devices, classic single-point grounding at the amp had always sonically trounced floating all the earth grounds."
  • Bill Whitlock of Jensen Transformers explains, What is "Ground"? and touches on unbalanced vs. balanced signals, current paths, and audio interfacing. Bill Whitlock on ground loops, hums, buzzes.


  Technical Articles, Details, Tidbits, Links
  • Milbert Amplifiers offers an official mirror of Frank Philipse's extensive tube datasheet and information archive
  • Speaker Wattage vs. Efficiency vs. Sound Pressure Level
  • Secrets of Amplifier and Speaker Power Requirements Revealed
  • Fantastic site on audio engineering info: Lenard Audio
  • Introduction to Sound Recording, Geoff Martin's excellent book online
  • How Tubes Work, Briefly - adapted from an article by John Simonton. Mentions space charge, electron cloud, self-biasing, and "Brown Sound" of starved-plate operation.
  • Motorola, Lear Jets, 8 Tracks, and Early Car Audio recording-history.org
  • "Anyone who has had actual contact with the making of the inventions that built the radio art knows that these inventions have been the product of experiment and work based on physical reasoning, rather than on the mathematicians' calculations and formulae. Precisely the opposite impression is obtained from many of our present day text books and publications." --Edwin H. Armstrong
  • "I think a famous French mathematician and physicist was guilty of only slight exaggeration when he said that no discovery was really important or properly understood by its author unless and until he could explain it to the first man he met on the street." --Sir J.J. Thomson
  • "...before you attempt to use any effects or tone-shaping devices, you must dial in a flat-response clean tone on the amplifier that you'll be using. I'm positive that most guitarists out there actually use amplifiers that were designed for guitarists (a guitar amp). But did you know that some guitarists prefer to use keyboard amplifiers or even bass amplifiers to help them achieve pristine and pure, clean tones? It's true! The reason it's crucial to attain a pure, clean tone prior to adding other effects to your signal is for better overall tonality. If you can find a clean-sounding amplifier ... then anything that you add to the signal path ... should accentuate what you natural electrified-guitar tone sounds like. Simply put, if your [guitar] sounds good when plugged directly into your amp, anything additional should only improve the sound." --David M. Brewster, "Introduction to Guitar Tone and Effects", page 14
  • John Atwood's research into the history of world power mains and frequencies: "The frequency of the power we get out of our electric outlets has been fixed since time of our grandfathers or great-grandfathers, at least in the developed world. Yet we are aware that there two standards in the world: 50 and 60Hz, and we may have heard of other frequencies, such as 25Hz, 400Hz, and even DC. One country, Japan, even has both 50 and 60Hz. Where did these frequencies come from? Is one better than the other? What explains the geographical distribution of these frequencies? This article will give the history of the frequencies and try to answer the questions above. ... Early AC alternators were belt-coupled to steam engines, so it was easy to increase the speed of the alternator relative to the engine. For larger and more reliable systems, direct-coupling was needed, but a 133Hz alternator would require many poles. A lower frequency would be better here, but if it was too low, arc lamps would flicker. A frequency of 50Hz was suggested, but it was felt that even this would cause flicker, so 60Hz was chosen. It is rumored that Tesla wanted 60Hz due to his obsession on the number three and all things related to it. In 1890, Westinghouse and Thomson-Houston (one of the predecessors of General Electric) chose 60Hz as a standard for lighting. 50Hz found favor in Britain and Europe, and was used in Southern California (by Southern California Edison) until the late 1940s."
  • History of Recording

  • Capacitor Field Guide by Harry R. Bissell, Jr., describes types of capacitors, characteristics and applications.
  • Interesting article about the foibles of cranky op-amps. Don't miss this paper [PDF] on op-amp distortion.
  • Damping Factor by George Augsperger, JBL, Electronics World, Jan. 1967
  • Cathode Phase Inversion PDF, Otto H. Smith, 1941
  • The Fleming Valve
  • Amplifier Fundamentals PDF, AGO 4239A
  • An Ultra-Linear Amplifier PDF, David Hafler, Herbert I. Keroes, Audio Engineering, 1951
  • Harmonic and Intermodulation Distortion PDF, J. N. A. Hawkings, 1988
  • Dave McGowan's interesting research into Laurel Canyon and the "hippie" music scene
  • Loudspeaker Nonlinearities � Causes, Parameters, Symptoms [PDF] -- Addresses the relationship between nonlinear distortion measurement and nonlinearities which are the physical causes for signal distortion in loudspeakers, headphones, micro-speakers and other transducers. Using simulation techniques characteristic symptoms are found for each nonlinearity and presented systematically in a guide for loudspeaker diagnostics. This information is important for the interpretation of nonlinear parameters and for performing measurements which describe the loudspeaker more comprehensively. The practical application of the new techniques are demonstrated on three different loudspeakers.
  • Physics of Music course - Online course notes covering music scales, chords, cents, flutes and wind instruments, acoustics in ducts, tubes and rooms, reverb, diffusion, white noise and other related information.
  • "Design, by nature, is a series of trade-offs. Every choice has a good and bad side, and you make your choice in the context of overall criteria defined by necessity. Good and bad are not absolutes, however. A good decision in one context might be bad in another." --Allen Holub
  • "American Wire Gauge (AWG) is the standard used to represent successive diameters of wire. The system is based on the establishment of two arbitrary sizes: 0000 (4/0 or '4-aught') defined as exactly .4600-inch diameter and 36, defined as exactly .0050-inch diameter. The ratio of these two sizes is 92 and the sizes between the two are based on the 39th root of 92, or approximately 1.123, so the nominal diameter of each gauge size increases approximately by this factor between AWG 36 and AWG 4/0 and decreases by this factor between AWG 36 and AWG 56, which is the smallest practical diameter for commercial magnet wire. Nominal wire diameters to AWG 44 are rounded to the fourth decimal place and aren't necessarily rounded to the nearest digit." source
  • How loud is 50 watts? With human perception it sounds only twice as loud as 5 watts, and it sounds only half as loud 500 watts (and only 1/4th as loud as 5,000 watts). Here's a list of how humans perceive power.
  • Static Shock: The human body provides a small capacitance relative to the Earth ground, allowing build up of static electric charge. Discharge current is limited by tissue and skin impedance, modelled by a 100 pF capacitor in series with a 1.5 k Ohm resistor. Mundane actions can generate surprisingly high voltages, as shown in the following table (Motorola Power MOSFET Data Book):

                      Action:    10-20% rel. humidity   65-90% rel. humidity
    
                Walk, carpet:    35,000 Volts            1,500 Volts
            Pick up poly bag:    20,000                  1,200
          Move in foam chair:    18,000                  1,500
          Walk,  vinyl floor:    12,000                    250
       Handle vinyl envelope:     7,000                    600
               Work at bench:     6,000                    100
    
  • Photo tour of tube factory in Shuguang, China.
  • What is a decibel? Extensive information presented by University of South Wales. See also Music Acoustics FAQ

  Re: Guitar Amps & Effect Pedals

  • How Loading And Cables Affect Your Sound And What To Do About It by Howard Davis
    Article clearly describes impedance and cable loading effects; a must-read for guitarists.
  • Guitar Effects Pedals - Descriptions, Operations by Howard Davis
    Details what guitar effects are and how guitar effects pedals operate; another must-read for guitarists.
  • Wattage, Power, Speaker Efficiency by Howard Davis
    Useful information about power levels, technical specifications, and what it all means: perceived loudness and sound quality.
  • Tube Cross Reference

    Vacuum Tube and Guitar and Bass Amplifier Servicing By Tino Zottola -- Page 63, Table 6

    Consumer European Military Good Sub Mediocre Sub
    5AR4 GZ34, GZ37
    5U4 GZ31, GZ32 5R4, 5931 5AR4, 5V3, 5AU4, 5T4
    5Y3 GZ30 6087, 6853
    6BQ5 EL84 7189, 7320
    6C4 EC90 6100, 6135
    6CA7 EL34, KT77 STR416
    6DJ8 ECC88 6922, 7308
    6L6 EL37, KT66 5881 6932, 7582, STR415 1622
    6SL7 ECC35 6113
    6SN7 ECC32 5692
    6V6 7408, 5871, 7184 5992 6U6
    12AT7 ECC81 6060, 6201, 6679, 7728 6671, 7492 12AU7, 12AX7, 12AZ7
    12AU7 ECC82 5814, 6067, 6189 ECC186 12AT7, 12AX7, 5963
    12AX7 ECC83 6057, 6681, 7025, 7729 12AY7, 5751, ECC803 12AT7, 12AU7, 12AZ7, 12DT7, 12DF7
    12AY7 6027 12AT7 12AX7
    12AZ7 12AT7, 6060, 62301, 6679, 7728, ECC81
    12BH7A 6913 12AU7A
    12DW7 7247
    KT88 6550

  • All About Bypass by Howard Davis
    Straightforward article covers definitions and features of various types of guitar pedal bypass schemes. p3dals.com pedals incorporate the "total bypass" ("true bypass") scheme described in this article.
  • Frank Zappa on Tone, Color and Timbre -- "You seem to be the only rock personality interested in modernist ... Stravisnky. How do you see--what do you think of their elements? How can you use them?" FZ: "Well, see, I'm not the only person who might be interested in Stravinsky. There might be some others in rock now who are interested in that kind of music, but I believe I was the first one to bring those composers to the attention of the young record-buying public. The thing that I enjoy about those composers is the harmonic language is a lot more interesting than the normal harmonic language that is used in pop music. You know how Rock and Roll is constructed? You get a guy with a guitar, see? And he knows -- if he's starting -- he knows one, two or maybe three chords. If he's been playing for a few years, he knows ten, twenty, maybe thirty chords. The chords themselves are not interesting because they're standard positions that you put your hand in on the guitar. When songs are made up out of standard things like that, they will tend to sound repetitive; they'll always [sound] the same. So if you're writing for a group of instruments, and each person in that group gets to play one note of a chord, that gives you the chance to make the chord any density that you like. You can only do that by working with many instruments and different tone colors, and so that's what I've come to appreciate ... is the tone colors and the voicings of the chords." --Frank Zappa on youtube
  • Malcom Moore's technical details on guitar pickups
    "Electromagnetic guitar pickups are very poorly understood. This sequential lateral engineering analysis shows how they really work, how to shape the spectrum for any pickup and blows the sales myths beyond reality into figures that are highly predictable... To me, there is absolutely no doubt that body/neck resonance plays a major part of colouring the sound from a stringed musical instrument, if the body has, or is, a resonator, but with a solid body guitar the sound is barely resonant and there is minimum inter-string coupling compared to an hollow/resonator body, and further the fact is that simply holding the instrument considerably damps any resonances in both the body and the neck. ... I am well aware that variations in guitar construction can make differences to the sound, but I am far more acutely aware that subtle differences in sound also start with the construction standards of a pickup � not whether it has been dipped in wax or whatever, but by subtle differences in the coil construction or magnetic circuit can make a profound difference to the sensitivity and spectral response of the pickup. "
  • Don Tillman's thorough articles on guitar pickup response, including a java applet that graphs response based on positional parameters.

  • Tim Darling's Study of The Edge�s (U2) Guitar Delay

  • Oscillographs comparing different solid-state distortion characteristic waveforms. Mix Magazine / Eddie Ciletti
  • Eight guitar amp mythsHow many do you believe? — "Buying the right amp is one of the most important decisions a guitarist will make."
  • Reverb Factory - centuries before there was "reverb" plates and effects...where it all began. (humor)
  • Oldest Melody in History - on youtube. ancientlyre.com
  • Math and Geometry of Music: Linking Sight and Sound by Daniel Arthur - PDF | archive -- an fascinating and excellent paper discussing the history of musical scales and mathematics and relating them to unlikely topics (healing, architecture). Keywords: Harps, guitars, tuning, fret, Luthier, scales, intonation, Bach, A440, philosophers, Fibonacci, Phi, Pi, Plato, Pythagoras. Paper includes dozens of source documents and websites. "Ancient alphabets were constructed by using visual symbols to represent sounds. Ancient sacred architecture was constructed to send and receive those sounds to and from the gods. Because of that, ancient languages, like Egyptian, Hebrew and Greek were more poetic and musical than our own, with each letter symbol actually representing a specific tone, not just a generic phoneme. ...[Greek texts] can be translated not only into other languages but into musical notes and their related shapes. Likewise, the text of the Hebrew Psalms can be translated directly into the languages of Music and Geometry, which are lost during translation into non-musical alphabets, such as English."

    "Many years ago, I asked a luthier (professional instrument maker) how he calculated the placement of the frets on a guitar. He replied, 'A fret is 17.8% of the distance from the bridge to the previous fret,' but he didn't know why. The answer is that frets are placed according to a trigonometric function of the twelfth root of two, the understanding of which takes us into higher mathematics, relative to the study of acoustics, spectral analysis and string theory. This knowledge was not necessary for a monk to string a harp, for a peasant to fret a lute, for King David to build a psaltery, or for me to design a just-intoned guitar."

    "Having precise musical ratios and specific notes, in cycles per second, provides the information necessary to construct an instrument. The fret placements are calculated by inverting the fractions and multiplying the length of the string. So, if the string is 25 inches, tuned to A at 440 cycles per second, the interval is 110 and the next note in the chord is C# at 550 cps, so C# has a note ratio of 5/4. The fret is then placed at 4/5 of 25 or 20 inches from the bridge and 5 inches from the nut. This follows another ancient saying, 'As Above, So Below, but Vice-Versa.'"

    "The application of ratios in the creation of music and the making of instruments was so prevalent that way back in 325 AD at the Council of Nicaea, the Church banned a specific ratio, known as the 'Devil's Interval.' Also known as the 'Tritone,' it is the ratio of 32/45 or 45/64, in modern notation F/B or B/F. Playing the notes together results in a discordant tone that 'sounds like the devil.'"

    "A number of ancient buildings have been constructed to display harmonic proportions in stone. These include the Great Pyramid of Giza, (2500BC) which connects Phi with Pi, aligning it to the sun, moon and stars. The Egyptian Temple of Luxor (1360 BC) is built as a gigantic musical instrument, with advanced knowledge of acoustics, to mix Earth vibrations with the singing of temple worshippers. The Greek Parthenon, (440BC) was designed on the 'Golden Ratio,' which was renamed 'Phi' after its architect, Phidias. The Cathedral at Chartres, France, (1200 AD) also containing the Phi ratio, is one of eighty gothic cathedrals built during the 12th century. Like Luxor, it was designed with harmonic proportions to resonate with the singing of the choir."

    "Both the sounds and shapes are purely geometric and, I discovered, have historically been used for meditation and healing. For over ten years I suffered chronic pain in my right side. After numerous tests, no cause or cure was found. I discovered one evening while sitting in a chair playing my guitar that I could feel the vibrations of certain chords traveling from the strings through the wood body into my hipbone and then to the source of the pain in the soft tissues. After strumming a particular six-note chord for about 40 minutes, the pain subsided. Whenever it returned over the next week or two I strummed again until it completely went away. I would have never believed that such a thing could occur had I not experienced it myself. Since then I�ve discovered several other people who have witnessed a similar phenomenon, including musicologist Don Campbell, who has connected with Marianjoy Rehabilitation Center, in Wheaton, Illinois, to explore the potential of musical healing therapies."

  • Patent Application 20080034942 - The method provides luthiers of fretted instrument with a novel approach for installing frets with increased accuracy. The method is an improvement in calculation of fret placement over the �Rule of 18� because it relies on the length of the vibrating string. This method is more pronounced at the end of the fret board closest to the bridge due to the angle formed by the string when depressed with respect to the axis of the fret board. With respect to the twelve-step octave, the scale length is multiplied by the constant of the twelfth root of 0.5 to calculate the length of the string from fret contact to saddle contact for the next tonal step.
  • "Do not place reverb before other effects in a chain, as doing so will add reverb to every subsequent effect -- which tends to sound unpleasant. Do not place overdrive and/or distortion at the end of the chain." --David M. Brewster, "Introduction to Guitar Tone and Effects", page 41
  • "Today musicians and sound/studio engineers collectively spend millions on high-dollar rack units and processing gear in order to perfect the quality and clarity of their reverb signals." --David M. Brewster, "Introduction to Guitar Tone and Effects", page 32
  • "When measuring along the line of the strings, single coil pickups are sensitive for about 10 mm either side of the centre of the pole pieces. For lateral hum bucker pickups, this sensitivity follows a similar pattern also extending about 10 mm past the nearest pole pieces with a flat sensitivity between the two pole-piece arrays. The sensitivity across the strings is virtually flat with the exception of the outer two pole-pieces, which are relatively about 4 dB down. So the pole pieces do not need to be directly under the strings, but extend out beyond the strings to get a more even relative response." --Malcolm Moore's research into guitar pickups, particularly regarding Single Coil and various Humbucker arrangements and their magnetic fields. (2010-10-23)
  • Menno Van der Veen presented at AES 118 this paper, which details a universal audio output transformer system that "includes all possible variations in topologies. The system contains 90 variations (at least) and some of them have never been constructed until now." It's interesting because it shows once again, along with good technical discussion, that with audio output transformers there are, inescapably, many variables, possibilities and trade-offs, none of them audibly or picture perfect. http://www.mennovanderveen.nl/nl/download/download_3.pdf ( archive ). Compare this with patented ZOTL Technology in GAGA, which does actually provide picture-perfect response without compromise.

  Miscellaneous
  • Maurice Cotterell "...will clear your mind of all the nonsense that you've been given over the past [many] years. ...if you wish to progress in science you must get rid of all this pollution in your mind..." He seems to epitomize applied engineering and understanding, linked here in the interests of increasing understanding of our world and the human condition. "Human beings [exist] to purify their spiritual voltage." Particularly with regard to sound quality and tone, we agree that it's generally 'all about purity.' Corollary to this is how music sounds generally "better" at certain times.
    • Fantastic Coast-to-Coast interview regarding sun spot cycles, spirituality, evolution, reproduction, astrology, 2012 and much, much more. YouTube: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
    • Secrets of the Supergods presentation. The cause of astrology: How the sun's cycles and radition results in twelve types of effects, leading directly to the twelve aspects of astrology. Sun signs "directly affect how you behave." Connects scientific discoveries to explain what's been going on throughout history. YouTube: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
    • Mayan Science Youtube: 1 2

  • MIT Lectures: Electricity & Magnetism 8.02 "...so this instrument is not without danger, but that of course makes it more exciting to work with. ... Even though our immediate surroundings are dominated by electric forces, the behavior of the universe on a large scale is dictated by gravity. [42:00]" intro
  • Aluminum transformers? "I have heard that Aluminum can be made to function as a ferromagnetic material." -- William Lyne interview, Tesla, zero-point energy, primary solar rays, rocketry, propulsion, gravity, aurora, space flight, high energy physics, microwaves, HAARP, submarine propulsion, and much more youtube. Lyne has doggedly researched Tesla and related technologies, written several books. Other characters with related, high-energy interests: Bernard Eastlund, Judy Wood, John Hutchison (Hutchison Effect).
  • Astronaut Edgar Mitchell's Institute of Noetic Sciences - "The word Noetic refers to 'inner understanding,' a kind of intuitive consciousness�direct and immediate access to knowledge beyond what's obtainable to our normal senses. Noetic Science refers to research which applies a scientific lens to the study of subjective experience and to ways that consciousness may influence the physical world. It explores the 'inner cosmos' of the mind (consciousness, soul, spirit) and how it relates to the 'outer cosmos'. In other words, it explores how people come to know things or affect things that have no apparent rational explanation by studying such experiences and inner capacities as intuitions, psi, 'after-death' communication, and personal transformations. It then explores what its findings suggest about the nature of human consciousness.
  • Princeton's Global Consciousness Project - "The Global Consciousness Project, also called the EGG Project, is an international, multidisciplinary collaboration of scientists, engineers, artists and others. We collect data continuously from a global network of physical random number generators located in 65 host sites around the world. The archive contains more than 10 years of random data in parallel sequences of synchronized 200-bit trials every second. Our purpose is to examine subtle correlations that may reflect the presence and activity of consciousness in the world. We predict structure in what should be random data, associated with major global events. When millions of us share intentions and emotions the GCP/EGG network data show meaningful departures from expectation. This is a powerful finding based in solid science. Subtle but real effects of consciousness are important scientifically, but their real power is more direct. They encourage us to help make essential, healthy changes in the great systems that dominate our world. Large scale group consciousness has effects in the physical world. Knowing this, we can use our full capacities for creative movement toward a conscious future.
  • Investigative Mythologist William Henry explores interesting, esoteric meanings embedded in various locations and pursuits, particularly Washington DC, Nashville TN, and the CERN project.
  • Demonstrates the unbelievable power of subliminal suggestion. Could this explain the emphasis on "back masking" in music? Hiding subliminal messages in advertising? If you don't believe any of that works on you, watch how it works on this guy, and then see the surprising revelation of technique at the end, particularly the blonde guy with his secret present and also the school teacher and her students. video

Material herein presented for educational purposes per Fair Use.

Last updated 27 Dec 2010

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