Volume VIII Number 1
How quickly the time does fly, only twenty-one months between issues of The Audio Critic! I will not belabor the point as a I sent a letter to the editor, Peter Aczel, says it all, including the announcement of The Audio Critic winning my (sixth) annual Cuckoo Clock award! The letter announcing my prestigious and coveted award is published in this issue of Sound Off. Enjoy!
Speaking of Peter Aczel... I hang my head in shame having to admit that this issue of Sound Off, originally scheduled to be published in late 1999 will be showing a 2000 publishing date. Hmmmm? What excuses could I use? None. Don't be too hard on me. There is a difference. Like The Audio Critic I have subscribers but unlike The Audio Critic I have no paying subscribers. Man, there's the utmost respect from this editor for those who publish on a regular schedule. Are you listening John Atkinson? Karl Nehring? Hary Pearson? Art Dudley?
The demise of AUDIO magazine is a sad time for all audiophiles. I for one wasn't surprised and saw the end coming way before it occurred. Over the years there were numerous attempts made to save the magazine including a bizarre and misguided decision making Corey Greenberg the editor. Corey is an entertaining writer, especially for those individuals are over 40, acting as though they are going through puberty, and who enjoy articles containing such words as suck, balls, ass, mother, etc. Corey isn't the person I would have gone to if I was trying to save a once prestigious audio publication. Ready for this? My choice of a savior would have been Peter Aczel. And No, I'm not kidding! Oh, apparently the AUDIO Equipment Directory will continue to be published on a yearly basis (October); one issue a year means (probably) it will have to be purchased from a newsstand.
Here's an attempt to bring a bit of (black) humor to the subject of blind testing. With a double-blind test the results are almost always stated with a 95% probability of being correct. Now 95% is quite a high probability, right? I certainly think so but watch your reaction (and mine) to the following comment by Michael Rushford, president of the Criminal Legal Foundation in Sacramento, California. The quote is taken from the Christian Science Monitor, page 4, Wednesday, February 1999 edition. "In 95 percent of death- penalty cases, the correct sentence is given..."
Hey, no problem, unless you're one of the 5% waiting to be hung, electrocuted, shot, injected with poison, etc. I wonder if a certain subwoofer expert's perspective of a 95% probability would change if he was convicted (even though innocent) of murder and sentenced to death! And suppose the guilty verdict was a result of only 9 out of 12 jurors agreeing on his guilt; in a 12 trial blind test 9 out of 12 is a 95% confidence level! Okay, I'm having fun, but 95% isn't quite the same thing in a trial for murder as it is in a listening test!
A quick comment on Stereo Review's Sound & Vision magazine: It's so slick, including the editor's hair, and so gaudy that it's sickening. The articles and the ads blend together in a continuum of slick and slimy colors. Buyer beware! What you're reading may be an ad! I also note that Corey Greenberg's name is not to be found on the magazine's masthead. ???
I'm often taken to task for my views on religion. That's okay, it's what free speech is all about. Although I've stated my opinions more than once I've never been able to express concisely my feelings about those needing a god for whatever reason. I find it excruciating painful hearing and reading quotes from a small, dull collection of Jewish mythological writings in a book called the bible. These excerpts are used to justify laughable and dangerous stupidities, ranging from the world was built in seven 24 hour days to women's inferiority and required subservience to men. As divine luck would have it stumbled across a letter (to the Editor) in the April 1999 issue of The Atlantic Monthly which expresses my feelings much more eloquently than I ever have. The letter writer is one David Fishbeck of New Brighton, Minnesota. To quote Davey: "Scrutinizing religious texts as if they were doctoral dissertations in particle physics is absurd and disingenuous. These writings, from whatever source or tradition, function as elaborate, organic apologetics for systems of irrational belief. Hauling them out of their musty closets for critical examination robs them of their efficacy and purpose. So- called biblical or Koranic scholars are nothing more than overeducated Creationists attempting to dress up ancient mythologies in costumes of scientific legitimacy."
God? I want proof, not declarations of death and destruction if I don't adopt a belief system based on Jewish Mythology so silly that the Earth being on the back of a turtle seems the lesser of two stupidities. What's this got to do with audio? Simple. I want proof that a $100,000 amplifier is or isn't distinguishable from a $500 amplifier. Proof arrived at by conducting a double-blind test. I don't have blind faith in someone's stated hearing acuity.
Sound Off is now located on Digital Recordings' web site. To get there go to www.digital-recordings.com and click on the Sound Off Magazine banner. I was planning to go the Web site route eventually but when I was approached by Dr. Marek Roland-Mieszkowski with the purpose of placing Sound Off on Digital Recordings' Web site, well, how could I say no. Dr. Roland- Mieszkowski has placed no restrictions on or does any editing of Sound Off content, nor is there any commercial tie-in with Digital Recordings. If you have any comments on Sound Off's contents I'm the guy you should write.
I consider it my responsibility to reply to all correspondence, even correspondence which may take issue with my writings. I don't consider it my responsibility to reply to correspondence from assorted weirdoes, cultists, or nuts, but I will pay them the courtesy of a reply which states I've read their correspondence and any future correspondence from said individuals will go the delete key route. Corresponding with these individuals is like teaching a pig to sing. It's a waste of time and it annoys the pig. Oh, don't even think about sending me any correspondence which involves downloading!
When you get the chance I do suggest that you visit Digital Recordings' Web site. There's solid information there regarding various things audio, information based on treating audio and related topics as a science, not a religion. One of the topics which got my immediate attention was a paper evaluating just how good the ®RadioShack Sound Level Meter (SPL) is. Everyone uses this handy and inexpensive SPL meter, including just about every subjective and objective audio reviewer out there. I have often wondered about the accuracy of the said meter. To find out for yourself go to the Digital Recordings' web site, scroll down to the bottom, and under Suggested Reading click on ®RadioShack Sound Level Meter. Voila, all the information you wanted to know about the ®RadioShack SPL meter but didn't know where to go.
Joseph Michael Czerniak
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