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[#] Wed Dec 15 2021 16:06:15 EST from LoanShark

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P.T. Barnum at work:

[#] Mon Jun 06 2022 15:05:06 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar

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Wowzers. I've been saving my old cassette deck because I have a small stack of tapes with some old recordings that I want to digitize. These recordings are almost 30 years old at this point.

This morning I learned that a nearby friend had a death in the family and was looking for someone who still had a cassette deck so that she could play a recording of her father's last wishes that he probably recorded 20 years ago. I'm the only one in the group who still has one.

And boy was it hard to get it going. Cassette decks go bad. Several other people had ones lying around that wouldn't start or play at all. Mine barely got going, after I cleaned the heads and ran an old tape through it for a few minutes to sort of sand-down what was left. Fast forward and rewind don't work. Heads accumulate gunk, belts get brittle and break, etc.

So if you've still got tapes lying around that you've been meaning to digitize, do it now! In a few days when I get my cassette deck back, I'm going to stop procrastinating and immediately digitize everything I have left.

[#] Thu Jun 09 2022 17:21:20 EDT from LoanShark

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BITD, you used to be able to buy a "cleaning cassette", probably from Radio Shack. Came with a little bottle of fluid and the drive holes turned a little scrubber thing.

[#] Thu Jun 09 2022 18:33:59 EDT from Nurb432

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They didnt do much for the motor or belts tho. Just the heads and rollers.

Thu Jun 09 2022 05:21:20 PM EDT from LoanShark

BITD, you used to be able to buy a "cleaning cassette", probably from Radio Shack. Came with a little bottle of fluid and the drive holes turned a little scrubber thing.


[#] Sat Jul 23 2022 11:28:09 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar

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Right. On my cassette deck the heads were clogged from many years of disuse.
There are other problems but at least I got the tape to play.

And I was wrong about the tape being his last wishes; it was actually a recording that he wanted to be played at his funeral. And it was AWESOME. It was a ten minute jeremiad about the "commies" who are disloyal to US and Israel and how everyone needs to get their shit together. (Yes, a Jewish conservative -- a rare breed -- and no, I was friendly with this family before I knew that.)

So anyway, I've only got a few tapes with original recordings that I have saved from nearly 30 years ago, so I've got to get those digitized before that material is lost in the sands of time.

[#] Fri Jul 29 2022 20:21:24 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar

Subject: Behringer MO240 in-ear monitors

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I've been needing a decent set of in-ear monitors to use for both stage and studio work.  I just couldn't get myself to splurge for the super-premium ones where you send away pieces of clay molded to your ears; those are hundreds of dollars and I have no desire to spend that kind of money.  After my beloved old Audio-Technica monitors stopped working after years of abuse, I eventually tried a set of "ruggedized" earphones intended for use on job sites, but the bass response was so terrible that I just gave them to my daughter who breaks earphones on a regular basis.  

But I'm still pretty frugal, and when I found the Behringer MO240 in-ear monitors on sale for about $40 at Sweetwater (and also at the Beast of Seattle but I try to avoid them) I figured it was worth a shot, I'd probably be disappointed, but I was not disappointed!  They have a really comfortable fit, over-ear hooks, dual hybrid drivers, and a nice even frequency response across all bands.  I saw another reviewer claim that the bass was weak, but I did not find that to be the case.

The sturdy build and looped cable ends were immediately comfortable.  The earplugs did not feel like they were "stuiffed" into my ears the way most earplugs do.  I tried a couple of different sound tests.  The first test was a play of John Vanderslice's classic track "Bill Gates Must Die" which is my go-to audio test because of its good use of stereo separation, diverse frequency range in the instrumentation, and clean track separation.  It did not disappoint.  I was able to pick up nuances in this fine piece of music that I had not noticed before even on the big monitors in my studio room.

My next test was to plug them into my Roland Juno-DS 76 synthesizer.  I selected an 80's sawtooth patch and played through the synth part to Rush's classic anthem "Subdivisions" on the keys.  Good, clean, even response was heard across the keyboard's entire frequency range.   After trying a few other parts on piano, organ, pads, and other sounds, I was equally impressed.

This is a good set of in-ear monitors at a budget price.  Highly recommended.

[#] Sat Jul 30 2022 07:39:42 EDT from Nurb432

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Ironically i still have a pair of wired earbuds from an iphone i got at work 15+ years ago.   Phone was long since turned back in but kept the buds ( kept the phone about 2 months.. " take this POS back" ). And a set of BLueTooth ticpods. ( just listening to music, BT delay dont matter and i dont need audiophile while im out walking around during lunch .. )

I have to use the 'sit on edge ear' style, as if they go in the canal, migraine in 3...2...1...    Cant wrap around the ear for support either, like yours.  Tried that too, fail.

Same for any headphones that touch the ear..  nearly instant pain. Even the HUGE ones ( that you cant get now ) that sat on your head instead, would give me a headache, just not as fast.

Tried that 'neck sock vibrating thingie' back in the 80s, was neat.. didnt hurt, but terrible sound.    Now they have them that fit on your head, and are usable for most, but same problem for me, after a while the pressure gives me a headache. But not as fast as stuff touching my ears directly.


Always wanted to build a bone phone, from Pat Flanagan ( back before he went all pyramid conspiracy on us ).  its 100% electrical, no actual audio waves or anything on your head. But wont do stereo so never got around to doing it.

[#] Mon Aug 15 2022 17:40:32 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar

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On-ear and bone-conduction sets are interesting, and can be useful, but only for casual use.  If you're listening to a podcast it's fine.  If you're on stage singing or playing an instrument you need full fidelity sound and you usually need ambient sound mostly blocked out. 

Over at the church where I play in the worship band, we have little wireless packs for each musician so we can each get a custom mix.  It's controlled from an iPad on your music stand, which looks like this:

And yes, it's a tremendous waste of time.  In the past we had what the trade calls "more me boxes" which is just the house mix plus the ability to boost your own mic or instrument in your own monitor.  It doesn't require a separate mix and a separate channel for each musician, which as you might expect is a big time sink to maintain.

Anyway, when you're doing this kind of work you really need to be able to hear the full range of your voice or instrument, which for me right now is a Roland Juno-DS76 synth.  If my earphones don't cover the full frequency range without bias, I'm going to compensate for what I don't hear by playing those ranges and sounds louder.  That isn't what we want.

These little Behringer monitors are pretty good.  They are dual driver monitors, which means they have both a dynamic driver and a balanced armature driver, with a crossover, just like you'd build a speaker.  There are monitors that have up to eight drivers (and somehow still manage to fit in your outer ear) but they get up into the thousands of dollars.

[#] Mon Jun 19 2023 17:03:36 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar

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Wow, no A/V talk since last summer? Ok, I'll chime in.

For the last six years I've had a pair of classic Minimus-7 speakers from Radio Shack (built 30+ years ago) on the bookshelf in my home office as the computer audio system for this room. For much of that time I was using a $20 car stereo from walmart as the amplifier.

This weekend my family gifted me a Lepai LP-2020A amplifier as a father's day gift. I had forgotten that I'd even mentioned that I was thinking about one so it was a nice surprise. I hooked it up to the speakers and attached it to the audio output of my monitor, just like I had the other one set up.

It's pretty nice for a budget amp. I have to say Class D amplifiers really pack a lot of sound per watt of supply power. It's a little bit clearer and punchier than the old amp, and the presence of real dials on the front makes a difference for me. One of the reasons I wanted it was because the car stereo lost its settings whenever the power to the room was off, so I'd have to power it back on, switch it over to the Aux input, and then tune up the audio settings. Having regular dials that stay put is a nice thing, plus it simply looks far less ghetto than a repurposed car stereo ever did.

By the way, for those who don't know: the only difference between "Lepai" and "Lepy" is that the former is made exclusively for Parts Express. Other than that, every model is exactly the same between both brands.

[#] Mon Jun 19 2023 19:17:42 EDT from Nurb432

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class D is the switching modulator, right?  ( too lazy to look )

Trades analog quality for smaller amp size but with same output, from what i remember.... 

[#] Tue Jun 20 2023 12:18:55 EDT from fandarel

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A couple of months ago, I purchased a new pair of speakers for my home system.
A nice pair of Klipsch R-51M bookshelf speakers. Driving that is a 20-ish year old Pioneer amp I bought new as one of my first purchases out of college.
Sources are a Pioneer 300 disc CD changer, Pioneer tape deck, Pioneer turntable, and a Sony MDS series minidisc deck.

Sound is pretty darn good to my ears, especially over the 70s-era Panasonic 3-ways that they replaced, which were a dumpster dive about 10 years ago.
Before them I had a pair of Magnavox Balancers from around 1980. I wanted something with a smaller footprint since we're in a 2 bedroom apartment now.
Plenty of output for the current situation.
Anybody else still into minidisc? Majority of my listening is from vinyl, but for records I listen to often, I dump them to minidisc for convenience.

[#] Tue Jun 20 2023 12:27:03 EDT from Nurb432

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I used to be but like many flash memory won the day.. more space, not sensitive to vibration.

Tue Jun 20 2023 12:18:55 PM EDT from fandarel

Anybody else still into minidisc? 


[#] Tue Jun 20 2023 14:50:50 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar

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Yes, a class D amplifier is basically a switching modulator. It uses an input clock and a comparator so that the transistors are always either fully on or fully off, which keeps them from dissipating power. The output stage has a filter and a cap to smooth the output back out to something analog-sounding.

I've since learned that the Lepai/Lepy LP-2020A uses a Yamaha YDA138 amplifier chip, and if you're looking to build such an amplifier into a project, this chip is available on a board with all of the passive components; they are plentiful on eBay. These are not too different from the ones that I've purchased for bluetooth speaker projects, but obviously the latter also have bluetooth receiver chips on them.

But for an additional $10 the Lepy includes all of the knobs and switches and jacks in a nice aluminum case that looks good on the shelf. Totally worth it.

[#] Tue Jun 20 2023 14:51:52 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar

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I've never had a minidisc machine. What are they good for today, compared to storing everything on a computer?

[#] Tue Jun 20 2023 18:04:37 EDT from Nurb432

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They still do what they were made for, high quality digital music.



Tue Jun 20 2023 02:51:52 PM EDT from IGnatius T Foobar
I've never had a minidisc machine. What are they good for today, compared to storing everything on a computer?


[#] Wed Jun 21 2023 21:09:37 EDT from fandarel

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I've never had a minidisc machine. What are they good for today,
compared to storing everything on a computer?

All sorts of fun things. I always run without the proprietary compression, which means I only get 80 minutes of audio on a minidisc, but at CD quality.
My deck has both an analog input, connected to one of the tape loops on the amp, and a digital (TOSLINK) input that I've got plugged into the CD changer.
My main use is vinyl -> minidisc for either frequently played vinyl or albums I want to take somewhere else.
The player runs about 50 hours on a single AA battery with great audio quality, it frequently goes to work with me.
Could I do the same with a computer? Absolutely, and I do that frequently too. But minidisc confounds the youngins, minidiscs just keep ending up at my place for the cost of shipping or less, and it's fun to use a retro format.
It's significantly more robust than cassettes, which I refuse to get back into.
I'd make mix minidiscs if I had anyone at all to swap them with.

[#] Fri Jun 23 2023 17:40:14 EDT from Nurb432

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Rant:  Today's crop of music pirates.

Not that they do it, but they need to freaking learn the naming conventions setup by the pirates who preceded them . AND use correct tags ( hell tags at all sometimes.. ).. Takes forever to fix their stupidity. 


( and related, why the hell cant i buy a CD but can a download .. i want the CD..  )

[#] Fri Jun 23 2023 22:24:07 EDT from test2

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audio cd's are dead. amazing 50 year run. 8 track tape lasted 13 years. cassette tape lasted 30 ish years. albums live forever.

[#] Sat Jun 24 2023 07:39:51 EDT from Nurb432

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While i'm not an audiophile. ( i dont even play one on TV ). I will agree that analog IS better, if done correctly.

However. Unless you have a 10k laser turntable, every time you listen to vinyl, the sound is degraded a little more, and after a couple of years, even i can hear the difference. Its also hard to carry around your 45's to listen to in the car ( yes, that did exist in the 50s, comically.. ) and to be honest, in daily life you wont ever know the difference in decent digitized formats ( car, ear buds, etc ) . Plus you have the fact that most of the so-called turntables these days are digital inside.. so sort of defeats the entire concept. And ( tho i bet IG will disagree here.. ) If you dont watch your amp and get a class D as many are these days ( cheaper to produce and smaller ), its also fundamentally non-analog at its core. Always has been.

Back to me:  The reason i want physical CD ( and DVDs since laser disks are a distant memory ) is i want to own the object. Not just 'rent' use of the content on it.  Even if you think you bought the 'stream', dont forget what happened when Microsoft got out of the business.  Can happen to anyone and then you are stuck. Even if i wanted to get back into digitizing vinyl for daily use ( used to record to tape for daily use before CD-Rs and then solid state ), not every band makes them, and many who do, its hard to get them, but CDs are still there. ( especially with indi bands like i listen to )

I used to be the same with books, however due to size and being more practical for use i went to files only once e-ink was viable ( LCD books, no ). However, NO DRM.. my file. mine.

Fri Jun 23 2023 10:24:07 PM EDT from test2

audio cd's are dead. amazing 50 year run. 8 track tape lasted 13 years. cassette tape lasted 30 ish years. albums live forever.


[#] Tue Jun 27 2023 16:05:48 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar

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That's always been the truth; nothing beats the fidelity of *good* analog, because sound *is* analog. Digital began to thrive in the 1980's because of the quality it could provide even on inexpensive equipment. Later on, the ability to produce perfect digital copies became both the biggest thorn in the pigopolists' feet, and the very thing that enabled on-demand distribution models. All other things being equal, though, I think the pigopolists would prefer to go back to the days of selling records and tapes for $20.

The truth, however, is that 99% of the people listening can't tell the difference.
The market for audiophile-grade equipment is dwarfed by the market for cheap bluetooth speakers attached to someone's phone or tablet. Most homes don't have a central hifi system anymore. Even my technologically impaired boomer parents who are almost 80 retired their rack a long time ago. I'll bet most people have better audio in their car than they do in their home.

I get why people consider Class D amplifiers to be "digital" but that's really just a marketing gimmick. Converting an analog input to a modulated square wave and then smoothing it back out at the output stage doesn't really make it digital. And again, if you can make it good enough for 99% of the people and make it cheap, it's still a win. If I want to listen to the Philharmonic and try to guess how many flutes they have by listening closely, I'm not going to do it with the Lepy amp and Minimus-7's in my office; I'm going to do it on my main system downstairs.

Audio recordings, video recordings, and photographs are all data now. Most people here are tech savvy enough to know how to keep backups, and to avoid trusting clown services to retain your data long term. Follow the 3-2-1 rule of backups and you'll be fine.

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