There have always been Katy Perry's, One Direction's, Justin Bieber's and Rihanna's, we just called them Madonna, Tiffany, Leif Garrett, Bay City Rollers, David Cassidy, the 1910 Fruitgum Company, the Monkees, Pat Boone and Fabian. But popular music was able to transcend the pre-packaged boring artists the middle-men relentlessly shoved into our ear canals because good artists performing good songs always found their way through the clutter.
Most of us non- or marginally-scientific types aren't necessarily interested in the equations to describe a whispering gallery wave, but that doesn't mean we can't visit places where they exist and have conversations with each other while facing the walls on opposite sides of the room. In fact, the next time you're visiting somewhere and you see people talking into the wall remember: They are either a) nuts, or b) having fun with whispering gallery waves.
Every once in a while we get feedback about our products that make us so proud of what we do we have to share. Anyone in the New York who has listened to the radio at any time in the past few decades knows Jimmy Fink. Jimmy is now the afternoon drive DJ for New York's 107.1 The Peak, a bona fide rock and roll radio station where you can catch tunes from across the rock and roll spectrum.
On Thursday, February 13, KEF America hosted an evening of discussion and music at MSR Studios in mid-town Manhattan. Hosted by our Brand Ambassador Johan Coorg, our featured guest was studio legend Ken Scott with special guests Staying for the Weekend, an indie rock outfit from Nashville. Hit the JUMP for a full account of an amazing evening.
Ken Scott, whose production credits and discography span a veritable who's who of important artists (and their albums) over the past 40 years, will be the featured guest speaker at our Masters of Sound event on February 13 at MSR Studios in Manhattan. I got the extreme pleasure of picking Ken's brain (and selfishly asking him the questions I've wanted to ask for a long while) last week.
To most of us, music has become like Facebook: We've got a lot of friends, but not a lot of close relationships. Technology has made it possible to easily and cheaply own more music than ever before, but it has also separated us from our enjoyment of the art of music. We have become hoarders, which isn't a bad thing, but along the way, we've lost our relationship with music.
On February 13, KEF America will host our Masters of Sound discussion about the important link between high quality sound, the artist's vision and the music fan's level of enjoyment featuring world-renowned producer Ken Scott. Featured performers will be Nashville-based Staying For the Weekend, a band on the cusp of sharing the throne currently held by the likes of Kings of Leon and The Lumineers (okay, Staying For the Weekend rocks a bit harder and plays a bit louder then the Lumineers, but check out the writing and performing chops of each and you'll see why I made the comparison).
Recently, Ben Matthews, guitarist and keyboardist from Thunder, and a well-respected audio engineer and producer in his own right, sat down with me for approximately ten questions about playing in front of 100,000 people, recording, and whether or not the kazoo is actually a musical instrument.
Loudness Wars: Where There Is No Quiet There Can Be No Loud. Except When There Can Be, Or Something...
Back in the days of the 45RPM 7" single (the MP3 of its day), radio station program directors would get stacks and stacks of new material across their desks on a weekly basis. The problem label pitchmen faced was how to get their horrible song noticed before everybody else's horrible song (the good songs didn't need much help).
I had the pleasure of speaking with founder and Executive Director Terri Winston last week about WAM, audio in general, and my favorite subject – the state of the music industry.
Which Amplifier Is Best For My Speakers, Part 1: RMS, Peak-to-Peak, PMPO. Which Will Explode First, Your Amp, Your Speakers, Or Your Head?
The system was loud enough, it just sounded like crap. The mid-range was non-existent because of all the clipping and the highs were so muddy and distorted that they actually made my sinuses hurt. There was bass though. Lots and lots of bass. I tried in vain to explain to him why he was going deaf at an alarming rate, but I guess all the technical details were just boring. He just wanted his system to be loud enough.
I haven't seen this person in years and years, but I am sure a significant portion of his monthly income now goes to keeping his hearing aid batteries fresh. His system was developing plenty of SPL, it was unfortunately just not musical SPL, it was mostly noise SPL.
Hopefully there are some useful hints here, but remember three very important things:
Deal with people who know what they're talking about and whom you trust.
Listen to each component whenever possible but understand that how it sounds in the showroom is not how it is going to sound at home. If you're buying without listening, on-line for example, buy from a manufacturer whose reputation for not fudging the numbers can be trusted.
If your components and speakers sound good in the showroom (especially your speakers) they will very typically sound the same or better at home.
In the not very distant past, well, like 20 years ago, musicians got their publicity through pretty much two avenues: radio and the 8x10 glossy photo. Once the Internet was invented, the 8x10" glossy went the way of the dial telephone, in much the same way the CD and free-time both became things of the past.
While convenient, this is mostly a shame.
Well, the title pretty much sums this piece up. December is a time for two things: Lists and non-stop Christmas music.
For your convenience I have combined the two in my Definitive List of the Top Ten Christmas Songs. Ever. It is likely that you will disagree with every song on this list, and that's okay...enjoy your holiday season anyway!
One Sad and Lonely Music Lover's Journey Through the World of High-End Audio, Or, Who Will Listen To Music After All the Audiophiles Die Off?
Can a music enthusiast go from a $39.00 record player to the pinnacle of the audio world and still keep his love for music intact? Do green magic markers actually make your CDs sound better? (Hint: no) Does any of this really matter? Read all this and more as one sad and lonely music enthusiast tells his personal journey through uni-directional speaker cables and audio black-out goggles.
Today marks the 42nd anniversary of arguably the most iconic building fire in all of rock and roll history.
On December 3, 1971, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention were playing a closing night show at the Montreux Casino in Montreux, Switzerland, when, as the song tells us, some guy shot a flare into the ceiling and burned the place to the ground...
There are two radically opposing schools of thought regarding the need to burn-in, or break-in, new speakers. With some experience and a word directly from KEF's engineers, here's the low-down on what you can expect from your new speakers when you pull them out of the box.
Serious music fans and audiophiles alike all agree on one thing: Dave Brubeck's Take 5 is an essential part of the American musical conversation.
Here's a quick, and not-very-scholarly look at the quintessential American jazz song.