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Tower of Power

Posted on 2007.01.18 at 19:39


ehowton at 2007-01-21 15:48 (UTC) (Link)
Knobs and button's mean nothing? Perhaps. As usual, sir, you not only entirely miss the point, but you're also incorrect. Your 'mixing board' example is irrelevant. Let me explain.

You have one amp with two speakers. Your amp has four knobs. "Power," "Volume," Treble," and "Bass." Now, if you're the type of person who thinks even those last two buttons are overkill - you win. But not for the audiophile/music lover. Take those two buttons and multiply them by an entire piece of equipment to control those things with perfection. Now double that because your basic 2-speaker layout doesn't apply to our setup. Now add that amount of control to each and every component we had.

I think you may be beginning to understand that you sir, truly have, NO POINT OF REFERNCE.
Tomas Gallucci
schpydurx at 2007-01-21 19:48 (UTC) (Link)
What I'm saying is that the amount of knobs is irrelevant. If I wanted to, I could control everything via software providing one knob and make you cycle through the menu system to get to the control you want to adjust. The number of knobs means nothing to me, much like they mean nothing to the professional user.

Whereas you may walk into a professional recording studio and be impressed by how many knobs, buttons and sliders are available for play, it means nothing to me because it is redundant. The number of knobs does not indicate how useful a piece of hardware is, rather it's functionality does.
ehowton at 2007-01-21 20:04 (UTC) (Link)
You're not even listening to me.
Tomas Gallucci
schpydurx at 2007-01-21 20:41 (UTC) (Link)
No sir, you are continuing to make an argument that is in truth a non sequitur.
ehowton at 2007-01-21 21:18 (UTC) (Link)
Let me rephrase - you're not compreheding my words. Yes SoundBlaster makes a nice 24-bit audio card, and yes you can bring up Windows Media Player equalizer to adjust the sound of your Logitech's to play your compressed mp3's.

And someday they may be able to recreate multiple solid-state components pushing 800-total watts out of speakers as large as your Suzuki. But your current desktop is NOT going to recreate that, and no, you have no idea apparently of the type and quality of sound I'm talking about. That's ok - I'm not attacking you.
Tomas Gallucci
schpydurx at 2007-01-22 01:03 (UTC) (Link)
There are a few issues that need to be addressed here. First of all, I am not arguing that the lack of knobs or buttons is better or worse then the presence of knobs or buttons. I am simply stating that their mere existence is only a means to an end, i.e. the ability to tweak various parameters. By this reasoning, we can conclude that it doesn't matter how such tweaking is implemented, so long as the tweak can be performed.

If you wanted to make an argument about the most efficient way to tweak, I will concede that having a physical control for each parameter gives the most readily available ease of control. However, it should be noted that too much control could indeed exist. Consider a graphical equalizer (EQ) which would allow you to tweak every available frequency in the range of hearing. It would be impractical.

I do not use Windows Media Player, I use Winamp. Secondly, I prefer to use Digital Sound Processors or DSPs instead of graphical EQs. Lastly, your subtle scorn of MP3s is inconsistent with your behavior and we will address that topic shortly.

Sound is waves of energy in a specific frequency range, 20Hz to 20kHz. More to the point, sound is vibrations. This principal is the cornerstone to the recording industry. Microphones turn the kinetic energy of sound into electrical energy producing an electronic representation of the sound wave. This in an analog process; i.e. it is a continuous process. For the duration that a sound is made, the microphone will continue to produce the electrical version of the sound.

There have been various methods and mediums to record sound on over the years. I have chosen magnetic tape for our example. The current from the microphone eventually reaches the magnetic head in the tape recorder after the signal has passed through all of the signal processing devices the sound engineer chooses to pass the sound through, i.e. mixing consoles. The magnet reacts in accordance to the signal that it is being sent and writes a continuous stream of information on the tape. As you have noted previously in this post, tape hiss was one hurdle to overcome, hence digital technology.

As the name implies, an Analog to Digital Converter or ADC converts analog signals into digital ones. This, however, poses a problem: when recording onto a digital medium such as a CD, there is only so much data that can be put into a finite space. Specifically when addressing digital audio data, there is a loss of data when compared to the original analog signal. Hence, CDs are technically a lossy format, but due to Nyquist's Theory, this is a non-issue as perceived by the human ear.

Compact Discs or CDs sample one hundred forty four thousand times a second. Conversely, DVDs sample one hundred ninety-two thousand times a second, therefore capturing more data then CDs. Here is your inconsistency: you constantly complain that MP3s are vile because they are compressed and are lossy, but you do not complain that CD audio isn't as good as DVD audio. According to your logic, you should hold yourself to this highest standard, but you don't. Just because an MP3 has a low bitrate doesn't mean it's going to be a less the pleasant sound or that you will be able to hear the compression.

As to 's description, I realize now why he mentioned the number of controls: he is a photographer and is therefore thinking visually. While I'm sure that the Tower of Power was indeed aesthetic, the only point I have tried to make through this whole debacle is that the number of controls does not equate to the greatness of the conglomerate. Were that the case, the it would be a fact that War and Peace is the best novel in existence simply because it has the more words then any other novel, and that if one aspired to write the best novel on the planet, one need only write a novel that had one more word then War and Peace. But come sir, we know that this is a ridiculous conclusion much like it is an equally ridiculous conclusion that all of your controls is what made the Tower of Power great.

ehowton at 2007-01-22 01:53 (UTC) (Link)
Digital Sound Processors - they're ass. They're used when you're trying to recreate the Tower of Power with a computer and some Logitech speakers. They try to add 'depth of field' by adding, off all things, a filter of reverberation to trick your mind into hearing something that's not there by subtly modifying its timing to your ears. You absolutely cannot replace equalization with DSP effects. The equalizers we used were dual, 24-band equalizers used for boosting and cutting different bands.

MPEG Layer-3 Compression - This is the great lie. You, no doubt, are young enough to believe it, and that's not your fault. I don't blame you for being brainwashed. But I do blame you for not listening when you hear the truth. I'll start with an example. Most people who watched VHS movies all the time and would occasionally come over to watch a laserdisc didn't really see (or hear) the difference in quality. However, those who watched laserdiscs exclusively, had a very difficult time stomaching the poor quality of both when viewing a VHS tape. They were complete and total ass, but unless you were acclimated with quality, it was lost on you. Here's the great lie, in a nutshell: "Because the compression affects mainly the highs and lows the human ear cannot hear anyway, the loss is minimal." They don't call it lossly compression for nothing. The truth of the matter is, though its true you cannot hear it, when you have something as profound as the Tower of Power hearing is approximately one-half the equation. Those things you cannot hear provide width and depth to the music. That's why even the Tower of Power can not, and will not, ever compete with a live symphony orchestra. You can literally 'feel' the music! You simply cannot recreate that. The Tower of Power was our attempt at coming close, and come close we did.

As far as the number of knobs and buttons - and please, I hope to be able to say this only once - there were only as many knobs and buttons as there needed to be. There weren't any 'extra' buttons, or buttons just for show. I wish you'd get the whole button thing out of your system. Each knob had its own useful purpose.

Thank you.
Tomas Gallucci
schpydurx at 2007-01-22 08:21 (UTC) (Link)
Digital Sound Processors
Just so you know, a 24 band EQ means nothing to me. I ran sound at church for a number of years and have worked with many EQs. The EQ we ran to the house was a 30 band EQ with frequency response (for feedback identification). And let's set the record straight, all an EQ does is allow you to set how much of a specific frequency you want to pass through to the next link in the chain. Therefore, any EQing is, in fact, a bastardization of the source material. Discuss.

EQing can be done both digitally or analog. Discuss.

EQing can be performed digitally on a digital medium. Disucss.

MPEG Layer-3 Compression
While I understand your point about removing JNDs, the fact remains that speakers today have a frequency response of 20Hz-20kHz, thereby allowing for output in the total range of human hearing. Ergo, if you have source material that contains all of the frequency information, you will get a faithful reproduction. Discuss.

If you were to attend a live performance of an orchestra, depending on where you are in the auditorium, you will have a different listening experience. With sound systems, the general idea is to have a consistent reproduction. Discuss.

You still don't get it, do you? At first I was responding to what I thought was a ridiculous statement by photogoot when he went out of his way to tell me know many controls the Tower of Power had, because I thought he was bragging about this fact in an effort to claim that the many controls made the Tower of Power the best sound system in the world. However, upon closer inspection, context would lead one to believe that he is continuing the visuals since his comment started with, I believe I have but one photograph of it, and its a polaroid. In an earlier comment, I came to the conclusion that my initial reaction was incorrect. However, you seem to be making the argument and I keep telling you that while your many controls might have impressed the girls and overwhelmed lesser minds, I am not amused in the least bit because I play with bigger toys as well as the fact that all of those controls are redundant in functionality, even if that functionality is needed iteratively. I have never stated that you had more controls then were necessary. What I have said is you don't impress me with how many controls you have. It's not like each control did something specific that no other control in your configuration did ergo, redundancy. Discuss.
ehowton at 2007-01-23 22:56 (UTC) (Link)

I've got culture coming out of my ass.

Just so you know, your conclusions on the EQ mean nothing to me. Your wrong, and I'm tired of arguing about it with you.

Please stop saying you understand my point about the frequency response of speakers and the range of the human ear. The fact that you mention it all tells me that you do NOT understand my point, and possibly never will.

The general idea is not to have consistent reproduction, its to have flawless reproduction. I got close, it sounds as if you never will. Your entire life from this point forward will be mired in mediocrity because of it.

Each knob did exactly something specific that no other control in my configuration did, and that sir, was, and always has been my point. It saddens me that you cannot see it.
photogoot at 2007-01-24 03:25 (UTC) (Link)

Re: I've got culture coming out of my ass.

The point, that I believe is lost here, can be discerned by examining some simple questions…

Why do some pilots choose to fly a bi-plane when a closed cockpit Cessna would do the job more efficiently, safer, and with less fuel.

The answer is style.

Why do some people choose to read a novel when they could easily watch the movie in less time?

The answer is style.

Why do some drivers choose to drive a 35 year old MG with a torn rag top and dull paint when a new Toyota Celica costs the same and is safer and more reliable?

The answer is style.

Why would a traveler choose a train trip that takes 10 times as long as an airline flight and costs 3 times as much money?

The answer is style.

What we did, we did for ourselves. We shared it. We reminisce in the joy it brought us. We appreciated that it was the highest evolution of what it was. It was a goal achieved. The tower of power is a symbol of these things and more to us.

Why do some men listen and some men who have perfect ears never hear?

The answer is style my friends, the answer is style.
ehowton at 2007-01-24 04:01 (UTC) (Link)

Re: I've got culture coming out of my ass.

You know, before I bought my car, I was considering the Aston Martin Vanquish, but when I tallied up total cost of ownership, the Cavalier just seemed a better value.
photogoot at 2007-01-24 04:05 (UTC) (Link)

Re: I've got culture coming out of my ass.

And you knew the answer before you began tallying the cost, yet you considered it anyway.


The answer my friend is style...
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