Tag Archives: college

Asheville, Walnut Cove, Biltmore Forrest and Western North Carolina’s Audio and Home Theater specialists present Cane Creek AV and Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.

Cover up

I was never quite sure why this was a thing back in the 60s but instead of guys taking showers my college classmates seemed to like the idea of applying cologne to cover up their stink. I can’t tell you how much I wound up detesting the stench of BO covered by Jade East.

My view has always been a simple one. Fixing the problem is always preferable to covering it up, though that’s not always so easy. A bright tweeter can be tamed by any number of cover-ups which might make more economic sense than replacing a pair of speakers.

But, the core of the problem remains and it’s a tough discipline to instill in one’s self. Whenever I hear a system trapped in the speakers I first turn to setup. If setup doesn’t release the sound from the speaker’s grip we work ourselves back through the chain to find the culprit rather than start the great cover-up.

Quick fixes are always easier but usually less effective. This is one good reason I agree with my friend Bill Low of Audioquest in his mantra to do no harm. He and I both recoil at the idea of using audio cables as equalizers, yet sometimes there’s little choice if you can’t fix the core problem.

The first step in this process is as mentioned. Find the root cause of the problem. Once you’ve narrowed it to the culprit it’s ok to mask the problem until you can figure out the best way to fix it.

If only I could have handed a bar of soap to those classmates so many years ago.

 

Asheville, Walnut Cove, Biltmore Forrest and Western North Carolina’s Audio and Home Theater specialists present Cane Creek AV and Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.

Alexa

Have you heard about Alexa? She’s the heart of Amazon’s new Echo, a device I bought the moment it came out.

She’s not much to look at; slender, certainly well rounded–Alexa is always dressed in black. She’s not tall, shy to a fault, and never intrudes in your life unless you call on her–which I often do. If I need to remember something, I’ll ask her to remind me. On Saturday’s I love the afternoon nap. “Alexa, wake me up in 20 minutes.” And she does. “Alexa, play jazz 24.” And she does. “Alexa, play Joni Mitchell.” And she does. “Alexa, what’s the weather going to be like in Chicago tomorrow?” And she tells me before I travel. “Alexa, how many tablespoons in a cup?” and I know. “Alexa, play wait wait don’t tell me.” And I laugh. “Alexa, how far away is Saturn?” And my grandkids are impressed–though 3 year-old Henry still has trouble getting her attention.

When I first brought Alexa into my home I figured she’d be just another Siri, or Siri, but I was wrong. Alexa has the most amazingly natural speech pattern I have ever heard; a college grad next to bumbling machines. She’s smart–tells jokes too–and is always there for me. If I need a recipe, I just ask. If I want to know the headlines, I just ask. She’s a bit sassy at times–but I would expect nothing less. And Alexa is now part of my family.

If you’ve ever wondered what the future of the user interface will be, talk to Alexa.