Audio News for August 21, 2006

by | Aug 21, 2006 | Audio News | 0 comments

iPod Hearing Losses – A man in Louisiana has filed a lawsuit against Apple, claiming that the iPod caused his hearing loss.  The devices can produce sound levels over 115dB, and his complaint says exposure to that for as little as 28 seconds a day can damage to hearing. Experts say all digital music players can cause hearing loss if improperly used. Apple has offered a software update to limit the maximum level on iPods.

Protective Ear Plugs – Professional hearing protection is not cheap. Foam earplugs are not very effective. The average cost for a pair of Musician’s Earplugs is from $150 to $200, according to the web site for Etymotic Research. They recommend their ER15 custom-molded ear plugs at $130. They also have the ER20 at only $12 a pair, which give 20dB attenuation and are not custom-molded. For frequent fliers experiencing ear-pressure pain, CirrusHealthCare.com has Ear-Planes (about $6 a pair), which have a controlled leak so your in-ear air pressure doesn’t change as rapidly as the cabin pressure does.

Setting Us Straight On Cables – Bill Whitlock, president and chief engineer of Jensen Transformers made some pertinent cable points in a recent letter to CE Pro magazine: “XLR” is not a cable type but a connector. The cable is properly described as a “shielded twisted pair.” Signal symmetry has nothing to do with Balanced lines. The impedance-to-ground of the two lines in a balanced connection is what gives it its superior noise-rejection properties. The impedance of digital audio cables is unimportant unless it is longer than about 4000 feet. It is essentially impossible to make a true 75-ohm RCA connector, but it is possible to build a true 75-ohm BNC connector. Therefore, Component Video cables should be using BNC, not RCA plugs and jacks. The length constraints being discussed relating to DVI and HDMI cables is due to the miniature coaxial cables being used with their tiny connectors that increase high-frequency losses. “If they were wired with full size cables, there would be no such constraints. I find it ironic that as video resolutions and bandwidth increase, these tiny invaders from computer geekdom are encouraging consumers to throw it away.” [Perhaps this explains why some AV reviewers have found that the audio using the latest HDMI connections is poorer than other digital or analog connection options, and now are finding that even the video is often worse than when using a component cable!…Ed.]

Three-Hour Beethoven Ninth? – Complete autograph sketches for Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony were recently discovered during spring cleaning at a library in upper Austria. Beethoven scholar Hans Besserwisser has completed a full orchestration based on the sketches, and it has created a stir in the classical music world. Described as “a confident realization of Beethoven’s wishes, unhampered by commercial realities,” it runs nearly three hours. A recording of the work by the Vienna Tonkunstler Orchestra will be issued this fall. It will include a printed commentary by Beethoven on the performance practice of various sections of the work – deciphered from what was once thought to be eraser smudges in the margins of the manuscripts. [Adapted from an April Fool’s piece by David D. Hadaway.]

Today’s items all came from the publication of the Boston Audio Society  – The BAS Speaker – Vol. 28, 2nd issue. Thanks to the nation’s most active audio society for permission.  www.bostonaudiosociety.org/ 

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