paulwAV

Audio…a personal journey…


When I was born, my father owned a small town record shop...before that, both he and my grandfather played trumpet in Indy 500 pre-race parades. Very early in life, my father introduced me to jazz while my mother introduced me to classical. I can't play a lick, but music is certainly in my blood!


The late 1960’s rock bands cemented the foundation for my love of music and audio. Those bands possessed seeming endless creativity and energy consistent with the times. Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Jefferson Airplane, Buffalo Springfield…the list goes on and on. I would never lose touch with jazz and classical -in fact I enjoy both now more than ever- but those early rock bands were great! These were my college days…I had little money, but nearly always managed to have sound. My first speaker was a cheap driver with a whizzer cone mounted in a heavy shipping carton, the first turntable an old Garrard, but I had sound!


The 70’s bands were a continuation of the late 60’s for me…and the bands continued to build my interest in audio. A real paycheck gave me access to some of the better drivers of the day, including KEF, Polydax, Dynaudio, etc…I still own a pair of 24” Hartleys. However, other than understanding the basic functions of inductors, capacitors, and resistors, I lacked crossover design skills. My measurement equipment consisted of an ADC SPL meter and test tones on a couple of LPs, so I was nearly flying blind. I had a lot of fun building speakers but, by modern standards, none performed particularly well.


In the early 1980’s, results improved when I began building ribbon planars and large ESL panels. These were all two-way, so my crossover skills were not such a limiting factor as they were with the three and four ways in the 70’s. During the 80’s I used dipole and sealed bass modules and eventually built the big Hartleys into the fireplace…my first IB sub before I’d heard the term.


The music of the late 80’s and 90’s was not compelling and, by that time, life had become way too busy. All of my hobbies including sailing, skiing, racing, etc, suffered from an increasingly demanding work life. All of the equipment was sold or put in storage and serious audio was nearly forgotten for about fifteen years.


Ironically, DVD video rekindled my interest in audio. In 2000, my big-name-brand home theater speakers did not sound that good and, considering the money required for truly upscale commercial speakers, I thought I might be better off building my own…deja-vu.


I had not built a speaker since the early 80’s so I read several newer books on the subject, re-read my old books, armed myself with LspCAD, and restarted my long-lost hobby. The synergy of simulation and optimization software interacting with the books proved to be an extremely powerful learning tool…far better than either alone. Additionally, internet sites like those of Seigfried Linkwitz and John Kreskovsky have been incredibly helpful. Backed by these resources, subsequent measurements and simulations produced fairly quick success building a new generation of speakers.


Fast forward to today... Over the past 15 years or so I've implemented various audio projects, and these pages represent most of those projects to one degree or another. In one case, only one photo with no text has been found...others are fairly complete. Learning is a continuous process, so do not be surprised if there are contradictions in the pages! This site will be much like a blog, I'll continue to add info to individual pages as more is discovered or reconstructed.

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