President's Message
March 2008

1.  Last month's meeting with Joseph DeMarinis gave a fascinating look at the detail work needed to make accurate speaker measurements. Such a small thing as the curvature of the tweeter surround (varying with temperature and humidity) affected the measurements. We also learned about the Fourier Transform.

2.  Volumes 1-10 of the BAS Speaker will shortly be available as pdf files on CD.

3.  For audio equipment manuals (photocopies) see

4.  University of New Hampsire math professor Kevin Short helped give new life to a 1949 bootleg wire recording of a live Woody Guthrie concert. Now he's up for a Grammy as a remastering engineer for "The Live Wire: Woody Guthrie in Performance 1949", the only known recording of Guthrie performing before an audience. Guthrie wrote more than 1,000 songs in the 1930s and '40s, most as political commentary on poverty and social justice.

Short is renowned for his discovery of chaotic compression technology, which applies a mathematical theory known as chaos to audio, speech, video and image data. This allows the compression of large files to a fraction of the size and, with encryption, enables transmission in a wireless environmnet, such a downloading to a cell phone. Old analog tapes often were distorted by the mechanical effects of the recording instrument. He developed techniques for "de-wowing" recordings. His papers at scientific conferences caught the attention of Jamie Howarth, founder of Plangent Processes of Nantucket, Mass.Howarth is an Emmy award-winning musical producer, engineeer and session musician. When Howarth was called in for the Guthrie project, he brought in Short.

In 2001 a heavy package had been mailed to the Woody Guthrie Archives in New York City. Received shortly after the World Trade Center Attacks of Sept. 11, this strange package from an unknown sender, containing two spools of wire, was at first suspected to be a bomb. As it turned out, the box had been sent by an elderly man who pulled it out a of a closet in the process of moving.

Paul Braverman, as a student at Rutgers University in New Jersey, had brought a wire recorder to Guthrie's concert at Fuld Hall in Newark N.J. and captured the songs and dialog. Never capitalizing on his unauthorized recording, Braverman put the spools in a shoe box and stored it in a closet, where it remained for a half-century.

Nora Guthrie, daughter of Guthrie and director of the archives, searched for a year for a wire audio recorder. Finally, she found an audio restoration specialist who had converted a tape player to read wire, and hired a team of sound engineers led by Howarth and Steve Rosenthal of The Magic Shop, a recording studio in Manhattan. [Interestingly the longevity of the stainless steel wire is not an issue. In laboratory tests, wire has been played hundreds of thousands of times without degradation--DBH] "Kevin led us to a geater understanding of how best to re-clock the sound to undo the wow and flutter caused by the original machine's mechanical imperfections [presumably using the ubiquitous 60 Hz hum as a reference]," Howarth said. This is something we do routinely with film and tape, but the special challenge of the wire required a new angle on the mathematical model we ordinarily employ, and Kevin was instrumental in that regard." Union Leader December 07

Webmaster's Note: In a similar vein, see the NY Times article HERE.

5.  For BAS members out of town we have a special offer for Jazz lovers. A package of 30 Jazz CDs, randomly picked from Ira Leonard's collection, for $22 including shipping in the USA. To order, send a check, made out to "Boston Audio Society", to David Hadaway, POB 460, Rindge NH 03461. These were donated to the Society by Ira's brother, Joe Leonard.

President, Boston Audio Society

email me HERE


The Boston Audio Society
PO BOX 260211
Boston MA 02126

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updated 4/13/08