Thursday, March 19, 2015

田納西華爾滋 Tennessee Waltz

我讀中山國小,是個重視音樂教育的學校.每個班都要參加班級樂隊比賽.也不知為何,我從一年級開始,就被指定吹口風琴一直到小學畢業.我與這樂器的 love-hate 關係,在此不表.


很多很多年之後,我在美國唸完書都在工作了.有一次開車下班時,在收音機上聽到紀念 Patti Page 的節目,裏頭撥放了她唱的版本.那時才猛然察覺,自己竟然從未把這曲的歌詞弄清楚過.回家 Google 一下,讀清楚了才知道,這是首多麼悲傷的歌.嚴格說來其歌詞的意境不算高,感覺和一些描述悲情苦戀的台語歌曲十分類似.

但想當年為什麼主辦人會挑這首為指定曲,是個耐人尋味的問題.如果單就那悲恨的意識形態,其實頗有兒童不宜之顧慮.難道單純的只是因為旋律簡單動聽,適合10歲左右的小孩?還是因為主事者的喜好,甚至對她/他來說此曲有特別的意義,sentimental value?從這方面繼續想像,似乎可以擴張成一部電影,或十集日劇的好題材…

"Tennessee Waltz"
I was dancin' with my darlin to the Tennessee Waltz
When an old friend I happened to see.
I introduced him to my darlin' and while they were dancin'
My friend stole my sweetheart from me.

I remember the night and the Tennessee Waltz
Now I know just how much I have lost
Yes, I lost my little darlin' the night they were playin'
That beautiful Tennessee Waltz

Now I wonder how a dance like the Tennessee Waltz
Could have broken my heart so complete
Well I couldn't blame my darlin', and who could help fallin'
In love with my darlin' so sweet

Well it must be the fault of the Tennessee Waltz
Wish I'd known just how much it would cost
But I didn't see it comin', it's all over but the cryin'
Blame it all on the Tennessee Waltz

She goes dancin' with the darkness to the Tennessee Waltz
And I feel like I'm falling apart
And it's stronger than drink and it's deeper than sorrow
This darkness she left in my heart

I remember the night and the Tennessee Waltz
Cause I know just how much I have lost
Yes I lost my little darlin' the night they were playin'
That beautiful Tennessee Waltz

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Vibration Tuning and Isolation, Part 1

Why placing different type of "feet" under an audio compment makes so much difference in sound?

To me, this question has never been fully answered over the past 20+ years. I still vividly remember the day when I borrowed some Tip Toes made by Mod Sqaud and placed them under the intergrated amp I was using. The sonic difference literally amazed me into calling every audiophile friend I knew sharing my discovery. Part of the amazement came from the fact that, as a college student in electrical engineering, I could not find anything in the text books or literature that can scientifically explain the phenomenon. By all calculations, the difference in electrical properties is so small, it should not be measurable by lab instruments, let alone percievable by human ears, supposedly with very limited frequency response. Later on, many people including quite a few self-proclamed experts have offered various "theories", some made a bit of sense, others were quite far feteched.

At this day and age, I have concluded that, this is probably one of the "myseries" in audio that we have to live with until the days we understand better how human hearing (including the ears, brain and perhaps others) works.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Effects of Vibration Isolation 避震之重要

For years I've been telling my audiphile friends that the three key elements to get the best sound from an audio system are 1) Optimizing the speaker and room interactions, 2) Quality AC power to all components, and 3) Vibration elimination and control of all components. The specifics of each will be further explained in future posts. Here I'll just give another surprising discovery to support 2) and 3).
The other day I finally muster enough will power to set up one of the Newport air suspension table (details at in my Taipei home. I've been using two such devices in my system in the US for many years, one under the LP player (an Immdedia RPM-2), the other shared by the preamp and phono stage. This time, I tried to put it under the PS Audio Power Plan Premier which is feeding power to all the front end devices, the pre and power amps, and the Quad ESL-989 speakers.

The sonic improvements are immediate and astounding. The silence becomes much darker and quiter. Some recordings, in which the instrument positions were thought to be lined up in the same 2-D plane, now take on the full 3-D glory.