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Introductions anyone?

Phelonious Ponk

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#1
I know some of you. Maybe most, with a few posting here under different handles. So maybe it's time, in the immortal words of David Crosby, to "tell 'em who we are, man."

I'm Tim Farney, Phelonious Ponk, and I'm not here because I'm an engineer, but because you guys always had the most interesting posts on WBF. Why am I an "objectivist?" Two reasons -- 1) I've been a musician since I was a kid. I've lived up to my ears in sound -- home audio, headphone systems, studio audio, live audio -- and I've always preferred accurate over euphonic. That started when I traded my Altec Lansing Valencias and Kenwood integrated amp for a pair of large Advents and a Harmon Kardon and continues to me recent choice of small, powerful active PA speakers from QSC over bigger and more impressive-looking at nearly half the price. Better measurements and better sound just always seemed to go together in my ears. 2) If y'all talk real slow, I read everything twice then follow up with research, I might actually learn something. :)

Tim
 

amirm

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#2
Thanks for creating the thread Tim. It is a great idea for people who choose to participate. Here is my story.

My name is Amir Majidimehr. I grew up with electronics being my hobby which I shared with my two older brothers. We are talking 1960s here. My oldest brother was heavily into it, taking everything in the home apart and making something else out of it, much to chagrin of my dad. :D I was fascinated with that and would always try to learn from him. I don't recall how I got the HiFi bug. It may have been from building our own 10 watt stereo amplifier with my middle brother. But he and I just woke up one day and started to pester our parents to buy us a full stereo system. We finally got one and it was an Aiwa (owned by Panasonic) all-in-one cassette, AM/FM radio, amplifier and speakers. While a step above a transistor radio, it was pretty deficient in fidelity. We moved up to separates after that including a Reel-to-Reel deck (it was Akai or Teac). This is all in 1970s.

By late 1970s I naturally go to get my electrical engineering degree. Went to school in south florida and while there, my oldest brother decided to set up shop to fix all manners of electronics from audio gear to marine and Ham radios. At that time electronics was not throw away so there was good money there to fix them. On weekends I would go there and he would have a pile of gear set aside for me to fix. It was fantastic learning experience, cementing my knowledge of analog electronics, resulting in not learning almost anything useful in school to surpass it!

By then CD format was launched. I put aside all of my records and turntable and jumped right in, buying the Technics (Panasonic) CD player. Loved the clean, static-free, random access format. Content was a problem though. The rack at local Record shop had just a few dozens. I think I bought everything that was there whether I liked it or not! I got into some new music though such as New Age stuff by Windham Hill and George Winston.

My day time career though was managing hardware and software development of computer system. As much as I loved computers, I wanted a way to get into audio as a profession some how. Went to work for Sony but that turned out to be managing design and development of operating system and computer hardware down to chip level. Left to go work for a company called Abakas Video systems. There I managed the development of very high-end video products designed for editing and special effects for high-end post production (editing) of TV programming. Learned a ton about what it takes to make video really right at standards well above prosumers. Helped sell that company and then moved to another in the same business called Pinnacle Systems which is now part of Avid.

Around that time the World Wide Web came to existence with Netscape forming and creating its famous browser. I was itching to get onto that new trend and opportunity came in the form of a start up that was trying to stream video on the internet. This was in the era of 28 kilobit/sec dial-up modes. Compression rates for video was 10,000 to 1. In other words, impossible. But with a ton of clever programming and advanced audio and video compression, we got there with a postage stamped video. This got the attention of Microsoft and in 1997 they acquired our company and I moved from California to Seattle where I still live.

There, my audio experience took center stage with my first job being managing a dozen PhD researchers and engineers aiming to beat MP3 fidelity by a factor of two. That is, where MP3 was limited to 22 KHz sampling, we wanted CD sampling of 44 on the same dial-up modem link. Long story short, we managed to do that more or less. This got the attention of Bill Gates who had a special passion for what we were doing. I rose up in ranks, eventually managing everything that made sound, video or images in Windows. I ran the full division including marketing, business development, etc. It was a pretty large division numbering around 1,000 employees but I still stayed hands on with core audio/video technologies.

I also built strong relationships with all the major CE companies, getting our technologies licensed in every audio/video products. An example is our video compression technology being mandatory in Blu-ray format. All in all, billions of devices are in play today with technology developed in my group in that era.

I decided to retire from Microsoft in 2007 with all the changes coming (started with BillG retiring). Did a start up with my partner in LA that we sold to major companies a few years ago. In parallel, I started a company called Madrona Digital which specializes in mid to high-end of the residential and commercial market. The work is custom integration of everything from audio to video and security, shades, lighting, networking, etc. The company has grown successfully and has given me great access to audio technology. It has provided a path for me to interact with the industry behind the scenes, learning the ins and outs of the business and motivations behind the products.

Today I have my dream audio system which other than some minor changes, I will go to grave with :). It is far more than I deserve to own, but I don't complain :). Being mostly retired, I spend a lot of time listening to it and enjoying it immensely.

My approach to audio is of course relying on audio research, and engineering. I balance that though with desire for excellence in execution. I am not an extreme objectivist in that regard, saying everything sounds the same. At the same time, having participated in hundreds of audio tests, no way do I go by sighted evaluations of small differences. I pride myself in having critical listening abilities, able to usually find faults that others can't. That ability however has degraded with age but I think I still do OK :).

Teaching and interacting online is also my passion. So much so that when my doctor asks if there is any stress in my life, I confess to being on forums and arguing with folks :).

As you can see, I also type too much. Hopefully you found it useful and gave you a bit more perspective on who I am.
 
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amirm

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#7
Nah. That is just the name on the door. We are here to tease the heck out of each other. Hope you are up for that and explain in this thread how you went about wasting a good education to get in speaker building business.
 

AJ Soundfield

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#8
That's easy. I like what I do and I know better than to make it a living. It's far more of a hobby than a business, in that I don't care one whit what the market wants. I'm building what I want.
 

TBone

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#9
Hi Tim, my name is Anthony, but you can call me anything you wish. My audiophile story is based on pure jealousy rooted from a young teenager having to live with a step-brother who played and practice his amazing guitar(s) near every night. This jealousy was further compounded during school, where he played a few solo concerts and become far more popular than I ever could. Worse, up north camping, his guitar playing managed to gravitate near every female for miles around towards our camp fires. That may sound like a win/win situation from the outside looking in, but in reality, I hardly "achieved" second dibs.

So, in order to retaliate, I became an audiophile. Still waiting for the chicks tho ...

:pTB1
 

fas42

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#10
Howdy all ... yes, thanks to Tim for kicking this off - just discovered this place ... where was I looking when the word got around ...

I'm Frank Steinke, good ol' fas42, been causing a bit of mischief for quite a few years now on these here varmity forums, with my "peculiar" ideas ... of course more and more people are slowly catching on, all it takes is a bit o' time for more and more people to stumble over, or bump into interesting things ...

Cheers for now ...
Frank
 

fas42

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#12
No worries, Bob ;) ... BTW, I see that you're not shooting for the Stars anymore, the Sky's the limit now, eh ...
 

wgscott

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#14
If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.
 

Blumlein 88

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#15
I was born, but don't remember it. My sister was born and I do remember it. My first memory in fact.

My parents were great and over-achieved in raising me.

Some stuff happened. Some good, some bad. I can't complain, but sometimes I still do.

Now I am a member here.

Oh so you wanted something more audiophile oriented.

Okay, my first sound system was a record player with a nice steel needle you were supposed to replace every 100 hours. From the green stamp store. Mom's sewing needles fit it just fine. My aunt's hand me down 45s never sounded so good (well at least to me). You know Little Richard, Bo Diddley, Fats Domino, Elvis etc. I also picked up empty soft drink bottles to get the deposit money and buy my own 45s. "Here come the Judge" and the "Twist" and "Johnny B Goode" were early purchases. I remember the pain of the price going to 88 cents each. Then the despair of non-deposit, non-returnable bottles becoming the norm.

Next was a 9 transistor AM pocket radio obtained with plaid stamps. Heard my first Jimi Hendrix tune over that. I first heard FM radio riding in my Dad's 1964 Corvette with the Wonderbar AM-FM radio. No static at all. There were only 3 stations in town and one of them was an illegal pirate station playing all the best rock.

I don't play records anymore, but I do listen to Hendrix now and again. The current system(s) are of improved quality. Yet I wouldn't mind listening in a 1964 Corvette again.
 
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amirm

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#16
Let me mention that personal introductions are completely voluntary. Please don't feel you have to have one. I wrote mine because as the site founder, I thought you should know a few things about me. But otherwise, I tend to shy away from these myself. If you do write one however, I appreciate it and read with interest :).
 

TitaniumTroy

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#17
Greetings from South Bend/Mishawaka IN. Long time audiophile/hi-fi enthusiast or audio nutjob. I don't get hung up on names or cables, tubes, strange tweaks or the mystic side of audio. I try to stay with planer speakers in general, but I try to keep an open mind to all kinds of speakers, I really want to hear the JBL M2's, and Gedlee Sumo's, and Graz's refurbished Apoogee and GT Audio's hybrid planer 2.5, also interested in room acoustics. I have lots of diffusion and and various absorption panels and corner traps, with my Magnepan 3.6's, MMGC center channel (not currently in use) 10.1 surrounds and SVS Ultra Plus 2 subwoofer, main amp is NAD 218THX, legacy Integra A/V controller.

I have been to all 3 AXPONA's in Chicago and would like to say Hi to AJ, I always like hearing his speakers. Some of the other people I have met their are from the Audio Circle forum. I hope to meet Amir, maybe he can give me some tips on listening to speakers. Or maybe not him not being a planer fan, just kidding, Amir.
 
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amirm

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#18
Hi TitaniumTroy. Thanks for the intro and welcome to the forum. Look forward to meeting you in person at AXPONA. It is my first time there and by the list of exhibitors, it seems like a good show.
 

hvbias

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#19
Hi, thought I would introduce myself to the forum. I recently started listening to headphones again and came across some great articles from Bob Katz on EQ'ing them to target curves. I was mostly listening to vinyl, but after switching to an all electrostat speaker and headphone system the deficiencies in the noise floor, detail and IM distortion become hugely obvious which led me back to digital and fortunately I never sold off my several thousand discs which I've been slowly ripping. Having a science background by nature (physician) the how and why we hear what we do has always interested me and I plan to take my playback system more toward digital/DSP based for the speaker and headphone portion. Current areas of interest are room acoustics, we're planning to have a custom built room in our next house, once we figure out where to settle :)
 

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