THE DIGITAL DEVIL
THE 4TH WAVE REVOLUTION
Dr. Harvey "Gizmo" Rosenberg
Techno-Shaman of Coolosity
BUT FIRST A TRUE STORY FROM THE KEN KESSEY OF THE AUDIO INDUSTRY
ABOUT A LESSON HE LEARNED FROM JESUS CHRIST AND WOMEN IN BLACK IN MOSCOW IN 1989
I convinced Mikhail Gorbachev and the Supreme Soviet, in 1989, to celebrate Christmas for the first time with America. Because of that I spent lots of time in Moscow, in a small dingy room at the Sovietska Hotel that was reserved high Communist officials and official guests of the Supreme Soviet, waiting...waiting..and more waiting.... with nothing to do but think, and I thought about music and audio. Then one beautiful early spring Sunday morning my "KGB Guide" picked me up in his dilapidated Lada and drove me to outskirts of Moscow, and told me that I was being taken to an historic event: for the first time since the beginning of the Soviet revolution, eighty years ago, a monastery was open for public prayer.
Surrounding the ancient monastery (which I was told had been converted to a sewing machine factory in 1919) was an ocean of women in black. I could see the newly gilded golden spires ablaze in the morning sun above the walls..and the bells started to peal...the big black cast iron doors creaked opened, and I was sucked into the courtyard and immediately tripped and fell because so many women in black were down on their hands and knees kissing the ground...and I too got down and kissed the ground...and I too could feel the presence of Jesus Christ, and his spirit lifted me. ...and I am a nice Jewish boy/thermionic techno-shaman born in Brooklyn.
As I stood in the chapel listening and trying to mumble along with the Russian chanting...I said to myself..."Wow...this is really cool...Jesus Christ finally beat out Lenin...it took him eighty years, and millions were sacrificed in the waiting, hoping and in faith".
Later, back in my dingy Sovietska room, lying on my bed I asked..."Why was I at that monastery"....I had no answer then, so the rest of the day I thought about audio, and watched the "Planet of the Apes" on a tiny black and white TV with the apes and Charlton Heston speaking Russian. This day is embossed in my soul.
I have a better answer to that question now.
We, the PF community, the rebels, are doing a very important job. We are the witnesses to an important struggle. It is not that just music quality matters. It matters that we care so passionately about beauty. And It matters that we share these very intimate feelings. It matters, amidst the artistic squalor and dumbing down of our industry there is a place ( PF) to keep faith in the highest standards the audio arts alive. I believe this is true because PF is Daves way of keeping himself Wholey and we are the congregation in his Wholey Place.
Who are we?
Proud to be Rebels, and we must hang in there. Our aural rebellion is the only reason we matter, and we must continue to rebel with the greatest possible vigor, and we must have faith in our mission. Let me say this another way...we only matter if we rebel and demand more from our community. And, let me say that another way, in a way that my bro Jesus would appreciate...it is our responsibility to turn up the heat and make others, who care less, uncomfortable. Do we have courage to demand more? What are we afraid of? What do we have to loose, that we havent already lost...thank God?
Christ appeared as the Roman Empire began to decay, and, in spite of what appears to be enormous material prosperity and great excitement about digital audio, the soul of the music industry is in shambles. What a glorious opportunity!
I want to wish you all an Easter and Passover filled with hope, shining like a shook golden foil ablaze with the energy of a new spring, reborn in faith that the work we do matters. How blessed we are to be part of the PF community.
And let me remind my enemies; though I am only one warrior (short, pudgy, bald and brain damaged) and you are a mighty legion.....I lived through and survived disco fever.....my spirit is invincible......onward and upward.
ANOTHER MEETING WITH THE DIGITAL DEVIL
HOW I WILL BECOME THE NEXT INTERNET BILLIONAIRE
The email said:
Meet me at the Trump Tower and then we will hang at the AES convention.
The Digital Devil
As I approached the Trump Tower, where "The Hot Man" has an apartment, there was a crowd, and as I weedled my way into it, the first thing I saw was a bright cherry apple red convertible that looked like a 1956 Cadillac with big fins, except it was as long as a bus and its hood was open....and like everyone else I gawked at the motor which was a V-30...three Dodge Viper V-10 motors were grafted together and..... three superchargers.
There was a tap on my shoulder and, "He Who Knows How Much America Loves Wretched Excess", was grinning, and his middle finger, which had a sapphire ring the size of a goose egg, beckoned me, and I followed...and I was introduced to four ex-Playboy bunnies who were sitting the car, whose bazooms were so large, so perpendicular, so filled with silicone that they defied the laws of gravity, and whose mini-skirts were so mini I was expecting a riot.... "The Man Who Best Understands America", just grinned, and said..."More is More"....Lets go up to my apartment before we go over to the AES show".
Going up in the elevator I noticed that the "Man Who Taught Donald Trump About Taste" was wearing four solid gold Rolex Oyster Perpetual watches on each wrist. As you know the Digital Devil loves home theater in extrema. Can you top this?....Not only did he have ten of each brand of "tank" solid state amplifier, all of his walls were covered with speakers ( he is Dolby 24.7 ready) and his television screen is twenty feet wide and fifteen feet tall...but this was the really cool feature...he has a SLS mixing console right in the middle of his living room...like you see in those state of the art rock and roll recording studios...and the Man says...."Can I make you a Digital Martini?", and I say "Yes, Daddy O", and he puts a martini glass down on the console and sits down and starts mixing...
Pause: I know the Devils routine very well by now, and I know that he has connected a different brand of vodka, gin and vermouth to each of the forty eight faders, and prides himself in being able to create the worlds best sounding micro-mixed digital martini.
After about two minutes of twiddling...he hands me a perfectly mixed martini, with a smidgen of echo, and a very dry midrange...and points to the menu on the computer screen, and I know he wants me to make a selection.....and I point to "Mt. Helena". I sit down, fasten my safety belt and I watch the big high definition screen. Well you know what happens next...state of the art home theater volcanoes without any of the toxic ash.
CRUISING THE AES CONVENTION
As we approached Javits center we could see that there was a crowd at the entrance milling around a van with big speakers, with a banner waving....THE ANALOG REBELS, and as we shoved through the crowd to see what all the excitement was about I was handed a long white envelop that had stamped on it..DIGITAL EAR SICKNESS BAG...and it looked just like the airsickness bags on airplanes except it had a piece of string attached to the opening. Then I noticed that the people wearing "Analog Rebel" T-shirts had Digital Ear Sickness Bags hanging from their ears...and I looked at the Devil and he was pissed with a capital P.
He grabbed my arm and yanked me out of the crowd and to the entrance of the Javits centers. As we were entering the door, I heard a loud screech of tires, turned around and watched in horror as a sixteen wheel hemi slid out of control into the Analog Rebels van...with mangled bodies and body parts flying everywhere...and I turned to "The Man Who Feels No Remorse", and he shrugged his shoulders, and said...."Hey.......Shit Happens".
Before I begin describing our experience at the AES Convention let me tell you how thrilling it is to experience the convergences of Americas best entrepreneurial energy with the pro music industry. The capitalist system always delivers exactly what the music industry wants...and there was intense digital creativity everywhere, and The Digital Devil was thrilled.
Do you know the thrill of hanging out with a real celebrity? Everyone at the AES was flocking for his autograph, and his charming manner, warm smile and self confidence, his ease at signing autographs was thrilling to all who approached him....yet, in spite of all the adulation, "The Man Who Controls the Music Business", started to become very upset. We started to hear disrespectful muttering..."digital audio sucks".
Soon we had to walk off into a corner so he could hug me and cry on my shoulder. The Devil was very hurt, and he had a right to be. With red bleary eyes He wanted to know...."Why are so many people...saying...digital audio sucks...when it is so perfect. I dont understand...I keep my side of the bargain....digital music is the music business dream come true....I dont get it....?"
What would you do if one of your best friends was in pain? You would want them to feel better..right? So I took the Digital Devil by the hand, put in my ear plugs, and we started to walk the aisles.....looking for healing.
I knew exactly what would cheer up the Devil. I wanted him to hear the new "Beyond Digital Ready" self-powered studio monitors that are so popular with record producers. This is another clear case of the kind of engineering synergy we find in the pro audio arts...of one plus one equals ten...take really bad sounding speakers and couple them with the worst sounding transistor amplifiers and you get something so awful that its taxes our imaginative capacity....an impressive display.
When these companies demonstrated how their speakers not only play loud but can shatter glass... this was a big morale boost for the Digital Devil...and explains why I wear safety glasses to these AES trade shows. These speakers are being gobbled up the growing group of geriatric rock and rollers (over 98) who have lost most of their hearing....like most record producers.
As you know the frontier of digital audio is the software, with programs expanding everyones undeveloped or non-existent music ability. We watched as a six years boy old, dressed to look like a micro-Keith Richards, was brought out with his Hasbro plastic guitar. He played a few bars of "Mary Had a Little Lamb...and She Was Bad", and then the demonstrator did his sales pitch, and then touched the "Keith Richards" button on the computer screen...and those few bars were transformed into a "digitally real" Keith Richards medley of "Sympathy for The Devil"...and the demonstrator said...."With our new programs there is no reason why first graders cant be MTV rock and roll stars"...and the Devil was jumping for joy.
THE DIGITAL DC VISE: The Mans face shone with joy at this demo. This was an extremely popular software program. If every other technique that you used to get rid of the natural dynamics of music failed, this software will compress your audio tracks to DC. Anyone who has the technical skill to turn an AC signal into pure DC deserves an award. The reason I think this company will make a fortune is because it is the perfect way to get optimal loudness from the typical consumer loudspeakers that have no dynamic range.
THE SONIC SINK SOLUTION: A beautiful babe demonstrator, in a mini skirt, was standing in front of a kitchen sink making some coffee, doing the dishes, and right next to the sink was a small computer screen, and she gave her pitch..."The Sonic Sink Solution" ...and as she bent over to open the doors under the sink we could see that her undies were printed like sheet music...and she pointed to "The World First State of the Art Digital Recording Studio Under Your Kitchen Sink"....designed for retirees who live in mobile homes, or rock and roll groups on the road... and the Digital Devil started to applaud.....as he heard Lawrence Welk synthesized rap music come up from the drain.
THE PARADOX OF CLARITY: I could spend ten pages describing how happy the Digital Devil is about the new "better" digital formats, but will instead just summarize why he is confident that it will lower the quality of 99.999999% of the music we hear in our home, and that is why he is so excited about them...and has created so much confusion around them.
Here goes: The reason digital music sounds so digital is not because of the technological limitations of digital audio formats, but because of ...the gray matter between the ears of record producers, engineers and the recording artists. A "better format" will reveal all the flaws of the recording chain, make more audible the "grunge" that is in pro audio gear, and will make more apparent record producers and engineers lack of talent. As the Devil says...this like saying "Johnny cant handle third grade courses, so lets graduate him to the sixth grade, so he can make a bigger fool of himself".
If I had the space I could write hundreds of pages revealing how excited the Digital Devil is about the accelerated decline of music quality, but I am too busy. As we were leaving the AES convention, and to show his thanks for being such a good friend and helpful guide, "Mr. Not Cool" handed me a big brown envelop, and said...."Gizmo...here is a bone that will make you the next Internet billionaire with MP-3 music".
You can all read about DIGI-SMELL and SMELLORAMA on my new web site, and get in on the ground floor of my upcoming IPO....and share the wealth.
4TH WAVE REVOLUTION
Are you ready to tango with me? If you want to jive with what the 4th Wave Revolution is all about, put down your potatoes, get off your couch, put on your pink leotard, suck in your gut...and release your fire.....now leap....
There is one oasis of good taste, intelligence and integrity in the audio arts and it is, obviously, in tube circuitry, and that is because this is where the spirit of the aural rebel pulsates with passion. This is the arena of the audio arts that is exactly opposite of the mass impulse of digital audio.....that is the eternal dialectic of the arts...the necessary downward pressure in digital music quality is escalating the quality of tube audio.
Now I can reveal my, once secret, revolutionary plan for transforming the audio arts. It is not about new circuits. We do not need more new circuits. What we need is new brains, blood and guts. We dont more quasi-differential feed forward balanced triple-ended circuits. We need brighter, more creative, more passionate, more outspoken audio artisans. My 4th Wave plan is all about recruiting and empowering the next generation of audio artists, which will heat up the competition, make everyone in the tube business very uncomfortable, and quickly give you more choices, in better quality products, at lower prices.
Winston Churchill once said to me, while we smoked some Churchills.."There are no great men, just ordinary men, meeting great challenges", and of course he was talking about you and your dreams, our dreams, our communitys dreams....the dream energy that surges all over the world and connects us.... because.....
DREAMS HAVE POWER
Our restless dream of expanding beauty is the dynamo of our art. My 4th Wave Plan is designed to intensify your dream energy and help you connect to this new community of audio artisans who will help you fulfill your dreams by fulfilling their own. Does this sound like lots of fairy dust?
Yet, I can not find one audio company that is not founded on this dream. This dream is why I started New York Audio Labs. This dream energy is why Julius Futterman, David Berning, Nobu Shishido, my favorite "censor", Jennifer Crock, and my arch enemy, Ralph Karstin entered the audio business. If there is any weakness in our industry it is because the current generation of audio artisans dream energy has faded. The only way to revive it is to quickly empower a new generation who are proud of their dreams. As you know it is a rare man in America who proudly admits "I dream of beauty".
THE 4TH WAVE META-GIZMO™
Yes, a single meta-gizmo can release, can be the key, to the next wave of creative energy. As I reveal this 4th Wave meta-gizmo you will shocked at how obvious it is....and everyone who is an audio dreamer knows this truth.
The single biggest impediment, the most challenging part of creating tube circuits, is not the circuitry, or parts or testing, but getting a dumb, yet beautiful, chassis made. Generations of dreamers have been victim to "Toys R Us" thin aluminum stock size chassis we ordered from catalogs. And why would you want to have amplifier built on one of these Mickey Mouse chassises?
Let me say that again for you...the single biggest impediment for the advancement of the tube audio arts is the lack of a beautiful chassis. And it is understandable. Go to a metal fabricator and tell him you want just two custom chassis for your new tube circuit and he will be glad to make them for you if you pay all of the set up charges. Are you ready to pay a couple of thousand dollars for two custom made chassis and then have them chrome plated, and then what about the set up charges for face plates and screen printing? I have just explained to you the barrier to entry in the tube audio business...NO LONGER.
Before you read any further go to www.meta-gizmo.com and open up the 4th Wave section and read the free sixty page book I wrote "Dream Amplifier Project", and then continue on. But remember this: the meta-gizmo in this case is a beautiful chassis...a dumb hunk of bent metal.
DOING WHAT WINCHESTER DID IN 1873, ARLEN NESS DID IN 1973
AND DELL COMPUTER DID IN THE 199Os, IS WHAT THE 4TH WAVE IS IN THE YEAR 2000.
The idea of you picking up a phone and ordering a tube amplifier made to your specifications where you decide the topology; single-ended or push pull, where you decide input circuit, the output stage, power supply, power rating, and aesthetics...and you save a great deal of money sounds like I am smoking the finest Jamaican ganga, doesnt it....because this industry is so backward?
In 1873 you could order a custom made Winchester Rifle from the Winchester Custom Shop, just like Buffalo Bill. Arlen Ness, the custom Hawg artisan, decades ago would make you a custom made Harley-Davidson, and today almost everyone orders, by computer, a custom made computer. All of these machines are a thousand times more complicated to manufacture than a tube amp. As you know there are hundreds of custom amplifier builders in Japan. So what is the problem with the American audio industry?
HOWARD GLADSTONE OF PLITRON DOES THE RIGHT THING
Lets not get bogged down in problems, because the solution is here now. I convinced Howard Gallstone of Plitron Mfg. to go into the custom-made chassis business to support his amazing new torroid OPT, designed by Menno Vanderveen, and to help me develop a new community of "dream energy" audio artisans. I know Howard twenty years and Plitron is a big serious business and he is, in his own right, a revolutionary. He is doing exactly what Harley-Davidson does when they supply Arlen Ness motors. He is doing exactly what IBM does in supplying Dell computer subassemblies. Plitron is supplying the essential missing pieces...the beautiful custom made chassis...to be used with their torroid output transformers. Please read my critical comments about these new torroid OPTs.
Let me be clear about this. I am not, Plitron is not...going into the business of designing and manufacturing tube amplifiers. Together we are just making it easier for you, if you are a savvy solder slinger, to create your own dream amplifier, or set up a business to build dream amplifiers for other dreamers.
Do you have a dream of having your own amplifier manufacturing business? Have you dreamed of owning a very serious single-ended 300B amplifier, because so few exist in America, and dont want to spend $10,000. Or do you dream of owning an extremely refined 60 watt push/pull amplifier because so few exist in America? Or do you dream of owning one amplifier that permits you to change input circuits, and switch from 45, 2A3s and 300Bs? Do you dream of a 100 watt push/pull amplifier that meets my standards for serious? Do you dream of not being limited by what exists in audio stores? Do you dream of using an amplifier that equals or surpasses the art of the Japanese audio masters at a very reasonable price?
Now we are doing the tango together...because my dream is to help you make your dreams come true. Again check my web site and www.plitron.com...and tune into your dream.
I was fortunate to be betrayed by Steve Rochlin of EnjoytheMusic, where the Triode Guild web site was located, because this forced me to rebuild and expand my imagination and creativity. Now my new web site is devoted to both audio meta-gizmo and other meta-gizmos. For those who are new to meta-gizmos, here is a definition and some helpful terminology...so we can communicate better...
META-GIZMO: (1) The transcendent gizmo, (2) the totem that transforms (3) the self-reflective gizmo that releases nascent genius (4) the object that coalesces the spirit of the user, the creator and The Creator (5) the object that amplifies Wholiness (6) the harmonic convergence of tool making DNA (7) totemic definer of position in tribal hierarchies (8) the dematerial in material (9) the tool of ecstatic union
Gizmos: the universe of gizmos
Gizmophile: lover of gizmos
Gizmophobic: fear of gizmos
Gizmology: the study of things endowed with spirit
Gizmologist: One who works with, studies or creates gizmos
Gizmognostic: one who doubts a gizmos power
Gizmogenesis: the origin of gizmos
Gizmonostic: art of diagnosing gizmos
Paleogizmolithic: the period when gizmos were first created
Gizmonary: an ambassador of gizmos
Gizmonarian: one who has a broad view of gizmos
Gizmonaut: a gizmologist exploring higher dimensions of reality
Gizmolene: a high tech mind grease that make creativity more efficient
Gizmolation: the celebration of gizmo energy
Gizmocide: sacrificial death to the god of gizmos
Gizmogent: over indulging in gizmos
Gizmolism: belief that everyone has inalienable right to gizmos
Gizmocracy: political system that encourages freedom of gizmology
Gizmarchy: Governed by gizmos
Gizmoid: an artificial gizmological intelligence
© Harvey "Gizmo" Rosenberg, 2000.
e-mail Dr. Harvey "Gizmo" Rosenberg: email@example.com
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