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I’ve spent a lot of time this past few months driving all over New England for various projects, all the while relying on my trusty car CD-changer to help relieve the boredom. I’ve gotten tired of constantly switching discs for these various trips so I finally joined the 21st century and bought an iPod adapter (line-level of course!) for my factory radio.
My original intention was to provide access to a greater portion of my music library but all that uninterrupted travel time has provided the opportunity to sample various podcasts. Most of the podcasts I listen to are national and local NPR programs but I’m also trying out various home theater and audio-related podcast programs.
My most recent find is the HDTV Podcast (iTunes link). As you might imagine, the show is mostly focused on HDTV technology with a spattering of media-center and console gaming topics mixed in, but they do discuss audio topics from time to time.
I have to admit that my opinion on the show is mixed. The hosts do provide useful information, particularly in the video realm (I’m especially appreciative of the link to a site with free HDTV test patterns). On the other hand, I found myself disagreeing with the objective criteria they recommend using for loudspeaker evaluation.
Out of the four parameters they list (sensitivity, frequency response, power handling, and impedance) I would recommend not paying any attention to the sensitivity ratings or power handling capacities. It’s true that low-sensitivity speakers or under/over-driving loudspeakers can cause problems but the typical buyer isn’t likely to run into those problems with mass-market products. If you’re buying high-end niche brands (think Wilson) you may run into problems but at that level the salesperson will have enough knowledge to steer you in the right direction. Frequency response and impedance are important parameters (btw, look for a frequency response plot, not just the numbers since they values may be deceiving), but the most important criteria are your ears.
I think part of the issue is that they HT guys are aiming for a less-technical audience so they simplify things quite a bit. However, you can only simplify audio and acoustics so much before the information becomes simply wrong. But for now, I’ll keep listening.
Speaking of podcasts, I think I’ve mentioned before that the GBC-ASA has been making audio recording of the 2006-2007 meetings. We’re eventually going to make those available as podcasts but we have some logistics to work out first. We do plan on recording the 2007-2008 meetings and making those available as well. Stay tuned.