Sunday, April 19, 2015

Tributaries 4K HDMI Cable Review - Part 2

As mentioned in Part 1 of this series, it is best to begin at the beginning and test the tester. Saying this another way, make sure that the assumptions you make about your system are valid and that things haven't changed to which you are unaware. In particular, it is a good idea for you to test your own TV with a simple video image that shows you if your set is properly adjusted. The standard test images I used are 1080p test image or a 4K test image (NOTE: these are high-quality PNG-format pictures, not videos).

In Part 2 of this series, I will test the following four cables manufactured by the Tributaries Cable Company of Orlando, Florida, on my Samsung F8000 65" 1080p LED TV:
  • UHD HDMI (UHD-010b), 1-meter length, MSRP $35
  • UHD Slim (UHDS-010b), 1-meter length, MSRP $65
  • UHD Slim Active (UHDS-020b), 2-meter length, MSRP $85
  • UHD Pro (UHDP-010b), 1-meter length, MSRP $80
My current (reference) cables are the 1-meter Series 8 Tributaries HDMI and I have been very pleased with their performance. With time I have grown familiar with the characteristics of these reference cables and I look forward to observing any changes these wider-bandwidth cables may make in the 1080p signal world. Unfortunately, I do not currently own a 4K television so I cannot test their true potential. However, I will report on any improvements noticed in the 1K format. I suspect that - if anywhere - I may observe improvements in 3-D images. But we shall see...

To be consistent, I used my tripod-mounted FUJI S1500 digital camera to photograph the video image on the screen. The object is to use this same image and display it through each of the HDMI cables taking identical exposure images. Then, I will use PaintShop Pro to arithmetically subtract the information between the two images (the Reference Series 8 and the cable under test) and show you the results. What differences there are will be shown as non-black features in the Difference image. Exposure value for all images was ASA64, 1 second, F/5; no other adjustments. Source files for each image is 3648x2736 pixels and 4Mb in size (JPG format). All images were taken at 3:00AM to eliminate any ambient lighting changes.

Now there is some error introduced to the source images due to JPG compression. However if there is a compression error introduced by the camera, a test between two pictures of the same image of the same cable through the same camera with the same exposure should reveal what errors are introduced. Below are two such pictures taken through the Series 8 cable.


This type of test is called a NULL test and it takes into account all forms of change regardless of the source. In other words, what the Difference image shows are the things that have changed between the two images and nothing else. So theoretically the mathematical difference between two pictures of the reference image should be a completely black image (no difference) and in fact it is. This verifies that the software is working as anticipated and the assumption that the JPG compression adds no comparative errors is correct (i.e., identical amount of compression error introduced).

So the testing strategy is sound. Now let's see the difference between the Series 8 HDMI cable and the UHD-010b cable.


Viola! Herein is evidence of subtle differences between these two cables. This is not rocket science folks, just simple computer wizardry. For those naysayers who claim that there are no differences between cables, here is indisputable proof that there are indeed differences. Although the differences are minor, there are differences since the NULL (Difference) image is no longer completely black. What these differences are or how they impact an image remains to be seen, but that is not the object of this test. This test just points out differences and nothing else.

Now let's see what this same process reveals when comparing the Series 8 HDMI cable and the UHDS-010b cable.


My oh my. To me it is evident that there are even more differences here. This is very interesting. So let's see what the next cable looks like compared to the Series 8: the UHDS-020b.


Fascinating. To me, it appears that there are more differences measured between the Series 8 and the UHDS-10b than between the Series 8 and the UHDS-20b. But let us continue and see what happens with the last comparison to the Series 8: the UHDP-10b.


Again there are measured differences between cables and it looks like the cable that shows the most differences is the UHDS-010b, the UHDS-20b measuring second, the UHDP-10b third, and the UHD-10b last.

I could go on and analyze the differences between these four cables themselves but I will not since it is clear that one cable shows more differences than the other three.

Now this is what the data tells me about image differences but it tells me nothing about the image quality or color accuracy. For that, a different set of testing is required - subjective - and these tests will be covered in Part 3 of this series.


Yours for higher fidelity,

Philip Rastocny

I do not use ads in this blog to help support my efforts. If you like what you are reading, please remember to reciprocate by purchasing one of my eBooks or through a PayPal donation, My newest title is called Where, oh Where did the Star of Bethlehem Go? It’s an astronomer’s look at what this celestial object may have been, who the "Wise Men" were, and where they came from. Written in an investigative journalism style (like that of the Discovery Channel), it targets one star that has never been considered before and builds a solid case for its candidacy.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QFIAC3G

My other titles include:



Copyright © 2015 by Philip Rastocny. All rights reserved.




Thursday, April 9, 2015

Tributaries 4K HDMI Cable Review - Part 1

I have been very busy voicing my system over the past eight months and have not had a lot of time to dedicate to this blog. But that is changing now that the voicing is pretty much done (is anything like this ever REALLY done?). Anyway, it is safe to say that I am once again fairly happy about the sound emanating from my system, something I could not say as recently as last week. But "happy" is a relative term and those of us cursed/blessed with golden ears know that happiness is a moving target (solve one problem, uncover another). And so now that the rig is ready, on to the show!

My experience with HDMI cables after obtaining my Samsung F8000 65" 1080p HDTV as noted earlier in my blog, it became clear to me (pun intended) that as it is with audio cables, video cables can or cannot be properly designed and produced. For those of you who started out in high-end video - like me - and assumed that the video band did not suffer from the same issues the audio band did, we were both greatly surprised when swapping out these seemingly inert pieces of wire. But the truth of the matter is that - as there are audible differences in audio cables - there are visual differences in HDMI cables.

One of the things that drove me crazy about the Monster Cables HDMI I started out with were their huge favoring of the color red. Even their "then top-of-the-line model" was woefully inadequate at preventing simple issues like blooming, bleeding, and other nastiness in what should be distinct and individual color characteristics. Remember folks, HDMI is a digital signal within this cable and supposed to be totally immune from the effects encountered by their analog signals predecessors. Apparently, NOT!

It is unfortunate that theory and reality rarely coincide; if you doubt my words, ask/observe any professional weather forecaster. There are so many variables when creating mathematical models that it is difficult to account for them all in a single model. It is the variables (or assumptions) that are not accounted for that can create errors (i.e., what goes in is not the same as what comes out). Even when many of these errors or assumptions are addressed, there are additional complications beyond the theoretical design created during the manufacturing process (cold solder joints, ground loops, poor or broken shielding, etc.). In other words, a really good design can be totally destroyed by sloppy manufacturing or cheap parts. From the consumer's perspective, sloppy manufacturing is usually perceived as a non-functioning piece of gear but in cables and interconnects it can show up as audible or visual anomalies.

And while we are on the topic of assumptions, I decided to retest the video section of my rig and yes, I found other errors built-into the television receiver itself that I assumed I had already resolved. These errors were introduced at some point over the past year in one of the software upgrades from Samsung and this error escaped my attention until now. You can retest your own display with a standard 1080p test image or a 4K test image (NOTE: these are high-quality PNG-format pictures, not videos) to assure that all is well with your own rig and what I like about the 1080p image in particular is that it cures about 90% of problems for 1080p-format TVs without having to resort to hiring a calibration technician. So with my video system confirmed to be operating properly (test the tester), I could now proceed with the evaluation.

One last note of change in my system that I wish to point out: I moved all of the equipment 7" further away from the front wall so that cable swaps would be easier to perform. Moving the TV and equipment into the room also pushed my speakers this same distance into the room. This minor repositioning had major effects: it opened up the soundstage (L/R size) and greatly increased its depth. (See also the Rule of Thirds.)

In Part 2 of this review, I will cover another breed of HDMI cable whose design addresses issues with higher frequencies required in the 4K video format manufactured by Tributaries. But for now, I highly recommend that you re-check/tweak/re-tweak your own TV with either a 1080p test image or a 4K test image and you can eliminate another assumption that could lead to your own built-in errors.
And without giving away the show, in Part 2 of this review I prove that there is a measurable visual difference between HDMI cables and show you how you can do this same proof yourself.

Yours for higher fidelity,

Philip Rastocny

I do not use ads in this blog to help support my efforts. If you like what you are reading, please remember to reciprocate by purchasing one of my eBooks or through a PayPal donation, My newest title is called Where, oh Where did the Star of Bethlehem Go? It’s an astronomer’s look at what this celestial object may have been, who the "Wise Men" were, and where they came from. Written in an investigative journalism style (like that of the Discovery Channel), it targets one star that has never been considered before and builds a solid case for its candidacy.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QFIAC3G

My other titles include:



Copyright © 2015 by Philip Rastocny. All rights reserved.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Bespoke Aria Super Tweeter Review

I have a super tweeter in my system that crosses over at roughly 8.7KHz. This super tweeter is made by an England-based company (I believe that this company is now defunct) called Bespoke and the model is the Aria, a leaf tweeter in a round plastic cabinet with switch-selectable first-order network crossover points (12KHz, 16KHz, and 20KHz) and switch-selectable attenuation (0db, -3dB, -6dB). I initially bought them because of their high sensitivity (claimed 98dB/W/m) to match with the rest of my system and I personally love the sound of a good ribbon anyway.

The Bespoke Aria Ribbon Super Tweeter
 When I received them, I tried attaching them directly to my system with mixed results: I could hear the promise that these drivers had but was sadly disappointed by the built-in network. Great idea; poorly implemented; mediocre sound. I suspected that a compromise was made with the type of crossover capacitors used to keep the cost down and I was right. After all, how can any manufacturer sell super tweeters for $300/pair retail including switchable networks and use high quality crossover components? Remember that your system is like the links in a chain where the strength of that chain is determined by its weakest link, here the capacitors used in the super tweeter network.

So it was off to the workbench I trotted with brand new drivers in hand to undo the switching features and connect the driver directly to the terminals. While I was at it, I also replaced the internal wiring with some hand-made star-quad wiring (silver-plated OFHC copper, Teflon insulation) I usually use when doing such work and added a bit more internal sound damping. The next step was to measure the performance of the "native" driver (without the built-in network).

Ribbon or Leaf drivers always require some sort of minimalist crossover network to eliminate LF content which could irreparably damage the internal transformer. And with the addition of a 8.2uF Clarity SA capacitor in the signal path (Fc=2.5KHz) I was ready to make a near-field RTA measurement. Placing the microphone centered and on-axis as close to the driver as I could without it touching it, I made the following pink-noise measurement with the REW v5.1 RTA software and my calibrated microphone.

Bespoke Aria Pink Noise, 8.2uF Capacitor


The peak at about 4KHz initially puzzled me however with some quick calculations it appears to be a major cabinet resonance perhaps combined with a mechanical diaphragm/suspension resonance (1128 feet per second/4000 Hz=0.282 feet=3.3384 inches or 86mm; roughly the internal diameter of this tube). Given this resonance, the usable bandpass should be at least an octave above this 4KHz cabinet resonance point (8KHz). BTW, note that the performance of the microphone used to make this measurement was woefully inadequate since it is well known that this type of driver delivers excellent and very linear response to way over 20KHz (i.e., this test also revealed the microphone's upper-limit).



Ignoring the band above 15KHz (the estimated upper limit of the microphone) I realized that such an unexpected peak would require EITHER a very high crossover point with a normal second-order network or higher to minimize the interaction of this peak with the tweeter's bandpass. I opted for a fourth-order network ( more complex, more intolerant to tolerances, but a 360-degree phase shift).


Now comes the task of deciding what style of network design (Butterworth, Bessel, etc.) to use. Many online tools are available for free use to mathematically calculate the component values for crossover points and I encourage you to use any one of these tools for your own designs. One of my favorites is here. While there are words that describe the effects of each type of network on the resulting amplitude and phase of the sound at or near the crossover point, one must consider how this design impacts "voicing" of your driver (that is, the effects of that type of crossover network design on your driver's physical and electro-mechanical properties). Assuming that any network design will operate satisfactorily is an incorrect assumption (you know what they say about assuming anything, right?).

A brief virtue/compromise description of the four most popular crossover designs are presented below:
  • Bessel - VIRTUE: optimally constant group delay in the bandpass (i.e., flat phase, fast settling time). COMPROMISE: Slower initial rate of attenuation beyond the bandpass
  • Butterworth - VIRTUE: optimally flat frequency response and low ripple in the bandpass (i.e., flat amplitude). COMPROMISE: overshoot and ringing
  • Chebyshev - VIRTUE: steepest roll-off rates. COMPROMISE: adds amplitude peaks/dips and even more ringing than Butterworth
  • Linkwitz-Riley - VIRTUE: Uniform amplitude at crossover point. COMPROMISE: adds group delay in bandpass
As you can see, design selection is not a simple task since each type of design has its own virtues and its own compromises; such is the drawback of using passive crossover networks as opposed to multi-amplifier configurations with active crossover networks. The other issue complicating a network design decision is this: What may on appear paper or simulation to be the best choice design could measure exactly as predicted, but in reality the listening results may be absolutely the opposite. In other words, what is sound in theory may not be so in practice. Models can only predict from known variables. Much like forecasting the weather, network-driver, filter-phase or filter-amplitude shifts, and who knows what else dynamic physical interactions are unaccounted for in these theoretical mathematical models. You just have to use them to start and then tweak from there.

For example, here is the near-field measurement of this same driver using a fourth-order Bessel network with a crossover frequency of 8.7KHz. One would predict that not only would the 4KHz peak be resolved because of the steep filter slopes but also that the driver would be uniform above the crossover frequency. However, here modeling and reality deviate as shown next.

Bespoke Aria Pink Noise, Bessel 4 Network, Fc=8.7KHz
While it is true that the network functioned somewhat as predicted, the 4KHz peak is still prominent and now only -5dB down from the crossover frequency. So now what? Obviously this is not going to sound well so what can be done? The process is called "voicing" and another filter is added to tame these unwanted characteristics. Voicing is added when a Zobel network is added to a dynamic driver to tame its rising HF impedance curve and also applied to LF impedance peaks. These filters  "nominalize" the impedance of the driver for the crossover network thereby permitting it to operate as predicted. These same filters can be applied to tame unwanted SPL peaks.

For example, adding a LF L-C filter to the Bespoke can change its SPL characteristics. The graph below shows the change of adding a 0.12mH inductor in series with a 2.0 ohm resistor and then placed across the terminals of the super tweeter (shunt across the terminals).
Bespoke Aria Pink Noise, Bessel 4 Network, Fc=8.7KHz, 0.12mH+2ohm shunt
Well that certainly changed things. The 4KHz peak is now gone but as they say you never get anything for nothing. The SPL is very uniform with the expected HF rise of this type of driver design. However, the acoustic contribution of the super-tweeter into the tweeter's bandpass is now an issue. So what can be said? Passive networks have issues when used in loudspeaker designs.


The other drawback to using passive crossover networks is the interaction between other drivers and crossover components. Remember that adding another driver not only permits that driver to more optimally handle its bandpass, but also introduces other dynamic variables to the existing drivers and network. So by adding a super tweeter and its crossover network to your system, it also changes the performance of the other drivers. In effect, adding a super tweeter can change the entire sound of your entire speaker (including woofer performance), and not just add an extension to the top octave.

So how do you decide what network design to use knowing that it also impacts the operation of the existing system? You must listen to the results and listen very carefully. This means that there is both an art and a science to creating proper overall system design (read you never get anything for nothing; there is always a compromise).

For example, I first tried a Butterworth design and while it sounded pretty good, the super tweeter sounded quite off with an unacceptable upper-midrange glare. I then tried a Bessel design and had similar disappointments where the super tweeter just did not have that pristine clarity I hoped to achieve with this driver. So I was at a crossroads: which is the best compromise? Too much glare or to soft an operation? I chose to eliminate the glare since I find this more fatiguing to listen to over prolonged periods (I listen to my rig a lot). What did I compromise? Bandstop issues.


Another factor I needed to resolve at this same time was sibilance. At some crossover frequencies, sibilance became unacceptably pronounced and less so at others. And of course there is another compromise at play: standard values of capacitors. If I could find a crossover point where an off-the-shelf value was available, the cost of the network components would be kept under control. Inductors can be easily wound or unwound but capacitors must be purchased lower-than-desired values and parallel shunts added to achieve the desired capacitance (if a non-standard value is required). If I selected a point where two or three capacitance values were needed (paralleled), it would raise the cost of the network but it is the only way to get the desired value (another compromise).

My philosophy around building crossover networks is to use lower-cost components to find the neighborhood of the solution and then spring for the big-boy toys in the final design. Iteration, repetition, measurements, and subjective comments all help when making any tweaks to maintain your sanity. Change one thing at a time to keep you from becoming overwhelmed and record all of your data.

Once all experimentation is complete, you should sit down and look at your comments about the various configurations. Nothing is more valuable than analyzing your impressions and correlating what you hear with that design. You typically glean insights to what the configuration is trying to tell you by this analysis rather than by staring at the graphs and numbers. And by all means, proceed slowly, preferably over several days or even weeks. Allow yourself enough time to listen to a variety of music and signal sources to accumulate a final impression.

What did I glean?I observed the rising SPL and correlated it to the rising impedance (Z) of a dynamic driver (similar curves, different Q). I tamed this super-tweeter SPL peak with the same type of L-R network used to tame the rising Z of a dynamic driver. I accomplished this through experimentation and measurement rather than calculations. Finding the right combination took a while but in the end the results paid off big time.

Once the final design took shape, I then replaced the cheap signal-path capacitors with quality versions and viola! Not only were all of the issues resolved, the quality capacitors (here Teflon) allowed the driver to perform at its best. Transient response was improved and neutrality achieved. In other words, the network became transparent and permitted the driver to perform at its optimal peak rather than colored by passive components.

Is the Bespoke Aria a good driver? Yes and no. It needs a lot of help to get it to perform at its best. However, once you do, it is very smooth and transparent. I suspect that other driver choices may be more to your liking since they require less tweaking (voicing). However, their cost is double or more of this driver and by taking the time to tweak it you can gain valuable knowledge about driver and network behavior while adding a high-quality top octave..


Yours for higher fidelity,

Philip Rastocny

I do not use ads in this blog to help support my efforts. If you like what you are reading, please remember to reciprocate by purchasing one of my eBooks or through a PayPal donation, My newest title is called Where, oh Where did the Star of Bethlehem Go? It’s an astronomer’s look at what this celestial object may have been, who the "Wise Men" were, and where they came from. Written in an investigative journalism style (like that of the Discovery Channel), it targets one star that has never been considered before and builds a solid case for its candidacy.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QFIAC3G

My other titles include:



Copyright © 2015 by Philip Rastocny. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Music Review - Shaman's Vision Journey

If you have a high-end system, you listen to a lot of music. Most of the software in my collection consists of superbly recorded vinyl and high-quality DSD/24-192/24-96 digital sources. But every now and then, a Red Book format disc (16-44) grabs my attention. While still not among the ranks of a good-quality digital, Red Book CDs can be arranged, recorded, and produced in an amazing manner and this review describes one of them.

I've just rolled into my crossover network some Teflon super-tweeter capacitors and rewired all of the point-to-point connections with Teflon-insulated silver-stranded wire (20AWG,7 strands). Needless to say that after performing this upgrade, I appreciated quite a few sonic benefits, mostly above 2KHz. It also helped reveal more of the nuances buried within a recording like background noises that were once distant being brought more forward.

So with the system tweaked, it's a cloudy Saturday morning, I'm sitting with my feet up, coffee cup on the end table, and I am listening David and Steve Gordon's album entitled "Shaman's Vision Journey." This is a four-song meditation-style CD whose sonic virtues fall in that exclusive category of well-arranged and produced Red Book recordings.



This is a relaxing production featuring bird chirps, flutes, guitars, chanting vocals, Native American drums, and both contemporary and ancient percussion. Most alluring is the cadence seamlessly complimented by the perfect blend of all sounds. None are too loud nor too soft meaning that this timeless music sweeps you away as if cradled by the magic of the performers and the synergistic talent of the recording engineer. It's pretty cool; I think you'll like it!

Each of the four tracks honors one of the four cardinal directions (therein referenced as the four winds) - east, south, west, and north. Each track was inspired by the chants of an ancient culture. The clever cover adds another dimension to this album acknowledging these four ancient cultures from which these four tracks were created. Four crystal "singing" bowls adorn the edges with engraved symbols borrowed from the same cultures whose chants inspired that track. The symbols, left-to-right and top-to-bottom, are:

  • Sanskrit OM
  • Hopi Four Directions
  • Tibetan Double Dorje
  • Buddhist Knot of Eternity
I spent a lot of time in the American Southwest and hiked many of the canyons near Moab, Utah. Randomly adorning the sandstone cliffs I have personally observed white hand prints similar to those shown on this drum face where the spiral on the palm reportedly signifies the spiritual power of the Shaman. I could go into more about the cover design and its integration of sound waves and symbols but I presume you are more interested in the music itself. Suffice it to say that the cover design is well thought out and contains more to it than meets the casual eye.

The attention to detail in the music is similar to that of the cover art. Each song contains a core drumbeat whose rhythm maintains the emotion and foundation of that piece. Enhanced by other instruments, each song takes on a slightly different character although if you did not pay attention you may think that they were all the same song. Such is the indistinguishable nature of well-orchestrated deep meditation music. Not only does the performance lull you into calmness and peace, it also drains away your stress and helps you experience personal insights you may not have previously known.

If I were you, I would follow the directions on the album notes and quietly meditate while listening to this music on your own high-end rig. You nay find yourself fascinated by the accuracy of the instruments or intrigued by the unsuspected appearance of a harmonious instrument, but stay focused on your meditation and let all external influences dissolve. Let your meditation take you deep into your higher consciousness and beyond with the help of these chants. It works as my wife and I can both confirm.

I never thought the integration of playback system and well-recorded sound could make such a difference as to the quality of my meditation. I hope that you find a new use for your rig as I did mine.

I once prayed for the Creator to allow me to hear "perfect sound." I was blessed in a meditation with a single note whose purity drives me to achieve a similar experience with my playback system. While I am much closer today than that day over 20 years ago, I still vividly recall the pureness of that one note not heard with my ears but rather with my inner spirit. Music of this caliber as the Shaman's Vision Journey re-inspires me to continue my journey into revealing that quality of an experience. I hope that this music similarly inspires you to continue on your own journey into audio perfection.

Steve Gordon's Comments
We receive many reviews after releasing an album, but it was particularly gratifying to read Philip’s review.  Since Philip is an expert in audiophile sound, we were very pleased to see that he enjoyed the album and considered the sound quality to be very good for a red book format disc.
When we engineer and master an album like this, we take a long time to get everything to sound the best it can.  In addition to our commitment to composing and recording exceptional music, we are equally committed to excellence in sound.  It’s great to get recognition for this from someone who knows sound.

Yours for higher fidelity,

Philip Rastocny

I do not use ads in this blog to help support my efforts. If you like what you are reading, please remember to reciprocate by purchasing one of my eBooks or through a PayPal donation, My newest title is called Where, oh Where did the Star of Bethlehem Go? It’s an astronomer’s look at what this celestial object may have been, who the "Wise Men" were, and where they came from. Written in an investigative journalism style (like that of the Discovery Channel), it targets one star that has never been considered before and builds a solid case for its candidacy.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QFIAC3G

My other titles include:



Copyright © 2015 by Philip Rastocny. All rights reserved.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Unique Piano Keyboard Light Review

Many of you already know that listening to music in the dark changes your perception of a performance. If you have never listened to your system in the dark, now is the time to do so. I personally believe that dimming the lights turns off the visual stimulation part of your brain and allows you to listen more intently. Now apply this thought to a concert and you get the idea behind this new invention.

Without the glitz of an over-the-top pyrotechnics or laser addition to a concert, one can focus more on the music and the artist's interpretation rather than other visual distractions. Apparently a new breed of reputable pianists agree.

Mr. Gary Toth has invented a novel light for piano keyboards he calls the Luma Klavier (US patent pending number UA 286-14). First, from the performer's perspective, this light is seriously desirable. While some pianists prefer playing with their eyes closed memorizing not only key positions but also an entire musical score, others prefer to watch their hand movements and refer to sheet music. And if you know anything about conventional keyboard lighting, non-uniformity and glare can further complicate an otherwise already complex performance. This light relieves this level of complication by creating a uniform, shadow-free glow over all of the keys. So as not to overwhelm the artist in a low-light performance, the intensity of this light is infinitely adjustable. Too bright? Turn it down. Too dim? Turn it up. And when an artist is comfortable, the creative juices freely flow. Brilliant!

The Luma Klavier Dimable LED Piano Light

Second, this invention creates a new illumination statement in live performances and may find its way into other venues. Just like adding lasers to rock concerts or black-and-white photos in a color world, adding a visual thrill to the attendance of a concert changes your perception of that performance by engaging or disengaging more or less of your senses. In concerts such lighting techniques are desired by musicians and expected from a seasoned audience perspective. Yes, with such Spartan lighting you cannot observe the artist in a concert as you "normally" would, but I believe that's the point. Think of the lightning techniques used by someone like Blue Man Group, just the total opposite; a minimalist approach. The Zen of stage lighting if you will; a modern-day candelabra. I'm suspect Liberace would lust after one if he were still alive.

Options for sheet-music illumination and expandable lengths to fit various-sized keyboards are in the works, all running from self-contained battery power (think no cords).  Dim-ability is of course standard as are models for electronic keyboards with reach-through capabilities and stand mounts. RGB color versions and DMX lighting protocol compatibility are also in the mix.


Time will tell if Gary has an invention that pianists/musicians/concert halls will embrace. However, from the feedback he has already received on the concerts he produces at the University of Alaska, it appears that there are many artists who already prefer to employ his novel idea. I personally think this is a winner and from the plans he's shared with me, I also believe in the direction he is going.

His brief YouTube video demonstrates this invention. Although still on the drawing boards, this product will - as they say - be available soon. If you want one, please contact Adam Krynicki at telephone number 907-474-2626 or email Adam at akrynicki@alaska.edu

Yours for higher fidelity,

Philip Rastocny

I do not use ads in this blog to help support my efforts. If you like what you are reading, please remember to reciprocate by purchasing one of my eBooks or through a PayPal donation, My newest title is called Where, oh Where did the Star of Bethlehem Go? It’s an astronomer’s look at what this celestial object may have been, who the "Wise Men" were, and where they came from. Written in an investigative journalism style (like that of the Discovery Channel), it targets one star that has never been considered before and builds a solid case for its candidacy.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QFIAC3G

My other titles include:


Copyright © 2015 by Philip Rastocny. All rights reserved.