Thursday, 24 September 2015

Copying Thursday

Busyish Thursday copying a load of cds off for my player which would be easy if hadn't of been for having whole works split between discs so I have to break each work back down again and re-stitch some back into one folder in the right track number order by hand.
That process 'Tagging' after metatags, what players use to know what album, artist and track order to play in is very important so it pays to get it right.
Box sets are fun as you need often to identify each disc so you can find it easy on a player but I forgot on one and have had to edit 47 entries by hand so each disc has a 1, 2 or 3  at the end of the box title so the play lists each disc as xxxx title 1, 2, 3 shows up when you scroll to find the album you want.
For Doubles I put a [Disc 1] or [Disc 2] at the end of the title before copying so it'll make separate folders so marked
The good thing about the program I use, db Poweramp is it fetches the art and album details very well almost automating the process and can put recordings in whatever formats you wish which is increasingly full cd quality Lossless Flac given the cheapness of big capacity cards.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

They keep on a -comin'

A few thoughts around the refugee crisis.
I have watched over the last few months the steady trickle of refugees grow into tidal wave coming from several directions intent on re-locating to Europe, often Western Europe and the UK.
That there is a huge problem in downtown Syria, Iraq and that region with war, persecution and poverty is real so beyond arguing that it is shouldn't even need to said and at least some of this is connected with Western attempts to re-format the region, accepting others have gotten involved and regimes themselves  are far from exemplary too.   
It's way too simplistic to say it's all the West's fault and so its sole responsibility any more than it is to say one all one needs to wait to sort out the regions problems to really solve it even if that has to be a part of the long-term solution.
It also exposes in horrible way, the dis-unitedness of the European Union that has invested so much in the appearance of it, the lack of real co-ordination, the contrasts between acceptance of high numbers of refuges and the at times brutal ways others are intent on using to keep themselves free from taking any refugees and acceptance of elements of the culture such as religion.
"Just where is the common humanity out there?" is something I feel like screaming aloud although as seasoned readers of this blog and those who know my 'Big' know I'm strongly for planned controlled immigration for those who want to work and otherwise contribute to our society for their own betterment.
Being a  refugee is so different, it's like being kicked out of your house or fleeing abuse in a good number of ways. You're leaving not because you want to but you  so want that situation to end but you know it won't until you leave it.
That's where this whole business has gotten in a mess. People have moved thousands of miles without anyone anywhere checking who is a refugee and arranging for applications and who is simply wanting a better job, which is good aim but one there is a proper procedure for and where understandably  countries will not accept "Because I want to live in say the UK" as good enough. There has to be a skill that can't be met from within for many to accept those from outside and sometimes a solid job offer too and here in the UK we do need some people for sure such as in health care.
While I find much that is unacceptable in Hungary's use of tear gas yesterday at groups wishing to enter it, I can and I think most of us need to understand you can't allow your counties borders to be literally torn down and the group who sure do include those seeking refugee status need to accept they need to engage with a registration process to sort out claims and verify identity which is huge concern given a mini industry in false Syrian papers and even Syrian's in the groups saying some clearly aren't by racial or linguist tracts that are clearly North African or even Pakistani in origin.
It's not like just hopping on transnational train where a check of your passport and your through.
It's time for a concerted UN intervention.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Project X Part IV, Rationing the sound

Just been enjoying some Nielsen here on what has been a dry sunny but cool  day.
The amplifier is working rather well but one issue is the output from things like a cd player or my digital audio players line out is a lot higher than its input stage can handle so I have to turn the volume way way back and it sounds a bit strained on very loud passages.

It's a common problem cause by the strange decision in the early 1980's to standardize the output from digital to analogue converters typical found in cd players to around 2 volts where in the past it was rare for any device to have an output over 0.75 volts r.m.s. and often around  .250 to 0.5 volt which devices were and still are designed to 'see' into.
In simple terms, it means it's likely the very first stages of an amplifier are likely receive so much signal from such a source that they distort before the volume control can ration it, sounding harsh.
I've ordered up a pair of high quality 10db inline attenuators by Rothwell to put between the signal lead and the switching box which should cure that and allow it to use more of the volume controls rotation. 
They use 'audiophile' grade metal oxide resistors in a padded network in a plug enclosure to achieve that without compromising the transparency of the sound while being neat. 
Postscript: They arrived the next day from Bacup, Lancashire, England and it cured it leaving to sound very impressive playing a 96/24bit HD version of Rush's a Farewell To Kings on Closer To The Heart and the Christian Ferras recording of Sibelius's Violin Concerto (with BPO/H v Karajan on DG) via a Fiio X1 digital audio player's line  output.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

A touch of the Finns

Yeah I know it's late and that but I've been busy doing stuff not least connected with Project X so sorry an' all.
As most know I've always like the Finnish composer Sibelius and indeed as early as 1993 bought a complete box set of his symphonies but while that box was pretty good it was a bit uneven so I'm prepared to try another complete cycle.

Originating in the 1980's and being mainly digitally recorded Ashkenazy's set for London (UK: Decca) was always highly regarded not just for sound but for the evenness of performances bettering in that regard Simon Rattle's set for EMI which I first bought, bringing more a feel of romance rather than icy cold Scandinavian winters to the score.
It also scores (gawd awful Caroline punnery,eh?) by having the four main Tone Poems and the Violin Concerto included with what is a set you get four around £14 included in this 5 cd set making a excellent introduction to this man I got from All Your Music.
That was less than half the price I paid for my original 4 cd set!