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What the Heck am I doing here??!!

By Jim Sorensen

Here I am in the company of the true giants of the industry and I have to admit I was feeling pretty good about that until I tried to put a new battery in my Sure-Fire flashlight.  Now, this is a great little flashlight and it’s very easy to put the battery in at least I thought so until my head got too big for me to see what I was doing because Pat and Brenda asked me to contribute to their shiny new website.

Seriously, this is a significant high point in my life but it makes me worry about the industry in general.  It just doesn’t speak well of the business if they include people like…well…you know.

Moving on.

Russ O’Toole and I were swapping knives this last week and talking about “old days” of movie house sound with high efficiency horn loudspeakers and low wattage amplifiers.  I gotta tell  you that I sort of lament the loss of those good old days.  I wonder how many had their first exposure to “hi-fi” in the way of movie house sound?

My folks loved music but for some reason never bought either a Hi-Fi (as they used to be called) or a Stereo…not even one of those 300 pound Magnavox units that doubled as a table along the living room wall so my exposure to sound at home was limited to a bakelite AM radio on top of the refrigerator or a WWII vintage Grundig “all band” receiver in the garage.  (The reason it was in a garage was because that was where one end of the antenna was.  Installing the antenna into the house would require drilling a hole in the house and my Dad would rather have drilled a hole in his foot.)

In the days before wide-spread public broadcasting or high powered college campus radio you had little chance of hearing classical music on the radio and none on either of the TV channels that most people got.  The SW broadcasts of the BBC and the “big” stations of various European capitals usually carried something classical at least once a week if not more often.  This Grundig featured a 6 x 9 “woofer” and about a 1″ papercone tweeter that looked like a little-bitty loudspeaker. which it was, of course.  There was a capacitor between the two serving as a cross-over and the radio’s cabinet had vents on the sides which obviously improved “the tone.”

Remember when that was the big deal in home listening appliances?  “Tone”  Things in wooden boxes had beeter “tone” that things in metal or plastic boxes and things with grille cloth even moreso.

Now here we are on the other end of the search for “tone” carried forth so well by Don and Carolyn and Gene “Doc” Patronis and others in this crew and I have to wonder if when Pat and Brenda picked up the banner of SynAudCon  they thought that this was where we’d all be?  If teaching methods would morph from mimeographed class booklets into a “distance learning,” on-line instruction system whereby the student can re-visit the course material on-demand.  It’s kind of the intellectual version of  a porn-site.  I think.

Well, that’s what I was told!

Sorry.  I got distracted there for a second.

Anyway, when you come right down to it there is so much to learn from so many people…some of it needs to be repeated from time to time…that an electronic class-room that’s “as big as it needs to be” is just about mandatory if you’re going to get the job done.

This is a big job and we’ve got some really good people on it!  Pat and Brenda have picked up the mantle and are rather boldly taking it to the next level.  It’s fun to watch and it’s even more fun to participate.

Speaking for me, I’m just thrilled to be asked to be part of it.  Dick Campbell quoted Joe Biden and I would, too, but I don’t talk that way.  Besides that kind of talk sounds like ____ and doesn’t do you a _______ bit of good.

Keep it out of the red!

Jim Sorensen