SIGNALS & NOISE (Letters to Editor) (Jun. 1986)

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Proof of the Pudding

Dear Editor:

I want to compliment you on your "Equipment Profile" of the Fried Studio IV Speaker which appeared in the February 1986 issue. That company never seems to advertise, so the fact that you reviewed one of their products is sure proof that you are not letting your technical opinions be swayed by advertising dollars. I like your willingness to present graphs and, in general, to give detailed, factual reviews of equipment.

One of your competitors presents equipment reviews that annoy me greatly by their wishy-washy character and lack of quantitative data. I'm letting my subscription to that magazine lapse.

-Francis B. Shaffer, Newport, R.I.

Repair Needed

Dear Editor:

I am looking for someone to repair an old Grundig Majestic table radio from the 1950s, Model 3035. Is there anyone in the New York/New Jersey area who can help me out?

-R. E. Olsen; Madison, N.J.

Editor's Note: We will be glad to for ward any responses to our correspondent.


Enough Already

Dear Editor:

Come on guys! The first Lirpa items were clever and amusing. The constant follow-ons ruined last year's Annual Equipment Directory (not just one entry but one in each category), and now you continue to waste editorial space with this tiresome routine.

For this type of humor I buy Mad and National Lampoon. I buy Audio for in formation of a different kind.

--Hector O. Myerston; Milpitas, Cal.

Brewed or Instant?

Dear Editor:

With regards to the article about the Lirpa Turbo Steamtable (April 1986), I don't think I'm willing to trade hum for whistle. I'll bet it makes a great cup of tea, though.

William R. Hitchens; Mountain View, Cal.

No More April Fools Dear Editor, I am writing in regards to the April issue of Audio. Up until now, I have always considered your magazine a happy medium between the mags for the masses and the high-end publications. You have provided me with re views of good equipment in my price range as well as a look at esoteric gear. I feel that the April issue was a sad and wasteful departure from this practice. An entire issue devoted to auto sound equipment is a definite step into the realm of low fidelity. Furthermore, I found the inclusion of products from Prof. I. Lirpa a gross misuse of page space as well as a waste of my money. If I want stupid journalism, I'll buy the National Enquirer. In future is sues, please try to bring the quality of your magazine up to the level that it should be.

Robert T. Shaw; Bremerton, Wash.

Subjective Impressions

Dear Editor:

Bravo! I applaud your steps to find a middle ground between the slick audio periodicals and the underground high-end journals. The "Auricle" column is a welcome departure from traditional product reviews; three cheers for Anthony Cordesman! In the November 1985 issue, I was pleased that reviewers Laurence L. Greenhill and David L. Clark described the associated equipment used in their tests of the Bryston 4B amplifier, but unfortunately Mr. Heyser made no mention of what amp was driving the Thiel CS3 speakers during his listening sessions. I encourage you to include the listening setup for all product reviews, and perhaps even give a description of the listening room.

Again, my compliments to all of you.

You are breaking new ground, and I suspect the going may be tough at times. Press on with a clear con science-a little subjectivity never hurt.

-Robert E. Suminsby, Jr., Clovis, N.M.

Editor's Note: Subjectivity? Is that where "One man's meat is another man's poison"? Or is it where "What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander"?


To Err Is Human

Dear Editor:

This communication will take some kind of record for insignificance.

In the first paragraph of my interview with John Charles Cox (Audio, January 1985), I date the Joseph Henry experiment as 1854. The date should be 1849. I wish all my mistakes were this small.

F. Alton Everest Whittier, Cal.

Pickup on South Street

Dear Editor:

I have recently been hearing about inquiries from owners of BIC turntables, and other BIC audio equipment going back as far as the Garrard days, who have been having a difficult time locating parts and service, and have heard that BIC is out of business.

BIC's policy was always to support its products with a strong service organization. A company called South Street Service has taken over all of the service and parts for BIC equipment.

The owner, Adam Ruthkowski (former national service manager at B.I.C), confirms that virtually all parts are still available through his company. In fact, they have remanufactured many parts that previously were not available, such as speaker grilles, turntable motors, headshells, etc. The company's address is 202 South St., Oyster Bay, N.Y. 11771, and their telephone number is (516) 922-0358.

Arthur Gasman Port Washington, N.Y.


Dear Editor:

You have used much ink bad-mouthing FM lately; I thought you might be amused to hear from someone who likes things as they are.

First, the facts of life: Commercial broadcasting is designed to serve the needs of the advertiser. "Processing" is a good thing. Take so much garbage and run it through a processor nothing is lost. The signal is louder.

The advertisers are happy. Nothing else matters. The consumer does not care about quality, but wants mindless noise to fill the background as he goes about his daily routine.

I do not listen to such broadcasts.

From my remote location, I can receive 40 noncommercial stations. I choose from jazz, classical, rock and religious music, 24 hours a day. Noncommercial broadcasters serve the listener's needs. They do not assault their listeners with mind-numbing advertising.

They are delighted to hear from listeners, and seek their advice in programming and scheduling. If you think they are doing something wrong, they will let you show them how it is supposed to be done. Many (most?) people associated with public broadcasting are unpaid volunteers. Do you care enough to get involved? They need your time. They need your donation. As to reception, how many audiophiles do you know of who spend $1,000 for a tuner and use a ribbon-wire dipole or some active indoor antenna? The same people, I'll wager, who are so upset about processing.

Signal-to-noise ratio is the name of the game; you can't move your antenna closer to the station, but you can move it farther from the noise, by moving it outdoors. The most rudimentary out door antenna will be more successful than any antenna in your living room, where the walls shield it from the de sired signal, and your home's power lines and electrical equipment bathe it in wide-band electronic noise.

Since the FM band is located just above TV channel 6, most low-band TV antennas will do a good job on FM. (An FM-only antenna is preferred, though, as it will reject out-of-band signals and noise.) Omnidirectional antennas are the cheapest and easiest to install, but directional antennas have gain; be cause signals and noise from undesired directions are rejected, the de sired signal seems stronger. Often, best results are obtained by nulling an undesired signal, rather than pointing the antenna directly at the desired signal's transmitter.

But nothing will destroy a good tuner's performance like a wide-band TV-signal preamp in the antenna line. You do not want to cram every signal in the VHF spectrum down your tuner's throat. Furthermore, a noisy preamp will mask weak signals, and a preamp that overloads will cross-modulate, and cause each station to appear at several points on the dial. An antenna preamp should have only enough gain to cover the loss in the down-lead, usually a few dB. But most preamps have much more gain, enough to reduce the tuner's overall dynamic range, upset its AGC and muting circuits, and possibly cause it to overload. Try a preamp only after you have put up the best possible antenna-and don't be surprised if the preamp makes your reception worse.

For more information about FM and VHF in general, get a copy of the VHF Handbook, available for $17.50 from the American Radio Relay League, 225 Main St., Newington, Conn. 06111.

Kerry Stiff Otis, Kans.

( Audio magazine, Jun. 1986)

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