DaviStatements
Occasionally Instructive / Informative Articles ...
Ramblings/Musings/Observations/Editorials/Opinions/
Some of which may even be worth reading!
By Hayne Davis - DaviSound
Copyright 2003 - 2011 © by DaviSound

Grumpy Old HD Photo

Believe it or not, this area of the DaviSound website was actually born out of encouragement from some of my correspondents and clients and not because of any misguided ego trip telling me that there are dozens of readers overly eager to read what I might choose to write from time to time.

Yet, judging from the traffic to our regular News Updates website area, there must be quite a few who do like to keep up with the "Rants & Ramblings" of one "Grumpy Old Man Of Audio"-yours truly! This is because, more often than not, our "News Updates" have taken on quite an "editorial slant" in relation to today's pro audio arena.

So, taking the cue, I have now begun this collection of material which will, hopefully, prove useful to some of you in some way. Naturally, much of it will be "slanted" in the direction of DaviSound since ours are truly "labors of love" created from
the desire to present the
"Sonic Truth" in audio equipment
Pure And Simple!


LINKS BY SUBJECT -
DAVISIMPLICITY I ECCENTRICITY I DAVISEAL I RATNESTING I BIGGER BETTER I GOOD TIMING I SPECIALNESS I A LOT TO GAIN I DAVISTEAMED







"DaviSimplicity" ... a favorite topic!

"Simplicity is the supreme elegance."—Ralph Waldo Emerson

I'd like to inject a little "parable" of sorts here, and I certainly hope NO ONE takes this little analogy out of context or sees it for anything other than the "let's laugh at ourselves" humorous example that it is meant to be. Heaven forbid someone takes offense in these sensitive times at a little joke at the expense of "Good Old American Technology" ... I only use it to make our point that "SIMPLICITY IS SOMETIMES THE BETTER WAY" though often overlooked!

This was sent to me in email by an industrial engineer who is also an old and dear friend and my cousin besides! It is probably just another of those "urban myths" but it is a cute story just the same and it does help call attention to our "DaviSimple" circuit design philosopy.

The story goes ...when NASA first started sending up astronauts, they quickly discovered that ballpoint pens would not work in zero gravity. To combat the problem, NASA scientists spent a decade and $12 Billion to develop a pen that writes in zero gravity, upside down, underwater, on almost any surface including glass and at temperatures ranging from below freezing to 300'C.

How did the Russians solve the same problem?
They used a pencil!

And, you get the point (and the pun)!

When I was doing a great deal of engineering troubleshooting for recording studios back in the early eighties, I remember one studio owner making quite an observation as he looked over my shoulder as I was examining the schematic for his particular, popular brand of multi-bucks mixing console.

He said, "No wonder it seems that my audio sounds ' veiled ' at times ... if it has to go through all of that!".

He proceeded to ask me what all the little triangles represented on the schematic and when I explained that each was an individual amplifier, and after he counted up over a dozen in the chain from input to output, he was honestly ready to sell his console and was frantically asking me if I knew of a way to do the same job with less clutter in the signal path! Of course, I explained that I was on the verge of doing that very thing ...designing a console with a minimally active signal path on the premise that less is often better!

Now don't misconstrue what I'm saying. There are often times when it IS necessary to add that extra amplifier stage. And, there are situations in which a circuit function using an extra buffer is much more credible than attempting to do the job with passive circuitry! REMEMBER THAT!

The key is knowing WHEN to, and when NOT to, use or omit an active stage in the chain.

I have made it a hobby to collect and study schematics of all types of gear, especially audio equipment quite understandably. More often than not, I have been absolutely amazed at some of the design tactics I see in use! The reasons for this amazement are many, of course, but in quite a few cases, the source of this astonishment is the over the needless complication of a simple function.

For quite a few examples of this all in one place, a particular popular brand of industrial/institutional PA Intercom unit comes to mind. When we first began servicing some of the older PA/Intercom units many years ago, I mostly ran across the old "battleships" (meaning built as such) which were hand-wired and largely mechanical in their electrical/switching interface. These devices were quite simple by today's standards but very logically and efficiently thought out and implemented. Whatsmore, they worked very well and they sounded great for the job they had to do!

Sometimes, they even employed subtle little layout tactics, a "lost art" type of thing if you will, that would probably go totally unrecognized by many latter generation "engineers"!

Then, I started seeing the results of these latter generation designers ... the marvels of modern engineering with row after row of ICs, electronic switching used, often redundantly, in conjunction with the necessary mechanical levers of the front panel, and needless, superfluous stages of amplification.

Now this, admittedly, seems contradictory to the usual manufacturing premise that even the least expensive, single resistor which is not absolutley and vitally necessary, must be eliminated!

I could NOT figure, for the life of me, WHY such a design could now be the norm in Amercian technology....UNLESS it was simply because that, everyone on the engineering design staff had to make a contribution to the final design, each getting his/her own two cents in somewhere for sake of job justification!

And, with compartmentalization as it is nowadays in many industries, it may be doubtful that there was more than one or two in position to see, much less diagnose, the overall big picture of what was evolving
in these designs!

Other than that guesswork, I cannot begin to reason or explain why such an over-stuffed, circuit-cluttered monster should evolve to take the place of the old "boat anchor" models that did the job, much better in most cases, with about 1/100th of the circuitry!

I guess it is something to do with the new syndrome ..."We do it because we can"!

Kind of akin to using (abusing?) millions of dollars worth of technology scattered about the world just to send an email to somebody sitting beside you at the next desk! As we all know, this kind of thing DOES happen ...
all too often!

I've seen cases where there were absolutely four to five times more amplifier stages than were needed, some operating merrily as nothing more than non-inverting, unity gain buffers, in cascade, for no apparent reason.
The same goes for unrequired passive components, especially electrolytic capacitors, which are often not only
MIS-applied (in terms of proper biasing, polarization and overall circuit placement) but sometimes not even needed, warranted or desired!

Then there is the old "overkill" to acheive a simple function. A great example here is utilizing a mechanical switch to route DC voltage to a digital flip-flop integrated circuit to trigger an analog electronic switch IC, when the audio could have been just as easily, and with more sonic integrity, switched by the very mechanical switch that was used to trigger all of this "digital-domino effect" to begin with!

Now, again, hear me when I say that I am QUITE aware that there are times and circumstances when LESS is NOT better in electronic design and application. But, more often than not, if properly thought out and applied, LESS IS BETTER in terms of audio electronics!

Such is the DaviSound "DaviSimple" design philosophy and one that has served us very well. It is also serving hundreds of users of DaviSound audio equipment and each and everyone will tell you, honestly, that nothing else offers the "lifelike presence" eminated from the DaviSound audio signal chains! I am very proud to be known, and increasingly recognized, for this very principle and I thank all of you who have been shouting the praises of our DaviSound "DaviSircuitry" on the assorted audio sites and message boards all around the Internet in recent months!

In conclusion however, I should, perhaps, emphasize that this special brand of unique, DaviSound Simplicity is not "simply achieved"! What I mean here is, quite a lot of effort, research, trial and error and years of experience were involved in an evolutionary process which slimmed down our circuit block modules toward their current state of "Simple Perfection"! And, also, the fabrication and proper application of these circuits is not nearly as "simple" as it might seem at glance, either.

If you haven't already done so, please read about our "DaviSimple" approach to circuit design and our meticulous fabrication methods on our UNIQUE BY DESIGN webpage!

And, you can also continue reading more "editorializing DaviStatement about DaviSimple" in the
News Archive - DaviSimple area.



"ECCENTRICITY" ...

Watch out!

I have the dictionary out beside me as I write these few remarks so, careful, it could get deep .... very quickly!

The real reason I have the dictionary out is to quote Webster's definition of "eccentric" which is:
"deviation from an established pattern, rule, or norm;"
Literally, I suppose, one could take the root meaning as "outside the circle" ... a prelude, if you will, to today's popular phrase, "outside the box".

Either way, it certainly does fit! It fits so much so, in fact, that I probably should have named some phase of our operation "Eccentric Audio"!

You see, it was brought to my attention recently that I have developed quite a reputation amongst the Internet message boards and chat rooms for being "eccentric". And, that is one "label" I quite willingly accept! You know, based on much of what I see in all levels of today's "normal society", it is quite an honor to be considered ...
"outside the norm"!

Furthermore ... if you really STUDY our design philosophy for highest quality audio electronics and consider carefully our resulting methods of fabricating our end-products, you will see that our whole concept is ...
"Eccentric" (with the capital "E")!

I have always been called a "unique individual" from early on so I guess it is only natural that my audio creations would be "uniquely individual" as well!

But, I am proud of the fact that our gear is "outside the norm" since, in every case, it is not only "outside the norm" in the way it is built, the way it is sold, and the way it looks ...but, most importantly, it is "outside the norm" in the way it performs! And, THAT fact is what I take pride in as I continually see our reputation growing each and EVERY DAY for producing a superior performing, handcrafted, pro audio product line!

So, by all means, please continue to think of me, and DaviSound, as "eccentric" ...
in its most positive connotation!




"DaviSeal ... of approval ! "

This is in relation to our MasterPieces SEALED MODULES ...
The medium we devised in which to build and house our "DaviSirkits" blocks ...
And our most frequently used MasterPiece ...
the MP-2 .

The MP-2, of course, is the self contained, SEALED module which is the heart of our "MIC-ALL" amplifiers that go into our TB-3, TB-5, TB-6 and TB-10 Tool Boxes, as well as many custom projects.

Knowledgable engineers recognize the benefits of sealed plastic module circuitry while there are still some novices out there who regard it suspiciously.

I truly believe in this packaging technique so thoroughly that I want to devote an entire web page to its virtues when I have the time. Hopefully, this will further enlighten newcomers to the practice and to its true merits which, of course, are the reasons we employ it - just another of our UNIQUE esoteric methods which continue to set DaviSound far apart from the mainstream in the year 2002!

You can read about it to some degree already on our Design Philosophy page. While it is true that practice of "potting" circuitry began more as a means to hide expensively developed proprietary circuitry from would-be circuit thieves, with one or two exceptions, that is NOT our primary reason for employing it as our circuit housing method!

I am convinced, and industry wide tests tend to bear this out ...
that circuitry sealed from the environment and the effects of humidity, oxidation, corrosion, airborne contaminates etc., will last hundreds of years ... probably thousands! Of course, there is no way to know since we humans can't enjoy such life expectancy whether we are "potted" or not! But, that is the probability based on what science knows/believes at the moment.

That fact alone should be enough to cause more fabricators to employ this technique!
But, there are very many more!

We explain on our "design philosophy" page how my lady assistants and I evolved a technique over the years that we call "AirBorn" for laying out and assembling circuitry. By meticulously hand securing and soldering components lead-to-lead under magnification, we believe we have come up with a much better way of laying out and assembling audio circuit components that makes itself known in the resulting sonics - no small statement - no small consideration!

Our "AirBorn" method allows us to utilize all three dimensions for circuit layout which provides for the shortest possible signal paths that results in greater immunity to noise, hum, stray capacitance and allows for higher speed circuit techniques (meaning electronic speed NOT assembly speed!). We can use high-density designs that are not confined by the layout requirements and constraints of traditional circuit boards.

We now utilize thermaly conductive epoxy to seal our modules and this offers a highly desirable side benefit of thermal isolation. All modular circuit "innards" are held at a constant relative temperature and the entire module heat sinks and equalizes thermal drift.

Furthermore, this resin hardens into a permanent, rigid, plastic encasement protected against component shock, stress and vibration!

These encasements connect to the outside world via short lengths of protruding, color coded, Twisted Pair ribbon cable which also enhances our application of the modules and the superior way they reject crosstalk and cable induced noise pickup and instability - another decided superior distinction in their favor!

As for "servicability", a concern for some inquirors, actually the ease of service ( in the unlilkely event it is EVER needed! ) is improved because you simply seat a new module, as opposed to servicing on the component level, and this is not much more difficult for a technician than swapping an IC in a traditional design. Yet, in our case, the new module would offer truly identical specs and performance guarantees of the original.

So, as stated in our Design Philosophy page ...
there are many "SOUND" reasons for using our exclusive AirBorn circuit techniques ...
and that is WHY we do it!

When you really think about it, we offer a very POWERFUL audio electronics circuit combination, exclusively from DaviSound. To begin with, we offer expert, proven, tested circuit design utilizing choice, hand-matched components. Then, when that process is combined with this unique method of fabricating it as just described ... it truly is a uniquely unbeatable combination!




"RATNESTING"?

"INNARDS" - One of the most unique aspects sometimes found in DaviSound hand-wired equipment is the so-called "rat's nest" method of construction that "grows" in the larger, more complex units and the oft ignored benefits of such technique. This name comes from the final "chaotic" appearance of what is, in actuality, quite precise overlays of ribbon cable wiring harnesses, individual twisted pairs, bus bars and hard-tied componentry, that is deliberately scattered and separated in some instances.

This apparent "clutter" is naturally most pronounced in situations such as a large custom mixer where many interwiring runs are required between the active modules and the remote mounted controls and, in turn, amongst the various components themselves.

Mass produced professional audio has not used such technique since the 1940's and 1950's when much audio gear was produced in a similar fashion to the way we still do it today at DaviSound. Maybe, just possibly, this is part of the reason why an old Ampex hand-wired mixer amplifier, sold as an accessory to the early 350 series tape machines, performed so admirably and sounded so "well defined" especially for a transformer coupled tube unit.

This resulting "rat's nesting" is actually something of a "lost art" in systems circuit construction since it very much involves a layout process similar to "painting one's self in a corner". It actually requires years of learned organization and expertise to hand-lay wiring and busses in this fashion in terms of which components and wire runs must go in first and which must be last etc.

Actually, some of the key complaints about the "sonics" of today's manufactured audio equipment has much to do with the "neatness" of "cookie cutter" stamped out printed circuit boards and their perfect parallel lines etc.

This same PCB trace neatness has much to do with problems of distributed capacitance and inductance in signal runs and it also has much to do with the resulting instability and poor performance of the circuitry connected to these traces. What is neat and easy for robots to assemble in a factory, and for board level techs to replace when it fails, is not always what is "neat and easy" for audio signal integrity in spite of what some would have us believe otherwise!

Audio "wiremen", as they were called in England back in the "glory days" of pioneer audio console design, learned early on that there were certain do's and don'ts that affect both desirables and undesirables in system construction and interwiring.

For example, one of the FIRST COMMANDMENTS at DaviSound comes from the "old school" and that is "Ground Follows Signal" - ALWAYS and quite literally. Following this principal to the letter results in the clear, sweet audio that DaviSound gear is known for. And, when one uses Twisted Pair audio cable as the transmission medium for ground and signal throughout the routes, then the system, no matter how complex, performs in a clean, quiet and stable manner that is simply not acheivable with PCBs employing universal ground planes.

Carrying these principals forward and combining them with many more of the old "Wiremen's" tricks, such as allowing certain pairs to cross each other only at approximate right angles and maintaining required distance between others in the run, sometimes prevents the neat "lacing" and bundle tying of wiring into dressed cables which might be done otherwise.

The DaviSound wiring approach as used in large mixers, and similar equipment, may appear "chaotic" at a glance, but we assure you it is, indeed, "Organized Chaos"!




"BIGGER IS BETTER"?

Is BIGGER Better, in terms of audio circuitry?

Since the titles of these DaviStatement articles often don't give a clue as to what they might really be about, here is a tip out front on this one:
Sonic Comparisons - Circuit Layout

This is another of those philosophical to technical segues which, along the way, should hopefully, prompt some ponderings in regard to today's audio circuit design in general as well as in relation to DaviSound's unique circuit design techniques.

The old "bigger is better", or not, controversy has prevailed in assorted areas of human endeavor
(and elsewhere) since the beginning and it is, perhaps, worth examining in regard to audio circuitry and layout which is what we are about to do herewith.

Obviously, in general terms, any reasonable "ponderer" would respond ...
"it all depends on WHAT you are referring to ... whether or not "bigger is better".

To begin with, as documented throughout the pages of the DaviSound website, it is revealed that I am primarily an "objectivist" who can sometimes be "subjective", in terms of the traditional audio electronics schools of scientific thought. As such, some of the things I observe, recognize and practice in audio engineering may,
at times, seem contradictory to the casual observer. Such may be the case with the subject at hand.
This is because we advocate "miniaturization" up to a point in some areas of circuit design and layout ...
yet we "intuitively" feel that just the opposite approach is desirable in certain other areas.

Before going further, let's clarify what exactly we are referring to in terms of "BIGGER".

If you have browsed our design philosophy pages on this site you will have, no doubt, noted that our basic philosophy for audio circuitry is that, usually, "LESS IS MORE". If this seems in contradiction to
"bigger is better", it is really not. We often advocate the "less is more" principle in terms of circuit components as well as the number of circuits within a signal chain.

However, when we elude to "BIGGER being possibly BETTER" we mean so in terms of the sheer physical size of components and the surrounding space afforded them and their connecting wiring, and NOT in terms of the quantity of components and circuits.

So with that distinction defined, we get back to our consideration as to whether bigger components, and a more spacious layout, may somehow be "heard" in audio electronics.

I recently scoffed at a comment made by one of my best clients when he said he "liked the sound" of a certain type of audio cable. I honestly will never be made to believe that one, no matter how "golden eared", can actually audibly distinguish between one type of connecting cable over another UNLESS some other unusual disturbance to the connected components is ocurring as a result of a cable swap.

My common sense, engineering study and practice, and my many years of extensive experience prove to me otherwise! One day, given the opportunity, I hope to conduct a double-blind test with my young friend and see if he can tell ANY difference between any cables of his choice connecting line level audio signals to components and a couple of 28 gauge alligator clip leads performing the same function!

But, once we move up to LARGER signals spread over LARGER distances, how much do these effects come into play? For that matter, could he hear the difference in a direct connection from one of our TB-8 amplifiers to a favorite speaker via a pair of 28 gauge alligator clip leads as opposed to a short jumper of the same length of heavy gauge, brand name "oxygen free" cable?

Certainly, no one could argue against, or deny, that wherever high current is involved, a larger conductor is better and often necessary. But, again this is up to a "point". And, of course, that "point" is the magical "spot" where the law of diminishing returns comes into play and we simply can't squeeze more out of the conductor than is possible governed by the laws of physics. That means that employing larger, or so-called more "pure", conductors past this point is not only unnecessary, but undesirably wasteful as well.

So, then, what benefits might arise from using, say for example, 1/2 watt resistors in an audio circuit as opposed to 1/4 watt, or even 1/8 watt, assuming 1/8 watt is more than adequate for the minuscule currents involved. Likewise, why should larger blocks of silicon in discreet transistors be better than the smaller silicon real estate of micro-chip circuits? - remember the surrounding space between the connected components has shrunk and the conductor paths shortened accordingly with the components themselves.

Nowadays, we see the proliferation of ultra miniaturized Surface Mount technology. And you know what? Whenever I look inside a piece of gear infested with these small PCBs cluttered with even smaller, almost invisible to my aging eyes, components ... I have to admit to an instinctive, intuitive negative reaction! No one can convince me that this is better than, or even as good as, my larger circuitry composed of "bigger" components and "bigger" layout! Am I not, then, just as psychologically influenced as my young friend and client whom I scoffed at earlier?

Why would "BIGGER" be "BETTER" in this case? We're talking about facilitating the flow of electrons for heaven's sake- some of the smallest particles of matter known!

In terms of pure physics, if all the considerations are met for for proper voltage handling capability, current handling capability, and resulting heat dissapation of the circuitry, the answer is simply "bigger is NOT better".

But what about the psychological factors? Should they be ignored? I think in terms of the "human equation factors", they can NOT be ignored because they always come into play!

I can look at an "ugly" circuit "rat-nested" on a prototype breadboard and sometimes offer a sound, even irrefutable, argument as to why it will perform better than a "pretty" production circuit laid out on a printed circuit board. We make this case very emphatically as part of our DaviSound DESIGN PHILOSOPHY description. However, to the untrained observer gazing upon both type circuit fabrications beside each other on a workbench, his/her ears may be influenced by his/her eyes to the point that the "pretty" circuit would "sound" much better!

So, when it comes to exploiting the gullible, where do we draw the line? Where does doing the proper thing scientifically give way to "gratifying one's psychological demands"? And what criteria do we allow in determining this distinction? Meanwhile, is there still some, as of yet undetermined, physical explanation for some of the so-called "phenomena" that may, or may not, exist within the realm of audio quality perception? The new edge sciences of quantum theory physics and super-conductivity may suggest that possibility.

It seems I am raising many, many more questions in this "ramble" than we have answers for!

However ... when I tell my young clients that no matter what the slick ad campaigns, the "legendary" gurus and the "sophomore press" of today's trade mag media might suggest otherwise, there is no new "magical" audio technique/product, or "guru technique" out there that is going to make a discernible, audible difference in their recordings ... I am being sincere. Yet, at the same time, when I point out some of our special design/fabrication techniques, which we feel do make an audible difference, I am also being sincere! Is this possible? Is this one of those apparent contradictions I mentioned earlier and am I being subjectively biased in our favor by my own "designer's ear" syndrome?

Well, the answer to those last three questions are YES, NO and NO. We have valid, scientific, logical reasons to back up our design/fabrication techniques and they are well documented on the pages referenced on our website.

Now, this doe NOT mean that our hand-made audio products actually sound "BETTER" than the others, it means, more likely, that many of the others sound inferior to ours! There is a difference!

And this is a BIG difference!

All of this documentation here so far means that in order to determine what really sounds "better" or "different" we must first establish that this difference is, indeed, REAL. And, in spite of what you MIGHT think your ears may be telling you at a given moment on a given day with given gear and given connectors, at given listening levels and given listening environmental conditions (and about a dozen more "given" variables) all coming into play ... making this actual determination is NOT so simple and, in fact, does not often actually happen!

So we must first try and eliminate the psychological factor and we attempt this by a double blind testing technique which endeavors to remove this unwanted factor from our "human equation". Be advised that there are dozens (if not hundreds) of such recognized tests already documented and the evidence does NOT weigh in favor of the "golden ears". In fact, it weighs heavily in the other direction!

But proper, or ideal, double blind test conditions are, themselves difficult to achieve, since it is physically impossible to create truly identical conditions for A/B comparison tests. For example, even if it were possible to identically match all factors in the signal chain EXCEPT the components being compared, which it is admittedly not exactly possible to do, then the CIRCUMSTANCES of the test themselves could not be identically duplicated. The "circumstances" in this case being factors of "time" and prevailing "conditions".

We can work on the "time" element by increasing the frequency of our A/B switching but the "conditions" become a greater challenge. For example, we are invariably using a signal source that is musical - hopefully a live electronic (microphone/amplifier/speaker) source. Using any form of recording for such a test is already flawed as far as objectivists are concerned for obvious reasons. Not that a "live" source eliminates all of the flaws but it does offer more legitimacy to the procedure.

But then we have the the subtle variables of the surrounding "conditions" of the test including everything from the musicans' fluctuating emotions to the variations of the musical selection itself.

However, once we have satisfied ourselves that we have done all that is possible to minimize all the influencing variables and nuances, and in the unlikely event that our test DOES, indeed, turn out to weigh in favor of a "discernible" difference in the "sound" of the tested components, we then have to set out to determine if we can scientifically MEASURE the cause of this perceived distinction.

Most objectivists, this one included, would argue that we CAN in any and all such cases, measure, or pinpoint, a disturbance of some known parameter, no matter how subtle or untypical it may be, coming into play. It may be any of the known forms of distortion present in one device, it may be a device's reaction (instability) to the load being driven, it might be ANY one or more of dozens of known anomalies, but the point is, these ARE known, they ARE measurable, they ARE definable. And, they will invariably point to one device being INFERIOR to the other in terms of one or more such parameters and not because of the other device being magically SUPERIOR in some way!

This is the logical reasoning behind the fact that we NEVER say our products are "better" ...
or that they "sound better", than others on the market. What we say is ...
"Ours are 'as good as it gets' in terms of audio reproduction".

If our units seem to "sound better" than another device, then it is because the other device is inferior in some way, whether it be in design, choice of components, fabrication technique, in performance under given conditions, or some combination of all of those flaws and possible others besides.

Unfortunately for the pro audio arena these days, all too often many products out there ARE truly inferior in some regard or other and the results CAN be heard in audio comparisons. This is, apparently, even more common today than it was in recent decades gone by! In fact, based on the feedback we get, most engineers tell us that there are just one or two other units out there that compare favorably to our preamps and processors in terms of sonic integrity! While fortunate for us perhaps, it is still a shame to realize what "state-of-the-art" has evolved to in pro audio analog electronics.

So, having established all of this, does "BIG" have anything to do with it? I have even heard a theory that tube equipment "sounded better" (if one were to agree that it does) because it is "roomier" ...
(another subjective extremist comment!).

Actually, though, much of today's tube equipment is NOT built in the manner in which it was built in decades gone by. In those days it was all point to point wiring with components directly tied together by their leads in much the same way that we still do it inside our solid-state, MasterPiece modules today!

Nowadays, in mass produced manufactured products, the tubes are arranged in sockets soldered to those "neat" pads and traces on printed circuit boards which were formed by computer drawn masks and overlays before being processeed in "cookie cutter" fashion. They build their tube gear in the same robot guided manner that they build their solid state units.

In other words, it is well worth considering, certainly, that maybe those who pine nostalgic for "tube sound" are missing the point. Maybe it was not so much the tubes themselves, but perhaps the method of laying out and fabricating their support circuitry that was all important!

I, for one, believe this to be true to quite an extent. In this regard, "bigger" just might be better in the sense that our wire runs and cable harnesses inside our equipment are not confined to parallel PCB traces and, because we use the spacious, modular circuit block approach, there is ROOM for routing and layout outside the confines of traditional, modern thinking (outside the box?) in regard to the intrinsic restrictions of
printed circuit board layout.

I believe that our "old-fashioned" hand assembly techniques, fabrication methods and all-important signal transmission techniques are a key "secret" in the resulting "sonics" of DaviSound gear today!
Some may ask ... if this is the case, then why am I so willing to share this secret?
Well, let's just say that I don't fear too many big-bucks manufacturers out there would be willing to invest the time and labor to try and do it "our way", even if they could!

Our methods combine both "lost art" as well as our own, evolved "new art" and it is just not possible for anyone else to duplicate them without having gone through the exact same evolutionary process that we have gone through for three decades!

We do protect our circuits from those who would "borrow" them unscrupulously but, in reality, it is doubtful that today's breed of mass producer would even be able to recognize the actual key factors of our process
(or admit it if they could) let alone duplicate them. Furthermore, there would be few, if any, nowadays who would be willing to invest the enormous amounts of time and the plain old demanding, "hard labor" required to build equipment by our methods.

I again remind you that all of this is just more elaboration on topics already covered in some detail on our Design Philosophy web page, as referenced and linked above, as well as under other headings
on this very page.

And, for those who would delve further into the psychological aspects of comparative audio mentioned previously, there is additional reading in this regard, and quite honestly in all probability, aside from this, it is the most important of all "DaviStatements" found anywhere on our website, on our News Archives page at -
News Archives "NaySay"




"GOOD TIMING" ...

"Should one spend time discussing a shortage of time?" -
Sounds like a question from Philosophy 101!

Because TIME is such an important issue with all of us nowadays, and especially "TURNAROUND TIME", as it is often called, in regard to the "time" it takes for an order to be filled from initiation to shipment, and since I have just had our own fabrication "times" for our products called into question for the second "time" lately, then I feel it is definitely "time" to, once again, address the "time" issue!

This decision is reinforced by the fact that, in spite of our best sustained efforts, often working fourteen hour, or longer, workdays and through the weekends, we sometimes find ourselves falling behind schedule, somewhat, on projected deliveries for current projects.

At DaviSound, we can not and we do not accept orders based on "deadlines". We are always doing our best for a fast delivery but we must take whatever time is required to do it the right way. And, we can never know with absolute certainty just what all that entails until we are well into a project. This is true to some extent with our "standard" Tool Boxes just as it is to a greater extent with custom projects. This is why, after all of these years and all of those many projects, it is still difficult for me to make a close, specific, accurate delivery projection until right up to about a week or so before completion ... and, even then, I still sometimes miss the exact day!

While it is true that we can accurately estimate the approximate number of actual labor hours that go into the completion of a particular standard Tool Box, this will inherently vary somewhat from project to project. Furthermore, this factor has less to do with the actual delivery time for a given project than one might expect. Completion and shipping schedule is based moreso on the ever- fluctuating volume of work we have at any given time, as well as the varying demands of the normal daily business routine, and how those factors allow us to allocate the actual required production hours.

Meanwhile, the question continually comes up, WHY we do not have "stock" product on hand ready to ship for those who would like a "standard" Tool Box.

Here is how I, just recently, answered that question for one of our regular clients who was kind enough to forward it to me on behalf of someone else who was interested in our products ...

Thanks for the help with the question! But, if that refers to why we do not keep a stock of our Tool Boxes on-hand, I am kind of surprised that you, of all people, didn't have a ready answer- as familiar as you are with our operation and our website and knowing, personally, how MUCH time goes into each of our projects!

Here are quotes from two web pages:
From our "Prices-Terms-Policies" Page -
(addressed specifically in these three paragraphs and summed up in the last)

"As mentioned above, while we strive to become ever increasingly efficient in our fabrication methods to keep turn-around times to an absolute minimum in spite of continually increasing demand, there are many steps and stages involved in our hand assembly methods and fabrication techniques.

Most of these steps require time-consuming, meticulous attention to detail. In addition to hand wiring and soldering at the component level, several of the stages in cabinet preparation, and circuit module fabrication, require fixed prep and "cure" times, as well as "burn-in" times, which simply can not be altered.

Consider that the necessary, required time factor involved in the fabrication of our unique hand-made equipment is, in itself, one of the many special "ingredients" that makes DaviSound Tool Boxes perform unlike any other pro audio product in the world today!

This is one of the reasons we do not submit promotional pieces or "loaners" for "reviewers" ... we don't have "spare" new inventory sitting on shelves. Thankfully, to date, the demand for our gear has always exceeded supply. We build it, we test it, we ship it! Aside from some developmental prototypes, we have NEVER built a Tool Box without someone waiting patiently, albeit anxiously, for its delivery! "

And ...
From Our FAQs page - The last sentence says it all!

"Also, and importantly, we do NOT have a "demo room" nor do we normally have many pieces of our gear sitting around idle for demo use! Unfortunately, we do not even have representative pieces of all of our gear, at all times, in our own racks in our own test studio!

As hard as this is for many to understand it is really very simple.

A lot ... a whole LOT ... of time and effort goes into each and every DaviSound product. And, we normally have a waiting list for our Tool Boxes and select custom items.

So, obviously, we ship them as fast as we can make them!

Therefore, since we have NEVER been without a patiently waiting client, we have never had the time to accumulate extra product! It is really that simple!"

I hope this helps and gets the message "redocumented" for those who continually miss it!

It is not a question of "policy" or a "decision", it is simply a matter of fact whereby demand is always greater than supply!


By the way ...as a side note to this "Time" issue ... since the related question just mentioned in regard to "product reviewers" also continually comes up ... let me address that again very briefly also.

Here is how I address that "product reviewer" issue once and for all ...

Sure we MORE than welcome all of these self-styled, "professional product reviewers" to audition any and all of our DaviSound hand-made audio products!

All they need do is place their paid order and get in the work rotation schedule just like everyone else! Then, when we have spent the necessary time to complete the item and deliver it, and when they have spent the time necessary to properly evaluate it in a pro application, THEN we will be MOST pleased for them to publish their "reviews" to their hearts' content.


Certainly, we also wish the "turn around" time factor could be shortened because we can sell our products as fast as we can make them! We have lost at least two sales, that I know of, this year to potential clients who really believed in our gear but could not, or would not, wait for whatever reason.

Most ironically, in one of those instances, the guy wrote me back to tell me that he wished he had waited because he ended up waiting nearly five weeks for the "stock", pre-manufactured item to be "backordered" by a distributor!

We must all face the fact that, no matter how increasingly efficient we might become, producing a superb, one-of-a-kind handmade product will ALWAYS require a fairly large sized "chunk" of TIME!

And, the fact that this most precious "commodity", once it is committed and invested, is irrecoverable, also explains why we were recently forced to increase prices across the board for DaviSound Tool Boxes- which are still priced below anything "comparable" in the marketplace, by the way ...
(not that ANY thing else can be considered truly "comparable" to DaviSound products because of our most unique fabrication methods and the results achieved).

Actually, the "TIME" involved in producing our products is essentially what you are investing in when you purchase DaviSound pro audio gear. You are investing your own patience and "wait time" for the process to be completed just as you are investing your funds in the "time" it takes for us to complete it.

The main thing is, just be assured that we are ALWAYS aware of it and we are ALWAYS doing our very best here to MAXIMIZE time, both yours and ours!

And to that end, I'll stop spending "time" on this "DaviStatement" !

THANK YOU for reading!




"SPECIALNESS" ...


We spend a good bit of time, energy and space spread throughout the pages of this humble website attempting to call to the visitor's attention, just how UNIQUE and how SPECIAL ...how "One-Of-A-Kind" the DaviSound operation truly is.

I would now like to spend a little time, energy and space to turn that attention to those who are just as unique and special , without whom we could not exist, and I am referring to our very special customers and clients! I should say, the very SPECIAL PEOPLE who, individually and collectively, make up our exclusive client list!

Oh, I am ALWAYS aware of this "specialness" on a daily basis.

But, I am MOST aware of it each time we get a Tool Box, or custom item, to the very final stages about to ready it for packing and shipping. As I carefully go over every last detail, with some trepidation, for the "nth" time ...
(the standing joke around here is that I am always as "nervous as a new papa" come shipping time - and this is admittedly a very true and, when you think about it, a very APPROPRIATE designation when you consider how much time and effort is spent nurturing each new creation and how much of ourselves we put into each and every one!) ... It is then that I reflect back over the extensive process that brings us from a mere casual inquiry all the way through to a finished product delivery!

When you really think about it, sometimes it is a MIRACLE in itself that all of the variables come together in such a way as to allow for the creation of one of our "new babies".

Well, it happens, obviously, to some degree because of our very special, unique product!

But, it also happens, perhaps even more importantly, because of the special people who possess the special qualities that enable them to discern and appreciate not only our finished product, but to also be able to understand, appreciate and respect the process by which our products must be created!

So far this year (April, 2001), we have shipped three Tool Boxes to different clients in California, a unique creation to Louisiana, a custom TB-3 just went to New York City, and we are preparing several more at the moment ... one destined again for a very loyal client in California and two for a new customer in St. Louis.

In each case, every product went, at least a little, over the projected delivery time and in EVERY case the client was understanding, patient and supportive! In fact, in the latter case mentioned above, this new customer has displayed the insight to extend to us his encouragement to take all the time we need to do some preliminary R&D lab work on his new pair of TB-4s (we had been waiting for a good opportunity to investigate some possible design modifications) in an effort to see if we can "tweak", and even further improve, an already superior design, before actually building his new Tool Boxes!


So think about what it takes to become a DaviSound customer for the first time.

Now, true, compared to what some equipment is selling for and what ours is actually worth on that comparative basis, our prices are not all that considerable (in fact a few have said they are too LOW so as to cause skepticism in some pro buyers!). Still, to most, the price represents a fairly significant purchase. Furthermore, while some people simply like to sample and collect everything on the market, most equipment buyers must be fairly selective and confine their purchases to carefully chosen pieces that meet their own individual, very specific criteria after quite a "narrowing down", comparison process.

Next we have the "what's cool" syndrome. This means that so many of today's generation of buyers only want what they read about in the trade reviews as inspired by advertising bucks and publishing politics! Or, they know that engineer/producer "X" likes/uses (or SAYS he does) a certain product for a certain thing in the studio, so they want to have one just like he has thinking that will make them be able to turn out productions in the mold of engineer/producer "X".

So, right out of the gate, we have eliminated all of the more shallow types in the marketplace (but, I suppose that's good for both parties in the longrun!) which, in itself, narrows the field considerably.

Consider, too, that now most all of our work is being developed EXCLUSIVELY through our website and email! We have not promoted anything with the old direct mail process in over two years!

So then, from amongst the more solid, experienced, aware, inquisitive (notice all of those distinguishing, yet necessary, qualities for the potential DaviSound client also!) audio professionals or enthusiasts who comprise the remainder of our potential market, they must also now possess other esoteric qualities as well! They must have the time, opportunity, and ability to explore the Internet and, THEN...after finally coming together with our website ... they have to have the inclination to fully EXPLORE it for their own reasons.

Next, the site visitor has to not only be motivated to favor our product, he/she has to also be in the market to BUY. There are many who seem to get to this last stage and, after a mutual exchange of positive email, the inquiror reveals that he/she is most impressed with our product but unable to purchase at this point in time. That's fine ... most are sincere and will come back when they are ready, meanwhile spreading the word about DaviSound.

So, assuming a potential customer has sifted through this maze of " bandpass filters", if you will, and has decided to become a new DaviSound customer, they have inherently exhibited the possession of two other MOST important, yet rare and special human qualities ...
those being the PATIENCE to wait a while for the item they have invested in (most often paid for in full in advance) ... and the FAITH that DaviSound will make it all worth their while in the end!

When you look at all of these special things mentioned herein and consider the other assorted variables not mentioned besides, it is a WONDER in itself that we EVER get a NEW client for our products! Oh, once we get an order we almost invariably get repeat follow-ups down the line. We cherish those ESPECIALLY since that means we are continuing to PLEASE our customers whom we truly consider to be our friends as well. But, it is that NEW friend and customer that always seems to inspire the awe of this marvelous business process and also provoke the inevitable nervous expectancy come packing/shipping time!

So, while we may, indeed, have a very rare, very special audio product, we herewith honor something far more rare and special ....

We honor and thank all of YOU who have become our friends and clients of DaviSound !

It is all of YOUR special qualities ... the same special, rare qualities described herewith of which the run-of-the-mill majority will NEVER possess ... that will always inspire us and cause us to continually work to provide you with the special audio tools of the special quality that YOU deserve!




"A LOT TO GAIN" ...


You know, when it comes to DaviSound "Mic-All" preamps ... there REALLY IS ...
A LOT TO GAIN!

So let's elaborate on that a bit.

This "elaboration" was about to be included on the FAQs page ...
because it was prompted by a client's question ...

" Just what ARE we 'dialing in' with your gain control if we assume that it is, indeed,
more than just a volume control?"

Since my reply says so much about the design itself of our "Mic-All" fully variable, active gain circuitry...
I thought it belonged here ... as a "DaviStatement" on design!

Here is how I answered ...

I am not sure if I can explain this so that you will fully understand it but I'll give it a shot. I have already provided our "best attempt" at making this distinction in the supplementary paperwork that was mailed to you in the sheet entitled "About Active Gain Control" as well as on the website.

A true "GAIN control" is quite different from a volume control.

A volume control is simply a passive attenuator, period. It is placed either before, or after, an amplifier which may, or may not, be operating with gain. An amplifier can operate at "unity" which is simply a "buffer" with no signal gain.

But, generally, an amplifier is structured for a certain amount of gain. Once you set an amplifier for this gain, then several signal parameters are inherently affected, and fixed, including noise floor and headroom.
Obviously, every amplifier stage has its limits in both areas, among others.

For example, if the very maximum signal you can squeeze out of your amplifer is, say, +24dBU, and you operate it at a nominal signal level of +4dBU, then this leaves you with 20 dB of headroom before the clipping point. Well, let's say that you have fixed the gain on your amp, like many/most traditional preamplifiers have been structured at 40dB. Then, this obviously means that your input signal must NOT exceed -16 dBU under ANY condition lest you clip your amp.

So, let's say you are recording a "hot" signal wtih a condenser mic whose peaks are actually at -8dBU right out of the mic (NOT an uncommon occurrance with loud vocals and/or percussion). Obviously, you need to insert a "pad"...or volume attenuator BEFORE the preamp in that case to avoid overload! But, unfortunately, your "noise gain" is fixed along with your fixed 40dB for signal amplification so you will be amplifying the thermal noise of your pad (as well as your amp noise floor) at ALL times with this arrangement. NOT desirable.

Then suppose you complicate the picture by the fact that the subsequent piece of gear that you are driving has even LOWER headroom! This either calls for more front end padding to protect the subsequent stage (at the expense of more noise gain) or another "volume control" attenuator between the units which would then lower the effective headroom of the first stage in the process!

Now...to fully understand the difference in our gain control from these two passive attenuators just described, you have to understand (or accept) the fact that a properly designed, solid state operational amplifier's gain is infinitely adjustable by controlling the amount of "negative feedback" applied across its "open loop". Usually, in the real world, this is accomplished simply by adjusting the ratio of two resistive circuit elements. If you design an amplifier where one of these resistive control elements is a variable pot, then you can, obviously, directly control the amplifier's active gain structure from minus infinity to the maximum available.

This is the approach we use with our "Mic-All" amplifier. So, what are you "dialing in" with this control? You are dialing in "gain ratio" ...the actual gain of the amplifier so that the amplifer is able to automatically adjust itself perfectly for the incoming signal level! It always becomes a "fixed gain" amplfier custom tailored for the particular incoming signal of the moment.

Surely you can see, intuitively, how this optimizes the two all important parameters ...noise gain and headroom, for whatever signal condition happens to be present at the amplifier input.

If your mic is putting out a -14dB signal, and if you adjust your amp "GAIN CONTROL" for zero VU on your downchain meter at your optimum +4, you have, then, dialed in the exact needed 18 dB of amplifier gain to get it there ... no more no less!

You still have your maximum headroom available, you still have the same input impedance because you have not "built it out" with a noisy pad and you have greatly improved your noise floor in two ways over the amp in the previous example. You do not apply the fixed, extra, not needed "noise gain" nor are you amplifying the thermal noise of a front-end resistive pad or volume control!

So, this is what we mean when we say you always "dial-in" just the proper amount of amplifier gain based upon what is required by the existing input signal conditions.

Hopefully this helps make it clear because once you see that, you then understand the true beauty of your amplifier's gain structure.

Now ... there are some "sour grapes" design engineers out there who claim there are "flaws" with this method for this or that "reason", (usually relating to slightly changing upper frequency response limits with changing gain but these effects are kept far outside the upper audio bandwidth in any event). Their arguments are, generally, faulty (they often overlook alternative ways to properly accomplish variable gain in an amplifier without affecting other variables ... ) and their fixed gain ...or switchable gain .... circuits never seem to pass muster when compared to our "Mic-All" techniques. Our circuit "speaks (and sings!) for itself"! Of course, variable gain is not the only area where our methods may take a better approach, thereby improving the "sonics" overall!

As for your guess that you may be "fooling yourself" because of seemingly "better sound as the volume increases when you turn up the gain control" ... yep that's it exactly! Fletcher Munson research years ago gave us many accepted proofs and guidelines on "quality judgement" (fidelity perception) being affected by even subtle variations in volume. And this is always one of the first premises you must consider (and there are MANY more) when trying to do A/B comparison tests ... subtle differences in volume have more to do with perceived "quality" changes than anything else followed by subtle variations in frequency response...no great mysteries there in either case!

I Hope this helps! I suppose we should adopt a new slogan ...
"With DaviSound ... There is always A LOT TO GAIN!"




"DAVISTEAMED!"


This is my first "DaviStatement" in a long, long time (about six years!). And, this is something NOT related at all to audio or the audio business at DavSound. But, there are here, a few things I just feel I need to, publicly, get off my chest. To a great degree, these are but a few disjointed ramblings from a disgruntled, extremely cynical, "grumpy old man" ... or ... just possibly, sad observations from a "wisened old man" ? Take your pick.

But, also, this really is, as you shall see, about the importance of STEAM. And, as such, it is also about the importance of LETTING OFF STEAM (which I do herewith) as well as the VITAL importance of being able to generate some (that part comes lastly).

Now, when it comes to LETTING OFF STEAM ... this could turn into a huge volume if I released my pressure valve entirely. Like a few other, older Americans today I have become VERY frustrated and cynical about many ... no, make that MOST ... of the things I see going on around me in our beloved country nowadays.

One of the biggest frustrations I have to deal with is observing the deteriorating mental processes of most fellow Americans of the era. This is especially true when it comes to individual, innovative, or creative, thinking. Indeed, when it comes to the all important decision making processes rergarding purchasing, voting and lifestyle in general, too many people, nowadays, let OTHER people do their thinking for them. True, it has always been this way to some extent but the "sheeple" herding seems to be even more apparent as time goes on in this, as some observers have accurately dubbed it, our "dumbed down society".

Having come from an extensive advertising background in the "old days" (which I left entirely by choice largely in disgust), I often wonder if the average American ever stops to realize just how manipulated he/she truly is day in and day out! I wonder how some of these anger motivated voters would feel if they could, just once, go behind the scenes of a political ad campaign and see and hear what these campaign planners are saying about them and how they skillfully design to stir emotions and purpetrate anger, hate and fear just to utilize these misguided "sheeple" emotions for their (the politicians' and "powers that be") own gain. And, of course, the politicians themselves are, typically, just as gullible going along, for personal gain, with the REAL powers that be who are puppeteering them the same way but on a much larger scale.

And it all comes down to good old American GREED ... from the top right on down the line.

DRUG COMPANIES ...
And, then, of course we have that further example of Madison Avenue's manipulative power at work with the American drug companies. Now they give us countless commercials for all sorts of new drugs specifically invented to cure new "diseases" for which YOU are supposed to tell your doctor you need instead of the other way around! What a bunch of shallow, SCARED, "sheeple" today's Amercians truly are.

And don't forget the LAWYERS ...
(they won't let us, as much as we would like to!)! Undoubtedly the most sickening thing that has ever happened to broadcast advertising was the general admission of "ambulance chasing vultures" who openly prey on every misfortune known to man and manufacturing. Today's legal system, with it's obvious slant toward the unregulated banking/credit card industry and unbridled, frivolous lawsuits against everyone and everything else has, undoubtedly, done more to ruin our country and mock our society than any other single factor!


WHILE I AM AT IT (The STEAM is rising!) ...
(OTHER) THINGS THAT TICK ME OFF: (Just a FEW of my daily "pet peaves" that come to mind. I assure you there are more than I will list here) ...

SPORTS TELECASTS ...
and especially BASEBALL with that same old "behind the pitcher's behind" view on ALL baseball telecasts (over and over and over and over) and then EXTREME close-ups of some player's nostrils instead of a nice shot of the field as a whole, and how the infield is playing and shifting, between pitches. These "producers" and directors, obviously, have no sense of the game and the fact that baseball consists of a lot more than a pitcher and batter!

And, speaking of dumb media production, today's rapid fire video directors could learn a lot from the cinematographers of the OLD school. Close-ups should be a rarity as should all that spastic, hyper-cutting from scene to scene and the term "close-up" should be redefined to mean NEVER TOO CLOSE-up!

Who wants to continually focus on a batter or pitcher's face during a baseball game? And, it is just that ... game after game after telecast after telecast. It is truly a case of seen one, seen them all (that goes for the telecasts as a whole as well as the pitchers' behinds). I would MUCH rather LISTEN to a baseball game on radio, with a GOOD play by play announcer (which is also, unfortunately, becoming a rarity and a lost art) as it allows me to "see" what is actually going on, on the field, as opposed to being forced to look at a manager's face in the dugout, or a closeup of some joker spitting and chewing, on every cut away shot between that "glorious", repetitive view of the pitcher's rear end on every pitch!

And, of course, we also have the incessant "copycat" techniques, from network to network, program to program, of the low angle, bouncy, hand held camera to contend with since ultra close-ups and hyper cutting from scene to scene is just not annoying enough for today's generation of directors. For sports events and commercials they also have to get irritating audio into the picture with assorted thunderous and "whooshing" noise effects used to punctuate their hyper transitional video.

It is not that this is all that bad in itself ... ONCE maybe ... but over and over and over and over and over and ...WHOoosh! Perhaps it is the underlying lack of creativity and originality that bothers me more than anything else in all these endless copycat scenarios ... kind of like the repetitive, predictability of "rap" and "hip-hop" but that's another story entirely.


FLASH ...
and the rest of the memory hogging, bandwidth wasting, crap that has ruined the Internet. On my old dial-up modem, I used to have to wait three or four minutes for some dumb "Banner Ad" done in FLASH just to see a few leaves fall, or a slow fade-in of the word "Look", or some other similar such crap when the whole, obtrusive thing could have been done just as effectively in a simple animated GIF file that loads in 5 seconds! Even now that I use broadband , I see that most web sites and pages load slower now than they did on a 28K modem in the early days of the net! When I first learned html, it was considered a "no-no" to have a page, especially an index page, load slower than five seconds. Now it seems to be: "let's see how much clutter and crap we can add and how many redirects and scripts we can have running simultaneously"! Why would ANYONE ever be motivated to buy from such "advertising"? It leaves me with a perpetual negative impression of the displayer just as much as spam email would!

And of course, the entire Internet issue is a whole can of worms in itself! Nowadays, one has to endure endless script downloads and cross linking from dozens of advertising sites and referrals while waiting for, what should be, a simple web page to load on EVERY major website in existance. If you are an unfortunate (like me) who uses Yahoo email (or Hotmail, or GMail or any of the others for that matter!) then you certainly should know what I mean.

TRENDING ...
Today's generation's unprecedented yen to be TRIBAL in nature! Everyone, nowadays, is more concerned than ever with being accepted by his/her peers and to be like everyone else. Witness the wave of tatoos and piercings as one example. Whatever happened to the aspiring INDIVIDUAL with creative thinking and self assurance to think for him/herself and resist going along with every shallow, mainstream fad or trend that comes along?

POLITICS ...
God forbid we even open that poitical can of worms (cauldron of snakes is more like it). Since high school, I have ALWAYS tried to avoid the political culture since any sane, thinking person can become cynical within just a year or two of serious study and observation of our evolving political system past and present. I don't know who irritates me the most, the politicians, the brainwashed idiots who support them or the true powers that be who "own" and control both groups. For an example of this process, I can look no further than my own state. Unfortunately, ALL you have to do to sell ANYTHING in South Carolina, to perpetuity, is hang a "Republican" label on it, as evidenced by our current governor and the majority of the legislature (this will apply at whatever time period you read this)!

Now ...before any misguided, narrow-minded political enthusiasts start labeling me as something I am NOT just for making the above statement (I do not favor ANY political party), I hope they will TRY and reach into the depths of their perception and figure out that it is the lack of their ability to do just that, that is "reach into the the depths of their perception", that irritates the hell out of me! Most of them are so eager to buy into carefully designed and targeted political hate propaganda, that no sales job is necessary. They are all too willing and eager to buy into stereotypes and pigeonholing. They don't have to jump on the bandwagon, they were born on it! If only they could/would learn to think with their brains (if not brain dead already) instead of their manipulated emotions!

But, just don't ever bother them with with any new information or any REAL facts because their collective minds are ALWAYS, already, made up! Unfortunately, those most forceful self-labelled, "conservatives" have, by this time, pretty thoroughly convinced me that the only thing they ever really "conserve" is their abiltiy to open their minds and think a new, creative thought!


CLOSE MINDEDNESS ...
Actually, I guess you could put the entire "steamed" topic under this banner since it is usually at the root of all of the above and all of the things in this society which I find the most irritating and frustrating. Too many of us have to be ruled, governed and held back from the progress and freedom we seek by the close minded, shallow majority who are afraid of any kind of change for the better. And "afraid" is often the key word here. Take away FEAR, HATE AND GREED and you might REALLY know freedom, progress and happiness!

SMOKING ..
Of all the "bimbo brains" we have to contend with nowadays, those who decide continue to smoke into this millenium and, invariably, force their mindless inconsideration into the lungs and onto the clothing, etc. of any of us innocent by-standers, have to be the worst. And speaking of idiots relating to smoking ... what about all of the store managers who enforce no smoking in their stores only to allow their simple minded employees who smoke to stand right outside their entrances and huff and puff during their smoke breaks. This way, all of us non-smoking victims have to wade through a cloud of second hand smoke to settle all over our clothes and air passages at the front door as we try to enter, or leave, their premises. And the same can be said for so-called "no smoking areas" in restaurants. Any sensitive non smoker knows there is no such thing as a NON smoking "zone" in the same building with even one cigarette.

Why must the thinking minority ALWAYS be at the mercy of the mindless, self-centered morons of our society?

And further speaking of the "dumbed down and brain dead", these terms are not just mere hyperbole since the longer I live the more I realize, as belabored previously, that most Americans nowadays are truly are either "braindead" or "brainwashed" (or some of each) and getting worse all the time!

For one simple example of this, just consider the prime time TV shows that now appeal to the masses. They can all be summed up in three words ... shallow, shallower and shallowest. Say, I've got an idea, let's start a new CRIME SHOW with cliche'd dialog spoken by bimbos playing like cops. Is there anything else on? A prime example of the downward spiral is Fox TV's Sunday night animation lineup. One of the most creative, ingenious shows ever conceived, King Of The Hill, gets cancelled in favor of the SICK, cheap, tasteless "toilet humor" and gratuitive violence now regurgitated weekly by the current line-up. Can't blame the networks, they just give 'em what they want ... (or DO they?) And, of course, we could always use some more courtroom/judge shows on daytime TV ... or why not primetime? ... goes right along with today's American's obsession with "oneupsmanship" I suppose. I just hope I never have to ever again accidentally see, even a second of, a "Judge Judy" promo when I do try and watch a rare TV broadcast ... it calls up much of what sickens me about today's society in many directions!

Well, at least we have PBS trying to provide some programming for the thinking minority (or we did at this writing- unless, by the time you read this, the party grandstanding, conglomerate endorced, greed controlled politicians have had their way and have pulled the plug on funding for that last remaining worthy beneficiary of American taxpayer support, and hijacked this meager funding instead for topping off the huge wad already funnelled to defense contractors or to further compensate the existing tax breaks for the huge, controlling, conglomerate corporations!).

Well, aside from letting OFF steam (which I have only BEGUN to do believe me), this was supposed to also call attention to the POSITIVE POWER of steam! I get pretty "steamed up" about that as well ... especially when I hear ignorant, ill motivated, politicians trying to "expain" the importance of maintaining the status quo of coal fired power plants to their (largely similarly ignorant, brain washed/dead) constituents.

IT IS ALL ABOUT STEAM!

You see, we really have not come a very long way from Watt's "miracle machine" of the eighteenth century! If you want to have some fun sometime, ask a politican to explain just how, specifcally, a nuclear plant generates electricity ... it is doubtful one out of ten actually know. It MAY be a bit higher for a coal fired plant, two or three out of ten perhaps? But I doubt it. Most of them probably think well, you burn some coal (loading the atmosphere with soot and carbon in the process) and, somehow, out comes electricity. They can't even begin to tell you the "magic" employed in transforming radioactive fuel into electricity. They just want you to know that we NEED to keep the coal plants and build more nuclear plants (so that their pocket-lining lobbyists buddies remain happy with the non-regulation status quo).

Well, next time you see one making this speech, if you are there in the crowd, stand up and challenge him/her and tell him/her that you are "steamed up" about that tired old empty speech and that IT IS ALL ABOUT STEAM! That's right, STEAM! Even in the "nuke age", this mysterious, "miracle fuel" is simply used to generate heat, which boils the water, which creates steam under pressure, which turns the turbine, which generates the electricity. The same is true for the coal plant. They burn the dirtiest fossil fuel (dirty for the environment in the way that it is mined, transported, and utilized) of them all to simply generate the heat to boil the water to make the STEAM! It is this steam, a pretty clean force in itself by the way, that does all the work!

Now, that we have stripped it down to basics, can't you think of some better ways to generate steam than by burning coal or relying on nuclear? Now, I would be all for nuclear power, since it IS a most efficient heat generator, except for two things ... NUCLEAR WASTE AND RADIOACTIVITY! This nuclear waste stuff does NOT go away and it accumulates and accumulates and accumulates over time. As evidenced by all of the contaminations, meltdowns and leaks of late, there is no such thing as SAFE NUCLEAR power period! And, there is certainly NO SUCH THING AS "SAFE" NUCLEAR WASTE just as there is NO SUCH THING AS "CLEAN COAL"!

And, while we are on the topic of fossil fuels, how in hell, by ANY logic extreme, can we allow people to actually BURN OIL for heating their homes in this day and age? Good Lord, if there is ANYTHING that we all should come together on, it should be to outlaw the willful burning up of our most limited resource! I mean, we will ALWAYS need SOME, irreplaceable oil no matter how much we may wise up to more logical ways to fuel our transportation needs. Yet, winter after winter, thousands (millions?) of gallons of "fuel oil" are still pumped into tanks to be burned in smelly furnaces, with polluting exhausts, throughout America. And, the rest of us have to absorb the added burden at the gas pump and constantly hear about the higher cost/low supply of oil. Burning up oil for heating reminds me of the story about the guy who pulled the wood siding off his house to burn in his fireplace. When you give the "fuel oil" concept just a little thought, it is actually about the same thing!


ELECTRICITY is the key! EVERYTHING should be run on electricity! There will always be improving ways to generate and store electricity and it IS the most efficient and powerful propulsion method there is ... for any vehicle! If you believe otherwise you are simply misinformed or uninformed. People need to LEARN about the FACTS, and the benefits, and free themselves from the MYTHS, regarding electric propulsion and electric power in general. If you hear a public official naysayer spewing out this or that disinformation about the evils or inefficiencies of electricity, you should just ignore it and write it off as only more sponsored, propaganda because that is just what it is and that is all that it is.

Years ago, in the seventies during the last (or should I say first) energy crisis, some very clever average Americans went to work on some very clever ideas for generating electricity ALL FROM CLEAN, RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES. One of those many ideas was a VERY EFFICIENT, fairly large scale, backyard steam turbine generator utilizing the sun. I guess one could stretch things a bit and still say it was fueled by a "radioactive source" but, fortunately, one that is ninety-three million miles away and which produces NO earthly waste! The ONLY sinful waste related to the sun is mankind's stupidity and unwillingness in regard to harvesting its free, abundant energy!

While it is true that much of our energy troubles could be solved if everyone had a personal power plant comprised of solar panels on every roof, the traditional grid could also utilize the sun very easily by borrowing the ideas from the innovators of the seventies; and, we are talking WORKING SYSTEMS here, NOT abstract theories.

Every kid, at least in my "boomer" generation, was very familar with the sun's instant heat power having at some point, at least once, experimented with focusing the rays through a magnifying glass onto a flammable object and watching it ignite in just a matter of seconds. Well, imagine, taking this up just a few scales and focusing that energy onto a boiler and generating steam directly to make electricity. That is exactly what some were proposing on a large scale, and putting into practice on a somewhat smaller scale, back in the seventies.

One the first books I read on "homebrew" electricity generation emphasized this method as the most efficient and powerful way to tap the sun's energy on a large scale. Imagine the power of a large parabolic mirrored dish fitted with a precision fresnel lens, focussed onto a large boiler, and designed to track the sun at peak angles all day.

Now, the "naysayers" will, of course, be saying that the sun doesn't shine all the time and that it would be inoperable too much of the time to do any real good. Well, I say that every little bit helps and that hundreds of these systems all over the country, inverter tied to the grid, with battery/ultra capacitor banks alongside to store it, would be a VERY efficient alternative to dirty coal. Consider that over half the year, the sun is shining SOMEWHERE in the United States and its territories (and allies) almost round the clock save for just a few hours. In the down times/conditions, windfarm generators and hydropower could take up the slack. Meanwhile, in peak sun times, excess energy could be stored in the bank system for later use.

Everyone needs to start thinking in these directions! We NEED to wholly embrace every workable idea for generating our electricity from the free, renewable sources all around us and, once and for all, STOP THE NAYSAYERS who are either ignorant of the real facts or agents of the "meter monger" monopolies (or both).

If you are not, or have never been, interested in the DIY aspect of life or have never been motivated toward self efficiency, now would be a good time to give it a try. IT'S FUN AND REWARDING! Why not try reading up on DIY home power! There are hundreds of idea sites out there and not all of them are trying to sell you something! Why not try turning off that simpleton, mind controlling, propaganda box during prime time for a few nights and do some REAL LIVING? Be creative ... DO SOMETHING worthwhile ... learn new skills! Forget computer simulation and get a few of the new, modern high brightness, white LEDs and build youself a real solar lighting system with a cheap solar panel and battery backup. This is the BEST WAY to learn just how WRONG the naysayers are and just how much can be done for/with so little! Later on you can build on this small beginning and, if you want to, a step at a time, eventually become totally energy independent!

I have a small solar panel in my backyard which, along with two old recycled lawn mower battreries, has been powering my large array of LED yard lights, and the LED/compact flourescent lighting for the two outbuildings for many years. The current batteries have lasted, amazingly, for over five years now and have NEVER gone dead, even with nightly use of the yard lights in the summer months. These were DISCARDED starter batteries for an old lawn mower when they were put into this "second life" and, though I keep waiting for them to die, they are STILL going strong. The point is, for small charged systems such as this, do NOT OVERLOOK old, discarded starter batteries! In spite of what "experts" may tell you otherwise, even though never designed for deep discharge and cycling they will work fine for light loads and there can still much life to be had from old, weak ones if you do some research and experimenting.

I have a similar small setup that completely supplies electricity for my Mother's vacated home for those occasional afternoon or evening visits when we can all convene there for family gatherings. The rest of the time the small solar panel keeps the batteries trickle charged. I have an additional, small backup system for our work facility and the outbuilding shop there is completely on a small solar/inverter system.
(Back in the seventies, our studio control room was run from a solar/battery system!
It was considered a "novelty" back then to many visitors but I did it for a very practical reason - to isolate the room entirely from the "trashy" power grid!)

I did NOT mean to get off on a solar system tangent here since I plan to augment our site with a dedicated area for this at some future time. This "oration" was not meant to be a technical discussion but rather a "philosophical" one. The point was/is ... one can get a lot from a little and enjoy the rewards of doing so. And, these same lessons/techniques can/should be upscaled throughout our current society as a whole.

Americans, in general, MUST get away from their shallow preconceptions and preoccupations and begin to learn that success is NOT all about "the most stuff" and the waste that comes/goes with it. Yes, you should enjoy owning a few treasures and treasuring what you own. But, you should also learn to experience the satisfaction of creating your own treasures and becoming more self sufficient like the original pioneers who developed this great country through a multitude of self-taught, acquired skills. Is there ANY doubt that American society, in MANY ways, has long passed its peak? Consider that an eighth grade education in the 1900's was, typically, comparable to, or superior to, the best college educations of today. We have digressed in every way from handwriting to grammar and from spelling to simple arithmetic. Consider that EVERYONE at the turn of the last century knew, at least, something of the basic, food/clothing/shelter survival skills on all levels along with many of the lost-art creative skills that most current Americans have never even thought about, let alone experienced. That's alright, just give me a new iPhone and I'll be "cool" enough!

Look around sometime and just watch the glorified, present day, American waste in action. We have, for a long time, increasingly become a "throw away" society with junk appliances and discarded items piling up in landfills at alarming rates! As a long time conservative driver and electric vehicle advocate, this wasteful attitude is especially noticable to me in another area everytime I go for a drive. Every time out. I INVARIABLY see some oblivious, "smart-ass" (should I just say, "dumb-ass" here?) floor his/her hoggish, SUV, or oversized, "tough" truck, just to be the first one to stomp on the brakes at the next red light before I casually pull up beside him/her in my small four cylinder having saved a tenfold amount of their wasted gas in the process - or in my electric truck having used NO gas (why does a truck have to be "tough" by the way? ... believe me, a "real man" can still drive an "untough vehicle" and not feel his masculinity threatened! This is just more of Madison Avenue's manipulative brainwashing technique affecting and exploiting that modern American psyche!). Nothing could be more CHILDISH and stupid than choosing to drive a loud, oversized, fuel guzzling vehicle in order to feel grown-up or "manly"!

More, Bigger, Better, Newer, Faster, Tougher, ... how about a DIFFERENT adjective America? How about SMARTER ... for a change?

Have I made my "DaviSteamed" point in ANY direction here? Have I let off enough "steam" in ALL directions here? Do I feel any better for having done so? Not really. Maybe I should have just gone out for a ride on my electric bicycle on this rare, afternoon off in the early spring and enjoyed the beautiful free scenery and fresh air around the countryside.

But, then, some "ass", or several no doubt, would have come along and polluted my air and peace of mind with their obnoxious, loud, toxin spewing vehicles and driving techniques. On the other hand, maybe I should have just stayed home and tweaked up my backyard solar system and started on my windmill ... (or steam turbine?)!


"Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, or more violent.
It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction."
- Albert Einstein




Keep Watching ...
Much more will be added here as time goes on without a doubt!

Thanks For Reading!

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