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Erläuterungen zu diesen 1959er US-AUDIO Seiten

Die hier stehenden amerikanischen Artikel aus 1959 (aus der US-AUDIO) sind teilweise sehr gewöhnungsbedürftig, weil sie erstens aus einer längst vergangenen Zeit stammen und zweitens, weil dort in den USA ganz "anders" gedacht wurde als bei uns in Old Germany oder in Europa.
Vergleichbar mit unseren deutschen Hifi-Magazinen etwa ab 1962 ist jedoch, daß auch diese Zeitschrift ihre Anzeigen- Kunden und -Leser (be- oder ab- ?) werben mußte. - Weiterhin sind die Dimensionen des amerikanischen Kontinents mit den unseren hier in Europa nicht vergleichbar. - Ein Redaktions-"Trip" von New York nach Los Angeles oder gar in die Wüste nach Las-Vegas zu einer der Audio- "Shows" war - auch mit dem Flugzeug - immer noch eine Weltreise. Und jede Ausstellung oder "Messe" wurde als "Show" deklariert. Und natürlich, in USA musste alles "Show" sein, um beim Publikum einige Aufmerksamkeit zu erzeugen.

Der Autor Edward Tatnall Canby schreibt jeden Monat "AUDIO"

Sowohl in den monatlichen EDITOR's REVIEW's als auch in den monatlichen ETC's lesen wir ein Stück amerikanischer Gesellschaftsgeschichte vom Ende der 1950er Jahre. Dazu gehören auch die frühen monatlichen Schallplattenbesprechungen, in denen sehr viel Wissen rund um die Musik, die Gesellschaft und die Hifi-Technik eingeflochten wird.


AUDIO ETC ("Edward Tatnall Canby") - Kolumne
MERCHANDISE - The Harman Kardon "Trio"

I have been falling all over myself in respect to the Harman Kardon "Trio" stereo amplifier, one of the very first of its breed to reach the market and the first that I received myself, for home use. It seems as though it came to me years ago, but it was only last summer.

I've been putting it to work off and on ever since, and my silence concerning it probably has H. and K. mildly baffled, if they had hoped for an early response from me. After all, I did ash to try the machine.

But, you see, last summer I did not yet realize (who did?) that early stereo disc playing was going to be so complicated -  so tricky, indeed, that, as readers will remember, I found myself very soon floundering in a sea of confusions concerning those very factors by which we must judge good sound-in-the-round, matters like hum, distortion, rumble, etc.

Sure, I can "judge" them, if you mean by that, judging their presence or absence! No problem there. The big trouble was figuring out where?

I simply did not have the nerve (in the usual and deliberate Canby absence of test instruments) to go around judging individual pieces of equipment (or even individual records) when such over-all doubts existed as to values here and values there.

Um bei der Wahrheit zu bleiben . . . . .

To tell you the truth, I still am loath to speak out strongly pro or con any individual piece of stereo materiel and this for excellent reasons. Good stereo performance, as we now fully understand, depends on a working relationship and a practical balance between a whole series of factors, of components, from start to finish.

A perfectly "good" stereo cartridge may be bad in effect, because its output, or its compliance, or what-have-you, is not "mated" to an associated stereo element - the record it plays, or the amplifier into which it feeds.

Wo suche ich also den Fehler ?

Is it the record, the amplifier, or the cartridge that is "wrong"? Not easy to say. The important fact is that they are not matched.

We have had enormous troubles of the mis-matching sort this year and it is only as these problems begin to sort themselves out into a species of practical standardization that I so much as dare begin talking about individual stereo elements - such as the Harman Kardon "Trio." So I ask H. and K. for indulgence, the situation being what it is.

Gerüchte über Gerüchte sind zu hören .....

In any case, though my own early-production "Trio" is probably slightly obsolete by now, I hear favorable rumors concerning its current production.

There are many other stereo amplifiers around now and, were I to seek a "representative" model at this moment, I'd find myself buried knee deep in stereo amplifiers all worthy of consideration. More power to Harman Kardon, then, for having put out virtually the first of the inexpensive breed of dual stereo amplifier. That was why it interested me in the first place, 'way back.

Was vorher etwas Besonderes war ist soeben normal

I will say merely that the "Trio" has facilities of control which when I first got hold of it were quite new to me, and now are almost standard in the industry, hardly needing any description.

There is, of course, the joint volume control - about which I opined in advance last summer (I don't enjoy separate volume controls for my two stereo channels) ; there is the clearly necessary balance control, shifting the balance of power all the way from right-channel-only to left-channel-only, with anything in between you may wish (and you will, too) ; there is the now-standard function switch that provides stereo, reversed stereo (a useful and practical switch position, I insist - saving much time and patience in cases of accidental reversed wiring or reversed stereo tracks)  - and the equally useful right-channel-only and left-channel-only positions, feeding both speakers, giving you a basis for comparative listening that you'll find worthwhile.

This last position on the "Trio", is useful for varying inputs, since the amplifier has a complete dual panel of inputs so that anything and everything may be fed into the machine in dual format. When only one radio input is used, for instance, it feeds into either the right or left channel input - take yr cherce; the "right-only" or "left-only" switch on the front panel then feeds it out to both amplifier systems. Just switch the third knob, the one that selects between types of input, to the proper position - radio in this case. Same with tape recorder, etc.

Es klingt kompliziert, ist es aber gar nicht

Yep, it sounds complex, but it really isn't. Most newer stereo dual amplifiers have these same switching facilities. This was one of the earliest, and probably helped to set up the standard formats now becoming familiar to stereo users. I found, in sum, that there really wasn't much I couldn't do with these controls.

There were some things I didn't bother to try, though.

Harman Kardon has some sort of dual output system that allows for stereo speakers A and speakers B (er meint sicher Lautsprecher-Paare!), the second pair presumably somewhere upstairs in the front bedroom. I found, for myself, that one pair of stereo speakers at a time kept me very thoroughly busy and so I let speakers B go untried. A pair of extra switches and extra connections that, for my cash, could have been left off - but then I might not represent the Vast Majority of stereo buyers.

There is one other facility, however, that is potentially more useful (and is found, too, on other more recently introduced amplifiers) - the tandem teaming-up of the two channels to make a single 24-watt amplifier out of the pair of 12-watters. Just flip a switch. T had no immediate need for this, though I tried it now and then out of curiosity, but those who are converting to stereo in calculated steps will find this feature temporarily very important. Use the amplifier first as a mono unit, 24-watt, with your single mono channel. When you're ready for a try at full stereo, with the rest of the necessary equipment on hand and in place, flip the switch and your single amp becomes two, of the same total output wattage.

Or if you have a 20-watt (more or less) single amplifier already in use, you can put the "Trio" to work as a second full-power channel, using the two power amplifiers again in tandem; the dual preamp can then serve for both channels. That's where the name "Trio" came in - three modes of operation.

Der "Trio" war eben ein ganz frühes Modell

I wouldn't want to offer much criticism of this pioneer amplifier on the basis of its earliest production, as of last summer, but I can safely observe a few points which possibly apply to current production of the model. As to maintenance of proper phasing between the two channels in all this complexity of switching, the less said the better!

My current belief (I use the word deliberately) is that Harman Kardon are beyond reproach straight through from input to output, though for awhile I wasn't too sure.

There's only one lack, as I see it; I'd like to see a speaker phasing switch somewhere on the chassis, preferably out in front and handy for quick change. It is still very much needed, to take care of the inevitable phasing inconsistencies that still continue to crop up in all aspects of stereo reproduction, straight from the original microphones down to inadvertently wrong speaker connections in the home.

Es gäbe da schon etwas zu verbessern oder zu ändern

Also, I might add, for the very practical purpose of direct AB phasing comparisons. We all, every one of us, should learn to know what right and wrong phasing sounds like, in a hundred circumstances.

Take out that "Speakers A and B" business and put in a phasing switch instead, would be my idea. Maybe it has already been done.

I have one major observation concerning this amplifier that is important to mention because it surely applies to many another model in the inexpensive category, where production costs must be kept rigidly under control. That is the power transformer, which radiates a powerful amount of incipient hum, to an appalling distance.

I say "incipient" because, obviously, the hum that you don't pick up doesn't exist. This particular transformer, its particular location and the way it is used, are no doubt quite conventional in terms of familiar practice.

In monophonic situations, as of the past, with single audio circuits, no complications of the ground loop category, with mono magnetic cartridges of high output, hum-bucking coils and no vertical signal output, this transformer would be just fine. No troubles to pile on troubles.

Wie war das mit dem Brummen ?

But in all too many stereo applications, it could end up as a liability, though not necessarily through its own fault. What if your stereo low-level circuitry is highly susceptible to hum?

It shouldn't be, and Harman-Kardon can't be blamed if it is; but the hum is generated just the same and is unpleasant wherever the fault lies.

You should have heard the roar of hum I got when I moved the two well-shielded German pickup transformers in the ESL cartridge system near to this power transformer!

Whose fault? Who knows? But the hum was there and it wasn't my fault, bless me. The same in other circumstances, notably in the case of various stereo pickups with total output noticeably lower than
in earlier mono equivalents and/or without the useful hum-bucking coil arrangement of the mono magnetics.

Also there's likely to be more trouble - adding up to more last straws on the consumer's back - with many a three-wire stereo system still in active stereo use.

As I say, let's not try to pin blame on any one aspect or unit. Just let's have a better match all around, improvements throughout stereo. Each improvement "improves" all the other components. By this time, my original "Trio" power transformer, without any change at all, is far less of a liability to me than it was at first, simply because other aspects of stereo (including such seemingly remote factors as recorded level on stereo discs) have been improved.

Shure M3D Dynetic

I was almost ready to give up the idea of comment on individual stereo cartridges, so tough is the problem of over-all system matching, in which the cartridge is only one element.

But I have come to realize that in these first months of stereo disc the cartridge has been the really crucial (extrem wichtiges) element - even more than speaker or amplifier performance, or than stereo disc cutting. (Cutters, after all, cost in the thousands of dollars and are apt to be good.)

The cartridge will remain the most crucial element in stereo sound until performance is a lot more standardized than it as yet. So, perforce (notgedrungen), I think I'd better comment on cartridges as well as I can.

Aus dem Shure kommt einfach mehr Pegel raus

I'll say outright, first, that the most satisfactory cartridge I've used so far (and I have not tried a number reported to be excellent) is the Shure M3D Dynetic. First and foremost, that satisfaction is not so much because of its innate, ideal, ultimate quality as, very simply, its relatively high output. That's enough.

This baby had the biggest wallop of any cartridge I had tried up to the time I received it, and for that reason alone it instantly put every other cartridge I had on hand into the shade. It became my immediate favorite.

So simple! Just plug in this Shure, then turn down the volume control. With that easy motion, down goes virtually every major form of unpleasantness in the way of unwanted noise in my two so-so stereo systems. (Not rumble; that is unaffected.) Sounds silly here on paper, but you wouldn't snort if you could hear what this does for noisy stereo.

Es ist doch ganz einfach, etwas zu verbessern

So, you see, stereo improvement is easy enough in practice. Don't throw out that sloppy amplifier, don't buy new transformers, don't get rid of your entire wiring system for something new. Just go out and buy a high-output stereo cartridge. My congratulations to Shure for the most utterly elemental improvement in the entire short history of stereo disc reproduction via magnetic cartridge! (And the same to anyone else who has done as much in any other cartridge, untried by me.)

Beyond the vital fact of effectively high output, the Shure is smooth and pliant in sound, almost fully equal to the very best mono magnetic sound I've heard.

I say "almost" mainly to keep a safety factor in reserve, for future reference, but also because in this sound, clean and lovely on any mono record, I think I still detect a slight bit of break-down in the loudest recorded passage as compared to the very top sort of sound from the best (several) mono cartridges on the same record.

I put this dramatically to the test on the air a few weeks ago. I edited together three slices of mono Mozart, via tape, the first two played by top-level mono magnetics, the third by the Shure M3D stereo, the outputs paralleled.

  • Anmerkung : eine unglückliche Empfehlung !! Das hat (bringt) größere Probleme, das mit dem Kurzschluß der beiden Kanäle.

The difference was so minor that I did not even mention it on the air - nobody would have been able to hear it. I mention it here as a less-than-one-per-cent sort of perfectionism, for those with extremely analytical ears. I suspect it applies to other top-flight stereo cartridges too. But I would guess that within the year even this small difference will have vanished, via minute improvements.

Mankan die Nadel extrem einfach tauschen

Beyond this, I'll only say that the Shure stylus is sturdy as well as highly compliant, with the very desirable "square" compliance ratio between vertical and lateral (same in both), that stylus changing is extremely simple and the stylus very positive in the seating (like many nowadays, the stylus rides in a special insert holder), that the entire M3D unit is so very light in weight that your arm is likely to ride dizzily up in the air unless you redistribute the weight system (note that most early stereo cartridges wrere abnormally heavy) and, finally, that after several months of use not a shade of trouble has developed.

'Nuff said, except that an alternative model, somewhat sturdier and less compliant, is now offered primarily for stereo changer use - the M7D.

Und jetzt noch zwei "Pickerings"

I got two Pickerings though I asked for only one, and Pickering & Co. are about to experience a good pay-off for their gamble with me. You see, I had some reservations about that fancy Pickering arm-and-car-tridge combo, the Unipoise, when I got the original mono version some time back, so decided I wouldn't suggest that the company send me the stereo version. I didn't, but they did. And I now am pleased to find that the Unipoise arm has been thoughtfully revamped for a heartening improvement in over-all performance, quite aside from stereo itself.

The biggest immediate difference is a tricky plastic insert in that deadly needle point, upward-aiming, upon which the arm "poises". You may think that the main purpose of this was to avoid serious bodily stabbings, when the arm slid off the point  - which was often. That purpose is fulfilled, because now the needle point itself is afloat on its spindle and quite flexible. You'd have a time trying to hurt yourself with it. Impossible, I'd say, whereas before there really was quite a serious hazard involved for those of us who are habitually hasty in our movements, or have hasty children.

Es ist nicht mehr so trittempfindlich wie früher

But a much sounder purpose was involved as well. The new "damped" point suspension seems to have removed my biggest objection to the old arm, namely that though it tracked beautifully in a solid situation, it jumped handfuls of grooves at the slightest bit of a vibration or inadvertent jar from the outside. Now, to my astonishment, I can tread the famed Canby loose floor boards at will and the Unipoise stays put in the grooves as well as the best of them.

I seem to note a more compact and sturdier look to the arm itself, but don't have the old one with me at the moment to compare shapes. Not important; the main point is that the Unipoise, still admittedly a precision arm and not to be handled with pick-and-shovel tactics, is now a more useful model that can take practical advantage of the undoubted theoretical value in the one-point suspension principle. Good.

Ein pickup cartridge für jedermann

The internal stereo cartridge element, I gather, is the same as in the standard Pickering stereo cartridge, which was for many months the lowest-priced quality magnetic on the books by a good many dollars. The price in itself makes Pickering a cartridge that everyone should investigate before jumping up the price ladder towards the top.

My judgment of the fine Pickering sound quality has been impeded, as usual, by those diabolical outside complications. The darned thing gives out with what has been more or less a standard level in the stereo cartridge field - but is still a lot too low for entirely too many so-so stereo installations.

I suggest that basically this is a criticism of the rest of the stereo system, which continues too often too sensitive to hum and the like for any low-level stereo cartridge, of any make or type. I suppose it is technically also the "fault" of the cartridge makers, who, however, may be quite rightly designing their cartridges for the ideally best in sound, assuming that the rest of the industry will design associated stereo equipment that is up to their standards. It should be, of course.

Well, darn it, it isn't - yet. And so here is a fine cartridge that may, or may not, be practical in your home system, depending entirely on the configurations of the rest of the stereo disc circuitry. Frankly, this cartridge has suffered along with others in my own all-too-typical early stereo systems. I suffer, too, but deliberately because I am mainly interested in what the current problems are likely to be for the customer - not on having the ultimate best for my privileged and lucky self.

Ein prächtiger Stereo-Sound

My systems are for the most part average and, so far, the Pickering has given gorgeous stereo sound, at the expense of too much indefensible hum. I'm using my Pickerings just the same, hum or no, for their clean, sharp sound (as clean as any I've yet heard) and I expect shortly to try them for a change in a top-drawer, humless system, just to have the full pleasure of them, unalloyed. It'll be great, I assure you.

I'm intrigued, by the way, at the manner in which Pickering (i.e., Walter Stanton, President) has adapted the well known "T" stylus insert system of the old mono Pickering to the needs of stereo. The "T" unit by its nature had very little vertical compliance and to my unimaginative mind seemed utterly un-convertible to stereo, which requires vertical movement. Well, it was converted and most effectively. The "T" insert still slips in horizontally in a jiffy but the point now moves up and down as well as sidewise. Engineering ingenuity did it, adapting a good practical design feature to tricky new technical requirements.

Mystery Ceramic

I have several ceramics to report on, eventually, but I've been much too immersed in stereo listening, in magnetic stereo, to get time to try them out critically. Again, apologies for the delay, along with an observation that the ceramic stereo cartridge is inherently a pretty darned good idea, and a stereo "natural" more than the magnetic, to begin with.

I suspect that ceramic sound should edge up a bit higher in the stereo ceramic - vs. - magnetic scale than it was able to in the older mono era. Keep an eye on ceramic stereo. No hum pickup, you know.

Allied AM and FM

For these many years - back into the dim days before the war (gemeint ist etwa 1940, als die USA in den Krieg eingetreten waren)- I've been an admirer of the great Allied Radio Corporation out in Chicago and hail it, along with such others as Lafayette in New York, as practically the original promoter of the original home hi-fi.

But to date I've never had an actual piece of Allied hi-fi equipment around for evaluation. (Used to get their stuff for my own uses 'way back yonder.) Now I have on hand an important sample of their latest product line, a typical AM-FM tuner out of the current crop, and I find it interesting both in itself and as a type, with a long historical series of earlier "Knight" units figuratively stretching out behind it in the mail-order area, mass produced, low priced, sold straight to ye customer without the old-time "middleman."

Phew, what an old institution is this mail order business! I bought my first mail order merchandise from Montgomery Ward at the age of nine and I'm still at it -  bought two complete bed outfits from Sears by mail (truck, to be exact) just last week.

Anyhow, this is a medium-fancy FM-AM "stereo" tuner from Allied, and it surely represents a solid current type of enlightened medium-price home hi-fi. The likes of it even come in kit form, in Allied's newly expanding kit division; but this Knight of mine is the ready-made version. Name of KN-120, and it goes for around $130, which is cheap for the top of the line, two complete tuners on one chassis.

Ich persönlich halte nichts von AM-FM Stereo

Now you all know I don't think much of AM-FM stereo. My experience to date with the same, as tuned via this model, is about as usual. One lovely, clean stereo speaker, the other full of blats and swishes and sputters and fades, for a stereo blend that is mostly non-existent. This isn't Allied's fault, and anyhow, you can use these two tuners very neatly for many another purpose, AM-FM stereo quite aside. I've had a lot of fun with them.

Zwei Tuner kann man auch anders verwenden

You see, two tuners is only part of the value. (And, of course, it is good to have two independent systems minus the compromise inherent in many AM-FM Siamese-twin tuners.) There's much value too in the intelligent control and connecting circuitry used in this model.

For instance, there are four outputs in the rear, which at first had me confused like crazy - and, indeed, there is a problem in terminology, considering that there's room for only one syllable under each output.

You'll read amp, tape, tape, amp. And above, the first two are called OUTPUT and the other two FM. No mention of AM or anything like that. But I soon got the idea when I read the instructions, where there was more room to explain.

Natch, there are outputs for the two stereo amplifier systems, the simplest connection being one direct, from the AM source and the other FM. Natch, the tape outputs are for recording off the air -  singly or in stereo form - at the same time as the out-loud playing. But we have other things to think about than FM-AM stereo, and Allied has them sewed up here.

Dieses AM Stereo macht mich krank

Suppose you get sick of the AM half of your stereo, or the AM goes onto a different signal; you'll want your FM in both speakers. Simple; flip a lever switch out front and both amplifiers get the FM signal. In phase, of course; I checked it.

Suppose you want to see what gives on AM for a moment or so, without fussing with separate volume controls on your amplifier (you may not have them) - just flip the switch to the other end and you get AM only, in one speaker. The other is silent. (Who wants AM in both systems. Use FM, if you want two-speaker sound quality.)

Stereo : in einem Lautsprecher FM, im anderen AM

Flip the same switch to the center position and you get AM in one speaker, FM in the other.

The principle of all this is good, and practical. The normally-AM outputs are used for anything that is to supplement the FM output - whether it is AM, or simply a duplication of the FM channel, two-speaker mono FM, which is the most useful sound on the air right now. (If, in the future, you want multiplex FM stereo, it will come out through its own separate rear output already built-in, to be mixed in the multiplex adapter with the regular FM signal.)

I found, oddly enough, that I can use both AM and FM at once quite often - for different signals. On Sundays, for example, I have to cheek on my own taped program via FM from New York. In the middle of it (I know it by heart, of course) there is a local weather broadcast I like to hear. So I turn myself down low, on the FM channel, listen to the weather on AM through the other speaker. When it's over, I flip that neat little lever switch and instantly hear myself on FM through both amplifiers, the AM killed.

Weiteres Studieren hilft schon etwas ..... aber die Beschriftung ....

On further study, you'll find that all the potential one- or two-channel functions you can think of will work out in one way or via this simple switching arrangement.

The only trouble at all with it is, as I say, in the terminology - the more versatile is your switching, the more difficult is the labelling. The middle switch position here is called "stereo" by default, since it allows for separate AM and FM reception to the two outputs; but its usefulness is much wider than that, as you can see.

Der Unterschied bei den FM-Tunern

This FM tuner is medium-sensitive and for the first time I can evaluate the hairline difference between a sensitive FM tuner, in my country location, and a very sensitive one. For almost all ordinary purposes I find no useful difference between this tuner (rated 2.5uv for 20db quieting) and my old Fisher (1.95uv), via the same FM/Q antenna.

But on the myriads (Unzahl) of extremely weak and distant stations receivable in my exceptionally good location there is, or seems to be, a slight difference. I haven't tried to make an AB comparison; not important.

I do suspect, though, that in a very few exceptional situations the ultra-high sensitivity factor is worthwhile. This is really an aside, since for 99% of those interested in Allied's KN-120 the difference in practice will be nil between this tuner as rated 2.5uv and the presently highest-rated tuner (as rated by the maker, of course) the Sherwood at 0.95uv.

In other respects I find this tuner excellent, and not significantly unlike the earlier ones of high quality that I've tried out here. Nothing has gone wrong so far -  after a month or so.

(Ha! It's Sunday at one, and I've just tuned in my program on FM, tuned the AM tuner to the weather station, set my egg timer for 1:10, set the switch to FM-on-both-channels. When the bell goes off, I flip to the middle position and listen both to the weather and self at once. Nice.)

Eine Eigenschaft des Allied KN-120 Tuners

One special FM feature and one quirk should be noted on the KN-120. Allied has a special circuit called "Dynamic Sideband Regulation" that can be switched into FM (It includes AFC, which is also available on a separate switch by itself.) This "DSR" is a form of feedback correction, to reduce a common FM fault these days, over-modulation of the broadcast signal at the station. (Officially it doesn't exist. Unofficially ... well, ask any expert.)

The possibility of reducing a form of station distortion by, so to speak, remote control, remedying a distant fault right in your own home, is interesting, and I report that on a number of stations hereabouts, the DSR feature did result in increased sonic clarity and a better, more velvety background near-silence. The device works also to improve distant signals, though I'm not too clear just how at this point.

Der Vergleich des Empfangs hinkt, denn nichts ist perfekt

Thanks, I suppose, to its feed-back nature, this DSR circuit decreases the output volume of the tuned-in station by quite a bit. This makes it rather difficult to judge what happens, by ear alone.

The background noise decreases, of course, due to lower volume level; the quality seems for an instant to be less brilliant, also due to the lower volume. But these are temporary effects.

My considered judgment is, by now, that DSR is a good thing for many loud, close stations and for some distant ones, not too distant. In between, it doesn't make much difference.

A disadvantage of a sort (worth coping with) is that for tuning you must switch the DSR out. Its AFC action makes the stations "stick" and in addition, the usual off-tune hiss is replaced by a much harsher breaking-up noise, square-wave-type I'd guess by the sound of it.

This is the same sound that one gets with a multiplex demodulator when something goes off-beam or out-of-tune in the main FM signal. Unpleasant, like scattered machine gun shot, but quite easy to keep under control in the case of DSR if you'll just remember to switch back to normal FM reception for all tuning. (I'd like to see better-quality switches, too.)

Weitere Marotten und dazu der AM Empfang

The FM quirk (Marotte) mentioned above is one I've never happened to notice before. I found for awhile that I was having trouble locating my favorite FM stations on Allied's new dial.

I spotted the difficulty when I suddenly looked close and discovered that this FM dial is semigeometric. That is, the distance between numerical points spreads out as the megacycles go higher.

The lower stations are thus fairly close together (though not abnormally so) ; but the whole upper end of the dial is more or less deserted, with most of the mid-upper stations situated down near the center of the dial strip. There must be a reason; but I prefer a straight ruler reading.

As to AM reception on this Allied KN-120, it is excellent, better in tonal quality and, in particular, lower in background noise than any I've heard in a long time. A quirk (Maroote) here, too : the sensitivity control, a sharp, med, broad lever switch, doesn't seem to affect the audio tonal bandwidth more than a trace, though most "sharp" tuning positions cut down the highs unmercifully.

Odd, and I'm for the moment unable to explain it. To tell the truth, I notice only a slight difference in sensitivity for distant AM stations between sharp and broad. The intermediate position seems quite unnecessary, but maybe I haven't had enough experience yet.

Und noch mehr Marotten bei AM/Mittelwellen-Empfang

One odd trouble has cropped up on Allied's AM reception, which I gather they are already aware of and are eliminating - or have eliminated. On strong AM signals there is a persistent humming background noise; it disappears with the station itself. Weak stations don't show it, only strong ones. This apparently is related to the signal pickup of the ferrite antenna built
into the rear of the set. I note that noise seems to increase when I take hold of the ferrite "stick" at certain positions. This is a trouble that will surely be eliminated; if your receiver happens to suffer from it, I suspect that Allied will be glad to help you.

My impression is that the KN-120 (as with other Allied Eadio tuners) is a well built, solidly conservative tuner in its principal aspects, decked out with good styling and intelligent switching, plus a bit of forward-looking radicalism in the DSR circuit, the whole available at rock-bottom cost in the usual mail order fashion. The original maker is the well known Rauland Borg Company.

No Instructions (bei dem Löschmagneten)

Several intriguing (faszinierend) gadgets have come my way recently and, by coincidence, none of them included that practical necessity (especially for the critic and with a public responsibility), an official instruction sheet.

I haven't got around to asking for the same, thanks to other business - a couple of hundred stereo records, for example, all clamoring for a trial in a huge pile almost to my ceiling - and so I expect there'll be a slight delay (of a year or so). I'll mention some of this stuff for your curiosity, minus my own trial, just to be sure.

First, there's the "Echoraser", a carefully calculated permanent magnet that, set up against your already-recorded tapes, is intended to erase a large proportion of the "print-through" (??) on them without noticeably affecting the main signal itself. There are two magnets, one mild, the other drastic for serious cases. The mild version is claimed to do no damage at all to the basic recorded signal and may help remove moderate "print-through".

The drastic one will clip your signal down a bit, but may make a useless tape usable, for precious preserved material. This is a product of "Audio Devices" and I do hope, when time allows, to try it out on my own older tapes. I can use it. Meanwhile, you'll be interested to know about it and may want to try it out yourself.

Die Informationen auf dem Band sichtbar machen

Then, secondly, there is the Magna-See kit, which ingeniously makes the actual magnetic track on a tape visible to the eye, via a thin scum of magnetic particles deposited on the tape.

I asked for a kit and was duly sent one, complete with a can of liquid and assorted other pieces of equipment, the whole in a neat plastic box. Only trouble was, as I say, that the company forgot to include instructions and I am not the sort who uncorks a half-pint of anonymous magnetic suspension, to pour same over some unlucky tape, valuable or no.

When and if I get some directions, I'll try out Magna-See with considerable interest. Meanwhile, if you want to see your own recordings with your two naked eyes, try Magna-See out for yourself. Your kit will probably have directions in it.

Eine Scheibe für die Bandgeschwindigkeitsmessung

Finally - no directions needed - there is a semi-professional but extremely useful taping gadget called the TapeStrobe, that solves the tough problem of reading actual tape speed with accuracy, while the tape is moving and without confusing complications. (Sure, the capstan runs at the right speed, but does the tape itself? It might be slipping, for all you know.)

This gadget, from the "Scott Instrument Labs" of New York, is simply a flat wheel in a machined frame, with a strobe pattern on it (no 3 3/4 ips on mine). You slide the wheel against the tape itself, gently, and read the result. The wheel can be adjusted up or down to fit against tape at various heights from the base plate, but the device is made with the Ampex in mind and centers at the proper height for Ampex machines of the professional sort.

If you're a home tape user you'll gulp at the price of the TapeStrobe, but professional users (and those who are well informed on accurate tolerances) will understand its necessity, given the profit motive. It's a really precise little gadget and I've found it very reassuring, so far. That is, my Ampex runs on schedule and right to time.

What you can do if the TapeStrobe says "naughty-naughty" is another matter. It can't help you a bit, but at least you'll Know the Worst.

(ein gesungener Kommentar zur Stereo-Weihnachtswerbung)

A big sensation from Capitol Records, this last Xmas season, was a semi-witty bit of satire, by a gent named Stan Freburg, about too much Christmas advertising. It's on a promotional 45rpm record and makes conventional fun of a very serious matter  - the all-out, hard-boiled exploitation of the Christmas spirit for commercial ends. Get one if you want a laugh; but if you feel as strongly as I do about this matter, you'll want something even more biting.

How right, how very right, Mr. Preburg is in his dismal little Xmas jingles - "Deck the Halls with Advertising, fa la la la la, la la - la - la; 'Tis the Time for Merchandizing, fa la la la la .... Profit never needs a reason; get the money, it's the Season," etc etc. The title of Mr. Freburg's itty bitty ditty is "Green Chri$tma$."

I support him even more solidly, now that I have before me a fine, bright green and red Christmas, 1958, publicity release, no satire at all, which reads in part, "Let's go $tereo with $anta! $tereo $ales are the biggest boom to new set and record business since the 45's and the LP's came on the market ...."
"It is $tereo! It is $tereo Everywhere! (sings Santa Claus at the top of the page) In the City, in the Country, it is $tereo Everywhere." "The important point," the release concludes, "is to mail the coupon NOW while ... there is still time to team up with $anta and $tereo."

Well, thank God in Heaven, it's now too late for that and we can $ettle down to a $afer and $aner pursuit of $tereo happine$$  - until our next Green Chri$tma$ comes along.

Eine Kolumne vom Februar 1959


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