Theo Verelst Local Diary Page 43

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  Tue Nov 20 15:31,  2007

Another random (but selected from a few) fortune cookie:
It is equally bad when one speeds on the guest unwilling to go, and when he
holds back one who is hastening.  Rather one should befriend the guest who
is there, but speed him when he wishes.
                -- Homer, "The Odyssey"

        [Quoted in "VMS Internals and Data Structures", V4.4, when
         referring to scheduling.]

Last week I did a short performance in the BIM huis in Amsterdam again, with some other instruments, amoung which an accordion, and a person singing about misery in his moslim past. Improvised, unprepared, and of course I played the grand piano.

HD DVD Viewing

Of course I make HD video, in 1080i, but it is of course interesting to watch movies and documentaries which were made for the cinema or otherwise in High Definition quality. Thanks to a recent sale in a big german electronics store, I saw the entering of a E279 HD DVD player from Toshiba, with included in the price 13 (!) HD DVDs to view. With one other which had been bought previously (The Getaway) that makes 14 titles, unless you'd count traditional DVDs along, and count on the progressive information in them to look good in HD, which is not so well the case, usually.

   An extremely cheap toshiba HD-DVD player and a stack of nearly free High Definition films, next to a rear biamped speaker.

So how do I make these materials viewable? The audio of course is reinforced by the big high quality audio system (4way + 15"sub, threefold amplified, electronically seperated) , while for the picture currently I have two systems to offer, a 1680x1050 good quality LCD screen with a DVI input, and the 720x1280 widescreen beamer with major size pro grade screen, which is of course the most powerfull option.

   Connections to the player: HDMI, component video, stereo audio, optical TOS, ethernet.

What's hooked up here? An overseeable HDMI connector (L) YPbPr component video (carried by a cable with the wrong colours yellow, white and red, and probably the wrong cinch cable types), stereo audio (more or less pro level +4dB)  a Optical Audi link (can be either dts-like coded multi stream or PCM stereo, of which I tested the latter to indeed work with the Lexicon Omega converter over a computer to convert from optical to coaxial TOS) and finally an ethernet connection to the router of the local network and the connected always-On fast ADSL internet.

Why is that? because the layer can look for additional materials related to a movie on the internet, and it can upgrade it's operation system / drivers automatically when requested over the internet, which is fun and of course I did that, which took probably half an hour downloads, but it worked. I should automatically set some clock, too, but I see no clock. Unfortunately, no ethernet control or internal web server are available, that could be fun.

It appears to be a Linux (the GNU public license is reprinted in the manual!) machine, with a (analog Devices) Sharc DSP inside.Well, the machien startsup very slow but when it's running it sure works good, there are no hichups or failures or even anything close to wrong behaviour in the picture, with the sole exception of sometimes the film appearently consisting of a few parts, between which there is a fraction of a second pause. Both the 720 and the 1080 video quality are outstanding, judging from the HDMI (to a official HDMI input or a HDMI to DVI converter cable)  or the component outputs (to component inputs).

Without any question I can create a cinema look and sound and feel with these materials, but of course as operator one has the responsibility of setting everything up right which is no easy thing in general, although in general it could suffice to set everything up in a relativelu neutral setting. For the real 'getting drawn into the film' andliking it and sustaining the real movie experience the whole film though, capable (but certaily not top of the pro line) equipment like this has to be adjusted right, due to the vairous assumptions present the the various films and documentaries, about colours, intensity, and sound volume.

   The back of the not pro-price but very good specs 720HD projector with composite, S video, component, and HDMI connections.

   The main amplifier and active filter stack with Lexicon converter, 15 inch sub woofer unit and connections

Is there a way to control all this? Sure, just use some remote controls:

    2 light groups, 4 light groups, digital cable channels, HD DVD, regular VCR, beamer, camera (with tape), and media computer remotes...

Got no more? Euhr, probably e few more, but not normally. And of course I'm working on a audio mixer with remote control possibilty, which is now done by wired remote volume control, but then can be made wireless, and in high mixing quality (meaning more the direction of SSL than any Spirit mixer or so would offer quality and with real remote volume control without AD/DA conversion) , and i fact can be connected to the internet or a local network and so controlled by a computer (for very slow fades under computer control, together with lights  for instance) or even by a internet wireless phone.

Of coruse there are a wireless mouse and keyboard which years ago came with a cheap but powerfull media PC, which are connected over in total 10 meters or so of USB extension canble and hub (with an official powered extension of 5 meters that works good for low power USB2 equipment) and then wireless (unless charging)  and I can use a notebook computer to control various things over the local network.

Electronics work continuing

Well, I couldn´t call it really "work" in the main tradional meaning, but hey, so is open source work often.

   The finished 800 Watt  Voltage Controlled Dimmer kit in operation in it's transparent box

   High quality high capacity non-electrolitic Capacitor Arrays for the main amplifier feedback signal path.

Don´t mind the labels which just happened to lie under the subject by chance (its a pile of isolation material)

   A AT2020 with improvised pop/wind/spit shield.

   A little but flexible fast USB-2 data center of 0.4 Terabyte connected to the server, and the router/internet modem.

  Probably at the moment when you read this page, your bits are flowing here to serve your browsers request.

Digital Multitracking and Repair

   The Akai DPS-16 digital mixer / harddisk recorder in for a repair.

   Closeup of the above LCD screen.

   Botton view of opened enclosure.

   Closeup of digital board showing M66272 LCD controller.

   Closeup of Altera programmable logic device.

   Input channels electronics closeup.

   Up to 200MHz clock 32 bit Hitachi RISC microcontroller with builtin peripherals.

   AKM 5383 24bit/96KHz AD converter.

More HD extracted images

   A boat skeleton on a amsterdam harbour shore

   The fasr taxi boat on the canal between amsterdam and the west from a moving frame.

   Where's the car battery in a Audio 100 2.3 from some time ago: under the back seat, and it's big, too! What's that BNC connector for?

    A deer in a closed the Hague park in the center nect to the Malieveld.


   A cock in an amsterdam garden area.

The digital piano / synthesizer test

Sponsored by Kurzweil, which had prof. Ray (hihi) returning to them earlier this year, there is a test site with quality recorded samples from various high end digital synthesizers/samplers, of various tunes being played on a number of instrument simulations of piano-like and a few organ sounds.

   Logo from the site.

So I sat myself down on the big linux screen with the Lexicon Omega DA converter connected to it, and the big high quality system (4 way + 15" sub, amplified with 3x2 amplifier channels and very High Q analog seperation filters) sitting more or less at the sweet spot, and luckily the space is damped from it´s normally extremely annoying LF resonances by a pile of sale-bought sound damping materials (the techno looking black foom with structure and I mean not a small pile but 20 (!) square meter or so), and downloaded and listened to the 128 and 320 kbps example mpegs.

I used mplayer like this on a BASH shell prompt:

   mplayer -ao alsa:device=hw=0 -softvol -cache 4096  ""

The last name and a bit of the path would change for the different audio files.

Any more audio setup ideas, Theo?


Jep, I thought about a lexicon MX400 (pcm96 is probably way expensive)
of course the analog mixer I´m working on in multi channel version, a Kurzweil PC-3 (or X) preferably with VA-1,

a Prophet ' 08 (a real analog new one from the original prof. Dave Smith, uhm, I don´t know about the official prof title, eh he),
maybe a new front mid-channel with a JBL woofer,

a big dome mid-high tweeter (Visaton got one) and some good stuff,

a yamaha motor fader digital mixer (the good one, I forgot the type number, maybe like 0W),


I guess a voyager would be quite cool, too, though of course a good modular would be the greatest still, but very expensive, and maybe a new version should be made with top electronics,

and probably one of those motu voyager or 408 or so firewire audio interfaces (name concidence ?) they seem pretty decent, for multi channel IO.


I´d still like a VL1 (was that the name), those physical modeling synths from Yamaha, maybe its a shame, maybe they don´t pass my string simulator, I don´t know but there was no followup model to my knowledge.
There is also a S90 plugin version:

a little under 200 euros is not that cheap or expensive at all, but it is only one voice (monophonic)!

Film experiments

    Scheveningen on a sunny day.

Thomas Edison, the inventor of electrical light that is, in 1903 (nineteenhundred and three)

Great cinematographics film material, from long before early hollywood.

Suppose the US Army does graphics

I downloaded and compiled (really) BRLCAD 7.10.2 on the Athlon 3.3/64 server machine running by now Fedora 7/64, which after some compilation time (remember to set export TMP=/dev/shm or so, speeds up quite a bit) got me a working 3D program from the US army, it appears.

    Brlcad showing the example of the small Star Trek shuttle craft.

A bit hard to usr, and I´m not sure about the display window and how good that works, but it does some good rendering, and format conversions, and it does electrical field analysis, which I haven´t tried yet.

Open source grpahics design from the army, great.

Another AES Lecture at Philips Science Campus

The lecture was about compressed surround ausdio encoding.

   The demonstration desk at the Einstein Hall in Eindhoven Philips Science Campus.

   One of the 4 PA speakers in the hall. Not Philips, but JBL!

 JBL Array series 4892A-90 (pdf from JBLpro)

WBGO membership

   Well thank you! (and where's my money and preferably american cinitzenship?...)

Mayebe I should do internet radio, too.