Category Archives: Music

The Klipsch Guide to Record Store Day 2016

Record Store Day (RSD) is treated differently by each independent record store across the country, but it’s safe to say that your local independently owned record store will likely have a whole bunch of activities planned for its visitors.

Our friends at Indy CD & Vinyl are located in Indianapolis, just a few miles from Klipsch HQ, and have a whole slew of fun stuff planned on Saturday: live music, product giveaways, food, drink, and of course, all of the vinyl you would ever need. Indy CD & Vinyl is co-owned by Andy and Annie Skinner, who were gracious enough to give us some additional insight into Record Store Day. (Schedule)

Here’s a taste of what Klipsch is looking forward to on Record Store Day on local and national fronts.

Indy CD & Vinyl Sign

WHY IS RECORD STORE DAY IMPORTANT?

“Record Store Day is important to Indy CD & Vinyl because it gives us a chance to show our appreciation to all our customers that shop here all year long. It is also a chance to show new customers all that we have to offer, both as a retail record shop and as a community center. We are proud of our role in our music community and are thankful for all that our customers do to support us – RSD is a way to give thanks and show off our place!” – Andy Skinner, Indy CD & Vinyl

Indy CD & Vinyl inside 1 social

MOST WANTED VINYL ON RECORD STORE DAY

“We have been getting buzz about quite a few of the limited releases, like Dr. Who, an Iron Maiden picture disc, a David Bowie picture disc, a Twentyone Pilots 7″, and the box set from the band Lush. That box set is beautiful! There also is a unique item from hip-hop legends Run The Jewels, it’s a virtual reality box called RTJVR, it looks awesome and it is nothing we’ve ever seen before! Even a piece from The Monkees will probably go quickly, it’s a really cool, clear die-cut picture disc.” – Andy Skinner, Indy CD & Vinyl

Oreo Jones

MUST-HEAR ALBUMS ON RECORD STORE DAY

“Although not a sanctioned Record Store Day item, local hip-hop sensation Oreo Jones plans to hide a copy of his new album “Cash For Gold” somewhere in the store for a lucky customer to find. He is definitely someone to watch out for nationally this year.” – Andy Skinner, Indy CD & Vinyl

Devil to Pay band

Devil to Pay (Photo via theobelisk.net)

LIVE MUSIC ON RECORD STORE DAY

Klipsch is proud to sponsor the main stage at Indy CD & Vinyl, utilizing our kick-ass graffiti PA speaker system. Some people think it’s too much for a small space, which we don’t really get. After all, there really isn’t such a thing as “too much” speakers.

Regardless, Record Store Day is a great opportunity for you to check out amazing artists in an intimate setting without being price-gouged. Better yet, you may stumble upon some artists you’ve never heard before who will blow your mind. That’s all part of the magic.

The music will be kickin’ from 10 AM – 7 PM with Shoobee Loo, Mr. Daniel, Sweet Poison Victim, Moor.dub, Veseria, Desert Planet, Devil To Pay and U.S. Bastards rockin’ the Klipsch Stage. “Each band is amazing in their own right, but together we can hear music from many genres all in one day,” Andy Skinner said.

It is also a family-friendly affair with kids music available along with face painting, games and crafts for music lovers who would like to bring their little ones.

R6 On-Ear Vinyl

PRODUCT GIVEAWAYS ON RECORD STORE DAY

We’re assuming companies are giving away tons of crap (ok, maybe not only crap) all over the country to help celebrate and promote Record Store Day, but we’re pretty sure you won’t get anything that sounds better than the Reference R6 In-Ear and Reference R6 On-Ear headphones that we’ll be giving away at Indy CD & Vinyl.

You’ll have to be in attendance to enter to win (sorry!), but it’s totally worth it because you have to eat something from Kuma’s Corner Burger in order to be eligible to win. That’s what we like to call a “win-win.”

Unfortunately, we won’t be giving away any of our vaunted new Reference R-15PM powered monitors that have internal amplification and a built-in phono pre-amp (which means no receiver or separate phono pre-amp required). The good news, though, is that the R-15PMs are available for $50 OFF from Indy CD & Vinyl, Klipsch.com and participating dealers through the month of April. The aforementioned Klipsch Reference headphones are also available at Indy CD & Vinyl for a special price.

rocket 88 doughnuts

Photo via IndyStar.com

FOOD & DRINK ON RECORD STORE DAY

No one wants to listen to music on an empty stomach, right? We’re looking forward to loosening our belts and stuffing our faces with burgers from Kuma’s Corner and doughnuts from Rocket 88 doughnuts. Indianapolis has been developing a serious food-scene and it extends into Record Store Day.

Of course, you have to wash it all down with something and yet another Indianapolis company is partnering with Indy CD & Vinyl – Hubbard & Craven’s Coffee. That’ll do quite nicely. (P.S. You’re missing out if you haven’t dipped a glazed yeast doughnut into coffee before eating it.)

To top it all off, Indy CD & Vinyl’s good friends, Dogfish Brewing Company, will be supplying the adult beverages for the evening. We have no complaints on this matter whatsoever.

Reference R-15PM Phono Pre-Amp

WHAT TO DO AFTER RECORD STORE DAY IS OVER

OK, so you have a bunch of new vinyl. What’s next? Well, we would advise that you get yourself a real pair of speakers. Enough of those crappy all-in-one solutions. It’s time to stop vinyl abuse.

While any Klipsch speakers would be suitable partners for a proper audiophile-grade turntable setup, we’ve created a couple of handy guides that will help you make the best decision.

The Best Record Player Speakers

Turntable Setup Guide for Passive and Powered Speakers

What are you doing for Record Store Day? Let us know in the comments below!

Recap: 2016 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Presented by Klipsch Audio

While the Klipsch partnership with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame extends far beyond the Induction Ceremony, the event is certainly one of our favorite moments of the year. It gives us (and fans across the world) the chance to honor legendary musicians who have delivered endless amounts of joy through their music.

Before we round up everything that happened this past week, we would like to once again congratulate Bert Berns, Cheap Trick, Chicago, Deep Purple, NWA and Steve Miller on their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. To learn more about the inductees, please click here.

Klipsch Audio Presents Intimate Conversations with John Varvatos

Intimate Conversations with John Varvatos

PHOTOS

The week’s festivities kicked off with a collaborative listening event involving Klipsch, John Varvatos, Soundstage Direct and The Musician’s Ear. It took place at the John Varvatos retail location in NYC at 315 Bowery St, which you may recall, is the former site of legendary punk rock club CBGB. It’s practically impossible to count the number of legendary musicians who once played at this location, giving the event the ideal backdrop.

Together, we all pulled together for a night that exceeded all expectations. John Varvatos himself interviewed Hall of Famers Matt Sorum (Guns N’ Roses), Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple), Rob Zander (Cheap Trick) about being inducted in the Rock Hall, their music (past and present), the importance of quality sound and many other topics. Varvatos even managed to lure Chad Smith from the Red Hot Chili Peppers to come on stage for a few words. Having known all of these artists for years, Varvatos was completely at ease talking to the three legends of rock.

It legitimately became a conversation between friends. At one point, Hughes even shared a crazy story about a female police officer who allegedly handcuffed him for doing cocaine in public, undressed in front of him and sexually “prosecuted” him. (By the way, Hughes’ wife, who was laughing hysterically in the second row, chose the word “prosecuted”.)

It was that kind of night. Just a bunch of fun people sharing a laugh, some drinks and a bunch of memories.

Music and audio was played through Klipsch Heresy III speakers that were custom-designed for the John Varvatos flagship location in Detroit.

Steve Miller Klipsch Gifting Suite Rock Hall

Rehearsals at the Barclays Center

PHOTOS

You may be surprised but many of the inducted bands are still playing together and at an extremely high level. In fact, Cheap Trick’s brand new album Bang, Zoom, Crazy…Hello is getting great reviews. Regardless, there is always the need for rehearsals especially at the 18,000 seat capacity Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

After sweating it out on stage, the artists swooped on down to where we were all hanging out backstage to check out the latest and greatest Klipsch speakers and headphones, including the musician-pleasing R-15PM powered monitors, Klipsch Groove portable Bluetooth speaker and Reference On-Ear headphones. Oh, and many of them were down to share a celebratory Smart Beer and snacks with us.

We shouldn’t be surprised anymore, but it’s still always a treat when famous musicians get excited to hear our name and tell us a story about their first Klipsch speakers, like Steve Miller, when told us all about his love for Klipsch La Scala speakers.

Special shout-out to Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty fame, who came by a few times during rehearsals. He’s a lot of fun!

2016 Rock Hall Induction Ceremony

2016 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Presented by Klipsch Audio

The main event for the week was, as you expect, an awesome show. A sell-out crowd at the Barclays Center was on-hand to celebrate the legendary musicians who shared the stage.

We were happy to show the Klipsch video “Tiny Spark” to the thousands in attendance because, after all, we are celebrating the Hall of Fame musicians, as well as each and every person who has had that tiny spark to create their own piece of musical magic.

There were too many moments to pick an absolute favorite with every inductee (minus N.W.A.) playing some of their most beloved songs. Of course, surprise performances from David Byrnes (accompanied the Roots) and Sheryl Crow (with Grace Potter) also added to the evening’s shine.

We are definitely suckers for the all-star jam band tradition at the end of each Induction Ceremony. All of the artists get on stage and perform together. It may sound like a total cluster, but the nearly overwhelming amount of talent on stage makes it all come together into something truly special. It’s an experience you won’t soon forget.

HBO will air the 2016 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony presented by Klipsch Audio on April 30.

Best Speakers for Your Record Player

Vinyl is back in a big way. After all, vinyl made more money than free streams in 2016 with sales rising to their highest level since 1988, according to the RIAA. The record player is becoming practically as ubiquitous as the television in living rooms across the world.

Whether you own one record or 1,000 records, a pair of quality speakers for your record player is exactly what you need. After all, what’s the point of investing in analog audio if you’re just going to push the sound through some crappy all-in-one solution?

We’re here to help you get the very most of out of this new-again medium.

While almost any pair of Klipsch bookshelf or floorstanding speakers would be terrific partners for a record player, we have broken down several situations to find the best speaker for your record player. 

Reference R-15PM Phono Pre-Amp

Easiest Speakers to Set Up With Your Record Player

Reference R-15PM

Some people don’t want to mess around with a bunch of wires and separate devices. We get it. You just want to hear your burgeoning vinyl collection in all of its glory. With internal amplification and built-in phono pre-amp, the new R-15PM powered monitors are the best option for someone looking for the easiest way to hook up their turntable properly. These are the new standards in record player speakers.

RP Uturn blog

Best Passive Bookshelf Speakers for Your Record Player

Reference Premiere RP-160M

One of the biggest reasons why people get into vinyl is the desire to free themselves from overly compressed music. The RP-160M bookshelf speakers over top level performance that provides a true audiophile-grade setup. They feature 90×90 hybrid Tractrix horns, Tractrix ports, Linear Travel Suspension titanium tweeters and spun copper Cerametallic woofers. Old school meets new school in the best possible way.

R-14M blog

Best Budget Speakers for Your Record Player

Reference R-14M

Maybe you haven’t notice – or don’t care – but vinyl isn’t cheap. We completely understand if you want to spend more on your album collection rather than speakers for your record player. The R-14M bookshelf speakers from the Reference series will deliver a surprising amount of output, filling your room with any record you please. Everyone could use a little more copper and black in their life.

70th Anniversary Heresy - 1 social

The Ultimate Speakers for Your Record Player

Heresy III / La Scala II / Cornwall / Klipschorn

You owe it to yourself to listen to a record through Klipsch Heritage Series speakers. Whether it’s the Heresy III, La Scala II, Cornwall or Klipschorn, we can pretty much guarantee that your mind is going to be blown. All of the reasons why people prefer vinyl are put on full display with an exceedingly pleasing, warm and textured sound. You truly aren’t going to find better record player speakers. To top it all off, each of these speakers is handcrafted in our Hope, Arkansas factory.

What do you think are the best speakers for your record player?

Meet the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame class of 2016 Inductees

The performers who will be joining the music elite as inductees to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2016 are: Cheap Trick, Chicago, Deep Purple, Steve Miller and N.W.A. Bert Berns will receive the Ahmet Ertegun Award for Lifetime Achievement for his contributions to rock and roll as a writer, producer and record executive. This talented and diverse group of artists will be honored during the 31st ceremony for their roles in creating music that have become part of rock and roll history.

Cheap Trick

Photo: RollingStone.com

Cheap Trick – 40 Years of Classic Rock

Since Cheap Trick released their first self-titled album in 1977, they have produced 17 more albums and are still playing shows today. In fact, they just released a new album: Bang, Zoom, Crazy … HelloTheir longevity is due to their passion for rock and roll, and also their catchy guitar riffs, memorable lyrics and their relentless touring.

Cheap Trick is best known for their song, “I want you to want me” off of their 1977 album “In Color.” The band’s core members, Robin Zander on lead vocals, Rick Nielsen on lead guitar, Bun E. Carlos on drums and Tom Petersson on bass, have remained consistent since the band was formed in Illinois in 1974.

Chicago the Band

Photo: RollingStone.com

Chicago – Revolutionizing Rock & Roll with Horns

The band Chicago is best known for incorporating horns into soft rock ballads. The founding members from 1967 are Peter Cetera, Terry Kath, Robert Lamm, Lee Loughnane, James Pankow, Walter Parazaider and Danny Seraphine. However, many members have joined and left the band over the years.

The band won a Grammy for their best-known 1976 hit “If you leave me now.” Other hits include, “Make Me Smile”, the powerful “25 or 6 to 4” and the catchy “Saturday in the Park.” Chicago’s music is easily identifiable by the use of brass instruments, woodwinds and piano.

Deep Purple

Photo: RollingStone.com

Deep Purple – Best Known Guitar Riff in the World

The opening chords of Deep Purple’s iconic hit “Smoke on the Water” defines heavy metal. Formed in 1968 in Hereford England, Deep Purple started as an orchestral band that quickly embraced a darker sound. The aggressive “Highway Star” and heavy bass of “Space Truckin'” off of their 1972 album “Machine Head” have inspired generations of hard rockers.

Steve Miller Band

Photo: RollingStone.com

Steve Miller – Infectious Pop Rock

Steve Miller is the singer, harmonica player and lead guitarist of the Steve Miller Band. As a child, Steve Miller was encouraged to experiment with music, especially by family friend Les Paul. The 1968 hit “Living in the USA” was inspired by the San Francisco’s psychedelic music scene.

Steve Miller found commercial success with his platinum 1973 album “The Joker.” The optimistic bluesy storytelling of the title track “The Joker” hit number one in the US and later in the UK. His other hits include “Take the Money and Run,” “Rock’n Me” and “Fly Like an Eagle” off of the 1976 album “Fly Like an Eagle.”

NWA

Photo: RollingStone.com

NWA – Bringing Gangster Rap to Mainstream America

The success of N.W.A. undeniably changed rock and roll history. Controversial, rude, even shocking, N.W.A. has inspired rap artists for generations, legitimizing and popularizing the genre Gangster Rap. Their first studio album “Straight Outta Compton,” featured the song “Fuck the Police” sending shockwaves through America. The album was one of the first to receive a parental advisory label for explicit content and even solicited a protest letter from the assistant director of the FBI.

Meanwhile, N.W.A.’s gritty, if not romanticized street tales, enthralled America’s youth. Beyond their success as a group, NWA members Eazy E, Ice Cube and Dr. Dre have become musical royalty. Their protégés, Snoop Dogg, Warren G, Bone Thugs N Harmony, 2Pac, Eminem and Kendrick Lamar make up some of the most talented rap artists of the last 25 years, ensuring the legacy of N.W.A. for years to come.

Bert Berns

Photo: RollingStone.com

Bert Berns – Interpreting Cuban Rhythms into Pop Music Hits

Bert Berns put a lifetime of talent into the seven years that he worked as a writer, producer and record executive. Inspired by Cuban music, he wrote the hits “Cry to Me,” covered by Solomon Burke and the Rolling Stones and “Twist and Shout” covered by the Beatles. He also wrote “Cry Baby” and “Piece of my Heart,” both hits for Janis Joplin.

Berns became a producer for Atlantic in 1963 and started his own record label, BANG, in 1965. His love of rhythm and blues became his trademark, producing “Hang on Sloopy” performed by the McCoys and “Under the Boardwalk” by The Drifters. With an eye for talent, Berns recorded Neil Diamond’s hit “Cherry, Cherry,” as well as Van Morrison’s hit “Brown Eyed Girl.” Until his death in 1967, Bert Berns contributed classic songs that have made rock and roll history.

 

Jessica Kane is a music connoisseur and an avid record collector. She currently writes for SoundStage Direct, her go-to place for all turntables and vinyl equipment, including VPI Turntables and Klipsch speakers.

Five Bands Who Are Long Overdue For A New Album

While music fans generally expect a few years between albums for most bands, some of the world’s biggest and most creative bands have gone far too long without a new release. Although these delays are tough on fans of the bands, it is often expected that releasing a quality album can take a fair amount of time for songwriting, rehearsing, recording and production. Here is a list of five bands that are long overdue for a new album.

Radiohead social

Photo via Science-All

Radiohead

Last releasing the experimental rock opus “The King of Limbs” in February of 2011, the seminal alternative band has been unexpectedly quiet for the past few years. Although frontman Thom Yorke released a solo album in 2014, Radiohead fans are still thirsting for the next album, which the band has reportedly been working on since early 2015. As a small consolation, fans were treated to the release of the track “Spectre” on Christmas Day 2015, which was an unused track from the recent James Bond film of the same name.

LCD Soundsystem

Photo via The New Yorker

LCD Soundsystem

Just five years after the upbeat dance-punk band announced their breakup and played a raucous and high profile final show at Madison Square Garden, they have reunited and are hitting the road in 2016. The day after announcing the reunion tour, eccentric bandleader James Murphy also announced that a new album would be forthcoming. Fans of the band who brought us such infectious rump-shakers as “Dance Yrself Clean” and “Daft Punk Is Playing At My House” are already sporting their dancing shoes and patiently waiting.

Tool social

Photo via MetalInjection.net

Tool

It’s hard to believe that Tool’s last release was “10,000 Days” all the way back in the spring of 2006, but that is indeed the case. Perhaps with the album selling over 500,000 copies in its first week, Maynard James Keenan and his band of morbid hard rockers deservedly thought they could use an extended break. Though the band has cited family reasons and an ongoing lawsuit as primary reasons for the delay on a new album, Keenan has also been very active recording and touring with his experimental side project Puscifer, of which he is the only permanent member. Although Tool fans are as devoted as any fan base in music, a decade long wait is certainly a lot to ask.

The Shins social

Photo via The Consequence of Sound

The Shins

The Shins and the band’s only original member James Mercer have been relatively quiet since the spring 2012 release of the impressively successful “Port of Morrow.” Although Mercer has released an EP and full length album with side project Broken Bells, a collaboration with Danger Mouse, fans of The Shins’ jauntily adolescent pop-rock anthems are indeed itching for a new album. Mercer and his now rotating cast of band members did release the single “So Now What” in conjunction with the release of actor/director Zach Braff’s film “Wish I Was Here.” However, this little taste from The Shins just left fans aching for more, although hardcore fans of the band were excited with the 2014 remastered release of Flake Music’s “When You Land Here, It’s Time To Return,” which was essentially an early release by the founding members of The Shins.

Gorillaz social

Photo via conversationsabouther.net

Gorillaz

Promoted as a “virtual band” made up of four animated members, the rock/pop/electronic/hip-hop quartet masterminded by Blur frontman Damon Albarn and artist Jamie Hewlett has been incredibly quiet since the early 2011 release of fourth studio album “The Fall.” After arguably cranking out two unstoppable hits over the years with the contagiously optimistic stoner anthem “Clint Eastwood” and dance jam “Feel Good Inc.”, the pixelated tour de force has been incredibly quiet. Although Albarn has been quoted by numerous sources that he has been working on new Gorillaz material since 2014, he reported in the fall of 2015 that he is in the “early stages” of the songwriting process on any new Gorillaz material. Fans of the band are collectively holding their breath for the next update.

 

Jessica Kane is a music connoisseur and an avid record collector. She currently writes for SoundStage Direct, her go-to place for all turntables and vinyl equipment, including VPI Turntables and Klipsch speakers.

No Bullshit: Steve Cropper

The day before we exhibited at the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association (CEDIA) tradeshow, we held a special event in Dallas for our tireless sales team and to honor a few select people. We were lucky enough to have the legendary Steve Cropper put on a show for all those in attendance.

Rolling Stone magazine called Cropper one of the top 100 guitarists of all time and he certainly didn’t disappoint us. In his decorated career as an American guitarist, songwriter and producer, he has collaborated with some of history’s finest musicians, like the late Otis Redding.

We were lucky enough to sit down with Steve Cropper, enjoy a glass of wine and line up five questions for the on-going “No Bullshit” series.

What was the first album you bought with your own money?

When I grew up there were only singles available, so the first album I bought was by Johnny Mathis. The first record I ever bought was Bo Diddley by Bo Diddley.

What would you be if not a musician?

Probably an architectural engineer because that was what I was studying in college. I drafted in high school for four years. I then spent two-and-a-half, almost three years in college doing it. I loved to draw and draft. I didn’t want to build houses and become an architect. I actually wanted to do machine parts and design things.

Do you ever see yourself exiting the music industry?

[Laughs] I don’t think my fans are going to let me do that. I would like to golf and fish for the rest of my life. I just tease myself with the thought of it. There’s just too much demand [for my music]. I think the success of the Blues Brothers has a lot to do it. We’re still together. Lou Marini and I are still out there beating the bushes with the original Blues Brothers band. It’s kind of fun to be able to look back and say “yes, I’m an original and I’m still here.”

Speakers or headphones?

Honestly, it just depends on the quality. I am very fortunate to have both [speakers and headphones]. I’m just getting accustomed to the new designs Klipsch has put together and I’m really enjoying them. They’re great!

How would you define quality sound?

I want to say whatever the listener enjoys most, but there are so many uneducated ears out there. Rather than say “do you even know what you’re listening to?,” I don’t comment unless they ask for me for help. A lot of these young minds and ears aren’t accustomed to growing up with hi-fi systems and high fidelity audio. I can hear a dB or a couple dBs, which is almost impossible for the human ear to hear. I’m very lucky to be able to hear those signals. Like what’s going on right now [Editor’s note: there was a band playing during the background of the interview], it’s very hard for my ears to tune out the music. I can’t do that. I don’t listen to music nonchalantly. I listen to every note. My brain downloads every note in every record for whatever reason. I’m just an odd duck, I guess.

I think Klipsch has the right idea. We can educate these younger ears to appreciate high-fidelity audio and get them to really think about what they’re listening to from a scientific standpoint, as well as musical standpoint. It’s not always all about the groove, even though I’m a stickler for that. Most of my hits are built around groove and melody. I really think quality sound has a lot to do with it.

We have dubbed this question and answer series “No Bullshit” in honor of Paul W. Klipsch who famously wore a yellow “Bullshit” pin underneath his lapel, flashing it to anyone who was full of it. It is an expression of the Klipsch commitment to deliver world-class speakers and headphones that are high on quality and short on fluff. In this series, we will cut through the nonsense with legendary musicians. To learn more about the origins of the Klipsch “No Bullshit” slogan, click here.

 

 

 

No Bullshit: Green Day’s Mike Dirnt

Klipsch was honored to be part of the festivities when Green Day was inducted into the Rock and Hall of Fame in 2015.

In between rehearsals before the induction ceremony, Green Day’s legendary bass player Mike Dirnt visited the Klipsch green room backstage and heaped praise upon us, saying he has always loved our speakers and headphones. It was flattering, to say the least.

In 1986, Dirnt formed the band alongside Billie Joe Armstrong that would end up being one of the true icons of the punk rock era. Green Day still sells out shows across the world with fans flocking to see Dirnt, Armstrong and Tre Cool, the green-haired (at the time) drummer who joined the band in 1990.

The California native fell in love with the Reference Premiere RP-160M speakers we had on display backstage and has since outfitted his entire home theater room with Klipsch speakers. (Stay tuned for more on that install.)

Meanwhile, we have caught up with the freshly minted Rock Hall inductee to ask him five questions. Short and sweet. No bullshit. Just the way Dirnt and Klipsch like it.

What was the first album you bought with your own money?

The first album I bought with my own money was the soundtrack to 2001: A Space Odyssey. I purchased it when I was five years old at Goodwill for 25 cents. Funny thing…in 2011, it was our stage walk-on music for the 21st Century Breakdown tour.

What is the one album or artist you can’t live without on the road?

David Bowie.

What is the best live concert you have ever experienced? 

The Rolling Stones at a small club, the Echoplex in Los Angeles.

Speakers or headphones?

On the go, definitely headphones, so I can be in my own world. At my home or in a hotel, speakers always!

How would you define quality sound?

In my opinion, quality sound is the truest representation of the original recording! I like to hear music the way the artist intended for it to he heard, not overly enhanced.

We have dubbed this question and answer series “No Bullshit” in honor of Paul W. Klipsch who famously wore a yellow “Bullshit” pin underneath his lapel, flashing it to anyone who was full of it. It is an expression of the Klipsch commitment to deliver world-class speakers and headphones that are high on quality and short on fluff. In this series, we will cut through the nonsense with legendary musicians. To learn more about the origins of the Klipsch “No Bullshit” slogan, click here.

Digital vs Analog Audio: An Overview

Regardless of where you stand on the issue, both digital analog recording have their merits.

We felt it necessary to break down the two recording methods to give you a better understanding – so the next time you’re in a heated audiophile debate, you will have more ammo to hold your position.

Digital vs Analog Recording Processes

No matter which recording process used, analog or digital, both are created by a microphone turning air pressure (sound) into an electrical analog signal.

An analog recording is made by then imprinting that signal directly onto the master tape (via magnetization) or master record (via grooves) – from which copies can be made into cassette tapes and vinyl records.

Digital recordings take that analog signal and convert it into a digital representation of the sound, which is essentially a series of numbers for digital software to interpret.

After the analog signal is digitalized, the recording can be copied and placed onto a compact disc, hard drive or streamed online.

Audio Bandwidth

Bandwidth is the ability of a recorded signal to be reproduced at varying degrees of resolution. Think of it like enlarging a low-resolution image versus a high-resolution image. After a certain point, enlarging a lower-resolution image will become pixelated and difficult to see, where the hi-resolution image will resize clearly.

Like images, audio signals can have a limited bandwidth if recorded digitally. Once a digital recording is made, the bandwidth is set in place.

An analog recording is considered unlimited. Therefore, it can move to a higher and higher resolution without losing its original quality.

Why does bandwidth matter? It really depends on what you’re listening to your music with. If you have a pair of overpriced earbuds that cost $8 to make but you paid $200 to cover the company’s advertising budget, then you’re probably ok with any mediocre bandwidth.

On the contrary, if you’ve invested in quality audio reproduction speakers (like the Klipsch Reference Premiere series speakers) – the greater the bandwidth, the greater potential you have for sound.

Digital vs Analog Audio

Signal-to-Noise Ratio

The signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) is the amount of noise generated by the recording’s signal to your speakers. Digital recordings can have a greater signal-to-noise ratio depending on the bit depth of the recording.

What the hell is bit depth, you say? Think of a sound wave in a digital recording format to looking more like a set of stairs, rather than smooth hills

Digital vs Analog Sound WaveThe digital wave must walk up and down stairs, as opposed to smoothly roll over hills. This jump in elevation can create a digital noise.

The smooth analog signal matches the recorded sound wave better than the steps of a digital recording. However, the analog medium (vinyl or magnetized tape) the recording is imprinted on can have tiny imperfections that cause cracking and popping noise.

Mobility of Media

Digital music can be stored, played and streamed on multiple transportable digital products (CD’s, phones, mp3 players, etc.). Outside of tape players, analog-recorded music is fairly immobile.

Loss of Audio Quality

Digital recordings can be played and copied endlessly without ever losing their original quality. Over time, vinyl records and tapes can lose their audible value when being played or copied.

So where do you stand on the matter of digital vs. analog recording? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.

Dads That Rock: Memories of Music

It is no great surprise that many of our life-long obsessions with music and great audio began with our fathers. The blog series “Dads That Rock” is an on-going Father’s Day tribute to these great men who helped inspire our passions. Cory from Paducah Home Theater (and “MetropolisLakeOutfitters” from the Klipsch forums) submitted the story below with minimal edits by the Klipsch editorial staff.

My dad (Kevin) introduced me to the world of classic rock as a boy.

We never had much money growing up, so for transportation he had to overhaul his old Dodge D-50 truck a total of four times, squeezing over 400,000 miles out of it while working a third shift. There were times when the only chance I had to see him was to walk a quarter mile down to my grandparents’ garage and hang out while he tore an engine apart.

The conversations we had usually ended up revolving around music while we listened to it. I didn’t understand much of it at the time but it makes more sense now.

While in that garage, he explained the meaning behind several Pink Floyd songs on many occasions. Any time Santana’s “Black Magic Woman” played, he would regurgitate memories about some crazy ex-girlfriend who was rumored to be a witch. He would describe in detail all the chaos that happened at Bull Island any time soemthing related to Woodstock came up since he was there.

I was even told about how my great-grandmother came from England, how she left behind a sister when she immigrated. Somehow, through this person, George Harrison of the Beatles was born and is technically my 5th cousin (I think?). Unfortunately, somebody stole the letter that explained it all.

I have no idea if it’s one true, but it’s a fun story nonetheless and his eyes light up every time he tells it.

Cory ZZ Top

Cory snapped this photo of ZZ Top.

My dad took me to my first concert at age 14, where we saw ZZ Top in their hey day. Their concerts were much different back then – trap doors, space ships, laser shows, conveyor belts, faux teleportation, etc. –really over the top. Nothing has topped it since then – it was truly a once in a lifetime experience.

For my 16th birthday, Santa brought my first subwoofers as well as a 4th edition The Loudspeaker Design Cookbook, which helped us manually design and build a fourth order tri-chambered bandpass box together for my 1988 Chevrolet Beretta. Due to the aforementioned lack of funds, the first version was the budget build from hell.

Working in an industry factory as an electrician, my dad had access to old wire. He smuggled home some discarded IBM networking wire for signal wires, some welding cable for power wires, smaller wire used as speaker wire, large capacitors to help the electrical system with dynamics and many other industrial parts like fuse boxes and terminals.

This is actually how I paid for the car itself, by stripping and recycling copper wire that was being thrown away, as copper prices weren’t what they are today so this was surprisingly pretty common. I found a [competitor] coaxial speaker in the trash and we used it as a center channel.

The first time we got it all connected after working on it for a long time, we sat there in the car in the middle of the night and listened to most of the Genesis “We Can’t Dance” album, which had recently come out and has some incredibly sweet midrange from percussion and keyboards, which sounded great on the flat Blaupunkt “honeycomb” midranges that I had. Soon afterwards we cranked up the engine and got to hear what the worst ground loop in the world sounds like, but dad got it fixed pretty quickly.

Cory Chevrolet Beretta

What we built would go on to win several trophies in halfway local International Auto Sound Challenge Association (IASCA) competitions. Overhearing a judge tell their buddies “that’s the best sounding car out here” was a big source of pride considering it was thrown away parts and Wal-Mart amps.

Plus (and most importantly), my dad and I worked on it together.

More than anything, my dad showed me what music could do to you emotionally. That really stuck with me, even nearly 30 years after hearing some of those stories in that garage.

We never had nice expensive equipment, but the memories associated with the music are worth much more than that.

Cory Doobie Brothers

 

Do you have a story about your dad that rocks, music and/or Klipsch speakers? Post it in the comments below and/or email it to alex.leopold@klipsch.com