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Saturday, 05 January 2008


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That's put a load off my mind. I thought i was weird for dancing in the darkroom. I feel an urge to do there now as a matter of fact

Took the cheap and dirty way out here — a USB Rocket FM transmitter (from Amazon) which allows me to listen to my iTunes playlists on my FM radio in the darkroom. I have over 40 days' worth of uninterrupted music so there should be no "I know what comes next" effect.

The $39 list T-Amp will probably out perform your Moo Fubar. It has absolutely clean amazing sound and if you search the net you can easily beat the $39 price. I am using mine with a set of JBL's and get great sound from my Macbook.

Good Morning,
I read your article with great interest, as one of "those" audio guys who spent Zeiss dollars on interconnects in an attempt to achieve similar "snap" in audio imaging, I have been avoiding the whole MP3 concept.

The fun part is where you mention "California" or JBL "sound". As an East coast audio guy, we discussed the differences between the east coast (similar to UK/European) sound and West coast speakers. Back then,( '70s) we came to the concept that simply due to construction techniques used in buildings we could allow for the possibility that "maybe" just maybe those speakers sound "good" in California. This possibility was "allowed" because, obviously, Califorina houses were not built the same way as houses in the East that were constructed to withstand harsh winters and hundreds of years of use. The "flexibility" of the California construction possibly absorbed some of the OOMPH of that puzzling mid bass.
FYI, you won't find powered pairs, but I strongly recommend finding the now discontinued but remarkable N.E.A.R 10M speakers. Similar in size to the NHT but dramatically superior.


Don't know about darkroom listening, but my listening to music when working on the computer is just "utility listening", by that I mean that I am not able to enjoy music while working on the computer the same way I enjoy it when doing something usual, i.e. drinking tea or washing dishes. I think that is because it is usually activity at the computer, and the music listening is kind of brain activity as well, so these activities compete for the same place in my brain and thus I get much less of enjoyment and "feel" of music.

I am outraged! Screwing around with a computer while a wonderful 60mm F4 S-Orthoplanar wastes away with nothing to do.
Man this is really heart rending!

Hmmm, thanks, Mike...never really thought about improving my computer speakers, even though I, too, used to have the rack mounted components and Klipsch floor speakers. Now I listen to music either from my computer speakers, or the medium-priced surround sound system we use for the television. Both stink, but then again my ears are more than 40-years-old and there is a chance I wouldn't even notice the difference. Still, I may have to give some new speakers serious thought.

The only trepidation I have for listening to music on the computer is the processing power used to decode the music files. I'm always worried that, between Photoshop's memory hogging and music streaming through the motherboard, that I could suffer a crash at a most inopportune time.

Alas, I have sold the S-Orthoplanar. It didn't even make it to eBay, as a private buyer snagged it first.

Presumably he will use it however!

Mike J.

I'm jealous that you had enough space to dance in your darkroom! My first darkroom was a converted guest shower. Once the benches and print washer was installed, I barely had room to stand up. Dancing consisted of wiggling my feet (highly undesirable as it made the enlarger column wobble).

Unfortunately I sold all my wet darkroom hardware as it was just taking up space in the junk room. I'm afraid that processing fibre-based paper is a thing of the past here, as the water restrictions here in Australia make it highly inappropriate to keep the tap running non-stop for hours.

I love making prints in my darkroom which measures only 8x6 feet (the sink I use is outside of it which provides no inconvenience) but provides plenty of working space. On a shelf in one corner is my four-year-old Bose CD player which I use to listen to my favorite composers, Rachmaninoff, Gershwin, Ravel, and Debussy,in addition to many other composers and other music styles, and it gives me hours of joy and incredible sound every session. I couldn't be happier!

You needn't keep water running for hours to wash prints. Fill your bathtub and shuffle the prints from time to time. The small amount of chemistry left in the prints will be sufficiently diluted in the gallons of bathwater.

I've prints that I washed in this manner that are over 20 years old and show no signs of degrading.

Do not bathe in the water first!

Dear Mike et al,

You can do a lot better than that. An 8x10 fiber print carries over less than 10 ml of liquid. Immerse such a print in a liter of water, agitate periodically, and it'll reach equlibrium in well under a half hour (assuming you've used a wash aid after fixing). That's a 100-fold reduction in the concentration of chemicals in the print. Do that three times and you've cut the concentration by a million- more than sufficient!

If you want to wash a half dozen prints at a time, make it five changes of water: same result, and you've used about a liter per print.

Big problem with washing multiple prints is getting water between them to flush out the chemicals. You can interleave frequently. Or set up a half dozen small trays and wash the prints one-by-one, pipelining them down the series of trays. Unless you generate more than 3 finished prints per hour, you'll never experience a backup.

If you're on a REALLY tight water budget, you can get it down to a few hundred ml of wash water per print with a bit of workflow design.

pax / Ctein

My ears thank you for this side trip into audio nerddom. My wallet, not so much :).

I spent alot of time on headwise and other places researching usb DACS and ended up with the emu 0202 ($97). Maybe not as good as the Fubar but really really good enough for me.

I've hooked it up to my home system (adcom/vintage JBL), my computer system of powered monsoon planar speakers and my grado rs80 headphones. All I can say is that I that I am very happy. YMMV.

Note that windows xp has some issues with digital sound. If you want the best quality research 'bit perfect' sound with either ASIO4ALL or kernel streaming.

I've also hooked it up to the JBL's with a sonic T-amp. Great portability (battery powered) and fabulous for the money but not quite comparable to the Adcom (GFA 545, $130 from ebay).

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