Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Who Cares?

A Blog by Mick Anger #4


Today I am thinking about music, mostly, with a minor in gear.

I have been a music lover since my father inculcated it in me when I was young. He never pushed me in any direction in particular, at first he taught me by example. He enjoyed music very much and listened often to his console stereo and various radios. He was a traveling salesman and spent a lot of time in the car. In the 50’s and 60’s the radio was the only real option for most people. 

I’m certain I will return to this in future installments, but today I’m concentrating on a new, long term project, digitizing my LP’s.

I’ve held onto my vinyl ever since I went digital back in the early 80’s. I admit I’m pretty close to being a hoarder when it comes to letting go of anything even marginally useful, but I love my records for any number of reasons beside the obvious one, the music.

I also confess to being an amateur audiophile, I love the sound that can come from a decent system, no matter the cost, high or low. I am not a strict believer in the more expensive is always better school.

I am however a member of the “there can always be improvement with upgrades” group, to a point.

This has lead to my recent acquisition of several doo-dads necessary for the transfer and playback of the digital files.

It started innocently enough with the acquisition of a new DAC for the interface between computer and sound system. I bought a portable unit from a Chinese website that had good specs for the reasonable price of about a hundred bucks. It is called the “ Topping TP-D1 MKII MK2 USB sound card CS4398 USB decoder External For PC& laptop” and I got it here: 

It sounds great and works without hassle with my 2009 MacBook Pro. interfacing with my main system in the living room. 

I am using Amadeus Lite to record from my old turntable to the iMac that is my main computer rig. I had to buy a preamp for the turntable as the cartridge is low powered and neede a boost. I found one on Amazon, "ART DJPRE II Phono Preamplifier Dual RCA Type Inputs and Outputs Switchable Low Cut Filter" 

It was only about $40 and did the trick, boosting the level and sounding fine. I love low priced gear that punches above its price point.

I am digitizing at 96khz 24bits and using Decibel for playback from the macbook. The vinyl sound is addictingly rich and detailed, I can’t wait to hear how things sound each day as I complete new transfers. I’m discovering these records all over again. What a gas! Talk about cheap thrills!

Today I’ve selected a couple of Talking Heads albums. I like their music fine, even a lot, but I have problems with David Byrne due to an incident at a live show back in 1982 at the Olympic stadium in Montreal. I was directing video for the Police on the Synchronicity tour and the Talking Heads were on the show as one of the opening acts. During the day a request came from David Byrne to the management for them to let him use the video gear for their show. This was in the very earliest days of video projection at Rock shows and the Police management was reluctant to let them use their biggest production gimmick before they went on stage and refused them the use of the video system.

Then, during the Talking Heads set we got word that the were fucking around with our equipment. When I got to the stage I saw that Byrne was trying to pull one of our cameras up onto the stage so he could fuck around with it like a little spoiled kid. I got on the camera platform and had to pull the camera back out of his hands and back onto the riser. Luckily nothing was harmed and our show was not affected. But wow, what a spoiled brat he was!

Anyway, I still want to hear “Psycho Killer” on vinyl again!

What do you think? Tell me in the comments.

© 2012 Mick Anger – All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

What do you love?

Who Cares?

A Blog by Mick Anger #3

What do you love?

Sara Palin is famous for not being able to recall anything she was currently reading, magazines, newspapers, books, blogs? 

Ah, no.

How could that be? I am always reading something, sometimes two things, or more concurrently. I love to read. I always have. I was blessed that it came effortlessly to me and I fell in love with words and language too, all at the same time. I must have been 5 or so, is that about right for the fifties?

I was voracious, and inhaled books as if they were the smell of fresh bread. I went to catholic school and was quite proud when Sister Terence told me I read with “good expression” when called on to read aloud. I could hear the words in my head when I read to myself and wanted to be able to convey what I was experiencing to others. I loved to read and I thought everyone must feel the same way.

How could you not love to journey into space or to other worlds or universes? To learn about science and all the wonders to come, soon. Science Fiction was my specialty, and I sought out comics to feed my furnace. 

Comic books were the best place to expand my mind and my vocabulary. I don’t know how long it would have taken me to encounter words like stymie or stygian. I loved all kinds too, from Superman to Amazing Fantasy to Donald Duck. And what about Classics Illustrated, they were incredible! I could feel like I had read Moby Dick and The Red Badge of Courage when I was in the fourth grade. I could never get enough to read.

My sister loves to tell the story about how I read the entire Encyclopedia that my parents bought one volume at a time at the supermarket. I almost swallowed them whole, and there were fabulous pictures.

I belonged to a science book club that would send a paperback book with color stickers of the pictures to be pasted in by the reader. Fascinating subjects like “Magnetism” and “Electricity” or “Flight”. The gave you cardboard sleeves to keep the books in, I still have them on my shelf. E-books are great, but can’t equal the feeling you get when you run your eyes over a shelf of books, it only hints at the wonders within.

I must confess that I have fallen out of the habit of reading a daily newspaper since I moved into a condo 25 years ago. I always read the sunday edition when I was home, but thank the universe for the internet. That doesn’t mean I don’t read one when I can, because I will, anytime. I love input.

I read for about 2 hours in the morning with my coffee. Usually a magazine, but it could be a book too. And on some days I will watch one or two of my “Great Courses” lectures on history or culture or whatever. They are almost as good as a book.

The point is, I know what I’m reading because I’m reading a lot of stuff all the time. After coffee I ride my exercise bike while listening to jazz or classical music and reading about audiophile equipment and music. Or Wired magazine. I wouldn’t, I don’t think, be at a loss for words if you asked me what I was reading like Sara was.

After my 45 minute ride to nowhere on the bike I have a bowl of cereal and go to the net for more input and exploration.

I love it too much. It’s a part of what I do and who I am. I’m a reader. What’s that you’re reading?

Tell me in the comments.

© 2012 Mick Anger - All Rights Reserved