Barry Willis

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Barry Willis Posted: Dec 19, 2013 Published: Aug 01, 1998 0 comments
666systemau.1.pngDenmark has probably contributed more to loudspeaker technology than any other country in the world. Vifa, Dynaudio, ScanSpeak, and Peerless drivers—used in a huge variety of speakers—are all Danish. Products from companies such as JBL, Spendor, Linn, B&W, Celestion, KEF, Audio Physic, ProAc, and others are partially or wholly made in the little Scandinavian nation.

System Audio originated in 1984, when guitarist and electronics technician Ole Witthoft grew dissatisfied with the lack of realism he heard from most home audio systems and figured he could do better. He built some speakers for himself and for a few friends, with encouraging results. It's a familiar story: we all know competent hobbyist speaker builders. A few of them gain a bit of local notoriety, but most never venture further than making a few units for friends and relatives.

But Witthoft's reputation grew rapidly, and so did his business. Fourteen years later, his little startup has become a serious player in the loudspeaker market, with annual production in excess of 18,000 units.

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Barry Willis Posted: Sep 14, 2012 Published: Nov 14, 1997 3 comments
Nothing at 41 E. 62nd Street in Manhattan offers any clue as to what sort of business that takes place inside. The waiting room feels vaguely monastic: straw mats on the floor, a row of shoes near the door. Like a day spa offering acupuncture and shiatsu. There's no corporate name, no logo, no mission statement.

A clock running six and a half hours late hangs above a receptionist's unoccupied desk. An enormous white dog is asleep under framed pictures of old blues artists: Son Thomas, Etta Baker, Pernell King, Cora Fluker, Big Joe Williams.

Barry Willis Posted: Jun 06, 2010 Published: Feb 06, 1995 0 comments
Wandering through Tower Records the other night, I was struck by the amazing diversity of music available to us. There's music from every part of the globe, for every taste and interest, from "show-me-the-good-parts" compilations of classical highlights to obscure releases by unknown artists. There's music for the ecstatic, music for the angry, music for the straight, the gay, the bent, and the twisted. The subcategories replicate like rabbits, as if in a demographer's nightmare. Genus spawn species, which quickly mutates into subspecies, race, tribe: cult begets subcult.
Barry Willis Posted: Jul 19, 2007 Published: Jul 01, 1997 0 comments
Dear High-End Dealer,
Barry Willis Posted: Jul 13, 2007 Published: Jan 01, 1998 0 comments
Stadium rock is my idea of the inner circle of Hell. I hate crowds. I have zero interest in the rich and famous. And I've never been much of a Rolling Stones fan. Give me a choice, and I'll take Weslia Whitfield at the Plush Room 10 times out of 10: a cushy seat, some witty companions, a little Irving Berlin and Cole Porter. Heavenly.
Barry Willis Posted: Jul 03, 2005 Published: Oct 03, 1999 0 comments
Most speakers don't come in heavy wooden crates—they come in cardboard cartons, two per box, light enough to be tucked under one arm and carried out to the car. Not so in HighEndLand, where the smallest minimonitor can test a healthy man's strength. There are plenty of good reasons for this cult of robustness, foremost among them structural stability and the suppression of resonances.
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Barry Willis Posted: Jan 31, 2005 0 comments
Media conglomerates have long hedged their bets by consulting demographics experts and marketing gurus. Now, music executives have real science to bolster their sometimes unreliable instincts about what will succeed and what will fail. It's an audio analysis program called Hit Song Science (HSS).
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Barry Willis Posted: Jan 31, 2005 0 comments
Xd on its way: NHT has begun shipping its Xd DEQX Calibrated DSP speaker systems to dealers, according to an announcement made January 24 by parent company the Rockford Home Group. A high-tech twist on the old satellite-and-subwoofer scheme, the Xd consists of a pair of two-way acoustic satellite speakers; an XdW bass module with two opposing 10" drivers powered by an internal PowerPhysics 500W amplifier; and an XdA outboard processor/amplifier that includes a DEQX-calibrated DSP engine and four PowerPhysics One-Cycle Sound amps.
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Barry Willis Posted: Jan 24, 2005 0 comments
Powell calls it quits: Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael Powell has announced his departure from the regulatory agency. Powell will leave his post by March of this year, according to an announcement made January 21. The son of former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Michael Powell was appointed an FCC commissioner by then-President Clinton in 1997 and appointed chairman by President Bush in 2001.
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Barry Willis Posted: Jan 24, 2005 0 comments
The recorded music industry may be emerging from the gloomiest period in its history. US disc sales have picked up for the first time in more than four years, and the global market for legal downloads is up by a factor of 10 from a year ago.

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