Saturday, May 31, 2008

Horns and the Google search algorythms

I'm working on a monster Klipsch post, compiling links to plans of all the fully hornloaded PWK designs. This will go from the original Klipschorn all the way to the Jubilee and should provide interesting references for anyone designing their own horn cabinets. In terms of creative design and cabinetry, PWK was in a class all by himself.

I thought compiling this list was going to be pretty easy. There's lots of stuff on Klipsch out there, the plans for all of these designs have been published in print and online and there's enough buzz to keep it around. So just type in the words "Klipsch", "horn" and "plan" and they should pop up, right?

Well, they didn't pop up so easily. What you mostly get is threads on the various speakerboards, discussing plans of Klipsch horns. So, more search terms. Try out "LaScala", "Belle", "Klipschorn", "Jubilee", "DIY" and whatever else you come up with. It doesn't really help...

What happens, is that Google ranks the search results, following a weighting system. Listing the actual words is important, of course. But also how many times the word is mentioned in the text. Also, how often the page is read. Perhaps how many pages refer to that page. In the end, the original design, website or post is completely lost in the forest of forum activity about the topic, simply because the forum activity is much more and highly conspicuous.

We've been generating so much talk and so little content, that it becomes increasingly harder to find the actual, relevant information. By this post, I am actually adding to the clutter... I decided to post this anyway, because it illustrates the need for a few online places that are about focus and content. The HornloudspeakerMagazine aims to be such a place. I can't produce expert technical literature about horns, but I can point you to some excellent stuff. It might save you a week of Google nightmares... How does Brainiac put it? "We do these experiments, so you don't have to"...

So, stay tuned for that monster Klipsch post, because I have very nearly found everything I am looking for.
(Image from the Klipsch Forums)

Monday, May 26, 2008

Preserving the Knowledge of the Ancients

I know that all of you technical minded horn-fans are looking for Harry F. Olson's book called Dynamical Analogies. This is one of the most, if not the most cited reference for in-depth understanding of the functioning of horns. As the title indicates, Olson illustrates analogies and describes the acoustic interactions of soundwaves with alternative principles, like electronics. My background in math and engineering is ...... limited (cough)..... so this book is over my head. Although I do browse in it from time to time and I understand more every time. Some day. In the meantime, long live Bruce Edgar for making horn design more accessible to me with his popular style.

Anyway, here's a link to an online library of technical books, mostly audio-oriented. You can find it at Technical Books Online. These books are decades old and their copyrights have not been renewed. The maintainer of this website (webrarian?) is therefore free to offer them online. The direct reason that makes it elligible for a post here, is that it provides Olson's book. However, there are many more interesting books at this site.

Among the very interesting things that I found, are Magnetic Recording - Wire and Tape by M. L. Quatermaine, a wonderful little book with lots of diagrams and illustrations. Anything you never knew you wanted to know about your tapedeck!

There are also a lot of audio textbooks, of varying level. I am an educator myself and am of course interested in both "vintage educational material" as well as in improving my knowledge of things audio. I can tell you that some of this vintage material is still excellent textbook material, if you can look through the outdated graphic work. Didactically, there isn't much wrong with them and I enjoy reading them.

Happy browsing!