Shoptalk Sunday: Build a Home Studio & Radio Station (#1)

Since one of my (purported) skills is broadcasting, every so often a reader wondersWhy not do an STS article on how to have a super home sound system?

Well, OK, this can be really short (“do what sounds best to you”) or really long.  Which begins like this:

Inputs & Speakers Matter 

Long ago, in broadcasting days, my 1971 home stereo consisted of a good belt drive turntable and a high-end ($150) Empire cartridge and low-mass needle.  It was head and shoulders above the QRK turntables and more robust gear we used in studios.  Because DJ’s were (and still are) wild people and didn’t understand about delicate needles…

The other thing was about speakers.  I had huge University Presidio’s, Made of teak and gorgeous.  After a few years (and neighbor-pissing volume often enough) the cones were rebuilt with upgraded high flex cones.

People from the radio station would come over and comment on how dynamite the speakers sounded.  Surely, I must be driving it with a big chrome plated Macintosh or Fisher tube amp?

Nope.  But here is where today’s lesson in sound begins.  Inputs and Outputs are most of the game.

Just like ham radio.  It ain’t the light-dimming, power hungry 3-kilowatt afterburner amplifier that gives you a great signal.  No sir.  It’s the dead-flat, broad banded antenna perfectly matched and ground that can turn a mere 20-watts into a screamer.  Sound has a few built-in Simple Truths like this.  Speakers and inputs.

My (back then) amplifier was a simple Lafayette 40 watts RMS per channel.  Again, many of the Amazon ads for 3,000 watts of *music power* don’t mean crap.  Give me a 100-ohm resistor with a 4- or 8-ohm value, a signal generator, and let’s see how well a sine wave warms it up.

Best Speaker Configuration

Speakers are like blondes.  Everyone has an opinion about ’em.  Some people swear by one brand, or that one over there which just had a good write-up.  Nonsense and poppycock, mostly.

In the two corners at the front of my little home studio are three (cheap) speakers on each side.  These are in the tri-amped configuration. People who have single amped a serious sound room are not playing with a full deck, or a full budget,

When you have a speaker, we know a low-frequency A/C current comes out of the speaker terminals on whatever amp.  With the volume up, this can approach the power handling capacity of the speakers and amps.  Neighbors will begin calling you and threatening to call the cops.

When the cops arrive, you can explain you were just doing “due diligence” prior to either bi-amping (two amps) or “tri-amping” (3 amps) on each side for your front mains.

If you look at the three speakers above, you will see that a single audio line for the (R) front drives:

  • A 10- or 12-inch Pyle self-powered sub-woofer.
  • And a lovingly re-capped 60 watts (RMS which is God knows how much in phony “music power” these days)
  • One channel of the (R) Crown amps drives a Bose Series II which I like the sound of for mid-range power.
  • The second (R) Crown amp channel drives a surprisingly good four horn mobile tweeter stack.
  • This is then mirrored on the (L) left front.

This is exceptionally clean sounding up in to the 105-110 dB range.  The EPA hearing protection levels begin after an hour at 86 dB which is modest “loud” volume.  100 dB is powerful opening of a concert with occasional drum and horn passages to 105-110 db.

We’ve seen +120 dB here, but there may have been alkyhaul involved.

Tri-Amp Sounds Different?

Oh, you bet.  Because when your source is pressing out two tones, say 100 HZ and the amp and speakers are near max, there is little support for an even higher sound level at perhaps 2000 Hz.  The effect is to lose clarity somewhere along the line.

The best woofers I ever used were at the MusicMaster turned Pinnacle College sound studio that used to be in Burbank when I ran that shop.  A legendary Quad-Eight analog mixing deck and each side of that room had 16-inch World War II speakers that were used to scare rodents out of English grain storage units during the war. And 200 watts per side for these sub/woofs.

With tri-amping, everything can sound as “present” and “bright” and powerful as you care to dial in.  We’ll get to that in a sec.  But first?

The Perfect Sound Room?

There is almost no limit to how far (and how utterly grand the speakers in a good room can sound.  I remember going through one of the (was it Joiner-Rose designed?)  studios in Portland, OR.  There were not two parallel walls in the place.  The “mains” in the mixing rooms were mounted on chromed 2″ pipes sunk 20-feet into the ground and buffered from the concrete pad under the room with rubber mats.  Custom made, of course.

These purpose-built rooms “clapped out” great. Quietest room outside of Apple London at the time, because no two surfaces were parallel, the clap of hands anywhere would quickly fade off.  Evenly, all over the room.

A good article on getting the room itself to sound good – regardless of equipment and speakers – is You Can DIY! An Introduction to Measuring Rooms.

Around here, we’ve resigned ourselves to having some big mid-room low frequency standing waves.  To sniff these out, a simple dB meter, like this one, can be walked around the room while feeding tone into the room at a suitable (90 dB kind of) level.  At very low frequencies.  Long standing waves are at low frequency.

You can buy a simple meter like this one, off Amazon, for under $20.  They have a high capture (max, hold) which is also out on the shooting range when you’re dialing in a…um…let’s not go there, shall we?

For really good studios?  30 dB is a nice noise floor target.  When I adjust for recording, we get down into the 35-40 dB range.  Not an anechoic chamber, lol.  Down in these regions, even a computer fan you never noticed before will become a major PITA to silence.

Ultra-filtered power for condenser mics – we are on the upslope of complicated now. You know about phantom power, right?

For more serious room measurements, we still use tones but then walk the room with a Linux laptop, and the input to Audacity and a Behringer linear reference mic.  They are not expensive.

So, that’s the basic geometry of the room.  Now for the details.  I will keep these brief and we’ll do more on gear, software, recording and developing work flows next week.  Sound is a very complicated subject.

Remember, sound in my (crackpot) theories can bend space-time at the right frequencies.

Studio Construction Notes

These are just some of the basics – depending on how far you want to go with things.

  • No parallel surfaces.
  • Two sets of framing lumber.  2X4 and 2X3 with an air gap.
  • Different thicknesses of sheetrock.  5/8 rock on one wall and one or two layers of 1/2 inch on the other.
  • No single pane windows.
  • Double or triple pane with all different thicknesses of glass (STC rated, of course) and never parallel.  15-degree difference between panes, please.
  • Full gasketing of doors.
  • All of which are solid core. On closers.
  • All of which require an “air lock” arrangement so that there’s a whole sealed dead space.  Two doors back-to-back.
  • Walls are filled with sand.  Cheap home builders can use double-batted fiberglass.
  • This means after basic electrical wiring, some wires will show.  We all need something to trip on, right?
  • All walls will have some anti-bounce treatment.  This is where glued on foam comes into play. Auralux.
  • If you’re plagued with bass issues, baffles in corners, floor to ceiling.
  • No resonances from the floor.  If wood, underlay with solid foam.  If concrete treat with throw rugs and moving mats (which are cheap and work great).
  • Lighting must be silent.
  • Air conditioning must use anti-tumbling mats and large low speed air outlets.
  • Don’t forget to sound condition air returns, as well.  You don’t want a pressurized studio.
  • Extra overhead wiring for lighting, too, if you plan to shoot a video someday under something other than available or handheld lighting.

On the air outlets, you can feed a modest room with an 8-inch high-pressure air-conditioning line, but then come down into a 10–15-foot section of 12″ diameter sound “boot” – with a couple of right angle or greater turns if you can fit them in.

This slows the air, so it stops tumbling which is where rumbles down in the 5-30 Hz range come from.

Last but not least, the air gaps have to all be filled.  Studios I put in had all of their floor and ceiling plates set in adhesive and then caulked to ensure air couldn’t transit.  Air movement allows sound movement – and a serious recording room has no air exchange.

Few will have the time or resources to really build a sound room.  I’ve taken the time here because, well, I’m partly crazy in case you missed it.  But serially, if you have a room and you can even hang a few moving mats over walls and cheap carpet on the wall, it will pay off.

Or do what we did in broadcasting:  Get some Sennheiser earphones (“cans”) and use them.

As a newbie to this studio stuff, there are three types of earphones.  The “buds” that go in your ears.  Not a fan.

There are the “on the ear” cans, but like an ill-fitting CPAP mask, if it leaks air (see construction notes above) it’s not perfect.  You really want the old-school full over the ears and sealing well variety.

Sennheiser makes a very good foam, open-back, on the ear type, but the first time you get feedback from a monitor circuit being too hot and you blast your ears into next Tuesday, you’ll thank me for trying to save your ears in advance.

The profound truth of our “studio” here was it started off as a deck.  Then we put up a half-roof so we could sit outside in the rain.  Then the weather got cold.  So, I framed it in and put in some windows.

Then asked Elaine “What should we do with this here new room?”

“Your toy – do whatever you want with it.”  That’s one hell of a trusting woman.  But now she likes mashing on drums, too.

Not a real studio…but a nice place to play and edit audio and video, do the odd Peoplenomics podcast back when and now even setting up for video editing…

P.S. if you put in a drum kit, be sure to get a bunch of small beanbags to put on the heads.  If the drums are tuned and the sound levels up, the drumheads will resonate and piss you off when listening to longhair music.

Yes, of COURSE you loosen the snare brushes, too!

Next Sunday: DAWS, desks, software and workflows.  After that, Radio automation software and low power FM transmitters for home.

Homework assignment #1: Read up on the Fletcher-Munson Curve.  This is where the Loudness button on electronics comes from.  See this flyer.

Homework assignment #2:  Get your (Windows) PC rolling with a good wipe of hard drive(s) for cookies and such.  And then – to repair and speed up old, sluggish machines. use a C prompt (as administrator) and run:

c://> (or whatever your prompt is)  sfc /scannow

This will make sure all needed Windows files are in place. Use the System File Checker tool to repair missing or corrupted system files (

A really good computer for serious listening and recordings will have an i-7 or better, at least 16 GB RAM and hopefully dual SSDs.  If you have a computer with an old mechanical drive, seriously consider an SSD update.

Last, but not least as long as we’re on the topic of “computer readiness” for serious audio work (and intermediate video editing) consider a low-noise sound card if you are planning to go analog from the computer to speakers without an intermediate FireWire device. Something like an ASUS XONAR SE 5.1 Channel 192kHz/24-bit Hi-Res 116dB SNR PCIe Gaming Sound Card with Windows 10 compatibility will pnly set you back about $45-bucks.

We’ll be covering the “audio chain” for recording as well as playback as we go.

Write when you get rich,

author avatar
George Ure
Amazon Author Page: UrbanSurvival Bio:

51 thoughts on “Shoptalk Sunday: Build a Home Studio & Radio Station (#1)”

  1. I’ve decided not to survive.

    I realize most folks on here are survivalists to one degree or another, so this way of thinking will be anathema. Fine. Enjoy. Best of luck to ye. Really.

    I’ve actually felt this way for a while.

    Here’s why:
    First, consider this short clip from a series called “Connections,” hosted-presented by James Burke:

    Then, consider the full implications of what engineers call a “cascade failure.” That’s where one failure triggers or boosts another — often in surprising ways. (Small example: a truck strike results from unavailability and expense of diesel fuel, and onerous new regulations. Many products suddenly become unavailable or extremely high-priced; and most all home construction ceases; and supermarket shelves quickly go totally bare. Many companies at all levels shut down — they simply can’t function. People’s incomes cease.)

    Another stupid example; diesel fuel gets TO truck stops ON trucks. (Some very few giant truck stops have pipelines; but these are rare.) Regular truck stops run out, and can’t be re-supplied because the fuel transport trucks ALSO lack fuel.

    Commerce grinds to a total halt. (Re-booting is a complex and slow business — especially if there is civil insurrection and disorder confounding things.)

    Another: Nuclear power plants need EXTERNAL power supplied to maintain even a shut-down, non-operational condition. If big trains don’t drag coal, nookplantz and Teslas (and LED light bulbs) can’t work. If the natural gas don’t flow because the power to RUN the pipelines is out — well — you’re in the mid-eighteenth century in about a week. ALL power goes down — for a while: maybe quite a long while.

    How long can you last in your well-equipped bunker? Couple YEARS? Will you be safe and secure from raiders?

    I can’t. I’m too old (78) and too sick. I’ll spare you the long list — but it makes me exhausted and weak — simply not up to the workload and the challenges of daily survival-life, long-haul. I can do a few weeks with what measures I’ve taken, plus or minus the raiders; but I can’t realistically expect to endure a couple of YEARS.

    When does Civilization return? Long time, and
    S L O W L Y. Assuming the civil disorder even allows for restoration to happen.

    Don’t miss the “Connections” clip.

    I can — and will – last a while; maybe a few months at best, with some struggle.

    A ray of hope:
    The Generals, The Permanent Secretaries, and the Oligarchs know this — and while bluster and bluff and threat may be impressive, my chips are laid down on the idea that a few madmen will be countered and neutralized by the Wise and Sane Heads, and TEOTWAWKI will not happen.

    ..and if it does, I’m outta here, and will go live with God.

    Enjoy the ride!

    — 73 —
    7.299 Day: 3.999 Night
    for as long as we can…

    • Agreed this old world is not in the best of shape but there is always hope. You are valuable not necessarily because of your combat skills but for your knowledge. In a cascading failure like you describe that knowledge will be priceless. As for the health issues I pray for those to improve for you. Please, as Churchill said, “Never, ever give up.”. You are needed.

      Stay safe. 73

      • Thank you for your prayers. Truly.
        I haven’t given up: I’ve recognized the awful truth that my life needs support from civilization. In an earlier, harsher era, I’d already be long-dead.
        I’ll fight and share via comms whatever knowledge is useful to somebody as long as I can. (My own grandchildren live in a psychologically impoverished pseudo-world on their cellphones, oblivious and rejecting of any other ways to look at things. Their kind is Legion. I have failed at getting them and their parents to even remotely consider ANY kind of “prepping,” no matter HOW modest. They and their legions live in a world of “popular rubbish” that is complete, and hermetically sealed from exterior thinking. They think I’m crazy. Thing is: their attitude is very common, and these are the very people whose irrational total freak-out when Starbuck’s runs out of coffee will take them by fatal surprise.

        This is why my chips are down on the Wise Heads that are largely invisible to keep the damn thing on the rails.

        A good bone-chilling deep scare just MIGHT get the lotus-eaters attention in time to avert a civilizational cascade failure — but I have my doubts.

        We’ll know soon. We are rapidly approaching the singularity/

        & 73

    • “Then, consider the full implications of what engineers call a “cascade failure.”

      No one has a clue just how bad a cascade implosion is going to be.. How does your brain cope with traumatic experiences?

      According to McLaughlin, if the brain registers an overwhelming trauma, then it can essentially block that memory in a process called dissociation — or detachment from reality. “The brain will attempt to protect itself,”
      that is why people are prepping with a new car and a chainsaw etc.. they cannot fathom the idea that it would be worthless.. and using what they know is the most efficient use of an item to get back to where we were.. I am no exception.. I have the modern toys.. In a book I once read.. here is a quote
      “During my time in Africa, I traveled in areas where water pumps had no handles, windmills had no blades and tractors sad abandoned with no wheels.My eyes were opened.”

      the thing is education teach a child how to fish and he will eat fish.. teach them how to safely filter water and why.. and they will no longer be thirsty.. we send money and equipment only to see them being used as a table or bench or chair.. education..
      I had wondered why my mother had each of us kids when we were little make slippers for dad.. one was it was something we could do.. the other was that way we knew how to make slippers if we ever had to..
      even now we hear of mass starvation and how the aquifers are so low that they fear running out of water.. yet no one is making air wells.. co2 yet no one is building or putting up co2 filters.. the city planners hate the idea of greenscaping.. instead we push on.. none of it will be done until it becomes a necessity..

      • GU: Great article on how to get great sound! Fascinating as an intellectual exercise. Unfortunately, I am, like many of your readers at an age where high end sound is likely wasted on rusty ears. After a stroke seven years ago I decided that it was time to get sound that I really liked. After lots of research and demo listening I ended up with a pair of Magneplanars. My son later gave me a cast-off Boston Acoustics powered subwoofer. With amps, I probably have $2K invested. I love the presence of the Maggies and my aging ears can’t discern the difference between what I’ve got and $30K systems in custom-sound shops.

        It’s great that your ears still can discern great sound. (Mumbles, “Now where did I leave my hearing aids.”)

      • Why do the city planners hate greenscaping? It does make sense, though I hate the humidity from too much greenery.

      • “Why do the city planners hate greenscaping?”

        I believe @NM Mike that it is control…
        the same reason why a store will throw out clothing rather than donate it to someone that could use it.. the business model..
        the same thing with having a secure power grid.. why spend trillions on wars to benefit a few that want what they are unwilling to buy or or negotiate for.. so they decide to get an army to go in and steal it..
        control of the business model.. and architects are because of the cost.. concrete and asphalt is cheaper.. we hear about cali wanting to put fart bags on cows.. but not one word about them putting co2 filters on every lamp post to compensate for the loss of tree’s.. we position our power plants in one location rather than promote solar to home owners.. its always about the business model.. who benefits ..

      • “Why do the city planners hate greenscaping? ”

        Because vacant lots either belong to the city, or are unimproved and worth a few thousand bucks in most cities. A vacant lot planted in crops or flowers is worth no more (and possibly less) than one that’s bare dirt.

        IOW they bring in little, or no property tax revenue.

    • Many of the survivalist scenarios people obsess and drop money on are so ugly that any chance of survival is happenstance. It is usually the economics that does you in, anyway. Be the survivor, and leave the Ele obsessions to the youngsters. Personally, I like being comfortable, healthy, hydrated, and well fed, so any preps that enhance those goals always sound good to me. Being the survivor is a good hobby. Having rations, water, heat and electric lights when the neighbors are shivering in the dark is a laudable Jones.

    • Earth is experiencing a war between EVIL and GOOD. Too many have sold their souls for money. Vanderbilt Hospital just said in a video that children transgender operations is great money for doctors. Plus, big Pharma gets a lifetime of medicine sales to the transgender person. Wars to sell military gear. Lots of just plain Evil happening.

      I am in fairly good health at 84; was born during the depression. In elementary school during WWII I was taught to hide under my desk if we are bombed. Yay right! LOL My philosophy is if the Dude wants me to live then I will survive since he is the CEO of RJ’s life. I don’t believe in death. Have had over 40 experiences with the deceased all letting me know they are ok after they die. 4 contacts so far this year.

      I use the Serenity Prayer philosophy. Accept the things you cannot change and change the things you can. I’m trying to thrive rather than just survive. Looking for ways to enjoy what time I have left on earth. Fortunately, I still have fairly good health.

    • William,
      I always enjoy your & others contributions here at GU’s. I learn much here (when I actually get to check in here infrequently anymore – here since 2011). I had logically prepped. I share your analysis view. I am praying for the Cooler Heads. However, the Good Book, and some others (I see you Stu) say otherwise. I have had to leave my preps and enter the black hole of CAREGIVING to a lifelong-abusive-parent since 2017. My situation could not be worse right now. Many like me are not allowed to “run our own lives” anymore and are wearing down physically. Re: Cooler Heads & what they need to prevent: I suggest that the planet will be in far worse shape than the 18th Century. In the wee hours in the last week, I followed a link re: fact-based movies on this. I highly advise everyone watch “Threads” from 1984. It covers decades after “nookwar” and “nook winter.” Surprisingly fact-based & eye-opening: if you can overlook the British dialect at times; I will not spoil how far civilization is knocked backward in the film. IMHO it is much better than the 1983 US-version “The Day After” Both are free on the Tube. Both are about 2 hours.

    • “I realize most folks on here are survivalists to one degree or another, so this way of thinking will be anathema. Fine. Enjoy. Best of luck to ye. Really.”

      The problem with that Is not if your gone.. but what if you survive.. I believe it will be similar to a tree coming down or a building coming down…. similar to the army placing troops near ground zero.. or a soldier being sent to a battlefield…
      The soldier doesn’t want to be in battle..
      The gent we first let live in our spare bedroom.. he landed on d day.. helped liberate those from Auschwitz.. his recollection was none of the horror but the beauty of the people.
      The initial death would be a fraction the real collapse comes in a cascade fashion..i believe th a t there’s initial resources available the rest comes later as those resources diminish and people fail to know how to replace them..
      Take a simple… what would you give for a pair of shoes..a coat.. I walked 12 miles in winter with only tennis shoes and a pea coat.. I have good winter snow boots and an urshanka hat.. I actually have enough in the cars for every passenger..


      Now those are nice but nothing in comparison to the boots the kids at Antarctica sent me.. unfortunately those wore out..steeglers has the warmest I’ve found..
      The problem is the after.. as resources run out.. the main reason I learned how to make the creature comforts. During hard times you still enjoy and want to have some normal life comforts..a glass of wine a cold beer hot cup of coffee..

    • I completely understand your feelings on this. Live a few more months …. or years ? For what ? I have great health really so I don’t face your challenges but I just lack the interest or the desperation for a little more time. I only wish that the was some meaningful thing that I could do correct the situation or at least better it for those who survive. But then this has been building for a long time and there is no quick or simple fix. Frankly , if for no other reason than negligence , we pretty much deserve whats coming.

      • We can try. It may not be as satisfying as telling a motley cluster of friends or relatives “I told you so” but it is a lot more productive.

    • William, you do what you can to survive, so you can mentor the survivors who were too stupid to listen when they could have done for themselves. If you don’t survive, maybe the LDS-packaged #10 cans in your pantry will save someone else’s life and the info on your bookshelf will enable them to become the community’s savior.

  2. ‘People from the radio station would come over and comment on how dynamite the speakers sounded. Surely, I must be driving it with a big chrome plated Macintosh or Fisher tube amp?”

    back in the eighties.. when I was mean and nasty LOL..I had an old console television.. it looked just like this one ….
    the television broke down.. and the television repair shop closed because industry went to throw away televisions.. and I had this big heavy monstrosity..
    they wanted ten dollars to drop it off.. I didn’t know what to do with it.. they had just started the burn ban.. then one day I was sitting on the porch and the neighbor kid drove up.. he just got a new radio.. and the light bulb went off..
    dam that is a nice radio.. what you need is a good set of speakers.. LOL LOL LOL
    tada found a new home for that console television.. oh you would really rock with that.. he shoved it in his backseat of his car.. and hooked up the speakers.. you could hear him thumping down the road with his radio… LOL LOL LOL

  3. Meanwhile, over at The Edge of Desolation (dot com) site, Stu submits something for your consideration…

    “Readers should consider that it is not everyday that a U.S. President warns that Armageddon is coming next.”

    • Maybe Stu, should do a video intro to each of his updates like Rod Serling did in three episodes. “Submitted for your approval…”

      G.A.STEWART: Submitted for your approval.
      I am still going with Joe Biden leaving the Presidency very soon. As Regular Readers know that is a recent prediction; therefore, when I write soon, I mean within a couple of weeks. This would legitimately fit within the slop of the time period mentioned in Quatrain VIII-65. If it does not happen, maybe we can breath a sigh of relief until next Spring, but I think not.

      If Joe Biden goes, this will most likely happen after a nuclear weapon is detonated somewhere in the world.

      • “G.A.STEWART: Submitted for your approval.
        I am still going with Joe Biden leaving the Presidency very soon. ”

        very possible.. Yesterday on the News. the Hunter Biden laptop story came out.. and there was mentions of this escalating and they used the terminology of High Crimes and the T word was implied for the president.. Now I believe that we all thought it.. once or twice.. but to hear it on MSM that has worked so hard to cover over this stuff and make the general population believe none of it happened.. we know that the general population may be stupid and there are those that would follow them.. but go to any restaurant or coffee house.. or just the isles at the grocery store and listen to the general conversation.. and now that the printing of what eight years national budget to help the people of the USA and then see that prices are escalating out of control.. hitting everyone in the pocket book..
        If they wanted to have the support of the people.. prices would have had to drop and then used that money to do what they said it was for.. help the citizens of the USA.. it didn’t.. can’t even say where in the hell it went to..
        and then the border has been overran.. and with the support of our politicians.. and the opposing side isn’t saying a word..
        so.. yup we could see president cackling Kammy purebred as pres..

      • JC, Quatrain VIII – 28 this quatrain has more synchronicity with current events than a death wish for Biden (and conflating him with a tyrant):

        The copies of gold and silver inflated,
        which after the theft were thrown into the lake,
        at the discovery that all is exhausted and dissipated by the debt.
        All scrips and bonds will be wiped out.

        Armchair Soldiers/Generals:

        If Russia uses a nuke, it’s Putin pushing his own suicide button for all Russians, per retired Army General Petreus:

        As for prepping, I’ve already got a nearby subway tunnel enclosed in concrete and steel, 135 feet below the surface, diy’ers- try that at home!!

      • @c “As for prepping, I’ve already got a nearby subway tunnel enclosed in concrete and steel, 135 feet below the surface, diy’ers- try that at home!!”

        And how well supplied is that tunnel to support you for a couple weeks of ‘radiation hazard’? And how many people will you be sharing that space with? Sounds like a tomb to me.

  4. In addition to cascade failure, be more worried about unintended consequences. My father always said that the downfall of civilization began with the invention of the electric starter for automobiles….

  5. William.

    I feel sometimes like I am living in two different worlds. I am your age plus 2 and see all the things you see. My children and grandchildren probably see it but choose to ignore. Life goes on until it doesn’t go on. Perhaps they are the smart ones.

    George Ure’s book “Packing to Die” is full of pearls of wisdom. Among them; “Young people have no business writing about Death. You need to have stared it down a few times. Sure the kids may encounter it – in passing, so to speak – when someone near and dear takes the final exit, or whatever. But until you size up the heirs, the cost of dying fast versus very slowly…heroic measures or not, and other such decisions? Nah. ……….. Once you have hit at least 70, then maybe you can throw in your two-bits worth; not before, though.”

    I stared it down thrice in the wilds of Africa. Once when a large bull elephant charged our Land Rover. But for a quick and determined guide with amazing reverse driving skills, I would have been a pancake. Once when an oncoming overloaded stake truck filled with potatoes and a couple of dozen human hangers on, lost control on a dirt road and missed our front bumper by a hair. Lastly, I contracted some God awful disease in the remotest area of Uganda and went delirious. Fortunately, I had taken out insurance with Flying Doctors and they sent in an air ambulance to fly me to Nairobi hospital where I recovered after several days.

    My point is , it can happen at any time and it can be quick or slow. My hope for me is that when it happens, it is quick. Seems that we might be leading up to that now with all the “Armageddon” rhetoric. Like you, I don’t want to hang around the explore the ashes.

    None of my life experiences compare with those who have served in armed forces overseas and have seen death up close and personal and have come close to the edge themselves many times. Others like LOOB (who George devotes a chapter of his book to his experiences) and Andy who is living out the life many of wish we could, make this daily Urban Survival and Peoplenomics reading adventure something to look forward to.

    Finally, from George’s book, I quote: “Get this through your noggin. Embrace it: You ARE going to die. You are in a once-only position to get this one right……..Life, you’ve got to understand, is like a buffet line. A damn near unlimited assortment of personal experience to sample and savor.” Right Andy?

    • “My point is , it can happen at any time and it can be quick or slow. My hope for me is that when it happens, it is quick. Seems that we might be leading up to that now with all the “Armageddon” rhetoric. Like you, I don’t want to hang around the explore the ashes.”

      the futility I seen was when I did crime scene photos.. what man can do to man is horrific at best… and then to see wars all so some bastard can gain a few pieces of paper or a number on a piece of paper..
      Years ago.. I took care of a man.. he had a heart attack.. his daughter was next door came home and seen him on the floor.. she did cpr..he came back.. but couldn’t function physically.. he still had some of his thoughts.. and memories.. it was so sad.. they would stop by and show him films of him when he was still able.. he would break down in tears.. but couldn’t tell them to turn it off..It was one of the saddest things I have ever seen.. I have seen some pretty ugly things.. and been down the road .. hugs not drugs..
      I wrote this.. then when I was still in my twenties..

      to whom it may concern
      these are my thoughts on life extension!
      To my family,my physicians,my lawyers,my clergyman,my family and to any medical facility in whose care I happen to be in.
      Death is as much a reality as birth,growth,maturity,and old age. it is the one certainty of life we all will have to expect at some point in time. If the time comes when I ….. fill in your name …, can no longer take part in the decisions for my future, Let this statement stand as an expression of my wishes, while I am still of sound mind.
      If the situation should arise in which there’s no reasonable expectation of my recovery from a physical or mental trauma, such as a coma, heart attack, car crash,stroke, etc. then I request to be allowed to die and not be kept alive by artificial means or “Heroic Measures”.
      I do not fear death itself as much as the indignities of deterioration, dependence and hopeless pain. I …. fill in your name …. therefore ask that medications be mercifully be administered to me to alleviate the suffering even though this may hasten the moment of my death.
      this request is made after careful consideration; I hope you who care for me will feel morally bound to follow its mandate.
      I recognize that this appears to place a heavy responsibility upon you , the caregiver. But is is with the intension of relieving you of such responsibility and placing it upon myself in accordance with my strong convictions that this statement is made.


      sign your name..

      I have the letter and have it notorized and given to all the hospitals and doctors.. family etc..
      so far I am still kicking.. they assumed I was going to die wanted to put me in hospice.. still no trip to disneyland LOL…. I guess I am just to dam ornery to go quite yet.. I did it to myself .. trying to shove three lives into one is not fun and does a lot to you.. take time treat others like you want to be treated.. and show kindness to others .. give a hand up when you can.. value everyone. be the dao.

      • I like your life extension document LOOB and am going to change mine to match yours. I prepared mine after reading George’s book “Preparing to Die.” I also purchased a workbook titled “I’m Dead, now What?” in which I listed every conceivable thing my estate executor would need to seamlessly handle my estate. No guess work on their part.

        There are far more important things than money we can leave our heirs.

        Today is Canadian Thanksgiving Day. Like Andy, I am truly blessed and hope you are too.

    • “My point is , it can happen at any time and it can be quick or slow. My hope for me is that when it happens, it is quick. Seems that we might be leading up to that now with all the “Armageddon” rhetoric. ”

      How I want to go.. is I took care of a woman..her night routine was watch the Leno show read and have a glass of soda..every night.. one night I was super busy she had her light on and asked for her bed time soda and I said sure but it might take a few minutes.. no worries ..anyway I had help so I was able to get it for her right away.. went in ..her book in her hand and a sme on her face..she had passed right after I had left the peaceful as I’ve ever seen.. those with deep faith goe easier than those that don’t have deep faith..

  6. Local Health Unit advertised years back about KI pills available since we live near enough an Ohio nuclear plant, and there is the fear of poor procedures may lead to nuclear accident.
    Checked my pills and they expire Mar 2025, so …
    If it’s too big an accident nuclear, pills won’t matter.

    • Understand the pills and how they work:

      For cesium and strontium isotopes, your thyroid gland is like a revolving door. It ushers, perhaps even sucks them in, where they would otherwise rest on the outside of your clothes and skin, and could be showered off with relatively little damage or poisoning.

      What potassium iodide does is saturate your thyroid gland with iodine. I don’t know, but what I believe is the cesium and strontium isotopes trick the thyroid into believing they are iodine. Your thyroid gland craves iodine — in fact, it MUST have it. The reason I believe they trick the thyroid is one that’s saturated with iodine is completely impervious to infiltration from these isotopes.

      There is, however, a real problem with KI. It only protects from the two radioactive cesium and one strontium isotope which can be absorbed through the thyroid (and which, BTW, have a half-life of only days or weeks). In a nuclear accident there are a number of other radioactive isotopes created and released — in a nuclear bomb blast, there are even more. KI does nothing to protect a person from THESE isotopes, some of which will linger in a radioactive state for millenia.

      KI is like toilet paper: It’s a good thing to have around, but it does one thing really well, and is not a panacea…

      • That’s why you also keep APPLE PECTIN around. The fiber absorbs and removes radioactive particles (all kinds) from your digestive tract so they don’t hang around and cause damage.

        The recently govt ordered nPlate drugs are for a third-case of extreme exposure for young ones where the bone marrow has been damaged by extreme radiation. The drugs are to regenerate the bone marrow after radiation damage. These would be effective only for extreme cases of close up radiation exposure.

    • KI pills don’t really ‘expire’. It is a mineral salt. Many are packaged in individual foil blisters to seal out moisture and these would work indefinitely. Even a damp KI pill will work as intended.

      • NOT medical advise:

        This applies to nearly all nutritional supplements and most medicines.

        ALWAYS RTFM.

        3yo penicillin will kill MRSA dead in its tracks. 3yo tetracycline will kill YOU.

        If the SHTF, mistakes will become fatal. Strive to make none…

    • An emergency alternative to the Iodine Pills is keep around a bottle of 10% idodine from the drug store … since iodine gets also absorbed through your skin your body can obtain the idodine that way.

      Dosing? Now THAT is the big issue with using externally applied iodine. You don’t want to overdose, but you also don’t want to underdose thyroid.

      Solution to the Dosing Issue? Simple solution someone brighter than me came up many years ago wrt to the saturating, but not oversaturating, your system.

      ONCE a day …. (not more often) COAT your LITTLE finger with a THIN coat of iodine up to the first nuckle, but NOT above. Since little people need less iodine this give them less since their fingers are smaller. Big people need more iodine and since their hands are bigger this gives them more iodine. NOT PERFECT … but provides at least a rudimentary way to regulate the amount of iodine your body is receiving and gets you in the ballpark of the proper dosing.

      NOTE … wrt iodine. CONSTANT use of heavy intake of iodine (such as the above), unless medically necessary, IS a LIVER STRESSER and NOT good in the long run for your liver’s health. That is the old caveat about being careful about how long you use the Polar Pure iodine based water purification system when in the wilderness.

      Some people will do a daily small strip of iodine, about an inch long and just one brush stroke wide, daily and swear by it’s medical properties at keeping away everyday diseases … but that is a LOT LESS iodine than you would be getting by the entire lower small finger coated system outlined above.

      I don’t have iodine pills around anymore … but I DO KEEP a bottle of 10% iodine in the medicine cabinet “just in case”

      (in the real world the reality up to now for requiring iodine would most likely be related to a nuke plant meltdown situation – one plant near where I often am located has almost melted down THREE (3) times during it’s time in operation!! (what a disaster of a plant … reason I am ANTI nuclear power wrt to current nuclear power plant technology)

      … oh and btw another nuclear power plant that is just 30 – 35 miles away from the one that almost melted down THREE diofferent times DID have one of it’s reactors melt down … and now 50+- years later they STILL have NOT been able to retrieve the melted fuel out of it’s reactor and are STILL having to pump cooling water through it 24/7/365. Sheesh ….

      Stephen 2

  7. “It was head and shoulders above the QRK turntables and more robust gear we used in studios.”

    Those QRKs had to be tough! DJ or two I saw squat atop them and go for a ‘spin’.

    Speakers: They say it all… or not. I never was a serious ‘audio-pill’, but I have worked in & on enough studios to hear the differences. Sometimes the amazing ones stand out above the ‘plain vanilla’ ones. Those four tweeters in the box appear to be piezo jobs. I just bought a couple horns that look just like that.. good up to 27khz for ultrasonic uses, also. No crossover needed. Excellent choice! And the Crown Amps we even used for our HDTV control room speakers. Build like bricks… and just as reliable to carry the weight. Nevermind the price.

    “We’ve seen +120 dB here, but there may have been alkyhaul involved.”
    Yeah, at about +120 dB you should begin SEEING stars.

    Now if you are REALLY serious about a good studio sound, eliminate every square corner and rebuild your walls into a ‘crooked box’ so there are no resonant reflecting spaces, and add 3 ft of sound absorbing insulation on the inside. Whadda ya mean…. You got no room to sit now?
    Yes, your studio construction plan is similar to what English designer Tom Hidley built for the Dolphin Sound studio I worked with in Honolulu. Amazingly silent place inside.

      • David Bowie. 1972 •Ziggy Stardust• LP cover instructs, “To be played at Maximum Volume” Ha Ha

    • My home stereo was Carver with an M1.5t pushing Polk SDA-SRS fronts and Polk 5 rears. (The Carver frontend would do 4.1, which ain’t bad for a ca. 1980 preamp. I never ran a center channel. With the SDA tech I never needed to.)

      I used Gino Vannelli’s “Storm at Sunup/Love Me Now” (and Carly Simon’s “Legend in Your Own Time,” the Doobies’ “I Cheat the Hangman,” Charlie Mingus’ “Adagio ma Non Troppo,” Triumph’s “Rock & Roll Machine,” Stanley Clarke’s “Hot Fun,” Renaissance’ “Ashes are Burning,” etc…) as reference tracks. When Vannelli released “Live in Montreal” my stereo was the only one I ever heard that’d reproduce the lowest part of the bass line of “Brother to Brother” without replacing the primary with the first overtone.

      I got the Polk SDAs because they were the cheapest speakers I could find that were m/l flat from 20-20k and that’d do 17hz with less than a 3db rolloff. The 1.5t was Bob Carver’s “Bugatti.” It would do 350w RMS wpc @8 ohms at <0.01THD and was near-flat from 1Hz to 100kHz. I designed a sort-of hourglass-shaped listening room for the stereo, but never had the room to build it. I do sometimes
      wish I'd gotten me grubbies on a McIntosh or two before they got stupid expensive…

  8. For a real look at Tom Hidley’s studio design philosophy. see this ‘zine article:
    Way down at the bottom is the 1987 Honolulu project that I worked on. Apparently Tom is American. Could have fooled me. He brought in his own crew of carpenters from the UK who knew well how to make his angled joints. Our broadcast complex was inside a block-long warehouse with high (3-story?) roof. First they laid out neoprene foam thick mat on the existing concrete floor, then poured another concrete slab atop that for the studio floor. Vibration isolation. (We had a printing press operation next bay over, and the foam worked!)
    As the framing progressed, we had to put the mixer console and tape deck inside before the walls went up. They would not fit thru the airlock doors later on. I was in charge of wiring all that. Two well separated conduits into the studio, one for power, and one for audio lines. Put extra wires into the conduits for possible future use, as the conduits were foamed in and sealed with silicone so no air leaks thru the conduit, and more vibration isolation on the wires on the outside.
    When it was finished, I would go inside, seal the doors, sit and turn out the lights. It was the quietest place on earth. It was really sensory deprivation to sit quietly there in the dark, imagining infinite space around you. You clap for an echo, and there is… nothing!

  9. Folks,

    The patriarch of Sennheiser founded the company a few weeks after the war in which he apparently had been tasked with “sending coded messages for the German army”. Across the Channel, history records the BBC broadcasts of coded instructions to the Resistance to commit sabotage in the lead up to D-Day. Not only was Beethoven’s 5th a popular intro to the BBC newscasts, it had a following across the Channel. Here’s a sample from the Philharmonie before its bombing by the RAF to mark the eleventh anniversary of a German chancellor.

    Mr. Z. has informed the world via his daily telecast that Russia should be designated as a terrorist state. Let us take respite behind soundproof studio walls as DJ George serves up the 5th with 2 Cellos on a platter.

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