The Bitstream Blog :: Seneschal Technical Profesional Services

Vintage King Releases Al Schmitt Documentary

On July 12, 2016, pro audio dealer Vintage King released a new documentary on the legendary Grammy-winning engineer Al Schmitt. The Art of Recording a Big Band got its world premiere at Capitol Recording Studios in Hollywood California.

Available as a limited edition DVD release, the 70 minute film was directed by Shevy Shovlin during a two day master class at Capitol, with recording engineers Schmitt and Steve Genewick, and features Chris Walden’s Grammy–nominated 18 piece jazz big band.

The film focuses on the studio method of Schmitt, winner of 22 Grammy Awards. During his career, Schmitt has recorded and mixed more than 150 Gold and Platinum albums. His credits include hit records with Henry Mancini, Sam Cooke, Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Sammy Davis, Jr., Natalie Cole, Thelonious Monk, Elvis Presley, Madonna, Michael Jackson and many more.

For more information, visit Vintage King…

Self–Censorship, or the Art of Saying “No, Thanks.”

As an equipment reviewer, a fair amount of new gear comes across my desk. If you’ve ever seen my office, you wouldn’t be surprised at the resulting clutter. I request equipment based on either my limited experience with the product at a trade show, or via a positive recommendation by someone I trust. Unfortunately, like on–line dating, expectations do not always hold up to critical evaluation. Read more…

New Behlmer Interview

Hey Sports Fans,

Some of my favorite Hollywood shows, including Braveheart, The Thin Red Line, L.A. Confidential, Shrek and the Star Trek reboot all owe some of their impact and lasting value to the talents of a mostly unsung hero of the mixing console, re–recording mixer Anna Behlmer.

Read more…


Lest we forget that, for all our frenzied activity surrounding audio electronics, the result should be a better appreciation of music. For many of us, the very thought conjures up images of great performers belting out an aria, classic show tune or even a jazzy Dixieland piece. That said, there are many of you whose life has been defined by one single genre; rock. Whether it’s aging Mods helicoptering or reliving your youth with leather–clad hair metal bands, most of us have rocked at one time or another. Read more…

“High Resolution Audio,” Quality & Critical Listening

Hello Happy Reader,

Though I’m “out of the office” for the holidays, I’m still dutifully cleaning my e–mail accounts so I won’t be swamped after New Year’s. As the owner of a standard yellow PonoPlayer, I was catching up on comments over at PonoMusic, and one in particular caught my attention, a note from Allen Farmelo at Farmelo Recording linking to a Tape Op blog entry. Farmelo’s dispatch, The Problem With A-B’ing And Why Neil Young Is Right About Sound Quality, makes several valid points, one of which is that A–B tests are not necessarily that meaningful… Read more…

The 16th C. Roots of Computing

Hello Happy Reader,

What with the holidays and plethora of pipe organs in the Twin Cities, I hit a couple of concerts recently. The most recent was a Olivier Messiaen piece, La Nativité du Seigneur, as played by Raymond Johnson, the Director of Music at St. Mark’s Cathedral here in Minneapolis. It was dissonant, angular and altogether challenging, though I did enjoy it as an accompaniment to stained glass (not Glass, Jonah!) viewing.

Since big organs get down to the very lowest octave of our hearing, and are usually installed in a large, reverberant space, they can be lots of fun. When I heard that someone was giving a historical talk about French organs, I thought, “Way kewel,” and signed up. Extra points were awarded as the speaker is the fellow overseeing the current restoration at the Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris. I attended Mass once at Notre Dame, and it was a transcendent experience. Read more…

RMAF 2013 – Ella Lives Pt. 3

Ciao Gentle Reader,

In Parts One & Two of my RMAF 2013 report, I discussed activities at CanJam, always fun, and some of the suites that caught my fancy. This last installment continues with coverage of individual rooms that I enjoyed, starting with April Music…

Read more…

RMAF 2013…Ella Lives Pt. 2

Hey Audio Fans,

In Part 1 of “RMAF 2013…Ella Lives,” I discussed many of the stuff at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest’s CanJam gathering. This year, it was bigger and better than ever, with some amazing high end headphones, and some budget ones that kick serious butt. In this, the second part of my RMAF 2013 coverage, I’m continuing my discussion of the remainder of the show: the suites, where it was all loudspeakers, all the time… Read more…

RMAF 2013…Ella Lives Pt. 1

Hello gentle reader,

The Rocky Mountain Audio Fest happened earlier this month…This year, I decided to take a different tack than in year’s past. At previous Rock Mountain shows, I’d rush around, attempting to “take in” the whole show. Then I’d rush to crank out coverage. Bah, I say! This year, I moseyed along the corridors of amplified power and am taking a  leisurely approach to coverage. Though I didn’t find a single room that killed it, there were quite a few bits and bobs that did…

Read more…

Micromega MyDAC

Hi kidz,

The good folks at Audio Plus Services, the North American representative for  Micromega, have lent me their new almost entry level DAC. I say “almost” as it’s not spendy enough to make it into my DAC survey, but yet inexpensive enough (US$370 on Froogle) to compete with all but the bottom feeder products out there.

Micromega’s diminutive MyDAC

Micromega’s diminutive MyDAC

It’s still burning in so, haven’t formed an opinion but folks I trust like it a lot. I have a couple of additional DAC scheduled to show up in the next month or two, so I’ll be able to compare what sort of value the MyDAC is relative more costly offerings…

Back panel of the Micromega MyDAC

Back panel of the Micromega MyDAC

Stay tuned, more as I get into it!


MidPriced DACs — Part VII

Hello Digiphiles,

There seems to never be enough midpriced DACs out there for your dancing and dining pleasure. I’m up to 89 now!

An example of one of the new entries is the DSD-capable ARK MX+ DAC from AURALiC.


In related news, the 13th edition of Hifi Zine is out, and I have a piece in there about EQ plug-ins for audiophile players…Check it out.

MidPriced DACs — Part VI

Hello Digiphiles,

I’m up to a frankly incredible 86 DACs in my list of mid–priced DACs. In related news, the 12th edition of Hifi Zine is out, and I have a piece in there about shopping for DAC. It’s a 10,000 foot view, but you may find it interesting.

An example of one of the new entries is the very capable X-Sabre DAC from Matrix Digital Audio.



Matrix Audio’s DXD-capable X-Sabre DAC

P.S. – Let me know if there’s a DAC in the $500 to $2k price range that I’m missing…I’ll add it ASAP!