A peak into the mind of John Hampton

Plug in that old thinking cap … here we go!


I’ve got a couple of writings (blogs,globs… yeah, globs!) a coming right behind this, where we’ll have a chat about why CDs really DO suck and why herds of people going back to vinyl are NOT just taking part in this week’s flavor… this ain’t no Hula-Hoop, gents and ladies. This is a perceptible reality that makes your listening experience with vinyl records (let’s just call ’em records) a more rewarding event than the same occurrence with CDs. But do you know why you are noticing it NOW for the first time? It’s simple: we have finally become so used to CDs as the norm that a more true to life sonic event is really obvious. So I guess you are wondering how I came to this,. right?  It all started with a chat from a Mr. Rupert Neve, the most well known name in audio science, at a speech he gave at a SPARS luncheon several years ago. It so enrapt me that I believe I still remember every word. And if you don’t know whop Rupert Neve is, you are either very young or very uneducated. He lives in Wimberly. Texas.

Wimberly Texas. Why, there’s Wimberly now!!

I just can NOT think of a better place to invent audio gear.

Mr Neve is a British chap who knows his circuitry, and has an uncanny way of bringing that circuitry to the sound of the music that he loves.R’s (I call him R) life’s goal has been to get the sound of music (yes, he’s bringing Mary Poppins) that you hear from electronics as close to the sound you hear in those two ear holes on either side of your head as he possibly can. Oh, It’s a breeze. Couple of tubes, a bias oscillation transistor, throw in a couple of variable capacitors … you’re DONE!  The stuff he designs and bnuilds is in such high demand, and was constructed so well (until a BIG MEAN GERMAN company bought him out), that audio people have seareched high and low for his older equipment, but the new is just as good. And he seems to be taking his newer gear more toward that “live in the audience” sound. Portico, for example. And Rupert loves analog(ue) and vinyl, and hates CDs. Why? Read on.

Now if doing a bit of comprehensive reading isn’t exactly your thing, as mine is not, we can always start with Dr. Seuss…Hampton style.

If a train is moving toward you, the sound of the horn is slightly higher in pitch  to you than it is to the engineer. That’s called a “Doppler pitch shif”t. And as it passes, then moves away from you, there’s a split second that the same two pitches are the same pitch., then you hear it bend down to become LOWER in pitch as it moves away from you. This doppler pitch shift is also observed when one looks at a star. Ifit looks bluish, it is higher than normal becauseit is moving toward you. Same with a pinkish or reddish color. Those stars are lower in pitch and are moving away from you. THAT … is why I say Dr. Suess, Hampton style. I wrote a book once called”One Fish, Two Fish …Red Shift Blue Shift”, a book for four year olds to start to understand how we can actually, by plotting the direction of all of the stars in the universe, eventually arrive at the precise point of the “Big Bang”. It’s in the children’s book section at Barnes and Noble, and if they’ve run out at Amazon, they’ll restock soon. Get one and read it to your 4-year old. Next … Why vinyl … AGAIN?

Yes, you in the red rubber suit …