XTA’s Waring’s 12 Hayes of Christmas4 December 2014
A graduate of Belfast University with a 2:1 in Electronic Systems Engineering, Waring Hayes worked at Klark Teknik in Kidderminster for nine years before sailing down the Severn a short distance to join XTA. A decade of design engineering for the audio control company has seen him expand his role into the “frillier” (his word) world of brand management with just a sprinkling of technical support. (With typical dry humour, he adds: “I also like dogs, and my favourite colour is green.”)
But that doesn’t mean we’re going to change the hue of his Santa hat, as we ask, what would you like for your 12 days – or, if you will, Hayes – of Christmas…?
Day 1: Channel Tunnel to Ireland
Let’s not start too big! I would be happy enough with a single bore that didn’t even have to fit lorries, or even 4x4s. Just a way for me to visit the homeland with my car that doesn’t take a day to do what I can do in a plane in 45 minutes! It’s Christmas – there are gifts to carry and with all our APA [Adaptive Power Amplifiers] frenzy at XTA right now, time is even more precious than ever. OK – let’s compromise – I’ll fly, and a conveyor belt under the Irish Sea to take large parcels will do.
Day 2: Make karaoke a national UK pastime
I’m not a bad singer, but I’m also not a public singer. This isn’t for me – this is to recognise all the processors that XTA export to China and the far east that get specced into karaoke bars, and the fact that karaoke is so big there that these institutions can be the size of casinos and have budgets to match. That doesn’t, unfortunately, mean there’s a classy step up in quality of singing. You can’t polish a turd, as they say.
Day 3: Redtooth: The next network
Breathe out – I’m joking. There will, of course, be another network along in a minute, but in the meantime, let’s all work together with what we have and get behind AVB and Dante. We’re supporting both with APA – the idea of entrusting all your audio to a Cat-5 cable to wasn’t just unheard of 10 years ago, it would have seemed like crazy talk. Now, a dusty, heavy multicore is not more of a rarity for transmitting live audio.
Day 4: FIR: Not just a tree for Christmas
Here at XTA, we would love to help promote better understanding of what FIR filtering can do for audio, especially in speaker processing – our core business, after all. Our new APA amplifier supports FIR filtering, of course, as do our 4 Series Audio Management Systems, but many engineers’ experience with it stops at recalling a preset. We’ve built a custom training facility here at XTA HQ to spread the message and debunk the myths.
Day 5: Bring back 80s-style power output specs!
Oh, hang on – it’s nearly happened already. Remember when you bought a car stereo or cheap home system and the power was specified as “200WPMPO! [4WRMS] per channel!” Nonsense. The same thing is happening with power specs for class-D amplifiers. It’s all very well quoting a peak power of 12,000W per channel, but if this is only at 1kHz and can’t even be sustained for the length of a single kick drum beat, it’s useless. We’re trying to be as honest as possible with our APA power ratings, and we think we’ve got the best sustained power available by designing in more energy storage and designing out wasted heat generation.
Day 6: Ban social network eCards
I am as guilty as the next man for getting my nose stuck in Facebook, but please, everyone: spend an evening getting into the Christmas spirit and write some real cards and post them. Ask everyone for their address using your favourite electronic method, by all means, but spread some real rather than virtual festive cheer.
Day 7: A nice big knob
Not like that, silly! I mean from a command and control standpoint. Simpler is better in so many circumstances – touchscreens aren’t ever going to be as intuitive as a physical control, which is one of the reasons XTA gear is still so popular and why APA might have a colour screen, but it also has a Great Big Knob and plenty of direct controls so using it is as easy as any other amplifier you’ve ever owned.
Day 8: National autumn bank holiday across the UK
August bank holiday just makes you more aware that that’s the end of the good weather and it’s all dark nights and damp clothes until Christmas. Let’s have a day off in October, and call it “Visit your UK audio trade show”: support PLASA in its new home at ExCeL, or come to BPM in Birmingham – you’re spoilt for choice these days!
Day 9: Fox-proof hens
Apparently this year I am buying lavender Pekin chickens in the run-up to Christmas. The neighbours had a massacre a few months back but have persevered, and if our household are taking the poultry plunge this year, I would like to
suggest someone invents a breed that can repel foxes with a hard stare.
Day 10: Bucks Fizz revival
Yes, keep thinking the worst… The background to this is the BPM show. At this year’s greatly expanded event, with the PRO show running alongside, there was just as much of a bun fight to be the biggest boy racer in the hall with the fattest bass and the most underground EDM offering. I put a stop to that in our corner with Land of Make Believe and made a lot of people smile in the process. Let’s get it to number one for Christmas!
Day 11: Say NO to a cassette revival
Child of the ’70s and ’80s I may be, and whilst I am delighted to support Record Store Day, please, please don’t bring back cassettes. I tried so hard with them at the time, and had a very expensive Akai tape deck that was amazing, but only amazing as far as tapes went. They were still crap and a tedious recording medium. If we are reviving anything, make it MiniDisc!
Day 12: B&O TV
Can I justify this for Christmas? I’ve had three second-hand ones over the years, and they design such timeless audio equipment that rarely dates and keeps performing, I feel XTA is a kindred spirit. In fact, I know they use some of our processors in their R&D listening rooms. That’s such a load of self-justification to buying a stupid price telly – don’t deny me this luxury when I’m cleaning out chickens on Christmas day! Joy to the world!