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Elliot Scheiner and the ELS Surround Premium Audio System

The award-winning music producer lends his impeccable ear to Acura for studio-grade sound on four wheels

by CH Contributor in Design on 22 August 2014

Acura, Audio, Cars, Elliot Scheiner, Panasonic, Sound Systems, Speakers, ELS

by Sue Mead

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“Audio’s been my life for over 40 years. I have always been passionate about what music should sound like,” explains renowned music producer Elliot Scheiner. The recipient of 25 Grammy nominations (with seven wins) and four Emmy nominations (with two wins), as well as an honorary doctorate from the Berklee College of Music and an honor from the Japan Audio Society, Scheiner is considered a master of his craft with an impeccable ear. His career began when he went to work as Phil Ramone's assistant in 1967, in which he quickly advanced to become an audio engineer. He went on to play percussion in several bands, but ultimately his heart remained in the studio. He returned, and produced albums for the likes of Steely Dan, Van Morrison, Fleetwood Mac, Sting, The Eagles, BB King, Aerosmith and more. More recently, he's worked on music with Foo Fighters, Band of Horses and Beck.

Scheiner's prolific experience gained the interest of Acura, who tapped him 10 years ago to help with their Panasonic audio system. He decided to work with the automaker because, he says, “Acura really cares, unlike some other providers that put systems in automobiles; others come from a scientific background, meaning they tune using numbers and charts—not ears! That’s not what music is about, and is the key to why one system is number one: the ELS system.”

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“Van Morrison’s 'Moondance,' for instance, I know what I made it sound like," explains Scheiner. “I am intimately acquainted with what sound is and Acura feels the same. Remember the eight-track cassette? It all became popular because of the car. I got a call from Panasonic to put a demo in a car—in a Cadillac—and it was embraced. In 2002, I got a call from Acura—they were willing to put a system in the 2004 TL. Now, it’s in every car Acura makes.” A luxury sedan may not seem like a quintessential car for rocking out, but thanks to Scheiner, the 2015 Acura TLX is almost like a concert hall on wheels.

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Scheiner, Acura and Panasonic have been refining their premium audio surround sound system for the past decade, and the 2015 model is more sophisticated than ever. “We get more speakers, there are 10 in the new TLX, and 12 in the larger MDX sport utility. Also, they’re more lightweight. Amplifiers were 225 watts and are now 490 watts," he explains. "We couldn’t believe how little distortion there is in the system—we’ve been working hard on getting more quality. You have a new car and therefore it’s a challenge; the TLX is quieter and that’s fabulous, with a cabin that is so quiet. We’ve spent more than a year and a half going to Ohio, where it’s built, and also to California and Japan. The idea was to make it feel like a control room.”

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Panasonic Automotive's principal audio engineer Dave Ziemba has worked with Scheiner from the beginning, starting with the Acura TL that was set up with full 5.1 DVD audio. He tells us for 2015 they now have studio-grade equipment in the amplifiers and a lot more control over the sound because they have an amp channel for every speaker. He explains, "We can delay speakers in different places to make the sound come into the ear at the same time. We also have different amps for tweeters and now have the fourth and fifth generation of super dynamic range speakers and damped titanium tweeters.”

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Scheiner elaborates, “I’m basically a musician at heart—when I create it, it’s about my peers and other musicians—and this is the closest we’ve come to the control room. When I come in to tune a vehicle, I bring my own music into it. Then I can go into the automobile and get it to be the way it’s supposed to sound, using our DTS or digital theater system. We’re forging the future of Acura."

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And as proof of his faith in what they've achieved, Scheiner borrowed an Acura TL so that the Foo Fighters could listen to the latest surround sound mix of their forthcoming album. Jessica Fini, Acura's public relations manager, sums it up neatly by saying, “To have your in-car audio system compared to a studio system is a huge compliment and a true testament to Elliot's skill."

ELS Surround is available on the Acura TL, TSX, RDX, MDX and ZDX 2015 models.

Images courtesy of Acura

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Mouches Pour Bal

Reviving the seductive language of 18th century artificial moles

by CH Contributor in Style on 22 August 2014

Fashion, History, Jewelry, SF, Style, Accessories, Women's Style

by Natasha Tauber

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The nearly lost courtesan art of clandestine communication, through the application of artificial moles, might just be experiencing a modest revival. Literally translated as "Flies for Balls," Mouches Pour Bal are self-adhesive shapes that last swarmed women's faces during France's decadent 18th century court. Bell'occio, the San Francisco vintage shop known for reproducing rare merchandise by select ateliers has reissued the self-stick insignias in velvet. Based on a packet fallen from a courtesan's handkerchief—now held in the shop's antique collection—the ensemble includes 20 Mouches: four each in hearts, clubs, diamonds, spades and circles with a postcard illustration to suggest placement.

Once worn to conceal a blemish or to create allure, the mouche—and its specific placement on a woman's face or neck—would become a language under the extravagant chief mistress to Louis XV (an official role positioning her as an arbiter of taste) and was used as a code of seductive intent.

Mouches Pour Bal can be found at Bell'occio for $20 a pack. As well as from Marbella, the French innovator of jewelry worn directly on the skin. A kit of 19 (in gold, silver, black and red) is available for €15.

Images by Cool Hunting

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Village Underground Lisboa

Abandoned shipping containers turned into a creative hub and outdoor event space on Lisbon’s northern edge

by CH Contributor in Culture on 22 August 2014

Communities, Creativity, Interviews, Lisbon, Mixed-Use, Venues, Village Underground Lisboa

by Ross Belfer

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In Lisbon, cultural prowess and creativity are as omnipresent as the prego sandwiches and Super Bock found on nearly every street corner. The Portuguese capital city has seen a surge in new innovative enterprises opening over the past year, indicating a slow crawl out of economic turbulence. From graphic design outposts and street art galleries to communal workplaces that double as event spaces, local entrepreneurs are going out on a limb and opening new creative labs and social spaces across the city, including Village Underground Lisboa.

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Village Underground Lisboa is the city’s newest creative workspace-meets-cultural venue, an open-air complex consisting of a Tetris-like stacking of 16 shipping containers transformed into office spaces and positioned in a massive open courtyard in the Lisbon Carris Museum. Having opened in May 2014, the space has recently become a hotspot for start-ups, designers and creative agencies aiming to achieve the delicate balance between private office space and a social environment, and is adjacent to the boutique and restaurant-laden LX Factory.

To get the skinny on the Village Underground Lisboa, we sat down with the space’s branding manager Daniel Kisluk and Joao Pedro Silva of Enchufada Records to discuss the inspiration behind the complex, its relationship with the local music scene and all the new and exciting projects on the horizon.

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Given the trying economic situation in Portugal and Lisbon, how did the Village Underground Lisboa first come to open?

Daniel Kisluk: Village Underground Lisboa is an ambitious project established by the talented entrepreneur Mariana Duarte Silva in collaboration with Village Underground London. Given the economic situation in Portugal, now is a crucial time to establish a community of creative people working together and supporting each other in various business areas. While the country is looking forward to recovery, we see a trend in locals taking advantage of opportunities to initiate creative endeavors in Lisbon. Village Underground Lisboa is a place to be the glue for connecting the right people to the global community through art, music and culture.

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The city’s music and cultural scenes are thriving right now, simply because artists are focusing on their craft.
The Village Underground Lisboa appears as a space organically built for creatives and artists. In what capacity does the space interact with the local music scene, and how does it relate to what’s happening in Lisbon today?

DK: Lisbon sits in the middle of the cultural music capitals of the world, with a multi-ethnic population bringing their musical influences from the studio to the streets—whether it's Angolan Kuduro and Zoukbass, psychedelic Latin-jazz fusion or minimal house and techno music. The city’s music and cultural scenes are thriving right now, simply because artists are focusing on their craft as opposed to looking for jobs, because there really aren’t any.

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Any plans for a cross-collaboration between Village Underground Lisboa and Enchufada Records?

Joao Pedro Silva: Last month, we teamed up with Village Underground Lisboa for the Global Village, a weekly festival every Friday in July showcasing several artists from our roster, including DJ Marfox, Branko, Riot, Rastronaut and Kking Kong, and offering sunset performances free of charge—a perfect way to cap off the week.

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How do you see Village Underground Lisboa developing over the next year, including exciting plans for expansion and new events?

DK: Considering we first unveiled the space only a couple months ago, there are several exciting plans and projects slated for this year and to be revealed over time. For now, we are continuing to invite young and creative people to join our project and take a part in the reviving of the underground creative community of Lisbon.

Images courtesy of Ross Belfer

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