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November 2010
Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine
In This Issue....
A Bit Less Bored
And other ranting.

Article By Steven R. Rochlin
Click here to e-mail reviewer

 

Herb Alpert's Whipped Cream & Other Delights Album Cover  Just came back from the RMAF 2010 show and, frankly, it reminded me of visiting a museum that was featuring postmodern works of art. Many of the museum 'halls' had some really nice looking artwork. There was a nice variety of turntables, reel-to-reel units and even tube amplifiers. It was a living, breathing version of those suave Playboy articles on what audio system you must have to be cool in your bachelor's pad ... circa 1966. The only thing missing was hearing every room playing Herb Alpert's Whipped Cream & Other Delights.

While the above might piss off a few people both in and out of the industry, and in fact my show report did enflame one manufacturer, c'mon people this is almost 2011 and are we still using the same outdated and truly hideous RCA connectors? Sure tubes are cool, yet after many decades maybe solid-state devices have finally at least come close to emulating that nice tube sound. And for the record yes i still love tubes and no, my Wavelength Audio Cardinal X1 300B monoblocks are not for sale. But really folks, let us wake up and take a fresh look at our 'high-end' audio gear. It is really high-end or just technological hold-overs (alcohol-induced hangovers or LSD flashbacks) from the 1960's?

Who really needs an analog preamplifier in this day and age of NAS drives and 32-bit/384kHz DACs? Ok, if you still love analog sure you might need a separate preamplifier; that is if the DAC does not have an analog input or offers some other ADC/DAC conversion thus enabling volume control from the DAC to your amplifiers. And as for speakers, what happened to all that promise of new technology i read so much about as a child? You know, flying cars, transporters instead of airplanes to get to a destination... and instant hot and great tasting dinner by only pressing a few buttons. Where is my limitless enjoyment of music with every song available by simply asking to hear it?

 

Where Did We Go Wrong?
Seriously, what the heck happened on the way to high-end audio heaven from the 1960's to 2000? Ok, we got the CD. A lackluster format with the promise of perfect sound forever, which thank goodness has given way to SACD and DVD-Audio (24/96+) better than perfect sound forever. So will the 32-bit/384kHz format be even better sound than even better sound than perfect sound forever? Do you see where i am going with all this? Having had quite a few business meetings at the RMAF, various designers saw where i was going and what specifications were demanded for my new 'high-end' home system. And speaking of my new system, will warn you here and now some items might now be off-the-shelf production. Look, if you want to play at the bleeding edge of technology then what you want is usually not a finalized product available at stores. Like a computer video gaming geek seeking every last bit of speed and video rendering, you have to either build it yourself or have it built for you by professionals. If you want three technologies ago then visit your local Circuit City and buy it. Oh, wait, Circuit City is out of business. Are you getting it now?

 

Stop The Ranting
Whiner!
Ok, enough with my ranting as i am waiting for various products to be built to my specs, with some others coming in here mainly done and then i shall personally tune/tweak them. Still other items are going to a testing laboratory that has decades of experience in synergizing things. After all, without system synergy then you may as well just pick products from some lame list and hope it all sounds better than an off the shelf Pioneer rack system circa 1980. It may look retro-cool, yet do not expect it to have true 'high-end audio' sound quality. Of course in the end what really matters is that you...

 

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
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