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June 2013
Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine

From The Editor's Desk...
Portable Audio Was Terrible Back In The Day!
Ok, perhaps not terrible, but something was indeed amiss.
Article By Steven R. Rochlin


  Am not saying high-end audio decades ago was lackluster, far from it! In fact dad's circa 1969 12" Tannoy Gold Monitors still pump out the juicy tunes to this day! Still, we are always seeking to achieve the seemingly impossible dream. And that is to somehow fully transport a live performance into our homes, our portable players and just about anywhere else we can. With the recent years of progress away from the CD to DSD and 192-kHz/24-bit we are indeed close. What amazes me, and the subject of this Senseless Rambling, is on the portable audio side of things.

So how close are we to perfect mobile audio sound? Ah that is the proverbial $64,000 question! Reaching back to my still working Sony D-5 portable player and then comparing the sound coming from the Astell&Kern AK120 we all first heard at the Munich High End show and the difference is staggering! (Home Audio Squirrel!) Sure those of us familiar with the fabled and legendary Marantz 8b or McIntosh equivalent love that sound. But we also know in our hearts that that sound is not really the sound. Ok, back on topic, what astonishes me is how abundant the many mobile audio devices are in the marketplace that can do so many different things. Within T.H.E. Show's Headphonium am sure the Astell&Kern, Audeze, CEntrance, HiFiMAN, Schitt Audio and others will have great mobile audio devices will be available.


Vintage Panasonic Tranistor Radio


Looking around at what the mobile audio guys have to choose from today would be unimaginable during my youth! This is when the shiny new (and expensive for the time) Panasonic transistor radio stole my heart as first personal audio device. It had that cool, now retro black and silver. Space age technology in the palm of my hand! A miracle! Eventually came the cassette Sony Walkman. During the Munich High End show it was obvious where many of you have been spending you heard-earned cash. Riding on the subways in Germany, walking the streets in New York... or in my hometown. You can see people wired into something. Still remember the first time walking into a Target store and seeing $200 headphones for sale. "Can you believe there are $200 headphones at Target?" Sure Target has far better stuff than Wal-Mart, but still, $200 is not those super expensive Panasonic $47 world's first dual driver in-ear fontopids/earphones I bought in the 80's! Those babies were top of the line at the time and $47 was long green.

Anyway, getting back to target, so they have $200 headphones now. Looking at the other shelves with cheap plastic drek mixed with good quality products from Sonos and others I muttered to myself "Now if only Target would carry a decent quality turntable. Yeah, something around $300 and made by VPI, Rega, Linn, Music Hall, etc." Hmmm, a brand new $300 high-end audio turntable for the masses… available for purchase at a mass merchant store. Ah yes, one can dream.

As always, in the end what really matters is that you...


Enjoy the Music, (dream, beyond dreams...)

Steven R. Rochlin


















































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