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June 2021

Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine

This Is The Best Time To Be A Music Enthusiast
Product development, reviews, and true lossless hi-resolution on the rise!
Editorial By Steven R. Rochlin


This Is The Best Time To Be A Music Enthusiast Product development, reviews, and true lossless hi-resolution on the rise!


  Over 25 years ago when I started Enjoy the Music.com there was very little info about high-end audio / audiophiles online. Today, that has all changed as we have thousands of websites from the latest and greatest gear to vintage audio, DIY, headphones, etc. In addition, we now have more manufacturers than in the history of our hobby! It is virtually impossible to keep up with it all, let alone report on every new piece of high-end audio equipment. I'd be slapped silly by not mentioning that true lossless high-resolution music, without the 'need' for typical music BUSINESS lossy compressed scams and schemes, is now mainstream and not limited to only a few niche' streaming music players. Without a doubt, this is the best time to be a music enthusiast!

Way back when in the 1980s and 1990s there were only a tiny few small digest-sized print publications plus Audio and Stereo Review (to name a few) here in the States. Europe and other parts of the globe had their fave publications. It was like we were part of a super-secret hobby we all love. There was a tribal feeling about it all too! You go to shows and everyone within a country pretty much knew all the other players (and their wives / boyfriends, kids, pets, etc).



Then came the Internet, and as the years passed, today we have an eruption of publications. From small niche's like vintage tube amplifiers to music streamers, and from analog enthusiasts to digital delight fans. From the latest bargain-priced turntables to cost-no-object personal audio and custom in-ear monitors. The quality of websites / magazines available for free to music lovers today has never been higher! There's little doubt our tiny hobby has now expanded 10, perhaps 100 or 1000-fold come to deeply think about it. Heck, it may even be 10,000-fold if we add in non-English-based publications for both print and the Internet.


I get asked quite often about the future of our hobby and the music industry. For older publications, it is easy to look at their social media efforts. How is their Facebook page for those over 50, and everyone who cares about those under 50 years of age ask yourself do they have an active Instagram account? If they have no active Instagram presence (at a minimum), then obviously they plan on no real growth or future imho. As for the music, right now we're seeing the glimmering hopes for ImmersivephilesTM as the music industry is now seeking a modern way to engage with their customers. Am sure you've heard about Apple and Amazon joining Qobuz and the like in offering true lossless hi-res streaming, which avoids the music BUSINESS proprietary file type scams that pop up from time to time to confuse consumers and music lovers alike, plus these proprietary formats steal income from music creators.



True Lossless Streaming Now Available
So once again no longer are small niche streaming services the exclusive handlers of <cough bullshit> 'lossless' </cough> vintage 1980s CD-quality (16-bit/44.1kHz) and circa 2000 lossless high-resolution (24-bit/88.1kHz and higher) sound quality. We're also finally free from the doomed / proprietary lossy formats like MP3pro / MQA and MP3 / etc variants. This is the best time to easily discover new music with a simple click or two. For truly old guys, am sure you remember the book within the back on the physical music store with colored pages that had text list after text list with tens of thousands of albums you could order… if their music distributor could even get that rare album you want! Now it's all just a few clicks away! Thank goodness today we music lovers don't have to endure that scenario anymore. Am sure we all agree that these are the best days to be a music lover.


Note: The compact disc (CD) is a lossy conversion from what usually started as an analog master recording, or at a minimum 20-bit/48kHz digital via early Soundstream ADC/DAC and the like.



While perhaps a bit of a touchy subject for some, early examples of immersive music might be as bad as the early stereo LP with ping-pong table sound used to promote this then-new two-channel format. The video above is both demonstrative, and what early stereo LP demo discs featured back in the day (to some extent). Rest assured soon we'll have both musicians and engineers more finely tuned to envisioning / creating some incredible soundscapes. For audiophiles, companies like Zylia, imho, are on the right path as you can capture live music naturally to be presented accordingly within a music enthusiast's home.


More Is More
We can all agree we now have more home and portable audio manufacturers today than in the history of our hobby. And better still, they are truly starting to hone in on just what makes a set of headphones / IEM sound great to human ears. With the advancement of technology and measuring equipment, combined with real-world listening tests, today we have the most in-depth knowledge of how humans perceive sound than at any other point in the history of our species.

From room correction to equalization, we're now able to achieve the best sound within our homes than we have only five years ago! Prices have expanded to both the upper and lower cost sectors. Furthermore, there are more manufacturers offering custom one-off colors to better match your home décor. No longer are we only a black or silver chassis industry (yeah!). As for loudspeakers, the world of natural / fabricated wood, plus nearly any paint scheme are available. So once again, we have more choices today than in the history of high-end audio.

Furthermore, over the decades there are some magazine editors and writers who've had a big man-crush on me. From my show reports in Asia where I reported on cool gear and their magazine editors worked a deal to get review gear and get ads, to online'ers who e-mail and call me for advice. In fact, during 2021 I've spoken to more magazine editors, vloggers, etc than in the previous five years combined. Sure there are LOLs at 'reviewers' who are pay-for-play, and those who hold gear ransom until they get paid by the manufacturer.

One company called me about a magazine owner who was blackmailing them for more ad money! There are straight man-crushes too, like when I was the very first to live stream high-end audio events. During Enjoy the Music.com's world premiere CES live stream a magazine reviewer kept appearing in the same rooms I had on the schedule. Love my fans!

We're all working together, from paid influencers and non-disclosed advertorials, to more ethical publications, in making our love of music a better place for the next generation, and the one after that... that are 'built' on our past accomplishes.



New Generation
Speaking of new generation music lovers… As I said earlier I've been in discussions with many vloggers. While I love their youthful enthusiasm and how they want to expand the reach of our industry, sometimes it is not an easy discussion. When you've (me) been constantly at the frontier of the future of information delivery, the younger generation may have a different set of "tribal beliefs" than the generation that came before them (my generation), or the elders who began in the 1950s and 1960s. For this new generation, pay-for-play is the norm and is happily supported by Samsung-owned Mark Levinson brand (to name one of many). Then again even the old guys who were protesters decades ago like Bob Dylan has sold out to 'the man' recently to the tune of $300M.

Was chatting with one major vlogger and we were discussing when he turned from being an 'honest' reviewer in the eyes of old-schoolers into now becoming a pay-for-play vlogger. Virtually all streaming folks I spoke with agree there are problems their side of the 'reviewer industry' needs to sort out. For example, some check the box on YouTube that their video is a paid-for / advertorial 'review', and some don't even though they are being compensated by the manufacturer.

We also have old-school 'journalists' with straight-out pay-for-play advertorial 'reviews' who get paid upwards of $10,000, and they know they should be disclosing this to their magazine editor and owner, yet don't (that I'm aware of and I've spoken to magazines editors / owners btw and they acted surprised). In fact, there was one manufacturer who chimed in on Enjoy the Music.com's Facebook page that he'd be happy to pay a 'retired' reviewer for a review. i suggested he hire them to write a review for their website. So if you're a manufacturer still lamenting about a 'retired' reviewer, go ahead and hire them to do a review on your website.



There are so many manufacturers and new products that it can be trying just to get someone, anyone, to review a piece of gear. So if you're a manufacturer and a fan of a now-retired reviewer's writing, go ahead and hire them to publish a 'review' on your website? Perhaps like many local TV 'news' does today, a manufacturer or distributor can pay the writer and the magazine for a promotional 'spot' within a publication. I'm 100% cool with that provided the magazine owners and editors mark these articles / reviews / advertorial as pay-for-play.

It is this amazing growth in virtually every direction of our hobby that we're experiencing today that has wonderful positive benefits for us all.



The Best Of Times
So without a doubt, this is the best time to be a music enthusiast! From very reasonably-priced gear to cost-no-object custom-colored speaker cabinets, there's something for everyone today! If you love reel-to-reel there's a very avid industry restoring these marvelous mechanical devices. If you love streaming, the world is your oyster. DIY and vintage audio is fun-filled on many levels! From personal audio to the biggest and boldest home theater / immersive sound system, we have what you desire that will bring more joy into your life.

Soon we'll be having ImmersivephilesTM making their way into our industry and that will once again spur growth as you'll need more speakers and amplification, and of course high-quality multi-channel processing. Legacy stereo will play its' part as well as there are millions of tracks to choose from in true lossless high-resolution streaming from a variety of both minor and major companies.


Wow, look at us 'cavemen' go!

Today is a great day to be alive!

Starting tomorrow, you're living in the future.


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


Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin

















































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