This Is The Best Time To Be A Music Enthusiast
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.
True Lossless Streaming Now Available
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
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.
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
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...