Reflecting Back On 2020
I've spoken to many manufacturers and distributors during 2020, and without a doubt the saying "May you live in interesting times" holds true. While that saying is an English expression that is claimed to be a translation of a traditional Chinese curse, the point is very valid for 2020. On one hand, both high-end audio and the music industry experienced impressive growth. On the other hand, we also missed seeing one another during shows. More hi-fi blogs and YouTube videos have been produced during 2020 than perhaps any other time. So on one hand we have expanding businesses, online sales, reviews, etc within the consumer electronics sector, on the other we have (generally the elderly) dying from... Everyone at Enjoy the Music.com truly feels deep sadness for those we've lost during 2020. With your kind permission, and after much thought about what should be said within this 2020 wrap-up, I'd like to focus on the positives of 2020 to wrap up this year's editorial.
Rest assured Enjoy the Music.com's 25th anniversary celebration will continue through July 2021.
Giving Voice To Manufacturers
During 2020 we asked the same 10 Questions For Manufacturers, and we've been honored by well
over 40 companies who have shared with our readers their history, many years of
experience, and future dreams of music within your home. In addition, we've
highlighted great musical advice, ideas, and how challenges are overcome from
four major audiophile labels too! This was 100% free for both manufacturers and
the music labels. If you're a high-end audio manufacturer, distributor and / or
representative, we don't want you to miss out on these opportunities. Industry
insiders should join our
eNewsletter list at this link. so you can be informed of future offerings.
For our longstanding loyal readers we also have a monthly updates for you too. Fans of Enjoy the Music.com should join our enthusiast eNewsletter for monthly updates, plus it enters you into our contest too! You should join our eNewsletter us at this link.
Many hardware manufacturers are currently preparing for
this new format, and virtually all audiophile electronics hardware companies are
exploring the advancements in proper higher resolution audio (24-bit/88.1kHz or
better). Many years back only one phone, a Samsung Note, handled 24-bit/88.1kHz
or better. Today virtually all high-quality cell phones can easily playback
24-bit/192kHz lossless music.
Everything from turntables, DACs, and reel-to-reel to
amplification, speakers, and tweaks have been selling very well during 2020.
Many of our readers have discovered that accessories / tweaks are a wonderful
way to invest your time into improving your home audio hi-fi system. Am trying
to avoid naming specific brand names so-as everyone benefits, yet please allow
me to say that some of you have dipped your feet into DIY, and specialists like
Bottlehead are busy keeping their customer orders flowing. Basically, it seems
everywhere I ask sales have been excellent during 2020.
Even during 2020, it is interesting to note the new Pacific Audio Fest was formally announced. Operated by and for the industry, Lou Hinkley of Daedalus Audio in collaboration with Gary Gill of Capital Audiofest, are pleased to announce the launch of the Pacific Audio Fest slated for July 30th through August 1st (2021) at the Doubletree Hilton Sea-Tac in Washington State.
We Miss Seeing Our Friends During Shows
While 2020 proved the high-end audio industry does not 'need' shows to survive, perhaps we simply desire finding a way to get together and have fun. This is one of the many reasons I love the Florida Audio Expo, as it's far more than 'just a show'. You're in Florida, and if we as an industry are going to show up somewhere it may as well be somewhere fun, and safe with low crime. A place with excellent weather where there are other things to see and do outside of the show itself. Please allow me to thank Watches Of Switzerland / Mayors for hosting Enjoy the Music.com's first annual get-together at their International Plaza and Bay Street in Tampa. It was epic to share with many of my friends, industry luminaries, and Enjoy the Music.com readers as we shared our love of mechanical timepieces. Our second annual get-together event will be somewhere else in Florida near Tampa, and like before there will be limited availability so keep a lookout for our Florida Fun 2022 exclusive event announcement before the show.
More Hi-Fi Blogs, YouTube Videos, Etc During 2020
One of the (many) original goals of Enjoy the Music.com was
to share with our global readership the many resources for reviews and
information online. It's not just about our site or co-owned sites /
publications, it is about the many incredible independent information
providers that we're helping you discover as you transverse through your joyous
life's journey as a tried and true music lover.
While professionally live-streamed high-end audio events were
first done by Yours Truly here at Enjoy the Music.com, I've sat back and
watched the magnificent growth as many other video streamers have come to the
forefront. True professionally-operated shows such as the AES, CEDIA... and soon
CES will have excellent high-quality video streaming in place of their physical
events. If there's one lesson 2020 has taught true professional show
producers, it is that you're expected to freely provide high-quality video
streaming coverage to benefit your exhibitors too (imho).
Focusing On The Positives Of 2020
We also need to add to the fact that during 2020 true
lossless streaming by Qobuz, 2L and many others is making its way to music lovers
all around the world. Finally! With the ongoing increase in bandwidth speeds,
there's no longer a need for lossy compression for millions of music
enthusiasts. Fortunately, about six years ago we as an industry fought
off legacy old-school Compact Disc (CD) 16-bit/44.1kHz as being called Hi-Res
Music. Nothing 'wrong' with the nearly 40-year-old CD format, yet for decades
24-bit/192kHz has been a possibility if the music industry chose to follow suit.
With the growth of true lossless now
joined by the new immersive formats during 2020, soon we music enthusiasts will be
able to discover enveloping aural creations by ingenious music artists.
We hear in 360, and why I've long been a proponent of listening chairs without anything blocking the rear of your head / ears. The seatback of your listening chair or couch should be at shoulder level at most, to avoid soundwave reflections from the chair's back. I can't think of one classical music (or jazz for that matter) venue that has high-back chairs on the main floor where the best seating for listening is located. Live acoustic jazz and classical performances you attend include reflections from the venue's hall / room, so it makes sense to hear them played back immersively too. Since a majority of today's best-selling and most listened to modern music is neither classical nor jazz, that allows modern musicians, engineers, etc to expand on their creativity. Think of it akin to Roger Waters / Pink Floyd, yet with much more freedom to express themselves aurally.
Enjoy the Music.com has posted our 15th annual Great Audiophile Gift recommendations! We know getting that something special for an audiophile can be quite a challenge, and so our modest wish list brings you some truly spectacular ideas for music lovers. Everyone here at Enjoy the Music.com wishes your a yours a prosperous, joyous and healthy holiday season. If you shop at Amazon, please bookmark this link as you can help our affiliate account keep our magazine growing and thriving strong. For those who love what we've been doing during the past 25 years online, you can donate via PayPal to us at this link.
Last, and certainly not least, I’d like to thank my close friends, neighbors, family, and loving Muse / wife Heather. We do indeed live in interesting times.
Without a doubt 2020 has been a
challenging year to be sure, and am happy to report our industry is doing great!
With all the difficulties plus the circus of political debates going on all
around the world, it's wonderful to tune out the world. Instead, turn up your
fave tunes and... enjoy the music!
As always in the end what really matters is that you...
It is with deep sadness that during 2020 'The Professor' passed.
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