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January 2016
Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine
Can High-End Home Audio Keep Up Within Today's Modern Landscape?
And why is it the industry seems to be failing at certain things?
Article By Steven R. Rochlin

 

  While Enjoy the Music.com's Editor Tom Lyle takes a break from his monthly editorials, it seems it is up to me to write this month's lead-in. It is no secret that a vast amount of data concerning the consumer electronics sector passes through my desk on a weekly basis. While others might read consumer magazines, both my e-mail and snail mail is filled with many industry insider publications from a wide variety of sectors. We're seeing great progress within the headphone and portable audio sector, with show attendance reaching all-time highs, yet high-end home audio has not seen anywhere near the same amount of growth.

Ok, this article might sound a bit harsh as you read on yet it is challenging to 'candy-coat' the truth. Within other sectors of consumer-based entertainment I work in, which is one of the reasons for my stepping down as Editor of this publication, it is amazingly modern and we're two to three years ahead of 'the curve'. Of course this is not necessarily a good thing as releasing technology too soon, as Microsoft did when I was working with their Auto PC platform, was a bit too far ahead of its time and the backing technology and screen resolution was not quite optimum. Yet having the ability to develop and fine-tune technology so it is ready when the technology and mainstream consumer is ready has many benefits.

 

Can High-End Home Audio Keep Up Within Today's Modern Landscape?

 

If we step back to June 2013 with My Memo To The Industry article we can see that in 2016 we're all going to benefit from the incredible work done by The DEG, major recording labels and brands of electronics to promote Hi-Res Audio to music enthusiasts worldwide. Sure HDtracks, Naxos, Onkyo, and others have been selling Hi-Res Audio files, yet soon we're all going to enjoy Hi-Res Audio streaming including 24-bit/192kHz and double DSD. Have heard rumors that Apple is following Sony's lead in proprietary file types and thus might be offering far higher quality music than their current MP3 and the like. Going proprietary has benefits including enhancing company exposure and profits due to 'locking in' the patented technology, plus selling items to consumers that use it, in addition to the tried-and-true licensing deals. Whatever the business model that comes about with Hi-Res Audio as equipment manufacturers and music labels seek to regain an amicable deal were everyone benefits, audiophile and music enthusiasts will be grateful to finally enjoy their music on higher resolution than MP3 and of course excellent LP pressings. For those who might not have read My Memo To The Industry, or have not re-read it in years, I invite you to do so and then see what is happening within the industry during 2016.

My idea presented many years ago about having equalization per album/song based on meta data / audio detection? Anyone remember that? Well, Gracenote is going to be implementing it within vehicles so expect it to be available for model year 2018. Hopefully home audio takes note here, yet the largest benefit truly is within the car audio sector imho. The sheer variety and variables of in-car audio in mind-boggling! In many ways I truly do miss being a sound quality judge, which began nearly two decades ago at IASCA with the late great Bill Burton (I miss Bill too, who passed away years ago). Bottom line is that between Hi-Res Audio thanks to The DEG and Gracenote's Dynamic EQ we’re making strides towards higher musical pleasures for both audiophiles and music enthusiasts worldwide. Enjoy the music <vvbg>.

 

High-End Audio Official Press Center
With Enjoy the Music.com's recent announcement on being the industry's official Press Center, plus our third annual CES live stream, there are times when our development work is not due to us actually wanting to do it. Please allow me to explain. More times than I can remember have been asked for advice from a variety of sources both inside and outside the high-end audio industry. Over the years I've gladly helped, yet rarely has anyone within the high-end audio industry followed up on this advice. There is a term for these 'ask' people, which I choose not to write here. Yet the bottom line is that it is always wonderful to be desired, it is quite another thing to be valued.

 

 

So like My Memo To The Industry I am here challenging the high-end audio event promoters to put Enjoy the Music.com out of the Press Center business. Yes you read that right. My desire is for events to publish press releases and equipment sheets of exhibitor's rooms on their website. Your show is your business, not mine, and as such it really is not Enjoy the Music.com's job to be publishing a Press Center featuring your exhibitors. This idea is not new, quite frankly, as all major high-technology events have been doing this for years. Since I'm 'going for broke' here, in addition where are the manufacturer's bio sheets and a nice Apple / Android app that wraps it all up for ease of use for members of the press, attendees, and the world to benefit from? Have discussed these matters with many people within the high-end audio industry over the past few months and every single one of them feels it is a great idea. Frankly, it is not Enjoy the Music.com's job to fill in this gaping hole of a much-desired, and today's norm, of what a proper show exhibitor offers. Sure it increases to the show promoter's costs, yet if you added a little bit to room fees for these benefits am sure the industry would gladly welcome the additional exposure. Check out what HIGH END does with their website, their major Munich event and all the advertisement they do within the city. You can see HIGH END posters within the subway, of the side of buses, on the radio, TV commercial, etc. Enjoy the Music.com's Press Center will remain active until each and every major North American high-end audio event takes the reins with their own in-depth press release section supporting their exhibitors.

 

CES 2016 Live Stream
I feel humbled to once again to be hosting Enjoy the Music.com's third annual live broadcast of CES. Our 2016 CES live stream will feature a variety of manufacturers and technologies plus we have some very special surprise guests too! During our broadcast you can chat with us in real time and please feel free to ask questions too. If you're a CES 2016 exhibitor and want to take part within our live broadcast you need to act fast as time slots are nearly full! Our live stream during AXPONA 2015 was completely booked up and also had a waiting list! As the high-end audio industry's only professional live streaming provider, and professional quality videographer during events, please allow me to once again say thank you to all who will be appearing within our broadcast. Exhibitors can enquire if there are any time slots available by e-mailing us here.

 

Luxury Goods Marketplace
We can all agree that audiophile hardware manufacturers are part of a luxury goods market. Please take the time to research and better understand how we can all not just meet, yet exceed our customer's expectations. This includes not just with product manufacturing and user friendliness implementation, it should also have an education and marketing side as well. It is FANtastic that all North American high-end shows provide excellent seminars. These provide an invaluable ability to inform music lovers and high-end audio enthusiasts about the important topics within today's marketplace. From newbie to expert, there is something for everyone within the variety of seminars. Now if we, as an industry, can step it up a notch as we build upon the many decades of hard work to bring the industry into the next generation of FANatics. They don't need to be fanatics, frankly, as there are many music lovers who are today 'discovering' the joys of music on vinyl. With major manufacturers, recording labels, online music providers and The DEG promoting Hi-Res Audio, it would be wonderful if we all work in concert to bring the many benefits of high quality music to the world.

 

Here Are A Few Questions...
How are we as an industry evolving to meet the 'next-gen' challenge? What are we doing to expand our audience? How are we as an industry adding value to our client base? What benefits do we offer over other product manufacturers within the same category? How are you effectively communicating these benefits so the added value is 'worth it' for the additional expense / effort involved by your customers? What investments, both time and money, are you making to expand your worldwide reach?

 

Askhole
Frankly, I expect many people to agree with at least a few of the above topics within this article. So this begs the question: What time, effort and financial expenses will be done by you to achieve them?

 

 

The starting point of all achievement is desire.
  – Napoleon Hill

 

Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.
  – Henry Ford

 

We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community... Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.
  – Cesar Chavez

 

Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.
  – Vince Lombardi

 

Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.
  – Benjamin Franklin

 

Changes call for innovation, and innovation leads to progress.
  – Li Keqiang

 

Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness; but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.
  – Plato

 

You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.
  – Woodrow Wilson

 

There is no short cut to achievement. Life requires thorough preparation – veneer isn't worth anything.
  – George Washington Carver

 

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
  – Mahatma Gandhi

 

 

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

 

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
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