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March 2012
Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine
In This Issue....
And with technological advances comes the tablet.
Article By Steven R. Rochlin

 

  In last month's editorial i neglected to mention the six World Premiere reviews and so will mention this issue has 'only' three premieres. Fear not, there are many more World Premiere equipment reviews being written as i type this and of course you can look forward to those in the April edition. As this is the March issue, I'd like to focus on accessibility and ease of use. While within the Las Vegas' CES 2012 / T.H.E. Show report there were many new digital devices from very attractive bargain priced units to virtually cost-no-object. In this issue our review of the Brunoco Audio DiVA integrated amplifier with USB DAC is a prime example of 24-bit/192kHz DAC technology plus a preamplifier and amplifier in one unit. This simplicity in the all-in-one unit, and at a low price of $800 i might add, are now hitting the market for those looking for user simplicity. Whilst there are more and more high-end audio products with their own app -- thus allowing for smartphone or tablet control -- i am looking forward to more devices having this ability.

Am not a stranger to such things, as i recall the Sony wireless 'egg' controller about two decades ago where it looked like users were an orchestra conductor while using an on-screen display to control their home system. There was a really old system called Frox (with an interesting White Paper at this link) that was one of the first to try their hand at home control for high-end systems using powerful computers. Anyone in the home integration business is well-aware of using a control surface, generally a tablet or the like, to control a complete home theater system. Some audiophiles, on the other hand, seem a bit new to this idea.

Fast-forward to today, and this tablet control ability has been a biggie for me as many components within my technology updated home greatly benefit from such apps. On a very personal note, my girlfriend just moved in with me and so came the usual "Here is how you work the stereo" lessons. Last time i went through this, about 12 years ago, it was the old-school thing of turning on the turntable and let it spin, then power up the phonostage, then the preamplifier and wait for the flashing red light to turn a steady green in about a minute (accompanied by a loud click of course) so you know the 12AX7 tubes are ready. Lastly, of course, came the turning on of the tube amplifiers (monoblocks of course stashed behind the speakers to keep the speaker cables short). For many audiophiles this entire system turn-on sequence still holds true to this day.

Well, that type of system no longer resides here and fortunately for me, and yes my girlfriend, all one has to do is launch a tablet app and press one icon and the entire system comes to life. Another app controls what we may want to enjoy playing on the sound system via accessing the home media network (that has a mere 6 TB of storage capability mind you). It is amazing that a high-end home audio system is now so very easy and intuitive to use. Now came the tricky part, as you see, the HTC Jetstream is my tablet (control surface), and so i bought a Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus for her.

Ok, this may not be 'audiophile', yet Samsung makes for a great small 7" tablet with FLAC capability plus it includes an equipment remote control app built-in (which was extremely easy to setup i might add). The result is that she can operate this complicated system without and worry. She is a very smart woman of course, but c'mon, we all know how complicated our sound systems can be! Fess up as yes, perhaps you are within the guilty party! Hopefully in the future all major high-end audio brands, and 'minor ones' of course, offer apps to control their units. Am already looking forward to attending a high-end show and simply being able to stream the FLAC file from my tablet to the demonstration system at the event. Imagine it fellow journalists and show attendees... no more discs to carry; no more thumb drives to worry about. Just your trusty tablet in tow for streaming music to various devices.

 

Speaking Of Tablets
Enjoy the Music.com TabletAm sure many of you have seen Enjoy the Music.com's new print advertisement. You may have also noticed some changes to our main homepage and of course the main page of the Review Magazine. Am happy to say that those of you using home computers have already chimes in via e-mail and told me you like the new look. Over the past 15 or so years i have heard your complaints of all black websites with white text being troublesome. How slow flash is and how it is hard to print out or copy text, etc. As such, have kept the bulk of the text to being black on a white background. No flash allowed! The hard part for this recent update was ensuring the entire website gave virtually the same look and feel on a tablet and smartphone device. Looking at the site's stats, more and more people worldwide are using such devices and i see it as the future of computing. Will not say too much more on that subject other than yes, Enjoy the Music.com is now 100% tablet and smartphone ready. Of course we have an Android and Windows Phone 7 app. Yes, have submitted an app to Apple, resubmitted it... App aside, it matters not if your device supports Flash or other not quite fully supported technologies with certain devices. In fact you might find you prefer the layout slightly more on your tablet(!) than on your home PC. Either way, the one thing all devices like is the fast page loading and efficient page HTML coding. And this brings up my personal pet peeves.

1. Equipment reviews should be on one single web page.
Sure Enjoy the Music.com can rack up more pageviews and serve up more advertising graphics by spreading a single piece equipment review to span multiple pages, yet what a major pain in the ass that is for readers (yes i said pain in the ass because that it what it is to me... A MAJOR PAIN IN THE ASS... imho of course).

2. Printer friendly.
Sure the Internet is a virtual space, yet there are those of you who like to print off pages from the site. Face the facts, many people still love printed media and of course Enjoy the Music.com also caters to your needs. The aforementioned keeping reviews on a single page, and of course other pages plus show reports neat and tidy, makes printing out the information you desire simple.

3. Avoid specialized coding, plug-ins, overly large graphic files, etc.
If you want to see slow-loading websites, look no further than certain sites online that use Flash or some off-site server-based advertising feed/stream. Over the years i have found that some of you love fancy moving graphics and frills and niceties with background sound, yet at the end of the day most of you want the information you are seeking in a timely manner. My mantra has been "Never use a complicated technology just for technology sake. Using such technologies should only be done when it serves the information (and the reader of course) when there is no other more efficient solutions."

 

In the end my goals are to ensure the Enjoy the Music.com site is fully accessible by every major operating system and Internet device worldwide. Anything less is like kicking out of your home a longtime good friend just because they did not own the latest and greatest _______. Of course your input is also desired, so feel free to e-mail me any requests you may have. i do listen!

Bottom line: No matter what device you choose to surf the web, you can rest assured reviews are easy to read without having the mire through multiple pages. And when a page from Enjoy the Music.com loads, it is fast, efficient and complete. The goal is for you to be able to access Enjoy the Music.com on every Internet device.... anytime... anyplace. Hopefully the recent subtle changes have accomplished this task. 

And now back to the music while using my tablet to control.... everything. Enjoy the music... anytime... anywhere. Of course in the end what really matters is that you...

 

Enjoy the Music (i program my home computer. Beam myself into the future...),

Steven R. Rochlin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
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