A h yes, my favorite month of the year! This is the edition that allows Enjoy the Music.com's Review Magazine to publish our annual April Fool reviews, spoof filled with comedic assessments of imagined products. Of course some of the best humor is those that have just enough truthiness to them to almost sound plausible. Like any good humorist, it is easy to target the most recent events within the industry. Of course 'famous' past events are always game for a reworking too.
Take my two recent editorials (Part 1 is here and Part II is here) concerning CD players being dead. Oh yeah, that went over like a lead brick to certain high-end audio companies still touting $10,000 CD-only players. Given this price range it should be easy to add a simply USB input and the supporting electronics to take advantage of a DAC, yes? Perish the thought that an editor should at least ask for a $10,000 CD/DAC system have some basic capabilities like the $3000 PS Audio PerfectWave Transport (PWT) Memory Player or anything... or SACD/DVD-Audio at this price range. Then again making the ultimate of anything does cost serious money.
So came the moment where virtually any music-loving journalist must stand back and ask themselves perhaps the very best replay of a certain format is achieved with minimum features. This is a legitimate argument such as those fostered years ago from the early adopters of single-ended audio. After all, how could am amplifier with so few watts of output, and with so few parts, sound good? Then comes the other side of the proverbial coin, as being editor means you do have some say in shaping what is reviewed by others. As all Enjoy the Music.com reviews know, it is an extremely rare occasion that i chime in and give thumbs down on proceeding with reviewing a certain piece of gear. Unlike what transpires in politics and heads of State, my feelings are that dictatorships are always doomed to fail. Add to that, my beliefs are to question authority provided i have taken the time to analyze it and feel that i found a better, not simply as an excuse to complain.
And yes, the complaints to Yours Truly came in from readers and manufacturers alike as my feelings are the standalone CD player-type format is dead as servers and NAS drives plus external DAC will rules the marketplace. While my feelings are steadfast and have not changed, i can also see the other side of the coin. Perhaps the gold standard of CD playback still remains with ultra high-end dedicated transports/DACs. Furthermore, without actually listening to each and every combination who am i to totally write off a genre of equipment within the high-end audio market. Extending this thought further, who am i to limit Enjoy the writers in what they can and can not review?
So do i still feel that dedicated CD players are dead? Yes, why yes i do. Will that limit what reviewers within this magazine are able to review. Absolutely not. In fact this month's Superior Audio has a world premiere review of the ACCUSTIC ARTS CD-Player I - MK3 by Brett Rudolph. Only the truly foolish will totally eliminate something that has potential that may not yet have been realized. Sometimes an old idea can be 'reborn' and enhanced using the latest of technological advancements. As i compare my then state-of-the-art Sony D-5 to then four later generation D-25... or today's state-or-the-art it is easy to hear the advancements the CD format has obtained. These advancements can be judged by a known good source and together with general consensus the newfound beauty can be agreed upon. For it is not just the critic, it is also in combination of others that then an agreed upon advancement has truly been confirmed.
While the reviewer may help be a guide, it is together with you, our loyal readers who listen to and perhaps purchase the gear that then helps to confirm said reviewer's findings. For we humble reviewers may be said to have Golden Ears, yet there are many of our readers who also have such capabilities. And while personal taste does make matters a bit complicated, it is only the fool who would outright eliminate things without personally doing their own exploration.