My new Onkyo TX-NR609 receiver has had a few software upgrades in the past few months. The truly outstanding 50" Pioneer Koru TV had a firmware update recently. Windows Phone had its upgrade and waiting on Mango to be released. Just got a new maxed out Dell XPS 15 laptop computer and of course there were software/driver downloads for that too. Those of you with a state-of-the-art digital camera know the score. If you use specialized software to manage your digital music library in the past year or two that sends digital data to a DAC via USB, am sure that has had a few software upgrades. Nowadays many DAC manufacturers are stuffing their boxes with the latest 32-bit/384 kHz hardware and using firmware to make their products perform as best as possible. Is it bad enough we audiophiles not not only need to constantly keep up with technology via hardware; we also have to occasionally check the manufacturer's website for updates.
Now comes my funny prediction, at what point will hardware stabilize to the point where years from now audiophiles will be debating the sound quality merits of various firmware? Oh, sure we have debates about the software that manages our digital library and sends the data via USB to your DAC yet what about core firmware? Will we one day find out that a manufacturer used chipset 'X' made by manufacturer 'A' in some units and chipset 'Y' by manufacturer 'B' in others and eventually that may start a debate concerning which chipset seems to have lower jitter or some other measurement? If you ask me, go ahead ask me, in my opinion these firmware and software updates all seem to be moving sound quality in the right direction. Still, my mind wonders if a few years from now will we see home-brew programmers making our gear better long after the manufacturer stops officially supporting our high-tech devices.
T.H.E. Show Newport Beach
If you have not sensed it by now, yes T.H.E. Show Newport Beach was an outstanding event! On Friday, the first day of the show, there was a line to enter that not only was long; it lasted for hours as thousands of eager audiophiles wanted to assess the many hundreds of products to be experienced. The Atlanta AXPONA and the extremely large High End show in Munich are both quite good and am not belittling either one. Perhaps there is something about the California lifestyle and overall atmosphere that I find more agreeable? If you missed this year's T.H.E. Show in Newport Beach you still have time to make the October Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF). By now everyone knows this fall's RMAF is sure to be extraordinary! Naturally I will be having a few seminars during the RMAF in October and look forward to seeing many of you there.
As always, in the end what really matters is that you...
Enjoy the Music,
Steven R. Rochlin