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August 2012
Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine
In This Issue....
Entering Our 18th Year... Has The Industry Really Progressed?
Article By Steven R. Rochlin

 

Got Ears?  Wow, has it really been 17 truly abundant, fun-filled years here at Enjoy the Music.com! Of course it takes many people to make this happen every month, each year, for the past 17 to make this humble site a reality. Many writers such as Dick Olsher and Dr. Bill Gaw have been with us since day one, yet there are many 'new guys' who are making great contributions too! Of course my deepest thanks go out to you, our loyal and newfound readers, for your deep enthusiasm of music and the high-end audio industry. While we are a very serious bunch here, we also find time to sit back, relax, and not take ourselves too seriously.

This issue features such modern high-cost classics as the McIntosh MC452 stereo power amplifier and the latest in bang-for-the-buck digital with the Wadia's 121 decoding computer. Vinyl junkies will enjoy reading the Ortofon SPU Royal N MC cartridge review of course. Digital delights for those seeking the state-of-the-art should certainly not miss reading our expert assessment of EMM Labs' DAC2X stereo D/A converter. There is such a wide variety of gear now available that during my many years it does make me wonder... has there truly been progress.

Am not referring to progress in digital, which is obviously. Am not referring to the progress in analog, which continues to amaze me in just how much information is stored in those vinyl grooves. My complaint is the lack of progress in making the general public more aware of high-end audio. Sure the mainstream has done a great job of getting consumers from the VHS machine to Blu-ray. And yes, this progress also including higher quality source material. Yet why it is that home-theater-in-the-box is still around and most people have never heard of [insert popular high-end audio company here]? Over the years here in America we have seen AAHPAV come and go, other entities try to upstart, etc. They tried to get the public more aware of high-end audio yet somehow missed the mark. On the plus side, we are just now seeing many more consumer electronics shows around the States with AXPONA, Capital Audiofest, Lone Star Audio Fest, RMAF, T.H.E. Show, etc. Of course the 'trick' is, just how are we going to help get Joe  and Jane consumer to these events? Speaking of events, Enjoy the Music.com's extensive coverage of the Capital Audiofest is in this month's issue.

So 17 years came and went.... hundreds of audio shows worldwide, dare i say tens of thousands of reviews in dozens of magazines both online and in print and just exactly where has that gotten Joe and Jane consumer? They actually went backwards the past 17 years as vinyl and the CD has given way to the lower quality compressed mp3! During this same time period we audiophiles went from dealing with a physical medium at a mere 16-bit/44.1kHz and a paltry 70 minutes of music storage, to a virtually limitless storage capability NAS with 24-bit/192kHz music files. How are we to get consumers to realize they are paying full price for compressed audio? How are we going to say that buying a vinyl record -- or SACD or 24-bit/192kHz download -- at $20 is better than 100,000+ songs streamed online at 192 kbp/s mp3 for a full month? And your answer to that question is.....? On the other hand, never before has so much much music been so widely available to so many people worldwide at a mere touch of a button.

So if i am not 100% enthusiastic for the future mass-media choices please understand things have gone backwards as of recent! We can all hope for a change towards better quality, yet things certainly have not gone as we high-end audio enthusiasts would have hoped. Perhaps as bandwidth increases and gets cheaper, which will happen as it always does with such technologies, we shall see Pandora and other mainstream services widely offer true high-resolution music. Of course the first step is education. It is true 17 years ago as it is today: 

How are we going to get more people aware of the high-end audio industry?

Of course in the end what really matters is that you...

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
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