How is one to follow-up on their previous article blazing (scathing?) remarks for the high-end audio industry to realize newcomers demand more than ‘old school’ operations and limited accessibility? As you can guess, the sheer quantity of e-mails that hit my inbox was nearly overwhelming! Whilst only two people felt I was being a bit rough on the industry, the vast majority supported my findings. In fact a few great responses simply proved my point, with some expanding on various points. Perhaps one of the best examples, reprinted with permission of course, appears below:
"Let's have a War" FEAR
Thanks for your article; I really needed to hear something like what you said. I have 'flirted' with audiophillia on-and-off for 30 years, and I keep coming back to the thought: I could buy the latest widget for 1000x dollars or I could spend 10x dollars and buy some more music, or concert tickets.
Part 1: And virtually no-one likes the music I like best (of course not true, but the combination of sounds is a bit rare in the popular realm). Hell, even my friends that I saw all those punk/alt shows with have different tastes now. Sometimes even my own choices are inappropriate for certain situations I'm in; thus Marilyn Manson may be good for power tool use while listening to headphones but not so good at bedtime with the wife in the same room with small speakers.
Part 2: Access. Records, CDs, digital files... addressing the core of your article. I recently started a Sonos system in the house; is it audiophile? I don't know but I can now access a lot of my music in most parts of my house very quickly, and so can my wife. Result, I'm listening to more music. I'm also digging through CDs to find old favorites, rip 'em, and enjoy again. Additionally my dad also passed away recently and I got all his CDs; more listening fun (hey, Dad had pretty good taste?...!). Hey, let’s set up the record player again (oops, terminology faux pas: turntable). But I use the digital files most often... ease of access. The point is the future is digital (ah "the cloud"); and easy, flexible access will have more people listening to more music, more of the time, and some might want to listen "more better" (me, for instance).
Part 3: Can I play? I would love to play with high end audio gear. I think I could be a good test subject as I don't really have a "high-end" system right now but I have in the past; and am willing and motivated. I'm going to be improving my systems anyway so why not track it. I think I write alright. (I'm also a experienced quality assurance engineer.) I would prefer to be avant garde than cool etc. but I guess that's a bit hard as most of the music I favor is over 10 years old, at least. Then again I listen to Pandora at work I find new stuff all the time
Thanks for writing in plain English, about normal concerns; keep up the good work.
And my reply...
First off, huge thanks for your e-mail. You really brightened my day (computer stuff, all solved now but reminded me of IT’ing when Windows 95 hit the streets). Seems we are much alike as my music choices 'fit the mood or current life situation'. Even within the span of a day I could go from classical to Miles Davis jazz to RATM to Pet Shop Boys to Rammstein... and at night when the mood strikes there are quite a few, well... more slow and sensual. Oh heck, I'll just say it, I have quite a few erotic playlists / Internet stations in my faves.
Ok, as for Sonos, strictly geek-speak it
can't be audiophile because it doesn't do at least 24-bit/192kHz. Stepping back,
in my real world application for day in and
day out living it makes me smile for hours a day and my fiancé loves it! For
16-bit/48kHz it'll pass a digitally perfect file wirelessly. I have mine in the
office here feeding a custom DACs, which also means I can 'tune' it
electronically. Like you said (and 100000000% agree) "...but I can now
access a lot of my music in most parts of my house very quickly, and so can my
wife. Result, I'm listening to more music. I'm also digging through CDs to find
old favorites, rip 'em, and enjoy again. Additionally my dad also passed away
recently and I got all his CDs; more listening fun (hey, Dad had pretty good
taste?...!)". First, sorry to hear of your dad's passing, and for the
record I already, eh hem, have all of dad's collection on my 12TB NAS rig.
Aren't dad's awesome!!!
You said, "The point is the future is digital (ah "the cloud"); and easy, flexible access will have more people listening to more music, more of the time, and some might want to listen "more better" (me, for instance)." Well, 'the cloud' has been around a long, long time. In fact over a decade ago realized I could use my Web server as a type of 'virtual storage' <cough> cloud <cough>, so the idea is far from new. As you'll see, I now have 12TB -- still shaking my head how much data that is -- of 'cloud storage' right in my humble abode.
As for your question asking if you can play with high-end audio gear. <Steven grabs Richard by the shoulders and begins shaking him as he says> Hell yes you can play!!! Not just play, I want you to shake it up, throw it around and make music your bitch! Oops, maybe that is being a bit, well, bold in language. Said ‘normally’ and perhaps you'll agree: Yes you can play and you should achieve the greatest amount of musical pleasure possible as often as possible. As for your hint about writing for Enjoy the Music.com, let's talk :)
We all know the benefits of 'audiophile music', to tweak and do other things with a system. Yes some of it is very enjoyable and excellent for certain occasions. It is 100% ok that the music you love is over 10 years old. Same thing if it was all 40 years old, 400 years... or 40 minutes.
As for me writing in 'plain English', we are all just people trying our best to get by, maybe even have some extra to do something special and fun with those we love. Simply said, "We are all just normal audiophiles". Hmmm... LOL
Hopefully that sums up my feelings for now. Music is here to serve me when i so choose, not for me to endlessly hunt for that album I knew was here yet I’d be damned if I can find it on the LP or CD rack with 8000 other albums. My home NAS and Cloud services provide instant access to not just MB or GB of data, but many TBs of musical bliss. Is that such a bad thing? You want to find the music you love on my system? There's an app and search function for that. Anyone with a sense of style and usability prefers an app with very intuitive GUI versus ftp file browsing. And yes to access all the TBs of data here anywhere in the world there are apps for that with a variety of GUI choices... or I could old school file browser via ftp in of course if one wants to feel all 'old school' nostalgic. Of course in the end what really matters is that you...