This month's editorial should.. no,
make that must start with giving a huge thanks to all employees who have ever
worked for Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs. For over two decades they have relentlessly
searched for music to remaster while conducting constant tweaking of their facilities
to bring what seemed to be beyond state-of-the-art sound quality into our homes. Their recent
Ultradisc II Gain 2 System, in my humble opinion, was the first time my ears
have heard CD sound as though it could possibly be a truly excellent
carrier of music's signal. Selling their remastered music jewels was a piece of
cake in the 70's, when Mo-Fi's virgin vinyl and later UHQR records were King.
As many of you have already read in on our News
Page, Mo-Fi has gone out of business. A cruel turn of fate as sluggish sales
and the bankruptcy with one of their US distributor put the nail in their proverbial coffin.
While many of us are mourning Mo-Fi's death, others are trying to find a way to
resurrect it. Can it be done? Only time will tell.
As we all know, the general public seems to not care about sound
quality per se. This might explain, partially, the deterioration of Mo-Fi. With
MP3 making vast strides financially into the worldwide market of music
reproduction it seems that standard production CDs are the "Gold
Standard". This begs to question if the public will buy, or even wants,
higher quality DVD-Audio discs. In my humble opinion the main benefit DVD-Audio
discs bring to the general market is not the added sound quality more than added
channels and vast interactivity. With the huge storage capability of the DVD-Audio
various interactive content can be included such as links to the performer's
website, games, another AOL free 200 hours offer...
Moreover, sound quality may be on a decline as the public now
seems to spend their $1,000 on five speakers (for surround sound)
versus a stereo pair. Are we seeing the decline of music quality as we know it?
Yes, we are. Audiophiles can deny it all they want though it seems sound
quality, or demand of it, is at an all time low. Streaming music through the
standard 56 kbs modem leaves much to be desired yet tens of thousands of people
are listening to music this was each and every day!
As i see it we can either allow the final blow to occur, then
simply roll over and die... or fight for our right for high quality music
reproduction! We need to stop the endless bickering and "noise" within
the Newsgroups and at least agree that the current trend for MP3 and low bit
rate compressed streaming media is not what high quality music is all about. We need to
educate the mainstream newspaper and magazine press that there is a higher
enjoyment of music available. Michael Fremer has been doing this for some time
now (thanks Mikey!). The problem is that when mainstream press finds highly
colored, bass deficient $200 computer speakers "amazingly rich and accurate
sounding", then Huston we have a problem... and we do. Have any of you read
any of the computer speakers reviews lately?
Question: What have you done to help promote better quality music
reproduction within the home environment this week, this month, or this year?
Have you tried to educate other music lovers that while MP3 is ok, vinyl
(or CD) can be more musically satisfying. These are fragile times my friends.
Within the upcoming 12 months we will see the release of DVD-Audio. Will the
public grasp to it equally as fast as they did current DVD-Video? Only time will
As Doc Brown said in the movie Back To The Future "The
future is what you make of it, so make it a good one."
In the end what really matters to us is that you...
Enjoy the music,
Steven R. Rochlin