Sunday, 4 February 2007

The State of Audio

Filed under: Music,Uncategorized — Michael @ 23:26

Music has been an important part of my life for as long as I can remember. I don’t play a musical instrument but I do listen to music of all kinds both live and recorded. (Well, that’s not strictly true. I don’t listen to all kinds, just good music.) Since I listen to recordings I have also had a parallel interest in sound reproduction. You know, hi-fi and all that. I have a technical background and am fortunate enough to have the skills needed to have built some of the electronics I currently use.
But of course I can’t build a CD-player or pair of headphones (well, I suppose I could if I had the necessary equipment but then that would cost way more than the items would) so that means occasional product research and purchase at the HiFi store and/or on the Web. Some of what I see there just amazes me. I don’t mean in the sense of the current state of the art in sound reproduction. That has steadily improved to a point where a modest expenditure can give you a system that will produce fantastic fidelity. No, what amazes me is the complete disregard for physics, and logic, that permeates the “high-end” audio market place. Vinyl records played on 10.000 dollar turntables. Tube amplifiers. (“Vastly superior” sound than from a CD or transistor, respectively.) Shielded power cords. Specially braided speaker cables. CD demagnitizers. And all for LOTS of money.
I recently ran across a Web-site, http://www.bruce.coppola.name/audio/wisdom.html, by Bruce Coppola that does a good job of bringing together information for the rational among us that just want the best fidelity for our money (and a laugh at the expense of the “golden ears”). Check it out.

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