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Interesting point of view. High end audio is more often than not associated with high price. However, the bulk of R&D in audio is done in the low-fi. There was a time when "trickle down technology" had some meaning in HiFi. These days, we should refer to "trickle up technology". Let's face it, much, much more money is spent in audio R&D into wireless, cellular DSP technology, than anywhere else in HiFidom.
Most of the technology found its way into $20 cell phones and $200 music docks and it's all right. It may trickle up to mega bucks systems eventually, if there is still a market for that.
Let's be honest, the world's most advanced DAC chips are not found in uber sound systems. The best DSP technology is not found in High End audio systems. Most High End manufacturers are only packaging mainstream technology into expensive looking boxes. Can you name one CD or DAC manufacturer that actually design and manufactures such chips? Nada. How many amplifier manufacturers repackage digital technology developed for the automotive market? How about a digital cable "manufacturer" advertising a "low-jitter" cable? Did any member of the audio press actually object to the fact that there is no cable induced jitter anyway?
I know most if not all members of the audio press are enthusiasts who want to spread the joy of the hobby in an honest, candid way, and it's OK. However, there is something a little troubling about the association of High End and High Price—because it is just not true. People of my age (I'm 53) are familiar with "source-preamp-amp-cable- speaker" - my kids are not, because the whole chain fits into an iPod. My 13 years old daughter has more—way more—music than I had at her age, and she never, ever bought a single CD in her life, nor did she ever went to a music store.
The HiFi press is acting as if young people are not attracted to music— this isn't true. They are not attracted to irrelevant things such as cables, racks, tubes, resonators, magic clocks, SET, etc. Why should we need power regulators when iPods run off the grid? Why should we even be concerned about Hi-Rez download while Cloud computing makes it obsolete?
The next big thing in audio is being developed right now and it won't make it into HiFi magazines, because the aging readers do not, cannot change what they learned over the years, or perhaps because they find it hard to realize, let alone admit they are wrong.
Active drive speakers never caught on in the audiophile market. Somehow, those same audiophiles marvel at the stupid complexity of a 4th order passive network, or the totally anachronic "phase alignment" of passively driven components. As long as the audio press in general is not opening up to another reality, the market will continue to shrink and isolate not only from the young, but from everyone—because the younger generation is also getting older.
Anyway, I must say I read the article with a tiny glimpse of hope.
The Higher End
About the "expectation of privacy" and those emails to Positive Feedback Online…
Ye Olde Editor
We do like hearing from you, our readers. It adds a great deal fun to what we do, encourages our editors and writers, provides information we may have missed, and correction that we may need. This is all to the good.
Your communication with us these days is almost always via the highly rational path of email. And we do read it, responding to the constructive correspondence—which is most of it, really—as quickly as possible. (The destructive stuff is routed directly to the bit bucket. Didn't yo' mama teach you better than that?!) Dave Clark and I are generally pretty rapid in getting back to you if a response is needed from us, or in re-directing inquiries to the appropriate person at PFO if it needs to go to an editor or writer.
By the way: please understand that the writers and editors at PFO are helpful folks, eager to assist their fellow audio/music lovers, or they wouldn't be doing what they're doing. Nevertheless, PFO is not an audio consulting service. Please do not clog the gears with complex requests for assistance with the sourcing of audio gear in your personal setting. Remember too that PFO is not, and has never been, an audio ombudsman. If you are having problems with a particular vendor, company, or dealer, please avail yourself of the normal channels for such resolution; no audio publication has the time or resources to take on such a responsibility for consumers. Enough said.
With an increasing flow of emails to Positive Feedback Online, and upon evidence of some recent confusion on the part of our email correspondents, it's become necessary to re-state the ground rules by which we operate here. So gather round the campfire, friends…
Any time an email, or an exchange of emails, is both constructive and of potential wider interest, we exercise the reserved right to publish it in "Reverberations," the letters section of PFO. This is, after all, a publication, a "journal for the audio arts." We are seeking to further educate and entertain our readership in our common love for fine audio, and contributions in the form of emails/letters from our readers are one way that we accomplish this goal. When you write to any of us… our essayists and reviewers included… we assume that you are aware of our nature as a publication, and that you write to us in the light of that knowledge.
This means that—unless you request confidentiality explicitly in your email or letter—there is no expectation of privacy here at Positive Feedback Online.
To put it another way: Any email or letter sent to this journal will be considered fair game for publication, unless you state in the document itself that the contents are private/confidential.
So… our default is PUBLISH.
The reverse is also true: the editors do reserve the right not to publish an email or letter. We are not obligated to publish your letter or comments simply because they are submitted. And hostile, negative, sarcastic, destructive emails or letters are never published.
So…sometimes we DON'T PUBLISH.
Finally, our subtitle for "Reverberations"—"Our readers respond—we respond right back!" is not a guarantee that we will always respond to an email or letter that is published. Often we do; sometimes we don't… usually when we don't, it's a case of res ipsa loquitur.
So finally… sometimes we PUBLISH WITHOUT RESPONSE.
I think that makes things clear. Having said all of this in the name of clarity, keep those cards and letters coming in!
All the best,
David W. Robinson