I would like in this article to propose my view how I see the high-end audio should be. It is not a secret, and it has been expressed in many of my comments within my site and everywhere else, that I am dissatisfied not only the state of high-end audio as an industry but with the state of high-end audio as a the users involvement. I recognize that inappropriate relationship between an individual who practice “audio” and the high-end audio as a “structure of involvement” is intrinsically unhealthy for the individual and provide certain unavoidable negative feedback toward the person involved.
I can go on and on about this subject but the point of this article in not the bitch about high-end audio as we have it today but to express my utopias view how high-end audio might and should be. The concept that an extended quality of sound reproduction might bring additional benefits to musical reproduction is not bed – it juts should be applied in a proper format.
So, pretend that a good high-end audio neutrino bomb has exploded and wiped out all humans who do audio today and who remember the “old” (the today’s stupid) audio ways of being. In time the humans repopulated the high-end audio filed only then it will be according to my model of “how the high-end audio should be”. Let make a tour together into the “right” high-end audio environment...
There are no sources. The 78, LP, tape, CD, DVD and whatever else are gone. Music is being distributed by global communication channels. They are regular free channels, similar to today FM and satellite channels, and there are in addition the high-end audio channels/channel. This High-End Audio Channel (HEAC) broadcasts over IP in 64kHz/22Bit format (or analog in Super FM format) and strive to get the most topmost quality of sound available. The HEAC is administered by individuals who build up programs on the artistic merit and feature a great percentage of LIVE broadcasts from the many performing stages around the world. The reception of HEAC is possible only via given to users special receivers that made with very much High-End audio objectives. The receiver has recording options, similar to today’s TiVo. The use of HEAC service is by subscription only and just reception of the service is relatively expensive as user should know WHY s/he use the High-End Audio Channel/s.
What is very important in this is that even a transmission of non-live musical events via broadcast channel becomes a “live” event for users, and by venture of being amorphous and vanishabe event it serves a huge educational value for listening awareness. In the best scenario a user of the HEAC hardly has a need to accumulate recordings as the density of the HEAC programs is sufficient enough to satisfy user’s listening habits.
Ok, the entire High-End Audio Sources got converted into an ever-plugged high-quality receiver and people with right taste who run the High-End Audio network. Is any place for other audio participants? Sure there is – the custom installers. The generic amplifiers and generic loudspeakers are not being produced anymore. Instead the High-End has only specific listening objective of a HEAC subscribers in context of people’s own listening environment. A person has a clear vision how he wants the HEAC to sound in his own home and he built it himself of hire people who build the rendering of his vision for him. Sure, the builder still use precompiled solutions however the validity of the solution evaluated in context of the customer requirements in his/her own listening room with respect of Imbedded Macro-Positioning, Dead Points of Live Sound and the user specific acoustic conditions:
The HEAC user does NOT own the built for him/her acoustic system and amplification. The build system is a properly of a local audio “implementer” (formerly dealer) and user juts leases his installation.
The dealers/implementers compete for the user’s attention and money. The Implementers also might get played by the HEAC. The entire point is to make the end user to get playbacks only in dependency to his/her listening objectives and of course financial capacity. The end user is just like a horse rider – he knows how to ride the horse but it is not of his business how the horse’s hart pumps blood to the horse legs, how to feed the horse or how to cut grass on the racing stadium…
In this environment end user do not know or even care about any nuts and bolts of audio implementations. When you go to a car mechanic do you care what kind tools he uses in order to adjust the car’s clutch in the way how you prefer? The same is with audio. A person who is willing to practice Hi-End audio experiences should consume the experiences, nothing else.
About the prices. Let pretend that HEAC network and a requested installation cost $500 per month (in today’s money). Sound ridicules? Not really. The $500 per month represents approximately $40K-$60K installation and there are quite a many of them out there. However, writing a check of $500 per month a user will ask himself what he is doing and what he is getting. I feel that the HEAC should cost approximately $100 … all the rest is demanded acoustic system installation and corresponding amplification.
Utopia? Perhaps, however from another perspective it is much more to really as I can see it then many of you can see. Pay attention that there is no more marketing and manufactures. The manufactures juts supply tools for people who build custom Sound on the locations – do you know what make wrenches and scrapers for your local car mechanic? The Cat
"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche