With ski season approaching in Colorado I am reminded of the futility of trying to talk someone out of being intimidated by merely telling them they shouldn’t be.  Doesn’t work.

Imagine standing at a steep cliff and intimidated at the prospect of imminent doom should you ski down it.  Your buddy standing next to you says “don’t be scared”.  You’re still scared.  But if that same buddy says “just go around the corner and there’s an easy way down” you’re all better.  When someone is intimidated by a big expensive stereo system, maybe it’s better to let them know they can have something that’s close in performance, without breaking the bank, instead of letting them walk away shaking their head.

They can, you know.

Reading one of the stereo mags about the last consumer audio show, RMAF, and one of the reviewers was waxing about the great experience in the most expensive room at the show.  He comments that with all that invested in the equipment ones expectations were high and he’s gratified to not be let down.  I think the room must have had a quarter of a million dollars in gear.  Quite a treat for anyone to hear such a system.  But intimidating at the same time.

I think it may be disingenuous for us to keep the high price myth alive.  You know, the myth that you have to spend megabucks to reach audio nirvana?  It just isn’t so.

The vast majority of people who would not consider themselves Audiophiles instantly pickup on better sound.  It never fails in a demo.  And yes, they are wowed by the big system, the expensive system, the over-the-top system.  But they are even more impressed to hear an affordable in-reach system.

So too are we Audiophiles.  Isn’t what we all want a setup we can play with pride?  To be able to listen and enjoy music without having to make excuses about this or that lacking?

The next time your friend reads about such a system or stands in front of yours whistling at the expense, maybe realize you have an opportunity to turn his intimidation into a win for both of you.

Great systems don’t have to be expensive.

Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.

An even bigger difference

Reader Erik Dorr writes:

“The difference in SQ between formats is like splitting hairs compared to differences in recording quality.  A good 44/16 recording played back on good hardware is a 100% musically satisfying experience, while mediocre recordings on a 2x DSD can sound like crap.  I personally have lost all interest in formats (although obviously I am not an MP3 guy), and focus exclusively on content.

I admittedly may be in the fortunate position of having $60K invested in my front end (DAC / Preamp / cables), but I very strongly feel that the real engineering / marketing challenge is to bring down the price point of this level of performance on 44/16 to a few grand and NOT to convert the universe of listeners to adopting new formats.  I believe many in the industry are trying to solve the wrong problem.”

Erik and I disagree on the last conclusion about formats, but I certainly agree with him on the point of the recording quality.  I have some CD’s that sound FAR better than some of my high resolution discs.  I am sure you do as well.

If only there was a standard marking or rating system we, as Audiophiles, could use and trust.  I’d sign up for that in a heartbeat.

Paul McGowan – PS Audio,Intl.