Asheville, Walnut Cove, Biltmore Forrest and Western North Carolina’s Audio and Home Theater specialists present Cane Creek AV and Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.

About two months ago, I decided to increase the storage in my iMac, which I use solely as a music server for my stereo system. I did this as the internal storage that came with it was just about used up.

I also decided to add an additional back up drive, whose sole purpose in life was to have the data (nothing but over 2000 CD’s worth of music) copied onto it and then get put away for posterity, or in case of massive computer failure.

So, while my LP’s go nowhere, are reliable and are easily enough played, computer ripped music is a different animal, all together.

I brought my computer to a local Apple specialist to increase the storage from 1 terabyte to 3 terabytes. They did this and called me to come get the machine. Ipicked it up, brought it home, hooked it up and was ready for tunes. Oops……No tunes.

Something happened……I still don’t know what and neither does the original Apple specialist that did the original work, or the second Apple specialist I brought to,  whom also thought they had fixed it. While the files showed in iTunes, the computer kept saying it couldn’t find the location of the music and it sat, silent….My music was lost…..

Neither of the Apple specialists I brought it to tested it before they gave it back to me, which I’ve learned is often the way things are these days in the world of computers. As it turned out, to their credit, the first company wanted to take another crack at it, but after having it for 2 more weeks, they gave up….again….

It was gone from my system for over one month, but I still listened to music every day, just as I always do.  I listened to vinyl and I listened to CD’s on my CD player. CD players are becoming extinct these days, although some specialty high end audio company’s, like PS Audio, are making them once again. Apparently there are good things hiding in the pits on CD’s and these guys are going to get every last drop of sound quality out of them, that they can.

What’s the big deal, one might ask? Well, we mostly live upstairs in our home, while the computer and my music room are downstairs. So, for each CD, I need to go downstairs, make sure it is ripping properly and keep doing this…..over and over …….2000 times……Because I rip to WAV files, which sound best to me, and I use error correction for the best copies possible, it take about 10-15 minutes to rip each CD!!!

Going up and down the stairs several times a day, every day, is surely good exercise, but it is not lost on me that the entire reason I did what I did, was to prevent doing what I am doing…Irony…..

Yes, computer music is incredible convenient and if done right, makes excellent sound quality, but, trouble free? I don’t think so….

Seeing as how we live in a beer mecca, just like Colorado and I’m writing about computer music, also, I thought this post from Paul was relevant.

From Paul.

Beer and audio

There are 217 craft brewers in the state of Colorado. We’re 4th in the country.

One of the qualities I admire in craft brewing is identical to that which I value most in a high-end audio design engineer. Craft.

Craft refers to a set of specific earned skills that fit a particular task.

The definition of the task describes the type of beer as well as the quality of your audio system.

If we define the type of beer we want as “consistently pleasing the largest number of people” we’ll likely be talking about larger commercial enterprises like Budweiser and Coors. Change the description to “new, interesting, unique tastes” and we’re suddenly in the realm of craft.

If we define the type of audio we want as “consistently pleasing the largest number of people” we will likely be talking about a receiver, a wireless speaker, a commercially acceptable mass market product. This work is best performed by a skilled design engineer relying on his meters rather than his ears.

If, on the other hand, we wish to “capture every nuance of the recording, and faithfully reproduce the producer’s intent” we will need a design engineer that understands craft; the art of knowing which course to take that achieves the goal within the constraints handed to him or her.

Design engineers share many of the same skills and tools, but true high-end craftsmen add ears to meters.

Unfortunately, fewer and fewer understand craft, the kind that gets us what we want.