Choices, choices, choices. Sometimes it seems a bit daunting when looking at the dizzying array of audio products from which to choose. There are literally hundreds of DACs, amplifiers and even turntables to wade through before making a purchasing decision.
How do you get through the maze of choices to arrive at the one that fits your needs?
Well, the first step is to realize the clutter isn’t really that bad. It just looks bad at first glance. If you’ve narrowed your decision down to a price or performance range, you’re already miles ahead. There are only a few worth looking at within any one price range and we further narrow our choices once we add performance into the mix.
So, knowing what you want is a huge help to getting started. The real trick comes not from wading through myriads of choices, but the difficult task of selecting from the handful that remain. Here we need to rely upon our research, gut instinct, and our ears. Especially our ears.
In the end, we can easily boil choices down to just a few.
How they fit into a specific system is something only you can decide upon.
Wouldn’t it be wild if we could bring some of the early audio pioneers like Emile Berliner, Thomas Edison, Alan Blumlien, or even Alexander Graham Bell into the future? Sit them down and play for them a modern stereo system. From their perspective, I’ll bet they’d think we had made magic.
In a way, we have.
I remember hearing a vintage JBL system that once would have been the pinnacle of sound reproduction. It was memorable not for its perfection, but because it sounded so contrived. I was not listening to music, I was listening to an obvious contrivance, a HiFi, a recording. Good? Yes. But compared to even the simplest of modern systems, it couldn’t hold a candle.
Progress comes in small little bites that might seem big when you’re in the middle of them, but lasting change comes only from their accumulation. How many thousands of hours did audiophiles spend tweaking their JBL systems into perfection only to be eclipsed over time by the accumulation of shared knowledge that resulted in real innovation and progress?
The future is built brick by brick, layer by layer. Each tweak, each improvement we make adds up, but only over time.