Tag Archives: CD’s

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.

Digging deeper

The percentage of music lovers tapping into the wealth of artist information is minuscule compared to those simply listening. We know enough of the artists we love to refer to them, to seek out their work, but do we really get as invested in knowing bands as we once did in the days of physical media?

Streaming from online music sources brings with it an unexpected blur. Instead of hand selecting albums and CDs, online music libraries offer such an endless thread of tunes that we tend to connect with only a few standouts.

This double-edged sword means more music with less interaction. I enjoy more varied music at the expense of less connection.

In the album/CD day, I knew precisely what I was delving into. Duke Ellington’s Money Jungle with Mingus and Roach explores the bandleader’s piano chops. Knowing the players changes the way I think about that performance. If it were simply part of a streaming playlist I would never be as connected as holding the album cover in my paws and reading.

On the flipside is the wealth of music and information through the use of a good music management program, like Roon, or PS Audio’s upcoming Octave.

That’s when we get the best of both worlds.

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.

Users vs. listeners

Interacting with a front panel has always been important, but rarely how we judge a piece of audio equipment. Even the klunkiest front panel layouts were tolerated if the unit’s sound quality was up to snuff. The user interface took a distant second to performance.

As we rush headlong into the age of the user interface that dynamic has been flipped on its head—out of phase if you like. Increasingly, we judge a server’s performance by its user interface first, its sound quality second.

I think this is a fascinating development because it more closely mirrors the way we used to interact with the music in hi-fi’s heydey, through the album’s cover, liner notes, and back cover.

Once we entered the digital audio era of CDs, and later downloads and streaming, we were disconnected from the user interface and left only with the performance and sound quality. While this may have been a more expedient way to consume music for some, it was a letdown for others.

I, for one, welcome the return of the user interface.