Have we come that far?
Reader Ted Williams sent me a photo of a 1959 Johnny Mathis album sleeve from Columbia Records.
I love it. It’s educational and must have been a great tool for Columbia to sell their hardware products—products I didn’t even know existed.
But, it begs the question, how far have we actually come since this 60-year-old liner sleeve?
We’ve just launched one of our best phono preamplifiers ever, the Stellar, and it is designed to reproduce these very same 1959 pieces of plastic.
Sure, we no longer make “Stereophonic High Fidelity Console Phonographs”, and I’ve never even heard of an Osmian needle, but it boggles the mind to be lavishing modern circuit technologies on this most ancient reproduction format.
Only, when you listen to the vinyl we’re playing you’d swear it’s the best you’ve ever heard music from a pair of speakers—after all, it’s today’s state of the art.
How would today’s state of the art compare to yesterday’s? It wouldn’t take much to beat the performance of the Columbia 632 Console Stereo that’s pictured on the liner sleeve.
And yet, I’ll bet the level of enjoyment in either era would be the same.
State of the art is a moving target.
Matters of opinion
Each of us has different wants and needs, yet all of us share much in common. While I might search for tonal accuracy, dynamics, and detachment from the speakers, and you might be more interested in transient and top-end response, we’re both here for the music.
Our love of music and the home audio systems that reproduce it is why we’re a community, or as we like to call it, a family.
Families form around commonality but work best when differences of opinion are honored.
If our differences get too big it can strain family bonds. That said, I wouldn’t be an advocate of pushing too hard in the direction of sameness. While strength comes from agreement, forward motion comes from differences.
The best communities are always moving forward in search of the greater good. We don’t have a roadmap to get there. Often, we don’t even know where exactly we’re trying to go other than forward, but that’s where all the differences of opinion work to open new paths.
We’re all on the same page when it comes to our love of bringing great music into our homes, but we have a lot of diverse opinions on just how to get there.
It’s our extended family—differences and all—that keeps me going.
Thanks for being a family member.