Editorial for October 2010

Published on October 1, 2010

Welcome to Adobe GoLive 6

Our October drawing/giveaway is for two copies of a fabulous limited-edition 15-CD boxed set from the Bach Collegium Japan on the BIS label from Qualiton Distributors. The collection contains:
C.P.E. Bach: Cello Concerti with Hidemi Suzuki; Bach: Goldberg Variations with Masaaki Suzuki; Ahle: Selected Vocal Music; Schütz: Geistliche Chormusik and Seven Last Words featuring Yoshikazu Mera; Vivaldi: Recorder Concerti with Dan Laurin; Buxtehude: Membra Jesu Nostri; Handel: Messiah; Bach/Zelenka/Kuhnau: Magnificat (four different settings); Monteverdi: Vespers; Bach Secular Cantatas Vol. 1 with Carolyn Sampson.
Go Here to Register on our site this month in order to be selected as one of the two lucky winners of this collection, who will be listed here next month.

The six lucky winners of the pair of Mobile Fidelity hybrid SACDs of The Band and Ray Charles – our September giveaway – are:

Jeff Edwards, Chesterfield VA; Jeffrey Rosen, Los Angeles CA; Paul Casey, Chester VA; Brian Lewis, Glenview IL; Jeff Davies, Lynnwood WA; & Ralph A. Mazzeo Jr., Port Chester NY.  


The MP3 Player is Dead… Long Live the MP3 Player

Yes, the MP3 player really is dead, which probably makes it one of the shortest-lived products in recent technological history. Yes, I know many people still own iPods of one type or another, and I am sure that Apple will continue to sell them for some short while yet, but everyone else has missed the boat. If anyone at Sony, or Panasonic, or Sharp, or [insert your own preferred famous brand name here] is wasting money on R&D for new MP3 player models, my advice is to stop now and instead put your money into developing a killer ‘Smart Phone’ right now, because it’s the Smart Phone that’s killed off the MP3 player. Why? Partly it’s because of the most obvious reason: that a Smart Phone is a perfectly good MP3 player. However, the more important reason Smart Phones have killed off the MP3 player is that if you’re already carrying around one MP3 player in the shape of a phone, why would you bother carrying another one, not to mention the hassles of keeping it charged, keeping the play list up-to-date, and so on? It isn’t simply a question of the convenience of having to worry about only one component rather than two, it’s that with music downloads increasingly becoming the way consumers purchase music, the fact that you can use your Smart Phone to download music anywhere there’s a mobile signal, means Smart Phone owners are more likely to download music via their phone than from their home computer. It’s getting safer too, with manufacturers such as Motorola creating ‘Accounts’ and storing data for anyone who owns a Motorola phone so that if it all goes pear-shaped and you lose your phone, or somehow trash its contents, you can just reload it to your new phone from your safe ‘account in the cloud.’ (That said, I obviously can’t vouch for exactly how ‘safe’ a particular cloud might be, but it’s going to be a lot safer than the data backup strategy used by most people!)

Unfortunately, although the MP3 player might be dead, the damn MP3 format will live on… none of the newer, higher-fidelity music formats (FLAC et al) have managed to drive a stake through its hoary heart…
But although the MP3 player is dead, I think many industry observers (that’s you, Shaun Nichols and Iain Thomson!) have slipped the CD into its grave somewhat prematurely. As evidence, you need only look to the success of such projects of the boxed sets from The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, The Doors, Cream, The Eagles and more. As for individual releases, check the CD sales figures for Kings of Leon’s ‘Only By The Night’ album (six million and still counting, if you can’t be bothered firing up Google)—and I’d venture that KoL appeal mostly to an audience that is more likely to download than buy a CD. There’s no doubt that older consumers are more comfortable with the silvery disc, but it would appear that younger generations, who are more likely to have experienced the frustrations of DRM, and maybe lost an entire music collection (via means of a stolen computer, or a hard drive crash, or a switch from one file format to another) are beginning to realise that having a silver disc in your hand is not only very real experience, but also a very comforting one… CDs may not be ‘forever’ but they’re far more permanent than any other music storage medium.

Greg Borrowman [Editor, AUSTRALIAN HI-FI magazine; reprinted with permission]

NOTE: Andrew Rose of Pristine Audio just had his main hard drive die on him. He has been writing about the advantages of a RAID (multi-level) system which protects against one of the drives destructing, but didn’t have that setup himself.  Here is his warning: 

"If you’re putting all your CDs onto hard drives right now, make sure either you’ve got RAID drives or you’ve got good back ups [such as solid state Flash, which are expensive but may be worth it even now] – and if you have the space then put the originals in the attic, if only for the next five years – just in case! [Remember: ALL mechanical hard drives eventually die!]

AUDIOPHILE AUDITION began in 1985 as a weekly national radio series hosted by John Sunier, which aired for 13 1/2 years on up to 200 public radio and commercial stations coast to coast. In September 1998 its site for programming information was expanded to the present Internet publication.
October 2010 is our 140th issue, and features improved navigation and enhanced appearance. We’re also publishing more and more disc reviews. All of them – usually over 100! [in July we published 147!] – are added throughout the month as they are written and received, usually on a daily basis. The most recent reviews appear at the top of each Section Index. The Home Page lists the five latest published reviews, the Section Index lists the past two months of reviews, the Archive goes back to June 1, 2005, and for all reviews by month prior to that you need to click on the Old Archive, which goes back to 2001. The Disc Index lists all past reviews.
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We welcome your feedback, and we have a Reader Feedback section. Please send us your comments, and we will review and possibly post them to that section. Check back with us frequently for more reviews and news, and be sure to register for our monthly giveaway! When you do, please give us the few requested facts, and include a working Email and street address – otherwise we can’t send you your winning item!  We don’t ask a lot of financial details, and we don’t share your information with anyone else.


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