Should Stereophile review more or fewer computer audio products?

<I>Stereophile</I Staff's picture
As evidenced by the response to last week's vote, audiophiles are increasingly turning to their computers as a source of music. Should Stereophile review more or fewer computer audio products?
Should <I>Stereophile</I> review more or fewer computer audio products?
Way more!
58% (377 votes)
A bit more
29% (190 votes)
Keep it the same
5% (32 votes)
A little less
3% (19 votes)
A lot less
6% (37 votes)
Total votes: 655
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Comments
HS's picture

I voted for "way more," but I assume that anything with a USB port would qualify. That's a paralyzing amount of gear these days.

John Hall's picture

I feel that you should review computer-based audio as often as you evaluate other categories. High-resolution files are the future.

Tom E's picture

Just finished my own server project. Sounds good! I won't give up my vinyl, though.

DanielK's picture

More, as long it helps to improve sound and comfort.

Justin's picture

I hate the idea of using a computer as source of music.

audio-sleuth@comcast.net's picture

You should review what is best for music lovers. Search your soul for that answer.

JJ ZL's picture

It may be the future, but it also appears that quality audio is not part of the future and we would like to change that future.

ThinkBrown's picture

Whether it's good or bad, computers have become part of the high-fidelity world. I personally don't mind the change, as CDs are already my main listening medium, and a computer can store thousands of CDs at original quality (using a lossless encoder like FLAC). I'm planning on getting a USB to S/PDIF interface for my computer so it becomes usable with my system.

Brian's picture

Because it's such an expanding realm of audiophilia, I wish Stereophile would help us determine the best ways to get premier sound out of our computers.

Toussaint's picture

Online music undermines the record shop. And, as far as I can tell, not much music is available uncompressed online. Finally, if a hard drive fails, all of one's music is gone. For all these reasons, review less.

Matt D.'s picture

We don't need every latest gadget, but if a product seems to be gaining traction it would be helpful to know what is available.

Jonathan's picture

I'm using an Apple Mac Mini with solid-state drive, 8GB of RAM, Snow Leopard enabled in 64-bit mode, and Amarra Music Server 2.0 with an Empirical Audio USB Pace Car reclocker and a highly modified TeraDak Chameleon non-oversampling DAC. This combo outclasses the best Esoteric, EMM, Playback Systems, etc, owned by friends. It's different, but not lesser, than extremely expensive LP and reel-to-reel units that I've heard. Computer audio can now pass the tipping point into the realm of sound quality where one can listen all day without fatigue. The archiving and programming capabilities, along with creating custom playlists, is a great convenience and the complete lack of moving parts (except the eSATA outboard RAID array which uses high capacity spinning hard drives for storage) is another advantage. All music is ripped with C2 pointer TEAC drive with AIFF using XLD.

Jim Green's picture

I think this is the future of audio.

Jimmy's picture

Even my VPI turntable has a preamp path to rip digital. I would love some high-end A/D and D/A computer reviews—best of, easiest to set-up. How to build a SOTA audio server with ITunes, how to build a SOTA vinyl-ripping rig. Frankly, I'm not buying $500 cables ever again.

Kingsley Flint's picture

We make music with musical instruments, not computers. How can we trust magnetic storage when we know it is so ephemeral and fragile? I will never surrender my "hard copy." We were told outright lies for CD to become popular, the truth about magnetic storage is even more disturbing. Scratch an LP and it still plays, but a scratched CD won't. I object to lies and distortions, even though I use iPods with WAV files on them. My hard copy is my backup, and vinyl still sounds better. Isn't that what really counts? All the computer stuff is downright boring, frankly. I want to read about disc players, amplifiers, and other real music equipment, not kids' toys and entrepreneurs' fortune-hunting bullshit.

craig's picture

Two answers to this one. For me personally, you could skip the computer stuff. But on the other hand, if you want to continue to be a going concern most likely into the future you had better keep a close eye on it to avoid the buggy whip syndrome. Think film-based cameras. Yesterday they were neat, cool, and what was happening today you can't give em away.

Louie's picture

I have worked in the computer industry for 27 years. Music and two-channel audio is my passion, hobby, and escape. Nothing is as relaxing as spinning vinyl.

Citizen Vogel's picture

We can't ignore the future!

Coltrane's picture

This is the future of digital audio, like it or not.

M.VEXLER's picture

I think we are speaking about the future in audio.

Per Sjofors's picture

There are a couple of things I'm missing. Info on what software works with what other software and DAC hardware; what errors might be introduced by sampling conversion, digital filtering (computer side), etc. And reviews of DACs and amps with DACs.

tzed's picture

Trusted voices reviewing computer audio would be great.

WC2's picture

This is the future, and we need to be prepared for it. This could also be an opportunity for us to reach another (possibly younger) audience.

Ken Anderssen's picture

I said keep it the same, but I wouldn't be sad to see fewer such products reviewed. I subscribe to Stereophile because of the focus on traditional hi-fi products, which is what I am interested in. If I want to read about cell phones and video games, there are a thousand other publications which cover these products. You are one of the few remaining publications who remain committed to quality music reproduction. I don't think the future of audio reproduction should be ignored, and you cover emerging digital products quite well (Sooloos, Sonos, etc), but I have no interest in reading about the rest of the multi-purpose toys which list music player among the 30,000 other things they do. PCs, as they stand today, will never have a place in my dedicated two-channel system, but there are some interesting products from Olive and Meridian. Maybe in a decade or so, they will have matured enough to be useful.

Tonko Papic - Chile's picture

I do not have a computer in my music room. I will not put a computer in my living room. Please, make more LP reviews.

Mike Agee's picture

In my house, computer-sourced music is on the discs and LPs that are purchased online. Frankly, computers tend to create the opposite mood that I seek while listening to music, I just spend way too much time in front of one at work. Music should mediate carpal tunnel, not exacerbate it.

Ken's picture

It is the future, for some of us at least.

fabio's picture

I'm really looking forward for all these computer cable reviews.

Rob's picture

I agree, computers used as a music source won't be dying anytime soon.

CharlyD's picture

I think it's pretty clear that physical media for music playback has reached its end. A system capable of storing and playing music in the form of digital files involves many more parts than the legacy disc spinners, and Stereophile should take on reviews for each of these parts. Besides the obvious DACs and networked players, these parts include; storage (eg, NAS), media server software, control points, player software, ripping software, tagging software, backup tools, and probably several more I'm not recalling.

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