Let's face it. Despite the vinyl resurgence amongst the young and not so, the days when analogus collecticus could spend hours scouring record bins, holding product in hand, and reading album notes, are mostly behind us. In response to market evolution, at least three competing computer-based technologies have emerged to steer consumers toward music they will likely enjoy. Each uses a different approach, with one claiming "objectivity."
The first National Critics Conference in US history took place May 25–29 at the Omni Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. Subtitled "Critical Unity in Critical Times," the gathering brought together US and Canadian members of organizations devoted to visual arts, dance, jazz, classical music, and theater criticism.
"Some say it dates back to 1927, when Gramophone magazine's editor thundered that electrical reproduction was a step backward in sound quality," said the promotional copy for Home Entertainment 2005's opening-day event, "The Great Debate: Subjectivism on Trial." It continued: "But whenever it started, the Great Debate between 'subjectivists,' who hear differences among audio components, and 'objectivists,' who tend to ascribe such differences to the listeners' overheated imaginations, rages just as strongly in the 21st century as it did in the 20th." On April 29 at the Manhattan Hilton, Stereophile editor John Atkinson and one of the Internet's most vocal audio skeptics, Arnold B. Krueger, debated mano a mano where the line should be drawn between honest reporting and audio delusion.