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Jim Tavegia
Jim Tavegia's picture
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 1 2005 - 4:27pm
IPod: Threat Or Menace?

The two issues here are really amazing that key people in this industry just don't seem to get. Sony's problems are all self-inflicted. Again!!!!!!! The IPod was just an idea expansion.

First of all, the Sony issue. Instead of spending millions on the Qualia line of gear, why did they not just expand upon the already accepted ES line of product. Much of it was embraced by audiophiles and help create a cottage "mod" industry for those wanting "more". Second, Qualia came and went in a whimper. Who reviewed even one piece of gear? Did any one in the reviewing community audition the headpones, let alone any piece of electronics? None that I was aware of and certainly no one at Stereophile that I know of. How can a company the size of Sony be so marketing inept? I could not have done worse and would have worked for way less than the marketing gurus that probably still have jobs...surprisingly. Go figure. If an SACD/CD Walkman bombed it would have cost so much less than the Qualia (Titanic) sinking. The difference no one will spend thousands searching for the wreckage of Qualia or make movies of it, other than Michael Moore taking a shot at Sony Corporate.

With all of the engineering atg Sony how could they not do what Jolida has done, Triangle has done, Creek has done, or what Parasound, B and K, or NAD? Has the "vision" totally left the Sony building?

I do not believe that the IPod is the cause, but a further effect of the downloading craze. The Ipod and others just meant that now the downloads were totally portable. To Apple's credit by allowing AIFF and WAV files they expanded the use to those who wanted more audio quality than just MP3. They could have chose to ignore audiophiles all together, but they were smart to include us. INCLUSION!!!!

The mountain left to climb is the one of trying to convince Ipoders that listening on a pair of Epos 3s ($299) through a decent amp (Parasound mini amp) might be loads of fun...even with MP3s. The question comes up does this even make sense today with totally compressed rock music lacking dynamic range and "excitement"? Well recorded and mastered classical music is not the preferred download of choice these days. Or even well recorded and mastered jazz.

This Ipod generation that is more than willing to spend $3-$5 for a couple of Joe and $150 on sneakers that took all of "pennies" to produce. For a long time now it as been style over substance. We audiophiles just never thought it would make it way into the realm of "the passion of high quality reproduced music". The funeral already happened and no one went. No amount of de-fib paddles will revive the patient.

ohfourohnine's picture
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 1 2005 - 7:41pm
Re: IPod: Threat Or Menace?

I don't understand you this time, Jim. How can you take the ramblings of Ethan Smith to heart? Sony missed the boat, says he, and so will the high end manufacturers if they don't recognize the significance of the iPod to the future of recorded music. Apparantly the only familiarity he has with who is doing what with the iPod is Steve Jobs new little boom box and the Sony Products that are tied to the Pod. This isn't the first time that guy has shot off his mouth without knowing what he was talking about. How many approaches are there among high end people to marrying the iPod to good systems? More than a dozen that I know of and I haven't made any attempt to keep up.

The Pod has been useful to lots of us as an additional CD level sound source. I've got one full of Chrismas Carols which did yeoman service through the holiday season, and will do so again in the future. The dandy little Outlaw receiver which reviews so competently is offering an iPod plug on the front, as I recall. Two or three major cable manufacturers including Cardas are providing high class Pod to RCA interconnects. iPod to headphone amp to HD600's is keeping me happy right now.

Ignore the idiot. The iPod is neither a threat nor a menace to the future of music or high end audio nor is there a large audience inclined to follow the recommendations of Ethan Smith.

Now about your pessimistic appraisal of the upcoming generation and their lack of musical taste. I see the hope for them in the decline of the major players in the recording industry. That decline will be (is being) followed by the rise of independents. There are some good young musicians out there in whatever genre you look at, they're performing live and they are and will continue to get their stuff out so we can enjoy it at home. Look at the download source Jazzfan has found and introduced to us recently. That's only the beginning.

Pour some brandy, put on a favorite record, drop the needle and smile. Tomorrow's going to be OK. I promise - which is more than you'll get from Ethan Smith.

Monty's picture
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 16 2005 - 6:55pm
Re: IPod: Threat Or Menace?

Do they make an ipod/cell phone yet? I see all these people with the phone thingies in their ears shopping and yapping. The first time I saw a lady walking through the grocery store talking rather conversationally I thought she was nutty until I saw her discrete headset.

People seem to be quite comfortable cruising through their normal every day life with headphones or ear buds while listening or talking on the phone.

I can't do it and I admit to being strongly biased against it; I don't want to do it. But, the appeal of being able to store a massive load of software in a small space is very appealing to me and where I think the future of this device will prove to be the most useful for audio nerds.

WonkoTheSane's picture
Last seen: 2 years 2 months ago
Joined: Jan 15 2006 - 4:06pm
Re: IPod: Threat Or Menace?

I'll post more later, but for now, Monty, yes there are iTunes enabled cell phones. Motorola seems to be at the forefront with the "rokr" for now, but one of their other phones does as well, and I am sure more are on the way.

Buddha's picture
Last seen: 12 years 1 month ago
Joined: Sep 8 2005 - 10:24am
Re: IPod: Threat Or Menace?

I think the future of hi fi is so bright, it ought to wear shades.

Looking back at hi fi, we have seen the rise of AM radio, then FM, wax cylinders giving way to 78's giving way to LP's, the advent of stereo, the improvement in electronic performance, the rise and fall of magnetic tapes of many flavors...all headed into this new era of music storage with minimal or no moving parts.

Gentlemen, we are arriving at the final destination of hi fi storage - no moving parts!

The iPod will give way to static storage instead of those mini-hard-drives.

Then storage will continue to expand until no compression is needed.


Because with no compression, things will actually be simpler!

No competing schemes for compressing data that require proprietary decoding, just pure full density data.


I must digress for a moment...

At the pinnacle of hi fi, what percentage of America was an audiophile?

Why is stereophonic LP, CD, or SACD regarded as something we need to keep alive?

When you say hi fi is dead, what, exactly, died?

Hey, we can't be buggy-whip factory workers whining about the car putting us out of business. It's our job to adapt the principles of hi fi to new media, not insist that new media conform to our ideals of hi fi.

I've seen audiophiles who say that 78 rpm discs were the epitome of midrange and that electronic amplification ruined sound reproduction.

We've all met audiophiles who think mono was the pinnacle of wholesome goodness.

I'm a vinyl lover in the CD age.

Dudes, our demise is in no way equated with the demise of hi fi. We are the anachronism, not the iPod.

Adaptation and tinkering are the foundation stones of hi fi, not mewling about how the age of "perfect sound forever" is being supplanted by

stereophillips's picture
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 13 2005 - 10:55am
Re: IPod: Threat Or Menace?

I'm with Cheapsakate and Buddha on this. The only way the iPod spells the deathknell for high-end audio is if the high-end refuses to welcome this newest batch of listeners.

I saw cheap direct-drive turntable "threaten" the industry. Ditto cassette players. Ditto 1st gen CD players. Each time, a technical development resulted in a flood of "non-serious" enthusiasts, many of whom decided that there was better sound available and availed themselves of it.

Is the iPod norm compressed? Well, name a mass-music medium that wasn't restricted in its most popular incarnation. Do you remember how bad mass-market cheap turntables were? Red Book quality is possible from iPods, yet most audiophiles continue to call iPods "lossily compressed." Most people use 'em that way, but why indict the carrier when we ae to blame for not educateing people to the possibilities? Hi-Fi stores don't have docks on most systems, so they're not going to convince iPod customers they can hear better sound anyway. That's a self-inflicted wound.

Jim Tavegia
Jim Tavegia's picture
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 1 2005 - 4:27pm
Re: IPod: Threat Or Menace?

Sorry, forgot to log in. The above post is mine.

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