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--I used to test hifi equipment for a consumer magazine (I did the technical part, the staff writer got the byline for the verbiage).

It was clear that once the initial problems with CD's were overcome by better low pass filtering there really was no place to go to improve the quality of the sound. Electronics equipment had become essentially noiseless and distortionless. The one area that remained in need of improvement (and still does) are the loudspeakers.

While people will argue over whether .001% distortion is better than .1% they continue to ignore the 1-10% distortion that come from loudspeakers.

Interestingly what has happened since then is that the goal of "perfect" music reproduction has been replaced by the desire for everywhere music reproduction. So the standard of reproduction, typically MP3 or the like, is actually worse than what was the norm 20 years ago. I now spend a good part of my time listening to an internet radio (through my hifi) and while the range of programs available is terrific the fidelity is truly mediocre.

I think most young people have never heard high quality music reproduction. Where would they? Even if you go to a "live" music event you will be hearing loudspeakers, electronically generated or altered sound and singers using amplification.

Whether this is a good thing or not, it means that there is no real market for high quality sound leaving the field open to charlatans. I remember an electric clock being offered that you plugged into the wall to "clean" the electricity going to your hifi. There are no limits to the human imagination when it comes to selling snake oil.

--The desire to be a peacock via conspicuous consumption is nothing new just look at "The Emperor's New Clothes" for a good treatment of the subject.

--Since I keep railing against materialism this thread might be a good jumping off point for a discussion of how people will validate their existence if they can't do it via "stuff". What will be the important values that they should adopt instead? This is important because we are running out of the raw materials to make the "stuff" out of so we need to find other goals in life.

Policies not Politics
---- Daily Landscape

by rdf (robert.feinman@gmail.com) on Mon Jan 12th, 2009 at 09:58:21 AM EST

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