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The Future of the "SOURCE" of High End Music

[Italian version]

Brief History

In High End Audio, the LP reigned supreme from the mid 1950's till now as the ultimate music source which is commonly available. The only *better* source is the original master tapes from which these LP's were cut.

In 1980, the Compact Disc Player was first introduced and was met with scepticism from the High End Audio Community. Essentially the limitation was one of bandwidth and suitable playback equipment to be able to reproduce anyware near the sonic quality of an LP. In the past 17 years, major advancements have been made in digital playback, and particularly the treatment of the digital stream to give a *fidelity* which now approaches the LP *sound*.

Since 1995, the manufacturers who gave us CD, are now preparing us for DVD - Digital Video Disc.

After spending considerable time studying this new *media*, I have come to the conclusion that it is nor suitable for High End Audio because of the following reasons:

  1. It uses a compression algorithm which cannot be easily improved with everchanging and improving software - MP2 (MP3 is a far superior system for serious music playback).

  2. Although it has incredible storage capabilities, Audio is only confined to *one track*. So the benefits of size are in fact less than the equivalent space on a common CD.

  3. DVD is designed primarily for Video reproduction and hence, the audio standard is never a high priority.

The only consolation is that you will be able to play your existing CD on a DVD player- but as for the sound, I don't believe it will be better than current mainstream CD players (not high end).

Therefore, I would like to propose a much better system which is already available, easy-to-use, and can take advantage of the use of the WWW.


To use your PC as a source of high end music is actually quite simple.
But you need to forget about the inbuilt audio cards that are offered, or using the cheap D to A converter built into your CD ROM drive. To obtain serious High End Sound, you need to treat and store the music as a *file* and simple have a buffered digital output card which then allows you to connect the digital stream directly to your high end audio DAC.

Normal CD's are recorded in such a way to be read by a CD player. The extra digital information on the CD communicates track numbers, and all sorts of information to enable your standard CD player to replay the music.
You can of course also use the computer's circuitry to do this, but it is not *high end sound*.

You might be asking yourself: why would you want to adopt this concept?

The simple answer is, because it is the future of High End Audio.
This will be the only way in the future, that High End Audiophiles will be able to have ANY control over the quality of the music which is available. But more than that, the possibilities are exciting and endless.

For example:

  1. You can obtain ORIGINAL digital files of music BEFORE they were edited to produce mediocre sounding CD's.

  2. You can DOWNLOAD music directly from the WWW into your hardrive.

  3. You can download music samples in 10:1 MPEG3 compression- say the first 30 seconds to actually listen to or sample the music before you buy it.

  4. MPEG 3 compresses a 40MB music file into 4MB with very small loss in fidelity when using the excellent WINAMP free software which can be downloaded from the WWW.
    And, because MPEG3 is the world-wide audio compression standard, improvements are being made daily in *player* software (you can actually compare different *players*. For example, I compared WINAMP with another popular player called AUDIOACTIVE, and the difference in sound was quite dramatic).

  5. You can buy CD's made in this format - File format instead of CD format.

METAXAS AUDIO SYSTEMS is currently working on a site which will allow you to download samples, and try this for yourself free.
We are also discussing this concept with the many High End CD producers who can then offer their CD's in this format.

To visit our music site which is currenly under construction, please click here

Metaxas Audio Systems are currently working on a HEPC to offer as part of their standard range of High End Audio.

© Copyright 1997 Kostas Metaxas

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