Thursday, November 11, 2010

On proper music systems

I am old... Perhaps old-ish. But I still do hear difference between CD or FLAC and MP3 (yeah, on my headphones) and I still love listening to music.

The most profound music experience I had when my dad took me to uncle Krzysiek and I first heard uncle's Krell correction - McIntosh. It was dark in his room, the only light were VU-meters of the amp and this funny lamp at the side of the turntable (now I know - rpm control sync). I was perhaps eight or ten and there was nothing in the room but music...

The second time was some 10 years ago. After Busza dumped me I still lived in that huge, cold apartment. Alone. And I loved to listen to a CD or two late in the night after Aikido class... The beauty of this apartment was that my bedroom was so quiet you would not believe. And then I would turn off the lights and listen to the music... And this is when I would lay hands on Beastie Boys album The in sound from way out. And I was there, in this huge, cold and dark room - alone, beaten up, tired and listening to quiet music... Pure bliss... Untill - out of the blue - I heard this funny, quiet but annoying noise. But where from? I turned down the volume and followed the sound... I could not believe it. It was the transport of my Pioneer PD-S 707.

This was - at the time - top notch Pioneer CD player with reversed platter and all bells and whistles. They do not make them like these anymore... Anyway - my point is - listening conditions were so perfect there that I could hear noise made by spinning CD!

To the point.
With modern day broadband - where for reasonable amount of money you get reasonably speedy Internet (even in Poland, but no, not in Kenya ;-) - the physical content distribution actually is dead. Not will be. Is dead. Now. Today. I know that sooner rather than later I will convert all of my 400 CDs into FLAC and move towards a solution that even does not even have a transport!

As I have advocated before - future of music system is a box that would have internal disk (preferably SSD) to store all those FLACs. Something that has real audio output which you can connect to your real amp and - subsequently - to real speakers. There are such systems available today. There are just three major problems with these...

Primo - few systems provide sound quality matching that of CD players like Denon 1510 or Yamaha 2000.

Secundo - most of them have fan. A fan! Why would you spend thousands of Euros on a stereo just to have a fan there? If I do not mind the noise I might as well buy a PC as a source.

And lastly - how do you convieniently browse through all of those hundreds of CDs? Most systems have very bad UI. I would like something like iPad app fro Sonos or Olive systems. Honestly - having been using iPad for 4 months now I see how much it can improve the whole experience.

I have pretty good idea what my dream system looks like. I wrote about it here. It has digital content player which sends digital signal to TacT amplifier and then analog signal is sent to something like B&W 803. The only missing component is the source. There is no product on the market that I am aware of which meets my criteria of functionality, ease of use (iPad app would be the best) with hifi-grade quality...

Solution? So far I still see no solution...

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