AV Receiver as a pre-amplifier

Overkill is a common phrase.

At the moment I have a 150 Watt Onkyo receiver linked up as a preamp to another class A stereo amp just to drive a couple of small bookshelf speakers in the living room.

I am aware of my addiction and am working through the issues at hand! I need to sell the Onkyo ASAP.

Sure was fun to set up though.

The tech urge within

For some reason the world of audiophile technology and tech hardware has become extremely refined in its marketing of products. The premium that must be paid to own a new high grade audiophile amplifier is insane. And yet….

And yet I want one as if it is going to cure my human condition. I don’t understand this urge. Why do I feel so intensely that I have to be part of this tiny group of people that spend their children’s school fees on audio equipment? Do I honestly believe the music will sound THAT much better? No. Sigh…..

I think the truth is that there are many industries that have tapped into this tribal urge to belong – Apple being the most obvious. An iPhone essentially does the same thing as a phone one tenth its price – and yet the company’s revenues go up and up. People want to spend money on things which make them feel part of a group.

The trick is to decide what will make a tangible difference to life, and what is merely hype.

The latest iPhone will not out-perform my Motorola to the point that my life improves. And neither will a new amplifier improve the performance of my headphones.

The pull is strong indeed though. It’s like these companies are using the Jedi force to extract my wallet from my pocket, and it is all I can do to push it back in.

That’s my consumer culture rant for the day. Back to work 🙂

Convenience vs. Quality

I just received in the mail 2 x new stylus needles for my old LP player. The old stylus broke, so I had to order them online from the UK and then wait for a couple of weeks for delivery. When they finally arrived, i found the mechanism on my LP player broken and in need of service. Still no high quality vinyl sounds for my discerning chimp ears.

All the while, I have been streaming Google Play Music through my phone and computer and Ipad to get music whenever and wherever i want it.

The convenient solutions will spread like wildfire and then iteratively be improved until they are both convenient and of a high quality.

Meanwhile vinyl is the same as it ever was. Fantastic when it works, but a lot more involved and higher maintenance than the digital age.

Convenience vs. Quality – Convenience is kicking ass at the moment in my household.


Disrupting the audiophile world

The studio model for media creation is clearly taking a hit from various online companies (See this link for nice details), and I love to imagine what will be the real disrupting force in audiophile land. I wrote recently on the merits of MQA and hardware disruption by software all over the world. I also think we are going to experience a more discrete form of hardware in the near future. Again this will be replicated easily, but there is still a need that I can see.

Specifically, i think there will be delivery of perfect sound direct to your ears wherever you are, whenever you want it, all in a non-intrusive fashion. (Let’s face it, headphones are a pain in the rear still). I’m picturing some sort of microchip for the ear or brain which transmits high-res files to the inner ear, all while on the move. Something like this, but for entertainment purposes only.

Planned obsolescence

I already have a Marantz receiver. It decodes, amplifies and networks more audio signals than I will ever need. And yet…


…And yet i want another one this year with the slight upgrades all around.

The marketing machine in Audiophile-land, and in tech in general, means there is always something better about to be released. It’s easy to burn through money because of the stream of upgrades. Planned obsolescence.

Key then is to understand your needs versus your wants. I don’t need another receiver. I just want one. And so the marketing machine loses its potency.

Audio Hardware vs. Audio Software

I believe that of all the innovations this year in hifi and audio, MQA will have the biggest impact on the music industry this year. Not a new speaker design, or a new material or even a new motherboard. Those things are hardware, easy to replicate and almost perfected.

Software is eating the world and MQA software could be a way to add scarcity to music once again.

Interesting times.