Mark Levinson has a strong tradition of making ultra-luxurious audio gear, and under Harman’s stewardship, the tradition is alive and well. Harman showed the ML No. 519 Audio Player, and the No. 526 Dual-Monaural Preamplifier. Both will break your bank and are worth every penny.
Meridian Audio Ltd. does some pretty cool stuff. Its hardware products are well known in audio circles, but it is their innovation at the further reaches of audio frontiers that really catches my eye. The latest example of Meridian's creativity, via Bob Stuart, is Master Quality Authenticated (MQA). MQA is an infrastructure of technologies designed to promote a high-quality signal path from the master recording to playback loudspeaker. More specifically, MQA is designed to stream hi-res files more efficiently than a brute-force transfer, and Meridian claims that it can improve the playback quality of the original file.
I recently blogged about Millennials, the demographic that is displacing Boomers at the top of the consumer food chain. I described how Millennial purchasing will increasingly define the audio/video markets and their preferences will increasingly define the nature of those products. Predicting the future is a dangerous game, but much like watching a bunny passing through a python, we can observe demographic bulges passing through the consumer market. Let's take a closer look at Millennials.
On one hand, an audio amplifier can comprise electrical components like resistors, capacitors, inductors, transistors, integrated circuits, power supplies or batteries, and vacuum tubes or power transistors. On the other hand, an audio amplifier can comprise a block of wood.
Last time, we took a quick look at some of the workings of Meridian's new MQA (Master Quality Assurance) technology. As we observed, MQA claims to shoehorn all the fidelity of a high-res file into a standard-res file size. Terrific. But with 24/192 and lossless formats already well established, what is the incentive to introduce a new format? It turns out that there are plenty of incentives.
Many of the age-old audio problems have been solved, or at least beaten into submission. Ever since Edison recited “Mary had a little lamb,” countless audio engineers have poked
and prodded, pulled all-nighters, made minor adjustments, had genius-caliber brainstorms, and generally worked far above their pay grade to lift audio technology to a very high state of the art.
Millennials, also known as Generation Y, are defined as the demographic with birth years ranging from the early 80s to the early 00s. In other words, Millennials are about 15 to 35 years old. I am appealing to you. You account for almost half of all audio hardware sales. More than any other single group, you are the ones responsible for screwing it up for the rest of us.
The ingenuity of loudspeaker designers never ceases to amaze me. It seems like a simple enough proposition - mount a speaker in a box, then field as many boxes as you have channels. Simple, but 6.1 = 7 is a lot of boxes, even for the most fanatical audiophile's spouse.