I recently received a thoughtful e-mail from S+V reader Michael Kiley. He commiserated with my perception that the general level of sound quality has declined. Like me, he worried that the rise of mobile phones as our preferred playback source, the popularity of listening to compressed files stored or streamed (and through earbuds), isn't exactly making for audiophile heaven. Mr. Kiley's letter provided some perspective and got me to thinking…
Photos by Jayme Thornton Also check out:Stocking stuffersPersonal audio players Spouses, children, in-laws, out-laws, parents, siblings, business associates, mailmen, mailwomen, girlfriends, and boyfriends all deserve a little something from you when the holidays roll around.
Ah, the irony. Unwanted traffic noise is a bane of modern existence. Countless engineers have spent entire careers laboring to reduce vehicle noises from engine, exhaust, tires and aerodynamic turbulence. Most drivers and passengers prefer quieter cars; for starters, it makes it easier to listen to music.
It is the job of engineers to push the envelope and design the products of the future, not the products of today. When the first Compact Disc players were on the drawing board, 780-nm lasers were extremely expensive, but engineers anticipated that low-cost versions would soon become available. They bet right: cheap laser modules were perfected just before the CD format’s launch.
Congratulations! Way to go! You, the consumer, picked Blu-ray Disc over HD DVD as the high-def disc format of the future. And now, instead of two formats, we have one. Like it (those with cool, futuristic Blu-ray gear) or not (those with obsolete HD DVD junk), Blu-ray is the new world standard.