An accessory is a thing added to something else to make it more useful, versatile, or attractive. In clothes we might think of ties, belts, hats or jewelry. Photography might include a tripod, flash, strap or camera bag. And stereo equipment brings to mind cables, vibration dampers, racks, DACs and phono stages.
Each of these accessories are adjuncts to more fundamentally necessary components like amps, preamps or speakers; but they can also be universes unto themselves. Our first product, a separate phono stage, was categorized as an accessory because it required a preamp, integrated or receiver to be of any value. The simple inclusion of a front panel volume control changed all that. It went from accessory to component with one small addition.
Today we are witnessing an upheaval in separates product categories: DACs become Pre's, amps acquire selectable inputs, loudspeakers connect wirelessly, USB sticks decode digital audio and drive headphones, and user interfaces are on pocket touch screens. The industry is in a state of flux, and I am not referring to capacitors or Delorians.
Over the next few days let's spend time exploring some of these interesting tectonic shifts.