Fewer choices

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Back in the 1970's when high-end audio was just blossoming into a real force there were many more dramatic choices of tailoring your system the way you wanted it to sound. For example, I remember the first time I was introduced to a Decca phono cartridge and compared it to the Stanton III cartridge - what a revelation. The Decca cartridge was the most dynamic blow your socks off cartridge I had ever heard. No, it's sound wasn't as elegant and refined as the Stanton III but man was it a kick-ass stunner. The very first track we played on the new Decca cartridge was a Sheffield direct to disc Lincoln Mayorga track - which already had dynamics that far exceeded any commercially pressed album. When the kick drum was snapped the woofers nearly jumped out of their baskets - I had simply never heard anything like that. The difference between that track played on the Stanton and the Decca was like the difference between a Toyota Prius and a Mac Truck. I bring this to your attention because it occurred to me this morning just how dramatic a change that was, relative to the magnitude of change one can get today - and I questioned whether or not we had perhaps taken a step backwards? Upon further reflection I think not. Today's overall systems are so much better in every respect to those older setups that even small changes are getting tougher because the overall quality is so much better. That's a good thing, but I do miss the slap in your face changes those older pieces of kit brought.
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Paul McGowan

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