Compatibility, convention, and breadcrumbs

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Compatibility, convention, and breadcrumbs

The good news of sticking with tried and true convention is it plays nice with everything. The bad news is it plays nice with everything.

What's that mean? In a roundabout way it's a comment on mediocrity—which is often what you get when you try and be everything for everyone.

Like a McDonald's hamburger. It's not great but it's not bad.

I remember when TOSLINK was first introduced as a simple, affordable replacement for the fabulous ATT fiber optics used by a rare few companies to pass digital audio without any electrical connection to sully up the grounds or add noise to DACs.

Finally, an affordable standard to connect digital audio gear. Only, not all digital audio gear and not any of the new, higher resolution formats.

Why? Because reaching new heights wasn't the job of the Toshiba engineers that set the TOSLINK standards. What they were charged with doing was serving the broader marketplace. The 90% of the users—which makes perfect sense if you're a big consumer audio company.

Once in a great while we audiophiles who live out on the fringes of technological possibilities get a bone thrown our way. Like the HDMI cable our chief engineer, Bob Stadtherr, hijacked and repurposed to create the I2S standard so many companies in our field use today.

As technology moves forward to serve the masses we sometimes get small breadcrumbs to play with. 

And that's where we audiophiles get to move forward.

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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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