Making basic better
I love good surprises. Perhaps the best is when your expectations for one thing are overwhelmed by something unexpected. When we designed the DirectStream Memory Player we had high hopes to finally hear what we knew to be buried in SACD's DSD layer—a layer formerly unavailable to external DACs. We weren't disappointed and I began accumulating SACDs again, so good were the results. Along the way I wondered how we had done with CD reproduction. After all, no matter how many SACD and high rez PCM discs you might have, I'll bet the majority of your library's like mine: full of CDs. Imagine my surprise when CDs weren't that far off from the DSD layer in SACD. That was a real head scratcher—something that definitely had never happened before. I had mentioned in yesterday's email I would share my speculation of why that might be. I'd like to start with an analogy. The earliest "pro" cameras, like the kind Ansel Adams used are about as basic as they get. Low-end hardly describes them adequately. Essentially an adjustable dark box with a piece of ground glass on one end, a high quality lens on the other. Even the venerable Brownie was higher end than the equipment old Ansel (and I) used for many years. With incredible attention to details, wonderful photos would come forth. Get one little thing wrong and you wound up with something unusable. Compare that low-end needy camera to today's cameras, where point and shoot gives terrific results. One succeeds only through the greatest attention to details, the other gives excellent results without too much effort. That's what we believe is happening between CD and higher resolution audio. In DMP we have spent the last 8 years learning and perfecting what matters in digital audio. And, as the old saying goes, timing is everything. What continues to surprise is just how much timing matters to the lower resolution products - which now kind of makes sense if you can relate to the analogy I used. More tomorrow.
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