I prefer mine chilled

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In yesterday's post I asked if you cared about the format, sample rate and technical information of the music you listen to. Or are you ok with not knowing as long as it sounds great? Many of you wrote me back with great answers. Some care, others not, still more confused a bit about the question. One of my favorite internet radio stations is KPLU in Seattle, known as Jazz 24. I listen to this almost every night as we cook dinner and it sounds terrific. Turns out the stream is at the lowest bit rate possible and mono. Mono for goodness sake! On my little kitchen radio appliance I couldn't tell nor, for that matter, do I care. But try listening to KPLU on your big system and you'd be horrified at the indignity this great music suffers from a station who obviously cares a great deal about music. And now Sony jumps on the bandwagon and is going to put its muscle into marketing a new breed of digital music player; a player so good the format of what you listen to will no longer be relevant and all that matters is high rez or low rez. I don't see where this player is anything special but what I do see is the possibility this 600 pound gorilla can turn millions of people onto the idea music has different reproduction quality levels. This can be huge for those of us interested in furthering the quality of recorded music. I just love the way they are relating HD TV to HD music. There's a great connection there. Even the most uninformed luddite is probably aware of HD TV. But do we as Audiophiles care what it is we listen to? Could Sony's attempt at turning the format information into oatmeal, palpable by anyone, change the way we choose what music to buy and listen to? Doubtful. You are an Audiophile. You know the difference between good and less good sound and some formats sound better than others. If you're going to spend money buying music, why would you all of a sudden not care what it is you're buying? Imagine this question were put to wine drinkers. The average consumer knows there are red and white wines and probably understands whites are cold, reds are not. But choose a format of wine? Merlot, Chardonnay and vintage? What's a vintage? Don't all cabs taste similar? No, I think we're not average consumers and we do care.
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Paul McGowan

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