We love the sensational. We rubberneck at accidents. Our eyes jump at breaking news. And few things are more sensational than the imminent demise of an institution. The pundits love to clean their crystal balls and trumpet the future. Yet, it's rare the future just plops down on us without our notice. Take the cries of doom and gloom for the venerable Compact Disc. Despite the fact most of us have hundreds, if not thousands, of the silvered optical discs, we hear it's time to forget we own them and certainly time to mothball our players. Yet, for most of us, this just simply is not true. We hang on to our collections of physical mediums like CDs and albums because there isn't yet a ubiquitous alternative we can rely upon. Yes, there are lossless streaming services like Tidal and Qobuz, but Tidal's said to be on shaky ground and neither has my library of tracks. Here's where I believe the actual state of things is. The generations of music lovers born into the 1980s are either streaming lossy files or listening to vinyl. Most are in the streaming camp and don't own much in the way of physical media. They've grown up with the idea of streaming and are comfortable with it. When they get to an age where sound quality matters they assume lossless streaming will be ready for them. And, they're probably right. For those earlier generations raised on physical media, we will continue to keep our collections at the ready. Some, like me, have transferred much of our libraries onto hard drives and that trend will continue growing as servers and rippers become easier to use. At the moment, the state of the art in servers is mostly a bewildering mess. On another note, for those interested in the continuing development of our upcoming line of Arnie Nudell inspired loudspeakers, I am including this cool mockup of the AN-1, our top of the line replacement for the Infinity IRSV in Music Room One. This bad boy has the same six 12" servo-controlled woofers as the IRS only these will be built in (3 per side with slots in the wood trim panels). At 7 feet tall they are almost the same height as the IRSV but far slimmer and easier to fit into a home. The driver complement has five 10" tall folded ribbon AMT midranges, sixteen 1" ribbon tweeters, and two 8" servo-controlled midbass couplers on the front. Two more AMT midranges, four tweeters, and another 8" midbass coupler grace the rear. Internally there are over 4,000 watts of woofer and midbass amplifiers to get the lower end right. If all goes as expected the speaker will be quite efficient with (hopefully) 95dB sensitivity, meaning you can drive this beauty with just about anything from a 20-watt tube amp to a 300-watt BHK monoblock. No pricing or availability yet, just a sneak peek. There will also be two smaller models in the line. The AN-3 will be the entry-level model and the AN-2 what most will aspire to own. Hopeful to see something in 2019.
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