Converts

August 12, 2019
 by Paul McGowan

One of the joys we share is the moment of the great awakening: when a music lover decides it’s no longer acceptable to sully music’s beauty with poor quality reproduction.

I know many of us older audiophiles worry that the younger generation of music lovers will never come to enjoy the sound quality we treasure, but I would argue that’s unlikely. Just as in any endeavor, some people will inevitably bubble through the surface tension of the ordinary and emerge into the light of better. It’s in our nature to seek out the best of what interests us.

The trick is to make sure music itself is not lost. As long as there’s interest in music, audiophiles will emerge.

I have long been a promoter of one form of music that maybe isn’t paid enough attention to, Jazz. What a wonderful art form.

Reader Joseph Coats emailed me with news of a new internet radio station that is really quite good. It’s called The Jazz Groove and it’s quite wonderful. Unlike other internet radio stations, the Jazz Groove actually sounds great and the people running it care about sound quality. Even its lowest stream is at 128K AAC which is pretty decent. If you like what you hear and want to support the station, it’s also available in lossless FLAC.

The station needs some financial help, so if you’re a fan, please consider donating or signing up for their premium service.

Keeping music alive is worth our time and resources.

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15 comments on “Converts”

  1. “The trick is to make sure music itself is not lost”

    The collective “we “ may not be doing such a good job on the statement above?
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/11/magazine/universal-fire-master-recordings.html

    I find it interesting that you don’t think Jazz is a form of music that doesn’t get enough attention. From the time I was a little “tyke” until now, what I have observed is that if one was looking for quality recordings they can almost always be found in the Jazz genre. Which then infers that genre is one which an ‘audiophile’ will gravitate towards.

    I wholeheartedly support the idea of keeping music alive.

  2. Your mention of Jazz 24 in some earlier “Paul’s Posts” has lead me to program it into my little RasPi Streamer – some great music, no adverts, little talking, and the stream sounds ok too.
    I like the sound of hi quality streaming from this outfit though, I shall check it out 🙂

  3. “One of the joys we share is the moment of the great awakening: when a music lover decides it’s no longer acceptable to sully music’s beauty with poor quality reproduction.”

    You make it sound like a moment of joyous awakening. In my case it was rather more the music lover being slowly dragged, reluctant and complaining, towards the light whilst grumbling that it hurt his eyes and he could see perfectly well already, thank you.

    I agree that jazz is a genre which benefits more than most from being heard on a good system. It uses a wide frequency range, is highly dynamic, and the nuances of individual performance are of great importance. Shame that I have never enjoyed it 🙁

  4. I had just received a FB link to a new singer who is very good, but the engineering was so compressed that it took the life out of her effort. I wrote her and gave her my 2 cents, and heard nothing back but a continued steam of pre-written emails. We live in an era where no recording needs to sound bad, but is made that way by people who don’t know how to record music. When will some learn that being loud is not the same as being good.

  5. “if one was looking for quality recordings they can almost always be found in the Jazz genre. Which then infers that genre is one which an ‘audiophile’ will gravitate towards.
    Despite the fact that I’m an ‘audiophile’ for more than 4 decades, I have always been “gravitated” in the first place towards MUSIC I like/love, not sound quality.
    I am a MUSIC FIRST audiophile.
    Music I LIKE for background, e.g. internet radio. Good sound quality then is a bonus, not a must for me. I can happily listen to 96 kbps.
    Music I LOVE for buying cd’s. Good (not necessarily “audiophile”) sound quality then is a must for me. Or I won’t buy the cd.
    And although I like the occasional modern jazz/fusion, some radio channels, e.g. “The Jazz Groove”, play more old fashioned jazz all day long then I can bear. But to each his own of course.
    So for now I’ll stick with Radio Paradise.

  6. I’ve been paying to go to concerts and gigs from the mid 1970s and they have never been more popular. I see this as the expansion of the middle classes as we become a more service based economy with more people having more disposable income, and musicians being more dependent on performance income to make a living.

    I don’t think this has anything to do with recorded music listened to at home. Firstly, most music is now listened to on the move, which is why the market value of consumer headphone companies is probably more than all audio component companies put together. Remember when Apple purchased Beats for $3billion? That alone is probably more than the value of the global high-end market.

    Whether people buy static equipment for home use is more dependent on their having a home with space. Many in the USA have no idea of housing costs and restrictions around the world. In Europe average per capita living space is about half that of the USA, and in the developed world only Australia averages higher than the USA. In the UK the average space is falling dramatically. In our suburb house prices are about $750 per square foot, which is not exceptional by any means, so a decent listening room is $200,000 of real estate. For a long time over here the consideration has been far more the cost of the space than the equipment.

    In the UK our economy collapsed in the late 1970s, as did several in Europe. HiFi got smaller and cheaper, but not necessarily worse. I assume there will always be a market for large, expensive, static systems, but I see it continually shrinking. Anyway, you can get stunning quality from a phone with a good pair of headphones at a fraction of the price.

  7. True, music is, was and always should be the main reason you are in this business. Unless off course all you’re after is money, then it’s probably better to enter the wonderful world of high-end cryogenics, cables, connectors etc.

    Btw, tip for promoting servo enclosures: make sure the demo music has enough low end to allow for clear differentiation between the free and the corrected ones 🙂

    https://soundcloud.com/bitbird/analogue-dear-dots-lines-ft-azuria-sky

  8. I have three nephews and three nieces. I have no children. I have exposed all six to my system. The three boys were impressed but never showed any interest in having proper music playback. The three girls were nonplussed, two sister-in-laws loved it. So it isn’t a gender thing.

    But I did inspire two of the three nephews to be interested in cars. One in vintage Detroit iron the other in modern sophisticated cars.

    So I did have some, positive influence on them.

    BTW, thanks for the heads up on The Jazz Groove. Once I listen I’m sure I will contribute.

  9. Grainger49, a few serious words.
    2 out of 8 persons showed interest in “proper” playback, coincidentally the females.
    And that is “proof” that it’s not a gender thing ?
    Well, go to audio shows, dealers, and talk to the pro’s. 95 percent of the visitors is male. Most (NOT ALL !) female visitors are young women/girls with next to no interest in audio, only accompanying their boyfriend/spouse (love conquers all…). You recognize them immediately, the way they walk down the room, a bit bored, and asking after a few minutes : “shall we go” (to the next room). For the women 2 minutes is long enough.
    All my audio buddies have wifes/girlfriends with absolutely no interest in the hobby/life long passion of their husband/friend.
    Sure it’s a gender thing (I wish it wasn’t). Just as the love/passion for shoes/clothes is a gender thing.
    And then the cars. Generally speaking, and I’m not picking on you, I wouldn’t call interest in cars, those polluting machines, a positive thing.
    But having said that, I have to admit that I like watching television programs where old cars are transformed into new cars with big motors etc. I like the craftsmanship shown there. So, I understand how you feel.
    And frankly, I don’t think audio is such an innocent hobby, regarding all the current consumption of our big amps etc.
    My electric bill is surely higher than the electric bills of most of my neighbors.
    So I’m not sure I’ve got any money left for supporting an internet radio station…

  10. Thumbs up for supporting jazz!

    What I’d really appreciate (more than just playing a mixed spectrum) to win new people for jazz and to even extend the spectrum for the older ones is if someone would offer a categorization of offers in various jazz forms (did it myself in my library)..like vintage, world, contemporary, electronic/ambient, fusion, symphonic, latin, acid/trip hop etc. People could discover new genres of jazz and find their interest. Or what I also did: Jazz for breakfast, dinner, quiet situations, italian style etc. People would be surprised how much they can like jazz if it fits the situation.

    So there’s quite a field of services ahead aside of just playing mixed tracks.

    But every jazz initiative is more than welcome!!

    1. Jazzradio.com might fit the bill. It is quite eclectic and is curated by real people. You can switch genres readily. And if you subscribe to it, as a bonus they throw in their sister stations that cater to classical or rock music. Sound quality can go up to 320k. I’ve enjoyed the jazz station for 3 years now.
      But I am going to check out Paul’s suggestion here, as I for one, think there is always room to support more jazz. Last thought, Harry Connick jr. can slay Stompin’ at the Savoy and does a killer version of St. James Infirmary Blues if he tours near you (caught his show on the 9th).

  11. Beautifully put. How many of us were greatly knowledgeable about high class reproduced music before for some reason or another an interest in high class reproduced music became a passion. It would appear that some have this inborn ability but are unaware of it till something triggers it and then there is no stopping the person. Others do not have this ability, and this appears to be the vast majority. How else would one explain the much smaller number of passionate audiophiles as compared to the vast majority of music listeners. As for likes there seem to be two broad categories. One, those who intellectualize music like appreciating art forms and two, those who react to it but are choosy about the type of music or else they are open to all types of music as long as it appeals to them the so called eclectic. These types can be choosy of performances even within a category. Anyway the bottom line is enjoyment.and so it should be. Regards.

  12. I would like to make the same plea for classical music. There is one FM station here in Los Angeles: KUSC. Two channels on XMRadio, symphonic and opera. That’s it. Fortunately, a lot of classical music CD’s are being churned out and there are several outstanding periodicals, led by Gramophone magazine. But as we older people die off I fear the younger people are not replacing us. It’s probably the same phenomenon occurring with jazz.

  13. Hey Paul, Ted here. Thanks for the info. I’ve subscribed to the Premium Plus plan and it’s great! FLAC over the Interwebs is welcome in my home anytime. Playing from Safari I’m thinking it sounds better than TIDAL via Audirvana. (Sold the Freya, another preamp is posted and next my Benchmark DAC2 HGC – Stellar Gain Cell on the horizion, YES!)

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