The rise of the machines

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If you’re as clueless as I am it might be helpful for me to remind you tomorrow’s Valentine’s day. I know, I know. But it’s important and really unpleasant if you forget. Just sayin’.

I’ve often written that USB is the worst of the inputs on a DAC. Just take a look at the number of add-ons and tweaks available to fix it. No other digital audio input has as many Band Aids required to get the sound right. But USB is also the most important input. At least for now.

Computers rarely have outputs other than USB and, increasingly, we’re dependent on our computers to connect us to our music. But I think computers are only a stepping stone. First it was vinyl, then tape, then little silver discs, then collections of silicon bits with power supplies, and soon, nothing more than a cable connected through a gateway device to some unseen cloud.

Here’s what I think is going to happen next. Home computers are going to be replaced by faceless boxes acting as gateways to the cloud. Like what’s already happened in television: cable boxes that interface TVs to the cloud. And, of course, it’s already happening in audio too: music servers–computers stuffed into Audiophile approved boxes.

But where I am going with this thought is more far reaching than what we have today. I am envisioning the not too distant future where interface machines sit quietly in the corner, connected to the outside world on one side, our high-end audio equipment on the other–and not through USB. The hard work of designers will focus on the interface, and clever engineers will eliminate the performance issues with streaming.

Yup. In a nutshell, and with all due respect to John Connor, the rise of the machines doesn’t mean enslavement of humans, but the gateway to all the music in the world.

I can’t wait.