Kent's highend audio universe

Revisits my own 2014 blog


Today is 2018 – Jan. 23, I restart writing my audio blog after stopped a few years. Audio is still my main gig, and I still love enjoy music on great systems. I spent less time writing since I don’t know who would be interested to read these days. In my country Hong Kong, people mostly scan through video on youtube, facebook social media and even just browsing photos from Instagram, all are about the internet. But I missed the old times, which I regularly update my audio blog to leave at least myself a joyful/painful journey of audio world.

The following blog was written on 2014 – Feb. 9, almost four years ago. I think the whole industry and audiophiles (maybe even myself) are running towards a wrong direction. They no longer intend to enjoy music through audio technology, hence less people are enjoying high quality audio. Many audiophiles see HiFi a luxury hobby, the digital media format is totally IT areas, which is completely not-necessary.

An old digital stream (2014 – Feb. 9)

“After all these years, what’s your view on the future digital stream?”

I am trying to clean up the blog before going forward to have many updates. I read form an audiophile “Danny” who bought my mastering works “After 6” in year 2000 and later on 2009 “Audio Jazz Prologue 3” left me a comment.

He asked….”After all these years, what’s your view on the future digital stream?”

I think more audiophiles are no longer listening. They lost the ability to sense emotion from music through good audio systems. Audiophiles are now chasing numbers like those who are looking forward DSD128, DSD256, DXD768 etc.

The bond of appreciation between album purchaser (audiophiles) and music records creator (records companies) is broken. I hope audiophile understand good recording is based on engineering. A good sounding CD can beat the crappy DSD768 & 24bit/768kHz any day. Format doesn’t guarantee the sonic quality. You can always have a 30M pixel digital camera and take an out of focus photo. Moreover, it is impossible to compare 2 recordings when they are not produced equally. Stop that PCM vs. DSD topic and try appreciate both formats. It is just a stupid format war. Audiophiles are meant to listen deeper to the recording, to appreciate the sonic of engineering, the musicianship and coherent of depth, width sound stage.

On the other, I also would like to raise a point to this generation audio engineer. I can sense all your pain with the auto-tune, the stupid arrangement that make you rely on protools like an architect, your hard work exchanges extremely low rewarded lifestyle. But please try your best to get the highest quality on your recordings. You pick your journey. It’s the history of sound that will last…..and from the beginning, all wonderful recording engineers are skilled from making better coffee.

The future seems going back to vinyl, and I enjoy this direction very much. There are a lot of reasons(limitations) that makes vinyl a good format. Although I can create better recording to my taste through digital.  (Well my taste changes daily from Chateau to Robert Mondavi)

Kudo to those who are still working hard and promote high end audio industry. There are always people who enjoy good quality music/sound, even today most people are looking down to their smart phones. Something Steve still not yet accomplish in his life, but his spirit on beautiful things remain. Beautiful things are from the heart. Enjoy music and create music are both from heart too.

Technologies are tools, and tools only.

Entrepreneur (audio sector) Founder & Chairman of SquareWave Group, headquartered in Hong Kong. Businesses includes records productions, multimedia streaming platform technology development. Asia regional representative of the world well known pro-audio & home audio brands. Business involves every stage about audio: development, production, distribution and retail. Group companies and showrooms are located in Hong Kong, Taipei, Shanghai and Nagoya, Japan.

  1. David from Switzerland

    9 February

    Very well put!

    Would like to add that people’s obsession with numbers is directly linked to our scientific age: what can be measured and proven equals truth, thus what looks better on paper can be marketed. Audiophiles need to trust their instincts more: we “know” what a human voice sounds like, a piano, a violin etc. We “know” if/when music makes us smile, tap our feet, hum along, want to get up and dance, want to show it to our loved ones etc.

    If audiophiles appreciated quality (what can be judged by listening) versus numbers (what can be proven to be true on paper), then recording engineers could feel proud again making records that will give pleasure and have the potential to be memorable decades if not centuries hence, indeed cultural inheritance, same as recordings from the first half of the 20th century, when the purpose still was to preserve an acoustic event the best way one could, period – technology in the service of humanity, not vice versa.

    My pet peeve are so-called audiophile high-resolution formats (such as SACD) and downloads whose musical content is dynamically compressed, equally so as on the equialent redbook CD or MP3 release. Who are such “audiophile” downloads/formats for? The answer is simple: they’re addressed at buyers who are obsessed with numbers, who are being baited by the marketing of a DSD or PCM 24+ bit/3-digit sample rate (blah-blah whatever) format. It isn’t the format that makes music sound realistic! If these buyers actually listened instead of taking numbers for gospel, and wrote thousands of letters or mails of complaints, claiming their money back for dynamically compressed sham, it might be a first step towards making “high-resolution” a synonym for quality.

    (Note I’m not in principle against dynamic compression where it belongs, e.g. MP3 to be listened on an iPod or similar device in a noisy environment such as on public transportation, in the gym etc. – but for audiophile high-rez formats?! Totally useless…)

    Greetings from Switzerland, David.

  2. Daniel

    24 January

    Amen to David’s comment.

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