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#1 ColonelForbin

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 09:40 AM

Not hear to talk lollipop about what it is or isn't.. :)

 

Done enough of that! It's not an HD and it's not a DT, big whoop.

 

The conversation I am interested in, is the future of audio sound quality in general, and the place and role companies like Line6 and Apple will have in that future. Now, we all know that .MP3's are the bedrock of the iTunes business model. What is the top resolution on any given professionally mastered .MP3? 320kbps or something?

 

Now, take a sideways gander at Neil Young, and his idea - which seems to be going forward, but not very quickly. Among his various projects, including the LincVolt, is his music player idea. I am not sure what the current name is, I think it's "PONO".

 

To summarize, Neil Young wants to make iPod sized devices that will use music files rendered in Studio Master quality, iE, 24bit /192k. Here are a couple of links discussing this project:

 

Pono - website

 

Pono - Forbes

 

Pono - Cnet

 

Pono - Rolling Stone

 

Ok. So, the future is BRIGHT for music! But the "powers which be" are going to need to change and adapt to stay current. I for one, have a huge library of music in MP3 format, and I rarely if ever listen to any of it. It's convenient, it's easy, it's portable - it's just not satisfying. That there is truly something lacking in music dumbed down to MP3 is fact, evident, and real. It's not just a small percentage of the population with advanced ears who can tell the different between a 24bit .WAV file, and a 320kbps MP3.

 

That being said, Line6 is already on their way to higher definition, higher resolution audio. The HD series amp modelling is their first serious foray into that market. The Amplifi, for all it's next gen conceptualization, is not. Because it is built on the premise that MP3 is acceptable. Now, you don't HAVE to use MP3's, I would imagine if you put a .wav file on your iPad, and stream it Bluetooth, it should still all work, and if the metadata can be saved with the .wav file, then tone matching should work.

 

But what about a 24 bit / 192k .wav file? Because that is what PONO is trying to do. According to the Rolling Stone article, major studios are already on board with this concept, and have already begun the process to render their catalogs in the higher definition audio.

 

To quote Neil:

 

"The simplest way to describe what we've accomplished is that we've liberated the music of the artist from the digital file and restored it to its original artistic quality – as it was in the studio," wrote Young. "So it has primal power."

 

"PONO starts at the source: artist-approved studio masters we've been given special access to," Young continued. "Then we work with our brilliant partners at Meridian to unlock the richness of the artist's music to you. There is nothing like hearing this music - and we are working hard to make that experience available to all music lovers, soon."

 

From my perspective, the Amplifi will quickly find itself at a cross roads if something like this gains traction, and for my $$s, I am 100% onboard. MP3's are horrible, for quality listening. They are the fast food of the music industry. MP3's take everything special about music and distill it to a bland, low quality snapshot, lacking in the true essence of why music moves us all, and motivates us to spend so much time and money on gear to MAKE music.

 

Sooner, rather than later, companies like Line6 and Apple are going to need to quickly change their tune, and gear like the Amplifi will be caught in that cross current. I think the idea of Amplifi is great. I find the execution lacking, but that doesn't really matter. It's how Line6 responds to what is coming, and still yet to be that will define them going forward.


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#2 ColonelForbin

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 09:42 AM

From the PONO website:

Hi Friend,

There's an awfully good chance you heard about a revolution we're working on. Something that will significantly improve the way you get to hear and feel your favorite music.

 

Shocking you say? That perhaps the promise of "Perfect Sound Forever" propagated by the inventors of the Compact Disc was a bust? And that "CD Quality" promoted by the likes of iTunes and the creators of the MP3 was only an inkling of the flawed format they were hoping to emulate?

 

We're here to say it's incredibly true! Miraculously, there's a wealth of music & soul (or if you must, "data") trapped on millions of recordings made over the last half century, that we're hoping to unleash for the very first time.

 

Can you imagine? Your own personal time machine, to take you back to the place and time of the original musical event, and let you feel music in ways you've only felt seeing it live? We here at Pono are listening to it now and assure you, IT'S AMAZING!!!!

We ask dear music lover that you root for Pono bringing this very real technology to the world. We're still toiling away on making this happen (yes, there are record labels, artists, publishers and more to finalize with), but we wanted to share our excitement with you.

 

In the meantime, please follow us on Facebook or Twitter for updates.

 

Rescuing an art form,

-The Pono Team


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#3 phil_m

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 09:43 AM

Ok. So, the future is BRIGHT for music! But the "powers which be" are going to need to change and adapt to stay current. I for one, have a huge library of music in MP3 format, and I rarely if ever listen to any of it. It's convenient, it's easy, it's portable - it's just not satisfying. That there is truly something lacking in music dumbed down to MP3 is fact, evident, and real. It's not just a small percentage of the population with advanced ears who can tell the different between a 24bit .WAV file, and a 320kbps MP3.

 

It depends on what you're listening to it through. Through my studio monitors or a decent hifi (is that even a thing anymore?) system - sure. In my car or through earbuds - not so much. I just don't think most people care about it that much anymore. I actually don't even have a true stereo system in my house anymore. Well, I do, but it's sitting in a storage room. It just took up too much space.

 

Personally, I don't think PONO is going to take off, but I could be wrong. I just don't see the demand.


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#4 charlyg

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 09:52 AM

Hey, I've put up with 4 track stereo cartridges, the ones with the hole. Sound quality is always relative.


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#5 ColonelForbin

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 10:05 AM

4-track cartridges are in all likelyhood much higher resolution as compared to Mp3! Vinyl records most certainly are.

 

Whether it takes off or not, is the question. I think we'll see a shift in how music in general marketed. That's why I put this conversation in the Amplifi forum - because PONO is coming THIS MARCH! For example, the success of Jimmy Iovine's "Beats Audio" and how it's been hugely successful, and even being integrated into various phone and tablet platforms.

 

Pono March2014 Release

 

For me, the conversation comparing Amplifi with the HD / DT series is quite relevant. PONO is beyond what the HD / DT has to offer, and it's way, way, way beyond what Amplifi has to give. Amplifi, however, could with some minor tweaking, and adjustments, fit in VERY nicely with something like Pono. Since their take from the start is that it will be cross-platform compatible, Android, PC, IOS, etc. - I can see them being able to turn the corner. Probably not with this version of the gear, but believe me - someone, somewhere at L6 is looking at PONO, and figuring out what to do to keep Line6 relevant if the idea blows up and takes off.

 

From Neil Young's SXSW speech:

 

"Being impressed by something, and how cool it is, and how sharp it is, and how snappy it is, is one thing, and that translates into almost any media. But when you’re singing something very soulful from your heart, and the echo is perfect and everything’s great and you’re using maybe an acoustic chamber and everything sounds great. And then you listen to it and you love it, but you hear it somewhere else and it’s gone – that’s terrible. We don’t like that. Not many of us like that, we’re not happy about it. So we’re trying to change that, and we’re trying to make it better. We’re trying to make music sound technically better, and that’s what I want to do. So we have a player that plays whatever the musicians made digitally, and that’s going to come out. We’re announcing that at SXSW, we’re introducing it, it’s called Pono, and that’s my commercial, thank you very much."

 

"Digital is not bad. But Xerox is not good. I always like to say Picasso was really happy to see original Picassos everywhere, but when he went into some places and saw Xeroxes of Picassos, it didn’t make him as happy, because he thought people thought that we was making those things. The thing we do is, we make great stuff in the studio and then we kiss its lollipop goodbye, because nobody’s ever going to hear it. That’s unfortunate, and it didn’t use to be that way. That’s something that happened to us – that’s an injury we sustained, and it deeply hurt us. So the time has come for us to recover and to bring music back to the people in a way that they can recognize it in their souls – through the window of their souls, their ears. So they can feel and vibrate and so that they can get goosebumps. We cherish those lollipop goosebumps. We really need those."
 


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#6 ColonelForbin

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 10:08 AM

HAHAHHAHAA! That made my day :)

 

I can TOTALLY hear Neil Young saying "lollipop goosebumps", right??


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#7 charlyg

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 10:20 AM

Well, 4-track was higher quality audio than 8-track or cassette, but it had other issues that affected(consistent tape speed being one) the sonic quality. In the realm of tape machines, wider tape and more speed make for higher quality audio, everything else being equal. I seem to like 192, but higher than that I need to have an awesome stereo to appreciate the diff.


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#8 gunpointmetal

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 10:39 AM

I'm pretty sure once you pump through bluetooth, it doesn't really matter what the source material is...and 24bit is higher than "commercial" resolution as CD's are still only 16 bit.....its a cool idea, but 95% consumer's never notice that their digital music is only capable of being sub-par on any system because A) most people are "passive" listeners, if it isn't off-putting to hear, it sounds good and B) they're listening to it on $10 earbuds, $300 lollipop headphones like Beats (which sound like a poorly mixed club PA, if you ask me) or a car stereo, or some little dock speaker where that extra quality is unnoticed. I think consumer stuff will stay the same or drop in quality, and I doubt that the "Audiophile" stuff will make it mass-market mainstream. 


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#9 charlyg

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 10:43 AM

I have spent my whole life riding the wave of technology at the pro-sumer level. It's not for everyone, but it's where I sit, and the quality is fine. Neither audiophile nor earbud-ist.


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#10 cruisinon2

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 11:22 AM

Not hear to talk lollipop about what it is or isn't.. :)

 

Done enough of that! It's not an HD and it's not a DT, big whoop.

 

The conversation I am interested in, is the future of audio sound quality in general, and the place and role companies like Line6 and Apple will have in that future. Now, we all know that .MP3's are the bedrock of the iTunes business model. What is the top resolution on any given professionally mastered .MP3? 320kbps or something?

 

Now, take a sideways gander at Neil Young, and his idea - which seems to be going forward, but not very quickly. Among his various projects, including the LincVolt, is his music player idea. I am not sure what the current name is, I think it's "PONO".

 

To summarize, Neil Young wants to make iPod sized devices that will use music files rendered in Studio Master quality, iE, 24bit /192k. Here are a couple of links discussing this project:

 

Pono - website

 

Pono - Forbes

 

Pono - Cnet

 

Pono - Rolling Stone

 

Ok. So, the future is BRIGHT for music! But the "powers which be" are going to need to change and adapt to stay current. I for one, have a huge library of music in MP3 format, and I rarely if ever listen to any of it. It's convenient, it's easy, it's portable - it's just not satisfying. That there is truly something lacking in music dumbed down to MP3 is fact, evident, and real. It's not just a small percentage of the population with advanced ears who can tell the different between a 24bit .WAV file, and a 320kbps MP3.

 

That being said, Line6 is already on their way to higher definition, higher resolution audio. The HD series amp modelling is their first serious foray into that market. The Amplifi, for all it's next gen conceptualization, is not. Because it is built on the premise that MP3 is acceptable. Now, you don't HAVE to use MP3's, I would imagine if you put a .wav file on your iPad, and stream it Bluetooth, it should still all work, and if the metadata can be saved with the .wav file, then tone matching should work.

 

But what about a 24 bit / 192k .wav file? Because that is what PONO is trying to do. According to the Rolling Stone article, major studios are already on board with this concept, and have already begun the process to render their catalogs in the higher definition audio.

 

To quote Neil:

 

"The simplest way to describe what we've accomplished is that we've liberated the music of the artist from the digital file and restored it to its original artistic quality – as it was in the studio," wrote Young. "So it has primal power."

 

"PONO starts at the source: artist-approved studio masters we've been given special access to," Young continued. "Then we work with our brilliant partners at Meridian to unlock the richness of the artist's music to you. There is nothing like hearing this music - and we are working hard to make that experience available to all music lovers, soon."

 

From my perspective, the Amplifi will quickly find itself at a cross roads if something like this gains traction, and for my $$s, I am 100% onboard. MP3's are horrible, for quality listening. They are the fast food of the music industry. MP3's take everything special about music and distill it to a bland, low quality snapshot, lacking in the true essence of why music moves us all, and motivates us to spend so much time and money on gear to MAKE music.

 

Sooner, rather than later, companies like Line6 and Apple are going to need to quickly change their tune, and gear like the Amplifi will be caught in that cross current. I think the idea of Amplifi is great. I find the execution lacking, but that doesn't really matter. It's how Line6 responds to what is coming, and still yet to be that will define them going forward.

 

 

The only thing I disagree with is people's desire for, and the industry's willingness to provide, a quality product. We (collectively) have an amazing tolerance for absolute crap in this country. And we seem to value convenience over quality in just about every way imaginable. Add to that the fact that the music industry is a dinosaur, in a lot of ways still desperately clinging to an ancient business model that continues to be WAY too slow to embrace new technology when it comes down to how they are going to sell you the final product. How many years did they waste trying to maintain their stranglehold on the CD market, with it's hilarious profit margins? All while completely ignoring the fact that people obviously wanted the a la carte iTunes model. It's the same thinking (or lack thereof) that killed Detroit.

 

I agree that MP3s don't sound great...but I also think that the average person neither knows, cares, nor has an expensive enough stereo to hear the difference. They think that Britney Spears and Lady Gaga are actually singing as they twist themselves into pretzels, while galloping from one end of the stage to the other. And they're listening through 4 cent earbuds, or $300 everything-in-a-box surround sound setups with worse speakers than a bullhorn.  Get it cheap, get it now is what matters to the average consumer. Musicians and (mostly) well-heeled audiophiles will never think that way...but that's a tiny percentage of the music buying public, and thus they will be ignored largely ignored by an industry where the only genuine interest is the bottom line. Just my $0.02...


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#11 phil_m

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 12:03 PM

I agree that MP3s don't sound great...but I also think that the average person neither knows, cares, nor has an expensive enough stereo to hear the difference. They think that Britney Spears and Lady Gaga are actually singing as they twist themselves into pretzels, while galloping from one end of the stage to the other. And they're listening through 4 cent earbuds, or $300 everything-in-a-box surround sound setups with worse speakers than a bullhorn.  Get it cheap, get it now is what matters to the average consumer. Musicians and (mostly) well-heeled audiophiles will never think that way...but we're the minority. Just my $0.02...

 

The thing is though, MP3's sound much better in my car than when I was dubbing CDs onto tapes. It's also much more convenient, like an order of magnitude more convenient, to plug my iPod into my car stereo's aux in and have access to my entire music collection than it is to bring CDs with me on a trip. And, really, the car and work are probably where I listen to music most often nowadays.

 

And, personally, I actually think much of the cheaper audio stuff available now sounds pretty darn good for what it is. $200 now buys you a lot more now in the way of sound quality than $200 15 or 20 years ago.


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#12 jeffois77

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 01:36 PM

I use iTunes and have zero problems with mp3/4 audio files.  They sound great played through any of my decent to high end systems.  Everything else in my library is ripped as lossless or WAV and are 1000kbps +.  Can I tell the difference between the 2 when blasting them out of my $1000 Denon?  Nope.

 

For me, the future is in storage, and how to store thousands of uncompressed audio files without needing offsite server farms.  If I took my current 10,000 song library, which is seriously next to nothing these days, and wanted them all as uncompressed WAVs or whathaveyou, I'd be buying dozens of TB drives, and then backing them up?  Forget about it.  I'm going with convenience and 'good enough for rock'n'roll'.

 

As far as the Amplifi goes, there's nothing lacking here at this price point and no one is pretending it's something it isn't.  Not sure what is up with the passive product bashing.  Anyways, I've mic'd it and gone line out and the results are impressive to say the least, making the value here truly astounding.  I've already laid multiple tracks down at 2 different studios and everyone loves this thing.


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#13 Rowbi

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 02:00 PM

Not hear to talk lollipop about what it is or isn't.. :)

 

Done enough of that! It's not an HD and it's not a DT, big whoop.

 

The conversation I am interested in, is the future of audio sound quality in general, and the place and role companies like Line6 and Apple will have in that future. Now, we all know that .MP3's are the bedrock of the iTunes business model. What is the top resolution on any given professionally mastered .MP3? 320kbps or something?

 

 

with a young family around the house, I don't have any of my decent stereo gear or even studio monitors out any more - nor any CD's - they'd get damaged (some did before I put them all in the loft).  all I have are iphone docs, small PC speakers, the TV hooked up to my playstation to stream music from my NAS box and headphones... I can see the need for audiophile quality in the world - but I can't see I'll ever need it.  I'm more than happy for anyone else out there who can hear the difference and who can appreciate it, but I can't see that it will be for the consumer market until the storage required or wireless internet speeds are such that streaming or storing such uncompressed audio is as quick as MP3s are today...  I think that could take a long time :-)

 

all that said - nothing about this topic is about the amplify, it's about recorded music quality in general so I'm going to look at moving this topic to the lounge where it will fit best.

 

despite me not thinking this is for me, it is a very interesting topic...

 

thanks

 

Andy


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#14 gunpointmetal

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 02:13 PM

I use iTunes and have zero problems with mp3/4 audio files.  They sound great played through any of my decent to high end systems.  Everything else in my library is ripped as lossless or WAV and are 1000kbps +.  Can I tell the difference between the 2 when blasting them out of my $1000 Denon?  Nope.

 

For me, the future is in storage, and how to store thousands of uncompressed audio files without needing offsite server farms.  If I took my current 10,000 song library, which is seriously next to nothing these days, and wanted them all as uncompressed WAVs or whathaveyou, I'd be buying dozens of TB drives, and then backing them up?  Forget about it.  I'm going with convenience and 'good enough for rock'n'roll'.

 

As far as the Amplifi goes, there's nothing lacking here at this price point and no one is pretending it's something it isn't.  Not sure what is up with the passive product bashing.  Anyways, I've mic'd it and gone line out and the results are impressive to say the least, making the value here truly astounding.  I've already laid multiple tracks down at 2 different studios and everyone loves this thing.

How did you manage mic'ing it? L/R/C microphones? 


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#15 jeffois77

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 09:28 AM

3 mics.  One offcenter middle of the 12", one lower left, and one about a foot away near the upper right top section.  The amp is angled upwards on a stand.  I'm getting really rich clean and overdriven tones into Protools.  I need to tweak placements more, though, so far I just go with one sound and play for hours forgetting to move anything around...


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#16 ColonelForbin

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 09:08 AM

I gotta say, the actual hardware looks really cool - and it makes this whole concept a WHOLE LOT MORE REAL~! PONO, that is  :)

 

Kudos to Neil Young for believing in himself, and in the MUSIC!!!!

 

https://www.kickstar...discovers-music

 

PONO Player Image1

 

PONO Player Image2

 

PONO Player Image3

 

PONO Player Image4

 

PONO Player Image5


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#17 RNRage

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Posted 21 March 2014 - 07:38 PM

To dumb everything down.. It doesn't matter what quality the music is mixed to.. If the audience is still listening to the product through 10 dollar headphones.. It won't make a difference.. Especially when 95% of the audience doesn't care what the quality even is.. They just want to hear their favorite tunes being played. I respect what Neil Young is trying to do.. BUT. I don't think it's going to catch on to mainstream use. He is building a portable music player for a niche market.

That being said.. I'd buy one.. And I truly hope it catches on. I still have my "hi-fi" stereo setup. It's worth well more than my guitar rig, recording rig, keyboard rig, bass rig, and pa gear combined.. And probably my only hobby that I enjoy more than playing and creating music. So, I'm all for better quality portable music.. But remember, the quality is only as good as what you're using to listen to it with.
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#18 cruisinon2

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Posted 22 March 2014 - 02:33 PM

So, I'm all for better quality portable music.. But remember, the quality is only as good as what you're using to listen to it with.



True...but the final link in the chain, what we're all listening with...is a brain. And seriously, how many quality brains do you run across in your daily travels? The answer to that question makes me shudder...which is why a product like this will never catch on with the masses.

There will always be shiny expensive stuff for the rich folks, and the handful of others who know what good is, and who are willing to pay for it. But Joe Average consumer wants things cheap, fast, and big (big in the 'more bang for your buck' sense...not necessarliy physical size). For this reason, whatever the next phase in music storage media turns out to be, it will likely be even sh*ttier in quality than MP3's. The next thing that comes along that allows the storage of twice as much music in half the space, and at half the cost, is what people will gravitate towards. Most people don't want, or care about quality. They want something that gets the job done at a price they can afford...there will alwaye be more beat up Chevys than Ferraris.
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#19 RNRage

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Posted 22 March 2014 - 08:47 PM

I can agree with more or less, everything on this post. Spot on. I have though, started to give in to the fact that MP3's are today's new standard. Every piece of digital music I own (besides what I have personally recorded) is an MP3 and gets played through an iWhatever. If you think the difference is night and day from an MP3 compared to a WAV on $500 studio monitors.. You should hear the difference in sound through some Klipsch Palladium columns with a Rogue Audio Atlas Magnum stereo tube power amp and an AES AE-3 MKII tube preamp. You'd cringe. I do.

True...but the final link in the chain, what we're all listening with...is a brain. And seriously, how many quality brains do you run across in your daily travels? The answer to that question makes me shudder...which is why a product like this will never catch on with the masses.

There will always be shiny expensive stuff for the rich folks, and the handful of others who know what good is, and who are willing to pay for it. But Joe Average consumer wants things cheap, fast, and big (big in the 'more bang for your buck' sense...not necessarliy physical size). For this reason, whatever the next phase in music storage media turns out to be, it will likely be even sh*ttier in quality than MP3's. The next thing that comes along that allows the storage of twice as much music in half the space, and at half the cost, is what people will gravitate towards. Most people don't want, or care about quality. They want something that gets the job done at a price they can afford...there will alwaye be more beat up Chevys than Ferraris.


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#20 cruisinon2

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Posted 23 March 2014 - 09:37 AM

You should hear the difference in sound through some Klipsch Palladium columns with a Rogue Audio Atlas Magnum stereo tube power amp and an AES AE-3 MKII tube preamp. You'd cringe. I do.


If that's what you've got in the living room, I'm coming over, lol. I'll bring the beer...
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#21 RNRage

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Posted 23 March 2014 - 06:42 PM

It took me the better part of 5 years to source the equipment used at a good price. It's all in mint condition and it cost me less than half the price than if I were to buy new. Rogue Audio makes really nice stuff. Great customer service, as well.

And lol @ your comment, haha. My home stereo is the only thing that I take more pride in than my guitar gear, lol.

If that's what you've got in the living room, I'm coming over, lol. I'll bring the beer...


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Amps: Mesa Boogie, Fender, Blackheart, Line 6
Guitars: Fender, Gibson, Epiphone, Takamine
Effects: Line 6, Boss, MXR, DOD, Ibanez, Crafter, Mesa Boogie, Heil, Morley




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