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Are my CA expectations in need of adjustment?


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I have been thinking lately that I may have unrealistic expectations for CA as a “journalistic” entity. My expectations are not cast in stone and I certainly can adjust them if they prove to be in need of adjustment.

 

This self examination has come about because of the yearly bombast they call CES. I understand that covering CES is a large undertaking, frankly somewhat impossible, but there seems to be no timely attempt at any coverage from CA. CA seems to be developing a cadre of reviewers but nobody has offered any snippets of info from the show so far that I have seen. No simple tidbits like “Hey guys, just heard an interesting DAC from X company, specs are such ____, will try to get a review sample”, or “heard a new streaming service that seems to have promise”, or “sat in on an expert panel about hires will report in the next few weeks.” We live in an age where the information (news) cycle is very compressed, the old print schedule doesn't work anymore, and we could literally have a running commentary sent from a cell phone right from the show floor. I can't wait 4-6 weeks for the print edition of Stereophile or Absolute Sound for the coverage of CES, today's world isn't set up like that. As such, I have had to rely on other sources for information. I have found info elsewhere from the current CES on DSD on Pono, the new USB3.1/C type cable, and the tabletop Hugo DAC. Nothing from CA. Unfortunately this seems to be par for the course with any of the recent, regularly scheduled shows, the coverage has been severely lacking.

 

I have always found the forums useful and interesting, more so lately than a good portion of the articles which seem to be reports of company paid trips to factories and showrooms and subsequent glowing equipment reviews. Also the site seems to be slightly off balance, skewing more to the high end and I feel that with some of the subjects that show up regularly in the forums and a general lack of affordable, practical equipment reviews that a “Beginners Corner” or “CA on a Budget” feature might be appropriate. Reading between the lines of the site I get the impression that those suggestions would be thought of as “slumming it”, correct me if I am wrong. For instance, recent C.A.P.S. and networking articles are full of information that is probably beyond reach of many readers, even though somewhat interesting. Where are the options and info for those of us who can't afford a thousand dollars worth of networking cables and equipment or a multi-thousand dollar server? Am I wrong to think that there is a need for more coverage of decent, basic, computer audio equipment and “tutorials” here?

 

It boils down to my original premise: Are my expectations for news and information from CA unrealistic?

Jim

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What keeps a lot of us here in the longer run is that CA is about the substance, not the "bling" of computer audio. CES is a great place to "see" all that is new; but not a good place to really "hear" what is better (very hard to get the sound right in that environment due to the sonics of the rooms and the crowd noise). So there will certainly be snippets of news (like the desk-top version of the Chord Hugo), but for the most part this audience wants to test it and hear it in their own systems (which implies the lag factor you are trying to avoid).

 

The quality and level of expertise of some of the forum participants here is outstanding and it can certainly lead to some extraordinarily technical discussions far beyond the average reader. But what a great place to learn!

 

There probably is something that we could collectively do to capture the "state of the art for the ordinary man" (if there is such a thing) that provides a more structured learning curve on how to get into this hobby, what parts to play around with, where you might try DIY, etc. I would also note that for a lot of folks here it is very much about "high-end sound" but by no means high-end prices. You can build a great computer audio based system for less than $10k. Of course you can also easily spend $100-200k, but that isn't really what this crowd is about.

Synology NAS>i7-6700/32GB/NVIDIA QUADRO P4000 Win10>Qobuz+Tidal>Roon>HQPlayer>DSD512> Fiber Switch>Ultrarendu (NAA)>Holo Audio May KTE DAC> Bryston SP3 pre>Levinson No. 432 amps>Magnepan (MG20.1x2, CCR and MMC2x6)

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