One of my favourite devices is my BDP-S5200 Blu-Ray player by Sony. It streams movies, plays hi-res music and most discs. And it just became turbo-charged:
The studio model for media creation is clearly taking a hit from various online companies (See this link for nice details), and I love to imagine what will be the real disrupting force in audiophile land. I wrote recently on the merits of MQA and hardware disruption by software all over the world. I also think we are going to experience a more discrete form of hardware in the near future. Again this will be replicated easily, but there is still a need that I can see.
Specifically, i think there will be delivery of perfect sound direct to your ears wherever you are, whenever you want it, all in a non-intrusive fashion. (Let’s face it, headphones are a pain in the rear still). I’m picturing some sort of microchip for the ear or brain which transmits high-res files to the inner ear, all while on the move. Something like this, but for entertainment purposes only.
I already have a Marantz receiver. It decodes, amplifies and networks more audio signals than I will ever need. And yet…
…And yet i want another one this year with the slight upgrades all around.
The marketing machine in Audiophile-land, and in tech in general, means there is always something better about to be released. It’s easy to burn through money because of the stream of upgrades. Planned obsolescence.
Key then is to understand your needs versus your wants. I don’t need another receiver. I just want one. And so the marketing machine loses its potency.
I believe that of all the innovations this year in hifi and audio, MQA will have the biggest impact on the music industry this year. Not a new speaker design, or a new material or even a new motherboard. Those things are hardware, easy to replicate and almost perfected.
Software is eating the world and MQA software could be a way to add scarcity to music once again.