There’s a short answer to the question posed by the title of this article: “Of course they do.” I could leave it at that, in which case this would be the shortest article ever published on the SoundStage! Network. A slightly longer answer is that the place of physical media in Simplifi’d hi-fi is declining, just as it is in hi-fi in general. But make no mistake—vinyl and CD are still relevant.
Since 2018, the SoundStage! Network has been a member of the Expert Imaging and Sound Association. Each year, EISA presents awards in six categories: photography, mobile devices, in-car electronics, home-theater display, home-theater audio, and hi-fi. The SoundStage! Network is a voting member in the hi-fi category.
Sometimes when things don’t work out the way you’d planned, it’s all for the best. This article is a case in point. In my June 1 feature, “Lakeside Streaming,” I explained how I’ve made it simple for guests to stream video and music to the various TVs and smart speakers in our vacation home. In the conclusion of that article, I noted that I use Roon for music playback at home and explained how the Roon ARC app lets me access my Roon library when I’m away from home. “But Roon ARC is a subject all of its own,” I added, “which I’ll tackle later this summer.” That time has now come.
Among my better half’s innumerable gifts is an acute nose for real estate. I experienced this firsthand seven years ago, when we were enjoying a two-week holiday in Southampton, Ontario—a funky little Canadian beach town on Lake Huron. In addition to its lovely beaches, Southampton has some excellent restaurants, good shopping, an interesting history, and glorious sunsets.
Making predictions is a risky business. You can look like a genius if things work out the way you say they will, or a doofus if they don’t. In my annual “State of Streaming” feature, which was published February 15 on Simplifi, I made four predictions: Spotify would finally launch its lossless music service; Apple would release its long-awaited classical-music app; Apple might introduce an enhanced version of AirPlay that supports hi-rez audio (and possibly spatial audio as well); and Tidal might make it easier for subscribers to listen to Atmos-encoded multichannel music. I was quite confident about the first two predictions, moderately confident about the third, and only mildly so for the last one.
Canada’s PSB Speakers was founded in 1972 by Paul Barton. PSB celebrated its 50th anniversary on July 1 (Canada Day) last year with the release of the Passif 50 ($2499/pair, all prices in USD): a retro-inspired design that evokes PSB’s Passif I and Passif II models from the 1970s.
Typically, articles predicting developments for the coming year come out in early January, or even late December. But here we are, two weeks into February, and Simplifi finally has a feature outlining what we can expect from music streaming in 2023. Do I feel badly about this delay? Not in the least. Because when it comes to lateness, I have nothing on Spotify and Apple Music. Those streaming giants have both missed self-imposed deadlines by well over a year. With that excuse out of the way, here are three streaming stories I’ll be watching in 2023.
Sometime last spring, it became clear to me that I’d be upgrading my hi-fi setup before the year was out. Not that I was dissatisfied with the gear I already owned—quite the contrary. I loved listening to that system, which comprised an NAD C 658 streaming DAC-preamp ($1999, all prices in USD), a pair of Elac Navis ARF-51 active floorstanding speakers ($3999.96/pair), and an SVS Micro 3000 subwoofer ($899.99). That system has provided countless hours of listening pleasure for me, my music-loving missus, and visitors to our home.
Since the 1970s, record labels and audio manufacturers have been trying to convince music lovers to move beyond two-channel stereo. Music doesn’t just happen in front of us, argue proponents of surround music; it happens all around us. We could get a better experience if we added speakers beside and/or behind the listening position.
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