The Holy Grail of High-end Audio
From my point of view the Holy Grail of High-end Audio is
- not about technology
- not about sound and resolution and dynamics [though they are so much fun!]
- not even really about the music [though I have my preferences]
- It is about the experience: how it makes me feel and the ‘places’ it takes me.
Haven’t been posting a lot lately. A lot of this is because we have kind of been stuck travelling around the solar system and out among the stars.
See, it just so happened that we got the big Acapella Apollon loudspeakers, the Audio Note flagship Gaku-on amplifiers and the flagship Harmonic Resolution Systems equipment rack AND Roon all at more or less the same time.
Didn’t plan it this way. Would have tried to avoid it if we could do it over again. But here we are.
The OVERWHELMING improvement in the quality and depth of the experience, over what was already one of if not THE best in the Bay Area [my apologies to those who are burnt out on the all the lying superlatives tinged with righteous indignation that the poor internet in drowning in these days – but how else am I to describe this experience?], has been so significant that my ability to focus and report on what we are hearing is extremely difficult.
Let’s come back to Earth and talk about Roon.
Our audacious goal had been to make Roon sound as good as or better than other most other systems when they play vinyl or CD.
We lucked out in that the Audio Note level 5 DACs are a great match for streaming music. Their design has always been great for making average redbook CDs sound like they are supposed to [as opposed to the majority of other DACs that emphasize the flaws and only sound good on ‘audiophile-grade recordings’]. And this has translated perfectly to making streaming music sound like it is supposed to.
When the industry went from vinyl to CD, all we got was a little more convenience. Going from CD to streaming, we got literally 1000s of times more music. For old timers like me this is like Christmas over and over and over again.
I thought I had all of Frisell’s albums. Nope. And Jarre’s and Floyd’s and Neil’s. Nope. So many [new to me] albums of my favorite artists to be played. And more or less for free. [ And I can find them when I want to 🙂 ]
And they sound GREAT.
I mean, what can I say? [I can say the EMM Labs NS1 is a big step up over the old Auralic streamer. More detail, flatter response, less grunge. There you do, standard audiophile stuff]
This whole thing has been almost a religious experience [and I wonder about that ‘almost’]. The experience is ongoing …and I will write more about the Experience until I am better able to write about the nitty gritty audiophile details.
The cover photo is from the 10 hour long video [it gets boring after like a minute, IMO, but cool idea]: