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Welcome to my rather off-beat Hi-Fi pages.

Here, I will be championing the virtues of Single-ended Triode amplification as well as those of building your own Hi-Fi system and sharing my experiences and opinions with you.

You may well not agree with some of my opinions but I am trying to be as honest as possible; basing them on real experience where I can, rather than what is read and accepted in the Hi-Fi press.

I wish I could say that I have experimented to the Nth degree, but Hi-Fi isn't exactly a cheap persuit.

I don't know how old you are but if you can remember the sixties or seventies you may find yourself being much more interested in the memory of music from then than you are of listening to it now - even the same recording that you remember so well can be so disappointing when you hear it again. In fact, I know and have known many people who buy Hi-Fi in a desperate attempt to get back to the enjoyment of audio as they remember it from their childhood but end up frustrated by the results - putting it down to such things as hearing loss with age etc.

I have found that one of the ingredients towards re-gaining musical satisfaction is the use of single-ended triode valve amplification. I just couldn't consider going back to the sterility of transistor amplifiers anymore. I'm still keeping my old Linn amp; just in case the kids ever want a stereo for their bedroom one day.

I also believe that one of the main reasons for music taking a downturn in both quality and talent is that the introduction of CD was one of the worse things to happen to music. I confess to being duped like the majority of people around the world, into believing that the, then, new technology simply had to be better. And so it was, if you only had a mediocre hi-fi to feed it with (let's face it, good turntable set-ups were very expensive). As a result, music got even simpler, more tedious, and less dynamic. Simpler, in fact, to the extent that some may not even called it music anymore. CD can do 'quite' a good job but again, only if you have the right components to allow it to do so.

One of the most unfortunate side-effects of the situation is that engineers are now resorting to the use of dynamic companders, and the like, to master CD's. What this means is the use of compression and expansion techniques to modify the music so that subtle, quiet parts of the music are brought more to the forefront of the music - creating a wall of sound, rather than a multi-layered and textured structure. CD's then sound pretty much the same (in terms of dynamics) on your car stereo as they do on a Hi-Fi. The downside of this is that subtleties, even to the point of a musician's feeling that he put into the recording, can be lost forever or just sound like much of a much ness.

If then, our future musicians can no longer hear the subtleties and nuances of the best players as they originally performed or the interplay of different instruments in a good arrangement, how can they then be inspired (via recordings) to aspire to new heights? Is this what is happening to music? It appears so to me as fewer and fewer new musicians appear to be able to put real feeling or innovation into their music anymore - relying more and more on special effects and gadgetry. At best, we end up with technical perfection at worse we end up with the death of music.


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