Industry news: the next crack in the ice....

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
It's wonderful to see people reaching for a new level instead of just rehashing old thinking and dogma.
 

Prime Minister

Site Owner
Staff member
Damn. That is impressive. As I've said before, with audio, these are the good old days.

Just a thought though. Did I buy my speakers too soon? :)
 
Last edited:

MikeO

Active Member
Damn. That is impressive. As I've said before, with audio, these are the good old days.

Just a thought though. Did I buy my speakers you soon? :)
Always an issue with state of the art technology even though I am sure you are just joking here. I believe at least one of the designers is the designer of the Kii speakers that several reviewers really seem to love. I have to admit they look very impressive but you really are getting to the price point of a new car with those. John Darko has a long interview with him on YouTube which is worth watching.
 

S0und Dragon

Junior Member
I can see me not buying a new high powered amp in the not too distant future. I can see my next set of speakers being active with DSP ala Meadowlark Kite and Predator or Vandersteen 5A Carbons. It truly is a wonderful time to graze one's thumb along the cutting edge.
 

Pat McGinty

Senior Member
Damn. That is impressive. As I've said before, with audio, these are the good old days.

Just a thought though. Did I buy my speakers too soon? :)
Ha! The new tech is a just babe in swaddling clothes. If you're gonna wait 'til it's mature, you'll grow old and while missing all of the fun. You should expect things to accelerate. And the industry is counting on aficionados to pay the freight; considering the alternative, that's fine with me.

IMO - the only smart move jump right in and enjoy the ride. Dump your conventional gear while you can ;-)
 

fiddlefye

Senior Member
Ha! The new tech is a just babe in swaddling clothes. If you're gonna wait 'til it's mature, you'll grow old and while missing all of the fun. You should expect things to accelerate. And the industry is counting on aficionados to pay the freight; considering the alternative, that's fine with me.

IMO - the only smart move jump right in and enjoy the ride. Dump your conventional gear while you can ;-)
You do bring up a couple of points I was pondering making in the thread on the PM's new speakers.

The first is from the standpoint of those of us of minimal budget. As you point out - while DSP, switching PS amps and self-powered speakers have been around awhile now the tech really is still in relative infancy taken as a whole in terms of home audio. So far the tech hasn't to any degree moved down the ladder to the point of affordability for many of us (speaking personally). I have a strong feeling that eventually it will become the most cost effective way to get good audio, but when will that crossover point come?

I am hoping that speakers etc. can be designed in such a way as to be capable of taking advantage of emerging improvements in the tech, where in terms of programming, amplification, sensors etc. Is that something that is likely to be in the cards?
 

MikeO

Active Member
You do bring up a couple of points I was pondering making in the thread on the PM's new speakers.

The first is from the standpoint of those of us of minimal budget. As you point out - while DSP, switching PS amps and self-powered speakers have been around awhile now the tech really is still in relative infancy taken as a whole in terms of home audio. So far the tech hasn't to any degree moved down the ladder to the point of affordability for many of us (speaking personally). I have a strong feeling that eventually it will become the most cost effective way to get good audio, but when will that crossover point come?

I would suggest that Sonos would be an answer here. A pair of Sonos ones or play ones supplemented with the Sonos Sub. Using their room tuning

I am hoping that speakers etc. can be designed in such a way as to be capable of taking advantage of emerging improvements in the tech, where in terms of programming, amplification, sensors etc. Is that something that is likely to be in the cards?
You do bring up a couple of points I was pondering making in the thread on the PM's new speakers.

The first is from the standpoint of those of us of minimal budget. As you point out - while DSP, switching PS amps and self-powered speakers have been around awhile now the tech really is still in relative infancy taken as a whole in terms of home audio. So far the tech hasn't to any degree moved down the ladder to the point of affordability for many of us (speaking personally). I have a strong feeling that eventually it will become the most cost effective way to get good audio, but when will that crossover point come?

I am hoping that speakers etc. can be designed in such a way as to be capable of taking advantage of emerging improvements in the tech, where in terms of programming, amplification, sensors etc. Is that something that is likely to be in the cards?
I would suggest that Sonos would be an answer to this. Not suggesting it is at the same level as the kites or the kiis but a pair of Sonos ones or play ones supplemented with the Sonos Sub and tuned to the room using their room tuning app. I know many here use connects or even individual sonos products but to get the full advantage of dsp and perfect matching via software I would think you would need to use a system built only with their products. You could do a pair of one's and sub for about 1300 CDN and all the software and tools are included.
 

Prime Minister

Site Owner
Staff member
As @MikeO the technology is widely available, and need not be that expensive. You just don't hear much talk about it on the equipment fetishist sites. Like this one. :)
 
... eventually it will become the most cost effective way to get good audio, but when will that crossover point come?
It's already here. The 2-channel 'home stereo' industry is all but dead except for the "high end" dinosaurs (like us). The incumbent high-end brands have huge incentives not to undercut the decades of advertising they've already invested in, but the writing is on the wall.

Home Theater and whole-home audio is where the industry is making money, and they've been selling the fancy tech like hotcakes, even if they don't advertise it that way. @MikeO nailed it with Sonos (all those Alexa speakers are the same tech). Just last week at the local hi-fi shop, I heard a $500 Sonos that sounded more satisfying than $5K Totem floorstanders. Admittedly, the Sonos sounded like it was playing clever tricks with speaker phasing to do that "huge" thing, but 99% of customers just want room-filling music, not holographic soundstaging and microdynamics. Sonos does that very well.
 

fiddlefye

Senior Member
It's already here. The 2-channel 'home stereo' industry is all but dead except for the "high end" dinosaurs (like us). The incumbent high-end brands have huge incentives not to undercut the decades of advertising they've already invested in, but the writing is on the wall.

Home Theater and whole-home audio is where the industry is making money, and they've been selling the fancy tech like hotcakes, even if they don't advertise it that way. @MikeO nailed it with Sonos (all those Alexa speakers are the same tech). Just last week at the local hi-fi shop, I heard a $500 Sonos that sounded more satisfying than $5K Totem floorstanders. Admittedly, the Sonos sounded like it was playing clever tricks with speaker phasing to do that "huge" thing, but 99% of customers just want room-filling music, not holographic soundstaging and microdynamics. Sonos does that very well.
Here's the thing, though. Those of us who have zero interest whole home audio, home theatre and no wish to be tied to a system like Sonos etc. are going to find it a whole lot more challenging to incorporate this sort of tech. What I'm hoping is that at some point the tech starts to rub off more easily and affordably into the two-channel world where many of us reside.
 

MikeO

Active Member
The real beauty of systems like these, and especially like the Kites is that the whole system is designed to work as a unit. I would expect that you could just add a good quality streamer (bluesound node?) to a set of kites and then add a tidal or deezer subscription and be done. Access to the best sounding music most will have ever heard in their homes with no shelves full of gear, no bass traps in every corner of their living room, in a very compact system not much larger than an 80s ghetto blaster.
 

MikeO

Active Member
Here's the thing, though. Those of us who have zero interest whole home audio, home theatre and no wish to be tied to a system like Sonos etc. are going to find it a whole lot more challenging to incorporate this sort of tech. What I'm hoping is that at some point the tech starts to rub off more easily and affordably into the two-channel world where many of us reside.
I think that the reason these systems can exist is only that whole ecosystems exist around them. The reason the Sonos solution works well is that they can write the software that only has to account for three or four configurations of hardware. Just like the Apple ecosystem seems to work really well when you fully buy In, it also falls apart quickly when you want to mix and match. I was a loyal tidal subscriber for years but as soon as I bought Amazon devices home I couldn't stream to them so switched to deezer.
 

Prime Minister

Site Owner
Staff member
Here's the thing, though. Those of us who have zero interest whole home audio, home theatre and no wish to be tied to a system like Sonos etc. are going to find it a whole lot more challenging to incorporate this sort of tech. What I'm hoping is that at some point the tech starts to rub off more easily and affordably into the two-channel world where many of us reside.
Just pick and choose what you need. My Node is my digital source, and a completely stand alone component. I'm connected to nothing else in my house, except for my router for internet. Just a simple, 2 channel system, but one that is closer to the source then anything we have yet been able to do. Which to me is very cool.
 

fiddlefye

Senior Member
Just pick and choose what you need. My Node is my digital source, and a completely stand alone component. I'm connected to nothing else in my house, except for my router for internet. Just a simple, 2 channel system, but one that is closer to the source then anything we have yet been able to do. Which to me is very cool.
I was thinking more of the stuff that happens downstream from that, the DSP (in particular), powered speakers etc. The Node is very cool, but sort of an answer to a question I haven't seriously asked. Maybe one day, but at this point I'm listening mostly either to over-air radio or something from my library in (ultimately) analogue in some form or the other.
 

MikeO

Active Member
I was thinking more of the stuff that happens downstream from that, the DSP (in particular), powered speakers etc. The Node is very cool, but sort of an answer to a question I haven't seriously asked. Maybe one day, but at this point I'm listening mostly either to over-air radio or something from my library in (ultimately) analogue in some form or the other.
I haven't personally heard a pair of these but the Neumann KH 80 DSP seem to be a good place to start. Meant mainly for the studio they are 4 inch active monitors that make use of dsp at around 1000 USD a pair. You could likely hear a pair at anyplace which has a decent supply of studio gear for sale.

 

Prime Minister

Site Owner
Staff member
I was thinking more of the stuff that happens downstream from that, the DSP (in particular), powered speakers etc. The Node is very cool, but sort of an answer to a question I haven't seriously asked. Maybe one day, but at this point I'm listening mostly either to over-air radio or something from my library in (ultimately) analogue in some form or the other.
Your sources need not effect anything after them. Yes, if you want to run analog sources, you will need a preamp of some kind, but after that, you can go as modern as you want. External DSP to tweak your room? Go for it. Or go all in like I have and do the full monty, powered speakers with DSP and room tuning built in.

One nice thing for me, that does mitigate a substantial cash outlay, is the fact that I can sell my monoblocks if the Meadowlarks work out as intended. And my speakers too. Pat recommends going the full Monty, and streaming directly into the DAC in the speakers. I've got too much in the way of great records to go all in that way, but it's an intriguing thought. My whole system would be an iPad, a Bluesound Node or Vault, and a pair of speakers. Peachy keen!
 

fiddlefye

Senior Member
Your sources need not effect anything after them. Yes, if you want to run analog sources, you will need a preamp of some kind, but after that, you can go as modern as you want. External DSP to tweak your room? Go for it. Or go all in like I have and do the full monty, powered speakers with DSP and room tuning built in.

One nice thing for me, that does mitigate a substantial cash outlay, is the fact that I can sell my monoblocks if the Meadowlarks work out as intended. And my speakers too. Pat recommends going the full Monty, and streaming directly into the DAC in the speakers. I've got too much in the way of great records to go all in that way, but it's an intriguing thought. My whole system would be an iPad, a Bluesound Node or Vault, and a pair of speakers. Peachy keen!
That would be super convenient for sure. For me it would also spoil part of my fun (and occasional frustration, of course), going to the shelf, pulling things out, looking at the covers etc. I've got a pretty big collection of LPs (somewhere between 3 and 4k of the things) and they get more of my attention lately than anything else. CDs could get loaded on a drive at some point. Even when I had my computer hooked into my system (soon to be once more, or so I hope) I seldom used it as a source. Old habits and the pleasure derived from thereof partly I suspect?

I like what I've got going now, but it would be interesting to hear how DSP dealt with my listening situation.
 
Top