27 June 2012
As I sIt on the front porch and watch the mist clear as the sun rises, it's 5AM in sleepy Amboy WA and I realized that summer is truly with us.
For me this means less rain, more outside work on the property and a busy travel schedule. HK, Shanghai, Vietnam, L.A. and Denver lay ahead of me.
Being born and raised in Alaska makes me even more sensitive to and appreciative of, the shift from Winter into Spring and Summer. The dark winters and LONG summer days of my youth meant a quantum shift in my outlook and re-juvination of spirit as the seasons changed.
This must be ingrained in my psyche as I still feel this internal shift when summer dawns in rural WA.
2012 is the year of the KWI 200 Integrated Amp and introduction of ModWright's first DAC. The DAC, currently only available as an internal upgrade for the LS 100 tube preamp and KWI 200 Integrated Amp, will be released as a standalone design in the future. No release date yet for the standalone DAC, but it is proceeding nicely. All designs are fully asynchronous, 24/192 capable with USB and SPDIF (RCA) inputs at a minimum.
Along with a transition in my own head and seasons, I feel a shift also, not just in the global order itself, but in the world of audio. The way we enjoy music is changing. People are looking to simplify, as the benefits of technology provide what I like to call 'Modern Integration'.
There is a shift towards Integrated amplifiers these days...products that are TRULY integrated designs, not just scaled down versions of their respective separates. We seek a greater simplicity in our lives, but not at the expense of sonics.
Computer audio and smart phones have helped this change and technology as a whole, has made us accustomed to doing more with less. Often times, such as the case of MP3 and compressed audio, this comes at a price. However, with incredibly cheap memory, Solid State and conventional hard drives, storage space is no longer a concern. As a result, FLAC, WAV, AIFF and all uncompressed formats, with resolutions as high as 24/192 are now available to us, that were previously not available on a silver disc - excepting DVD-A and SACD.
My Spring and summer evenings involve landscaping, roto-tilling, tree pruning and gardening. This insures that I get my daily dose of vitamin D, much needed exercise and a re-connection to the earth. I simply spend too much time in my office/shop in the winter time and need to re-charge in the summer!
In the evenings, I find myself relaxing with headphones and my smart phone. OK, so uncompressed files are on the phone at least, but I find myself shocked at how good this is, and how far technology has come.
As summer yawns warmly ahead and visions of the Far East and LONG plane rides await, I am excited about the future of audio. 'Modern Integration' is a GOOD thing. Computers, smart phones, Integrated amps and the way we enjoy music is changing, for the better.
I have personally chosen to embrace this and hope that younger people will be encouraged to toss their MP3 tracks and enjoy hi-rez downloads through GOOD systems. High end is evolving, just like all of us and the rest of the world.
Change isn't always bad...
President, ModWright Instruments Inc.