Future Hi-Fi:- As seen at the Bristol Hi-Fi exibition consisting of an Ipad2/Chord Amp/Dynaudio DM 2/6 Speakers ?

Snooker

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I saw this setup at the Bristol Hi-Fi exibition last February and was very impressed with it !, and the sound quality due to the Chord amp and the Dynaudio DM 2/6 speakers sounded absolutely stunning

Well it makes me wonder that if in the near future most people may actually prefer a system like this above as oppose to a typical current boxed all in one system at the moment

As we all know and this is not new of course, we could connect it to the internet to use our stored music data on the "cloud", and also play live streamed radio or play music direct from our stored data on our Ipad2 etc, or usb memory stick, and we could use a wired or wi-fi internet connection, and then use a wired or wi-fi connection to send the output to an amplifier connected to speakers, also any data passing through the tablet computer in question could be digitally recorded, like radio stations etc (which I don't think are around much at the moment)

The other good thing would be the "big screen" user display of the given tablet which could be next to us or on the shelf between the speakers, and may be we could use a similar much smaller touch screen remote if required

May be a dedicated tablet could be used with built in amplifier or that active speakers with a built in amp could be used

I just think a system like this would be very user friendly doing all that we would require and would look ultra modern, and possibly not that expensive compared to other Hi-Fi systems currently for the given sound quality as stated above

What do you think, and will current manufacturers make there systems "more like this" with smaller boxes having bigger display's and touch screens etc ?
 

Frank Harvey

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The iPad is definitely going to play a large part in control in future systems, as indeed, it has already started to, but whether the music itself will be stored on there really depends on iPads getting much more memory.
 

Snooker

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The more I think about it the tablet computer will connect to the internet etc, and with dedicated software will allow you to do virtually what you want with all your music from different sources displayed on a good sized screen and also allow you to see what song and track you are playing very clearly from a good distance as well, so that would only leave you to get an amplifier and speakers, and that is it !

So the sound quality will come down to just the amplifier (with built in power supply of course), and speakers as the music will be of digital format (obviously you will need a good known digital recording format), so after spending say a "fixed" price of £300-£400 on a tablet of your own choice which would "control" everything, then you would then just need to buy an amplifier and speakers, you could spend around £500 on speakers, and another £500 on an amplifier, now surely for that price of around say £1500 max, would anything else "really" sound any better !

What I am trying to say is when you currently buy a complete system with speakers at the moment, like an expensive naim all in one system for say £2000-£4000 pounds, well what are you paying for the "controlling part" if you like similar to our tablet computer stated above which you can buy for say £300-£400 pounds ? (Can you see where I am coming from as I feel it may be difficult to get my point across unless I am of course mistaken and after all it is late !)
 

Ajani

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FrankHarveyHiFi said:
The iPad is definitely going to play a large part in control in future systems, as indeed, it has already started to, but whether the music itself will be stored on there really depends on iPads getting much more memory.

I suspect the move will be more towards streaming high res music via the iPad to you HiFi, rather than storing songs on the ipad...
 
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Anonymous

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Interesting thread. I partially agree, I certainly think tablets will be part of the future of Hifi, but if we're talking control, then a modern smartphone is plenty. I use a NAS drive in another room, and a number squeezeboxes, and control then via my android phone.

Cloud playback might be the future, but if we want to "own" our own copy, then the current rates for storage are too high and upload speeds too low, especially as many people will want to be playing back full quality versions of their music.

Example...I have around 300 GB of music in FLAC and high bit rate MP3, and can play it back on any device in the house, or on the internet (assuming my router is switched on), including my phone (again, anywhere in the world), yet (for instance) MP3Tunes has a (free) 2GB limit...not much use to me.

Maybe if the likes of Amazon allow free space for all purchases, and download at CD quality straight into the cloud, then we may see it take off. But then of course you're tied to a single supplier, and of course at the whim of breaks in service...imagine you're hosting a party and Amazon cloud goes down...and you have no backup!

I don't see the hard-wired connection as important though. I have tried the squeezebox via CAT 5 and wireless, and to be honest, I can't tell any difference.

Basically, devices like the iPad, and smartphones will probably mainly used for control of other devices, NAS, media boxes etc...A CD ripper with a TB or 2 of disk space, and an android, iOS app...perfect.
 

busb

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I recently bought a Pure i20 dock for my 3GS. Its analogue out feeds into my amp & its optical out feeds a Beresford DAC. Either sound better than the analogue Apple dock it replaces did! I sit about 4m from the dock & have considerable trouble navigating the menus from that distance. An iPad (or iPhone) would be a great way of controlling a sever, HiFi or AV system, especially if Apple could be persuaded to fit infrared - even more so. A music server is only as good as its ability to easily navigate through your content & something like a tablet would make a great front end.

Although I can see the attraction of portability with storing content on a tablet, I don't think it would ever be many people's primary medium or if "The Cloud" would ever be more than a means of storing a small percentage of one's total for portability. Time will tell.
 
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Anonymous

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A music system using:

1) a 1TB NAS drive (~£80, to store the music files, compressed and uncompresses),

2) an Apple laptop (~£750 to run iTunes and rip the CDs and control the music),

3) an iPod touch (~£250 as a remote control for the apple - but you can also stream direct)

4) with an Apple Airport Express (iTunes Audio stream to optical digital)

gives a nice basis for a high quality digital jukebox system, you just feed the optical digital to your favourite DAC and hi-fi. I know this works well as that's what I use, not sure I could go back to CDs now as playlists work so much better for me!

Not wanted to try this for films though - perhaps because I like to watch a whole film, whereas on most of my CDs there are favourite tracks and filler tracks to seperate..

POST EDITED BY MODS - please DO NOT discuss moderation. Final warning.
 
T

the record spot

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The future of hifi? Take your pick. Convenience would dictate that a streamlined streaming solution works well - I use Spotify via my Nokia E52 or iPod Touch. I use WAV files on my iPod Touch, which has a 32Gb HD on it, so enough room for about 70-80 albums. I could use my Touch to control files off iTunes sent through the traditional separates set-up.

The future will be about a neatly sized hardware enabler managing remotely stored digital audio or video files elsewhere directed to a local entertainment set-up which'll probably have different configurations suited to the owner's preferences/needs.
 

chebby

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As well as just the technology itself, you have to look at who the future buyers of hifi might be and their likely circumstances in the next 10 years.

I see it split into two populations: 'Baby-boomers' (those between the ages of 45 and 65 roughly speaking) who tend to have higher paying jobs, are more likely to own their own homes, are more likely to have secure pensions. Then there are younger people (teens and upwards) who - on current trends - are much less likely to own their own homes, will have enormous debts to repay for University education, will earn less, have less job security than in the past, and have less secure pensions to look forward to. They are also much more likely to live at home with parents for longer into adulthood than the previous couple of generations.

The 'traditional' seperates hifi will persist along with the tastes (and pockets) of those who have always enjoyed them and - given the size of longevity of the baby boom generation - will provide a specialist market for another 20 years. The sources will change but the source - amp - speakers type of system will be around for as long as the 'hard core' of it's buying demographic have enough spending power.

Younger people are more likely to need 'hifi' that can fit in small spaces and can be centred around a laptop and/or MP3 player with small active/powered speakers and headphones. They are far less likely to have the room - or money - for the AV system + 50" plasma and the dedicated stereo hifi 'tower' too.

There are (and will be) many exceptions and there is (and will be) a lot of overlap as 'boomers' take to computer based AV/hifi. But what hangs off the end of the newer technology is going to be - largely - divided to suit generational circumstances and trends. This will dictate whether it's a pair of £80 Logitech speakers and some headphones or a full blown seperates system.
 

manicm

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the record spot said:
The future of hifi? Take your pick. Convenience would dictate that a streamlined streaming solution works well - I use Spotify via my Nokia E52 or iPod Touch. I use WAV files on my iPod Touch, which has a 32Gb HD on it, so enough room for about 70-80 albums. I could use my Touch to control files off iTunes sent through the traditional separates set-up.

The future will be about a neatly sized hardware enabler managing remotely stored digital audio or video files elsewhere directed to a local entertainment set-up which'll probably have different configurations suited to the owner's preferences/needs.

WAVs on your iPod?? You should not air your dirty laundry in public ;)
 

Snooker

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We know that dedicated systems like computers, tv's, and Hi-Fi's will continue to be separate for many customers who prefer this type of thing, especially regarding computers, as to me it is obviously better to have a separate desk to work from and also use a real keyboard comfortably (Virtual keyboards are not as good as real physical keyboards, but are totally ideal for portable devices)

These above 3 systems can be connected to the internet separately to things like the "Cloud" etc for streaming data, eg:- live or stored data like radio/music and film, and saved computer documents and data files etc, and should have a facility for data transfer from local mass storage devices including very convenient usb memory sticks (Especially when there size gets to say 1T), and am sure that some stand alone Hi-Fi's will probably have a built in touch sized control screen interface like a smaller tablet, especially when displaying and selecting what folders and files to play etc as another member in this thread pointed out, and you would I feel at least need a decent sized screen if not controlled by touch, so we still have our individual systems which is really good and I do like individual systems

But also as we already know, we could have just one big screen and speakers (and one "box of electronic's" of course), which could be "operated" from a portable tablet or smart phone) and that the data could come either from one direct connection to the internet "Cloud" to the "box of electronics" or local mass storage device, (tablet/smart phone/USB stick)

So if this was a standard set-up for the near future, then when visiting somebody I presume we could log into the cloud with our own details from there tablet or smart phone and get our individual data accessed by there house system "box of electronics" via the internet from the "cloud", surely we would not really then need to use our own portable devices unless we wanted to stream our onboard data or use there mass storage facility in certain situations, but would need these facilities when out and about and mobile

I find all this stuff in this entire thread interesting (well I did start it I suppose !, I will now wait for your views and this will be my last post !), and do feel that for convenience the usb memory stick will always come in very handy for data transfer, eg:- stored playback of music/films/ or stored windows computer data, and that it could also be used to make a very convient recording of say a radio or film program etc, due to its very small size which could fit on a key ring
 
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Anonymous

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manicm said:
the record spot said:
I use WAV files on my iPod Touch, which has a 32Gb HD on it, so enough room for about 70-80 albums.

WAVs on your iPod?? You should not air your dirty laundry in public ;)

Using this method is handy for streaming bit perfect music from your iPod straight over the wi-fi into an Airport Express and into a toslink cable - I use it myself for some tracks, it's very handy!

It also renders a CD player totally pointless, I still have no idea why people still buy them ;)
 

MajorFubar

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Globs said:
It also renders a CD player totally pointless, I still have no idea why people still buy them ;)

Because for a great many people, self included, having to fire-up a computer or some iThing to listen to their favourite music at home couldn't be further removed from what they want to do. There's something satisfyingly tactile about putting a CD or record on which browsing though faceless virtual albums on a computer-screen or iThing doesn't come close to. :)
 

chebby

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MajorFubar said:
There's something satisfyingly tactile about putting a CD or record ...

LPs maybe, but CDs 'satisfyingly tactile'? Eeugh! Nasty frail little things in even nastier cases with cheap hinges and centre holders that fall apart upon looking at them. (The bits then hide themelves in the case and rattle annoyingly.) The artwork is small and the booklets made from nasty shiny paper of a quality below that of a Pizza delivery leaflet.

You don't 'fire up' an iPhone (or an iPad), it's just there. iTunes (like anything else) is just an icon touch or three away, as is anything that's been on BBC radio for the last week or so, or thousands of internet radio stations, or 'live' BBC radio, or Spotify Premium (if thats your thing) or Youtube, or the remote control for my iMac (more goodies) and the remote control for my Bluray player and my Marantz.

If a phone call comes in then the hifi volume is brought down for the duration of the call and brought up again afterwards. (Does a CD player do that?)

There is nothing 'virtual' about the sound quality either (especially when using lossless) given that it's as digital as your CD player and actually ripped from CDs in the first place. As for 'faceless', not sure what you mean. Is music from a record player or radio or CD player less faceless? The artist or band still cannot be seen on those formats either.

If anything, an iPhone or iPad (or computer) can give a face to music because you can watch music videos on them. (Unlike a CD player.)
 
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Anonymous

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MajorFubar said:
Globs said:
It also renders a CD player totally pointless, I still have no idea why people still buy them ;)

Because for a great many people, self included, having to fire-up a computer or some iThing to listen to their favourite music at home couldn't be further removed from what they want to do.

My iPod Touch is effectively 'always on', but I think the biggest reason not everyone used Airplay or similar is simply not having come across it before. I must admit I was late to the iPod party and bought my first Airport Express as a wireless router - not a music streaming device ;)

You should try it Major, it's really worthwhile and revolutionised listening to music, turning your hi-fi into a radio station where you get to choose all the tunes!

Also with a couple of modern active speakers like the AVI ADM 9.1 speakers you can have an 'invisible hifi' in your house but all the same functionality :)
 

MajorFubar

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Globs said:
You should try it Major, it's really worthwhile and revolutionised listening to music, turning your hi-fi into a radio station where you get to choose all the tunes!
My toe is definitely dipped in the water; I've bought a Mac Mini which is connected to my HiFi and I have used it for both streaming internet radio (Jazz FM is my favourite) and iPlayer. But as for listening to my own music, my heart really still lies with CDs and LPs. At the moment, CDs are often cheaper, offer potentially the best SQ, and are a 'physical thing' which to me is an important part of the experience. So I'll probably stick with them until the day comes when the SQ of CDs is obviously and unquestionably inferior to the e-equivalent, for exampe when and if all new (and many old) albums are available as 24/96 downloads or streams.
 

Jason36

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Well I have just sold my Roksan Caspian CD Player as I have used it about 6 times since I bought it 6 months ago. Most of my serious listening is now via my Rega Planar 3 TT (a far more enjoyable experience) and then iTunes and more recently Spotify Premium (absolutely brilliant).

The CD Player is going to be replaced with a 2TB NAS Drive, Sonos Bridge and ZP90 and will be controlled by an iPad 32gb or my Android phone. This will therefore allow me to play all my lossless saved music and spotify without having to get up to change CD's or turn LP's over.
 

steve_1979

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Globs said:
It also renders a CD player totally pointless, I still have no idea why people still buy them ;)

I use digital music files on my PC as my souce of music but I still buy loads of CD's. The reason for this is because they're still the highest quality versions of most albums. I've only tried downloading music from iTunes and Amazon but in my experience music files sound better quality when ripped from a CD than when they're downloaded.

Also the cost of second hand CD's on Amazon are cheaper than the download versions.
 
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Anonymous

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steve_1979 said:
Globs said:
It also renders a CD player totally pointless, I still have no idea why people still buy them ;)

I use digital music files on my PC as my souce of music but I still buy loads of CD's. The reason for this is because they're still the highest quality versions of most albums. I've only tried downloading music from iTunes and Amazon but in my experience music files sound better quality when ripped from a CD than when they're downloaded.

Also the cost of second hand CD's on Amazon are cheaper than the download versions.

I find the same Steve, quite often get CDs on amazon or ebay cheap and rip them on my computer.

I still haven't found a use for a CD player though, a computer CD rip is far more accurate than a CD player can ever be on dodgy discs (although 99.9% of the time both are 100% accurate!) and the removal of the CD mechanics from the DAC section is useful for analog noise and digital jitter issues.

In fact with a laptop and some nice active speakers like the ADM9T all clutter disappears along with the CD cases :)
 

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