Why Audio Cables Beat Bluetooth
Why Audio Cables Beat Bluetooth has a subtitle - and that's okay. We agree with Cnet. They wondered why customers were willing to lose sound quality for the sake of convenience. But there's a rub.
During the summer I built a "tiny house" on my brother Drew's property in Efland, North Carolina. Yes, my brother shares his name with Moon Audio founder and audio whisperer Drew Baird. Building and living small reflect life changes entering my sixth decade.
- Quality beats Quantity and Cables Beat Bluetooth.
- Don't want to CURATE collections anymore.
- Convenience is vital unless rule #1 is sacrificed.
- Money is different.
Quality Beats Quantity
Giving away STUFF was necessary. The 100 Day Rule was the guide. If STUFF wasn't used, enjoyed, and carefully stored for next use within the last 100 days it was gone. It was essential to make hard choices BEFORE investing more time, resources, and money to move STUFF again.
After more than ten trips to the Durham Rescue Mission, more than half my STUFF was gone. Liberating doesn't begin to describe the feeling. Curating collections is for museums and people with more money. My books now live at the mission. Some of my art collection lives at the mission. Streaming and downloading meant boxing, hauling, and even selling old books, CDs, videos, and records were nonstarters.
There are exceptions. My German ECM records didn't make the one hundred day rule. I don't have a turntable currently, but the Germans stayed. Every business book I owned now lives at the mission. I saw an Aretha Frankenstein's, Chattanooga, TN t-shirt of mine walk down Main street Durham the other day. For the most part, anything not used or where easy access these digital days exists left the building.
Everything, I've decided, requires energy. Due to circumstances beyond my control, energy is one of two things I can't quickly replenish. Time is the other thing that mostly goes in one direction. Can't make more time and if everything requires energy then curating energy is necessary to live a quality versus quantity life given my circumstances.
Curating Is For Museums
Vinyl sounds better. Maybe records sound better because I remember listening to Black Sabbath with Billy Sullivan. Dean of Students Colton Johnson sent his intern to ask if I could please turn Stanely Clark's School Daze down. Living above the Dean of Students AND spending every dime summer earnings on JBL speakers and audio gear isn't recommended btw.
But there's a problem.
Somewhere around the divorce amps, pre-amps, speaker cables, interconnects, speakers, and a beautiful VPI turntable left the building. Life and technology changed. New tech meant everything you ever wanted to hear was available, and most of it sounds BAD. The brittle edges so prominent in most digital to analog gear gives me headaches.
I got lazy. Digital music was so ever-present, accessible, and sounded like nails on a chalkboard. There is no free lunch. Nothing is ever as smooth and effortless as portrayed. And I was about to experience the cost of giving up something - curation - for the sake of ever-present ubiquity and lousy sound quality.
The Convenience Factor
Shock of the new arrived on TV. Building my house wasn't easy. Finally, it was time to sit back, relax, and watch a little TV.
But there was a problem.
I couldn't understand a word Judy Woodruff said. It got worse. Watching Jeremy Brett or anything British was impossible without closed captions. Bamboo floors, cathedral ceilings and lots of windows equipped my tiny house had a debilitating echo. I solved half the problem fast by buying a Sonos wireless soundbar, speakers, and subwoofer. As with most fast things, more work and money is required to really fix the problem.
My digital headaches are back. Drew Baird explained how to create sound deadening panels like he has in Moon Audio's Cary, North Carolina showroom. He mentioned how carpets and pads can help with reverb and echo too. As usual, Drew B was right. Rugs helped. Now I can hear, AND I get headaches after about an hour.
Sonos is CONVENIENT. Go to Best Buy, use your smartphone, walk around your house waving the Sonos app and TV sounds better. Still brittle, thin, and the opposite of WARM, but better. I can understand Judy and Jeremy. Digital convenience is GREAT except when Rule #1 is sacrificed.
Money Is Different
It's not that money is more precious than when I was young and dumb. I don't make as much, and I have expensive habits (cancer, chemo, and buying the opposite of "good drugs"). Never build a house if you want to have any money :). Do you get frustrated when you've put tremendous time, money, and resources into something and it turns out to be both more and less than you expected? Me too.
I'm lucky. Having helped Nichole, Drew, and Moon-Audio.com over the past few years they were open to my, "Will Work For Audio" sign. And I'll need their help since the Hugo 2, Music Hall turntable, Focal speakers, Dragon cables, and Dragon Inspire monoblock amps won't be free. My brother Drew only SHARES Drew B's name after all
Audio Cable SOUND Beats Bluetooth
Maybe and someday apply to high fidelity sound through the ether. Someday technology may be good enough to where Bluetooth audio is comparable, but not today. Want a simple demonstration of how much music you give up?
I was listening to Wayne Shorter and Weather Report in my car when the phone died. After almost crashing retrieving my USB to iPhone cable from the glove compartment Weather Report came back with a difference - the sound was fuller, the soundstage wider, and instrument separation more clear. Even LOUD it was clear thirty percent or more of Weather Report's music was missing over Bluetooth.
Remember I started with, "and that's okay" as the subtitle for this post. Convenience is no small thing in this crazy digital world we inhabit. There are times when giving up thirty percent, or more of the music is acceptable. The car comes immediately to mind. Half the time music in the car is to keep me awake and focused.
At home after a hard day of working for food then warmth, comfort, and great sound are needed. I'll write again once Drew, and Nichole tells me how to rediscover music without curating, without headaches, and with warmth, comfort, and great sound. Living small means somethings are MORE critical than before. Music is one of them.
Rock 'em Sock 'Em image from Scott Lewis for Iconify. It Bluetooth is a registered trademark of Special Interest Group (SIG).