All you ever wanted to know about audio conversion

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Music
July 15th, 2003 • 9:52 pm

As a music lover, I am obviously interested in issues surrounding the analog/digital conversion process and all its associated technologies. I am aware of the limitations of compressed formats such as MP3 and AAC and of CDs, as well as the still unfulfilled promise of new digital formats such DVD-Audio and SuperAudio CD (SACD).

On the other hand, I am not an “audiophile”. What I love is music, not “audio”. The appreciation of music is such a subjective process and is affected by so many factors that this obsession with audio purity seems a bit excessive and narrow-minded to me. I am glad that there exist people who are passionate about it and are fighting to preserve and enhance audio practices when it comes to sound quality, but at the same time I cannot help but notice that, as with many other things these days, there are two extremes — the vast majority of people who don’t really care about audio quality and the small minority who obsess about it — and not much of a market/audience for people who are “in between”. These days, when I look at audio equipment, I often see either cheap devices that appeal to the masses or outrageously expensive high-end devices that are way beyond my budget.

For example, a while back I tried to find a reasonably affordable yet good quality turntable… Maybe I didn’t look hard enough, but I came back from my search empty handed, and ended up using my father-in-law’s decades-old Yamaha turntable instead. The only models I could find were either cheap $100 units or ultra-expensive devices.

I have a number of old vinyl albums that I want to transfer to CD without spending thousands of dollars, but with good audio quality just the same. Question: Is the iMic good enough or should I get a PowerWave?

All this forms the context in which I read the Reader Report on “Audio Conversion” at It’s an interesting read. It doesn’t really answer my questions, however. I guess I need to keep reading and looking, in the hope that someday I’ll find someone in the same situation with the same type of demands.

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