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More insides into Anssi's head space: "I am quietly thinking that the reason people are not interested in hifi is the fact that often it is not only separated from real life but more sadly from real music. An additional challenge is dealers who are stuck in their old ways. Naturally there is always a place for the high end. But trying to work in this shrinking market quite automatically leads to price wars. And cultivating new customers is highly challenging. We are offering building blocks to transform Apple gear into easy-to-use high-end hifi. Many traditional dealers find this difficult to stomach. They don't sell computers. And why would they want to? Computer margins are meager at best. But, a specialist retailer could do very well selling accessories to those millions of iMac, MacBook Pro, iPhone, iPod and iPad owners who'd like to use the stuff they love to build convenient music systems with. A hifi retailer needn't sell Apple. He simply has to show his accessories with Apple. He can send his customers to the local Mac shop for their computer needs, then take over where they leave off, with fine hifi accessories of speakers and amps. Those accessories have no inherent value or purpose. They just do a job - create excellent sound. 

"But it seems a new breed of dealer is emerging. I have learnt that this gentleman for example is highly respected for his audio knowledge. I admire him for his courage to speak his mind. It's nice to hear that more and more people like him are getting what we are trying to do. The world is ready for something new. New is nothing if it's not better than the old. I think the tools to do better are already here. The question is whether we can communicate this to the people.

"Of course $1.000 buys a super-cool computer you can use for three years. Why should you need to spend the same on sound? Much promotion and education are needed so shoppers start evaluating their consumer electronics decisions from a larger perspective. Right now audio in this context is still based on specs and band aids. The demand seems to max out at $500 for a pair of relatively mediocre computer speakers. What we need to promote is that spending just twice that can get you everything necessary for a far better experience.

"It would be lovely if the average sales guy at an Apple or Sony center could sell the concept. While they have the traffic they often don't know what to do with it. And with hifi they need to overcome serious rejection. Not all of their customers will buy audio. But then neither do they need them to. One hifi sale profits them as much as selling 10 laptops. So we're trying to create the tools for the job at hand, as many as we can think of. I do not want to go the easy route and boost the bass by 6dB as the big guys do. There must be an alternate—honest but effective—way to connect with a broader audience.

"I read your report on Amarra/PureMusic. I have compared PureMusic to Audirvana. My first impression was that this is like changing cables, just easier as one does not need to rewire the speakers. The more I listen the more I think that Damien has found something which I think is fundamentally more correct than anything else I have heard. This is not very evident over normal home hifi but with R&D and pro gear plus raw microphone feeds it becomes surprisingly evident especially when using what is probably—sorry Carlsberg—the world's best microphone. The micro-level resolution of this mic is matched only by the way it captures emotion. What's left is to reverse the microphone to monitor, then mix and fine-tune all that gorgeous material to perfection. 

"As far as I know never before have loudspeaker manufacturers and microphone producers worked hand in hand to produce a mic-reversed mic/speaker combo that speaks the same dialect. We have and it works in spades. This is not hifi. This is much more. Just as the reproduction/hifi world has gotten too complicated, the same has happened to the recording side. Now we can simplify things so that only the essential remains. The simpler the chain becomes, the easier it is to manage. The better the recording environment, the more control we have over the customer's experience. Audiophiles like to chase specs. It's quite mind opening to compare high-res files of average quality recordings to low-res files of high quality recordings. But that's a whole other story.

"The Argon1 in particular is quite suitable as part of a real high-end full-range system. This we demonstrated in a local Swedish show with the NuForce reference gear where we made quite a few believers from showing an unorthodox approach to top results. You will not get everything out of the Argon1 with the small NuForce amps of course but the real question is - could one get more for that amount of money by some other approach?"

This segues neatly into today's performance commentary.