Cutlery and table linens. "My 'Stone Age' really started in 2002 with the Lektor II CD which I built as part of the below Galaxy system for local stone company Kamico. This model went through many different finishes usually made to order for demanding clients.

"The real milestone of the most famous Lektors of course was the Philips CD-Pro2 drive then distributed by DAISY of France. Their kit and software were the base for many hi-end CD players. When that drive was discontinued, it could have spelled the end of machines with a drive that was purpose-engineered for just CD playback. But of course the death of the compact disc had been pronounced many times before and always in error.

"Even though file playback was promoted as the next best thing, there were two issues. Despite years of development, audio file players are still tweaky to operate. Several times over the years I visited friends with my music on a pen drive and playing it back was from very difficult to impossible. Then locating a specific file from out of 10'000 songs on a hard drive was more difficult when with CD it was just three easy steps. Then every streamer or file player had a different mode of operation. My own SDMUsA trials to unify file playback failed.

"The second issue is purely sonic. Music over a good CD player is still more enjoyable than streaming. When you visited Krakow many years ago, you heard my prototype SDMUsA SD-card player. Many who heard it felt that it had more detail, dynamics and a smoother sound than even CD. That was the rare exception. My best example for this came from a 2022 meeting of our Krakow Sonic Society where we invited famous drummer Adam Czerwinski. It was December and he brought his latest record of Jazz covers of classic Christmas carols. It was a rare opportunity because he brought his album on all possible formats: CD, studio analog master tape, studio master files and vinyl."

"I don't own a turntable and nobody else dared borrow or bring one then set it up for a single session. So I suggested that we compare the CD, files and master tape of Adam's band. I called on friends to bring a good file player or digital transport. I was shocked when nobody volunteered. They told me how much more difficult it is to properly set up a file player/streamer than turntable because every small thing will change the sound. I couldn't believe it. So I borrowed a Cocktail player which sounds good and is simple to operate.

"For a level playing field between digital sources, the modern Cocktail competed against my nearly 20-year old Lektor IV. With my heart beating fast, I inserted a pen drive of original 32-bit studio files and… unlistenable strange clicks. We reverted to the 24-bit versions which played fine but were as boring as an official government announcement. It was a surprise to me but not my friends that my old player brought the carols alive. After a few A/B, we limited ourselves to comparing CD and ¼" 15IPS master tape. I was fully prepared to being sick for two months missing analog tape sound. And yes, it was softer and more liquid. That said, it was also less dynamic and life-like. Depending on the particular track, we preferred either CD or tape so in summary, both had equally attractive if different qualities.

"For me it reconfirmed how good and easy to operate CD continues to be. I still find it the best way to distribute and hear digital music in high quality. When buying CD, we're also far more likely to listen to the original mix master without subsequent modifications. Many streaming media are altered to equalize loudness or timbre which moves the fine art of music production to a bubble-gum aesthetic. Only physical media guarantee us an original 'pressing'. And certain file formats like MQA are pre-destined to become eventual curiosities."