Our resident IT specialists Marja & Henk recently coined a phrase to suggest the kind of fresh infusion our industry needs to appeal to a younger audience: "Think HiPod, not iPod!" The iPod is unquestionably the coolest audio gizmo to have hit the scene in a long while. When used to play back uncompressed WAV files, its hard-drive can actually make for a very stable and practical source component. Running these data into something like Gordon Rankin's Wavelength Audio Brick via the jitter-free USB interface and from thence into Psiber Audio's iTube PAS1 passive line stage with Alps Blue Velvet attenuator and pure silver wiring onward into the iTube SE15 KT-88 monos with 1.2 Farads of storage capacitance [above] into, say a pair of Cain & Cain Abbys with Bailey subwoofer -- all hooked up via Crystal Cable's Micro Piccolo interconnects and Micro Speak silver/gold/Kapton wires -- would make for a rocking, good-looking and positively HiP rig for those od on MP3: The HiPod solution.

To reduce box count, one could also opt for PMC's active AML1 with analog inputs and on-board Bryston 80/100w bi-amplification for 33Hz bass extension [left] or Avantgarde Acoustic's active SOLO horns with on-board bass EQ for 30Hz [below left].

To demonstrate that our antique cadre of 2-channel fossils can get with the program despite being over-age for the new crowd we're fishing for, Marja & Henk have taken delivery of a pair of SOLOs to be reviewed with an iPod as source. Yours truly is signed up for the AML1s to report on active speakers and once Gordon Rankin has filled current orders, one of our team will do the honors on his brick to show how computer hard drives or platforms like the iPod can be used in serious 2-channel systems.

The iPod's roaring success proves that interest in music isn't floundering at all. It's the delivery formats and audiophile culture that don't reach across the gap which separates the converted from those outside. Why insist they come into our church? Let's leave our walled enclave and meet these listeners on their own turf. It stands to reason that if exposed to better sound than they're currently putting up with -- continuing to use their iPods as source but set to WAV instead of MP3 and used as a 'transport' only -- there'd be those who appreciate the difference to aspire to a modern, compact system that embraces rather than rejects the iPod and its kin. The above examples are suggestions for how this could be done. Perhaps.