What news in 2023 struck you?


It seems the audio press seems to have no end of press releases to hype, but I'm curious looking back for the year what news regarding the audio industry has most struck you?

For instance, the sale of ARC, and Roon, and B&W (or was that last year) seemed pretty significant.  Class D amps with GaN transistors created a lot of buzz and claims of Class D finally reaching it's promised potential.  Textreme drivers have appeared here and there, as has the Purifi woofer...

I also recall a Monitor Audio prototype that struck me as really innovative. 

What else has stuck in your mind longer than ten minutes this year?


MQA appears to be about to-a-degree compressed, so-called high-res music files sold off as true high-res, and deals made with hardware and software manufacturers to deliver MQA-"ready" products that unfold MQA material to its fuller potential.

I fail to see the need for compressed streaming files in this day and age, even with true high-res, and not least the need to invest in MQA-specified products to take better advantage of their pseudo high-res venture. It’s the principle matter of taking what we already have, converting it into a compressed "high-res" variation, and making money on product deals that are necessitated to more fully harness a file-product, that’s worrying.

The same in essence could be said about harnessing the potential of raw CD-files, true high-res and DSD ditto with better DAC’s, but it’s the MQA labeling, business and manipulation of raw material into compressed form that annoys the hell out of me, and why I applaud what will hopefully be the eventual demise of MQA.

With regard to sound quality, some feel MQA-files sound better - through the proper "approved" source equipment, I take it - some don’t, and even considers them inferior. I belong in the latter camp and prefer the unadulterated, plain ol’ raw 16-bit/44,1kHz CD-files, even over much if not most true high-res material.

@phusis - I mostly agree with you.  Given how inexpensive the internet and disk storage has become a super high compression algorithm for music seems like a waste of effort.

The one area where I believe we do have a need for something like this is a way of authenticate whether the stream we are listening to is bit perfect or not.  I wish MQA didn't also throw a lot of other stuff on top of that.

The GAN coverage has caught my eye, though I've not had the opportunity to compare a GAN Class D amp to one made with conventional silicon.

As a Roon user, I am a bit concerned about the new ownership (Harmon/Samsung), though it's a far better development that than what Classé has gone through. Maybe Samsung will convince Spotify to work with Roon.

If a pattern has emerged, it's a renewed emphasis on value in much of the market, along with highly publicized development of extreme-priced gear for the extremely wealthy.

Another interesting pattern is that DSP is becoming available in more products, a good thing in my opinion. It can't do everything, but it's a good solution to some audio problems.