New Book – High-Performance Audio Systems


Robert Harley, the Absolute Sound’s editor in chief, has written a new book: Introductory Guide to High-Performance Audio Systems: Stereo – Surround Sound – Home Theater. Because so few books exist on my main topic of interest, high end audio, I already ordered it, sight unseen. I’ve learned many listening and system building skills from Harley’s previous books. I hope this new volume contains new information and isn’t simply a Reader’s Digest version of the other books.

Of the book’s contents, the inclusion of the now dead DVD-A and SACD optical coaster format is worrying, one would hope for some speculative coverage of HD audio on Blu-Ray and HD-DVD. Amazon’s description:

How to choose, set up, and enjoy the latest high-technology audio systems are all given expert insight in this indispensable guide for stereo shoppers. Consumers today often use home-audio systems for both stereo music and surround-sound music, they buy multichannel systems instead of two-channel stereo systems, they may have HDTV and flat-panel televisions, and they have largely moved to in-wall and on-wall loudspeakers rather than floorstanding units. Questions relating to all of these changes are covered in a novice-friendly way, as well as Super Audio CD, DVD-Audio formats, and all of the latest surround-sound formats for home theater. The emphasis is not only on solving shopping dilemmas, but also on getting great sound from an audio system.

Friday, at my day job, I was pining with some co-workers for the now lost, empirical editor. With the decline of the monthly print magazine, I now get all of my information from from blogs and forums through their RSS feeds. Now, I have to rely on my own BS filter, no single source of information is reliable, I have to find many corroborating sources that all agree in their own way (instead of just regurgitating the same misinformation as the rest). The responsibility is heavy and the research is dizzying. Having access to all information just turns into white noise. I wish the old editor guard would get online and offer their experience and authority (I know many of the major AV mags have “blogs” but without an RSS feed I don’t have time to read them, plus they seem to have the attitude that no serious journalism should be posted).

So here’s hoping that Robert Harley’s new book can give me some focused information further enjoying my hi-fi. At worst, it will just make me feel nostalgic for the beloved editor.

(Via Music Direct’s newsletter)

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