Of all art, music is the most indefinable and the most expressive, the most insubstantial and the most immediate, the most transitory and the most imperishable. Transformed to a dance of electrons along a wire, its ghost lives on. When KEF returns music to its rightful habituation, your ears and mind, they aim to do so in the most natural way they can – without drama, without exaggeration, without artifice.”
- Raymond Cooke OBE, Founder of KEF
I’ve been lucky enough to hear some of the finest audio systems in the world over the years, which has made me fully aware that changes – even minor ones – can make a huge difference in the quality of the sound. Having something that sounded this good in my own humble listening space was revelatory. I felt like that nineteen-year-old kid who used to hang out in my local HiFi shop just looking at gear I knew I would never be able to afford while dreaming of the day nevertheless.
Nevertheless, having the ability to listen to the genius of the Beatles or Gershwin, or Mozart in the comfort of our living rooms simply by placing a vinyl disk on a platter was a thrill that never wore off. So what if there were some pops and crackles, or a little hiss now and then?
Science delivered us the beauty of music but at the compromise of placing a wall between us and the original, simply because science had a lot to learn. Since the dawn of HiFi in the 1950s, scientific knowledge has steadily expanded and the wall between the original performance and the listener has grown thinner, but is still there. That’s just physics being physics. Thankfully, science never rests and over the years we’ve learned how to eliminate as much of that tech wall dividing us from our music as possible. Sometimes it’s in great leaps and bounds (the introduction of the CD) and sometimes it’s subtle (the new common acceptance and demand for high-resolution streaming).
So, when people ask what the audio journey is all about, the answer is simple: we’re all trying to break down the tech wall between ourselves and the music we love, and the only way to do that is with gear that has been designed to be transparent – to literally disappear. Hearing all of that wonderful tech actually bring us closer to the studio and concert hall never ceases to amaze me.
Thank you, science, for allowing us to have our music whenever we want, and thanks even more for working so hard to leave the music unchanged.
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