See you at The Indulgence Show London this weekend

I will be at the Indulgence Show in London this weekend – held at the Novotel venue in West London.

After last year’s inaugural event, they’re back for more in 2017. If it’s anything like last year’s show, it’s going to be a load of fun.

For me, what makes this show is the juxtaposition of experiencing the sound of innovative, cool products with live music to stimulate the ears. I was around at the Saturday night bash last year when a showcase of The Marquee Club brought the house down.

This year doesn’t just focus on HiFi – there will be a load of cool lifestyle products on show for us to experience.

I also hear, through my insider contacts, that this year there are some music industry celebs there that you won’t want to miss. (Can’t reveal details – on pain of death!)

So I hope you’ll join me at the show this year and give the exhibitors and organisers your support!

 

Could this be the beginning of the end for downloaded music on iTunes?

Apple have switched off music downloads in South Korea, as a result of introducing Apple Music in the country. Could this spell the end of downloaded music in the UK?

The music giant launched the Apple Music streaming service in the country on August 8, where users are offered subscription plans roughly the same as in the UK, with a 3-month free trial.

However, Apple have removed music downloads from the iTunes service in South Korea, despite flatly denying that they had plans to do so.

The South Korean market is the eighth largest in the world. The UK is fourth.

Apple Music launched in China without iTunes in the mix. Doubt it will be the only one. 

The bigger question is if Apple do plan to remove the iTunes service (or at least the downloaded music element) in other markets, and when it will hit the UK. In 2016, paid music downloads are experiencing double-digit declines in sales, with both Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group reporting a major downturn in the format.

Problem for me is that this removes choice. Apple Music, in my opinion, offers lower quality music than the downloaded versions of the same tunes. Listen for yourself, if you haven’t already. All the DACs and high end hi-fi kit can only go so far to bring us the best sound possible from a digital source.

So this spells bad news for music fans who enjoy an accurate reproduction.

Thing is, what can we do about it?

Music Fans: Why you must use a Digital-to-Analogue Converter (DAC)

A DAC is an essential piece of kit if you want to enjoy digitised music that sounds like the real thing.

Connecting your iPod direct to an amplifier results in poor quality audio reproduction. Have you noticed how ‘flat’ the sound is when you’re playing your favourite band through your hi-fi? Do you hear a background hiss (technically a ‘noise floor problem’) during the quieter pieces in the music?

The internal digital to analogue circuits in an iPod (and other portable digital music players) have been miniaturised for a small size and the convenience of your pocket. When you’re on the move using earphones, then the effect is hardly noticeable, but when you’re playing this music through bolder loudspeakers, the resulting output is limited to the performance of the reduced components. It could be different – better clarity; enriched sound; and a much closer experience to being at the gig itself.

This is where an External DAC comes in – these bits of kit are solely dedicated to doing one thing only, taking a digital signal and converting it to analogue with absolute accuracy. Perceptible accuracy. Accuracy that I can assure you, with total certainty, is worth the investment.

An external DAC has much better quality components in the digital circuits, reducing errors in the conversion to analogue. Miniaturisation no longer an issue, dedicated DACs focus on using the best components for the job.

Just to be clear: you don’t need an external DAC. But if you’re an ardent music fan that demands the highest quality audio reproduction from digital sources, then you really should have one.

Look at DAC products

[Product featured: Parasound ZDac]