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Philosophy of Etalon
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Philosophy of Etalon by Sallay László PDF Print E-mail
In the beginning was music.... then when the musicians first stood around Edison's phonograph, and the stylus first engraved the impression of the artists' production into the wax layer circling beneath it, reproduced music was born, as a result of the human ability to (re)create....

From that moment on a dual process has accompanied the technological development of reproduced music: on the one hand a striving for ever better reproduction quality, and on the other hand people have always wished to make financial profit from the results of that improvement. Unfortunately the latter tendency has been much more pronounced, and is now a complete independent industry and plays the dominant role in the process. This is why it is important always to remember that "in the beginning was the music..." and, after the development of several decades, what one should strive for cannot be anything else than the following goal: putting the reproduction in the place of the performer, one should be able to sit down and enjoy the (re)production with the same experience as those who had the opportunity to be present at the live performance.

When listening to reproduced music, it is one's natural desire that it should not be audible that one is not listening to a live production. Satisfying this desire is an enormous challenge for anybody engaged in the industry of music reproduction. When one considers the commercial products available on the global market, the dominant trends justify the suspicion that always when the quality of the most common current technology is about to reach its culmination that a new technology makes its appearance on the market (and thus overshadows the original goal).

Instead of the prevalent technology being given the opportunity to reach its true potential, what generally happens is that its newer rival replaces it, whose quality, however, fails to come even close to that of the older technology.... It was such a change in paradigm when Compact Disc superseded LP technology, the acoustic quality of which has been unrivalled ever since, and even nowadays the best - and by no means cheap, but certainly "modern" - digital reproductions are qualified as "almost analogue sound quality"... It appears, humans would rather repeat their previous wrong steps than, learning from their failures, try to correct them. The current trends in the market seem to confirm this truth: the spreading of home cinema (by the employment of a novel technology) is in the process of ousting the former two-channel reproduction technology, instead of allowing the introduction of a modern global digital standard, which would result in a real improvement of the digital sound quality (which, to this very day, is lagging behind analogue technology as far as quality is concerned).

Inevitably behind this process there lies the profit-oriented and irrepressible manipulation of the multinational companies concerned. The following typical scenario can be observed: instead of these companies trying to remedy the shortcomings undeniably present in the prevailing technology by drawing upon their economic muscle to stimulate the market interest that has slackened as a result of these shortcomings, they throw in a new technology which, although it stimulates consumption, does not bring about an improvement in quality. Quite the contrary: in terms of quality it represents a step backwards.

Of course the appearance of home cinema, and the development of multimedia in general could also bring a real improvement in quality, but that would require a commitment to quality on the part of market forces. Looking at what is currently on offer on the market, however, it can be seen that the complete audio section of a home cinema system is on sale today at the same price as formerly a stereo system - not necessarily top quality - was available. Given rising production costs only one consequence can be drawn from this, namely that at a given price level the quality offered by the new technology can under no circumstances reach that of the older two-channel system.

Be it at a live concert or when listening to reproduced music, it can be observed that many music lovers, when listening very intently to the music, close their eyes... anybody can experience that they can hear certain minute details better if their eyes are closed. At those times one's entire attention is focussed on only one field of perception, and it is also well known that music is not created in one's ears.... This is why it can be argued that, despite all contrary arguments that can be heard in the market, simultaneous visual stimuli instead of reinforcing actually weaken the depth of musical experience, due to the division of one's attention.

In our age, people exposed to constant stress have to continually produce top performance. This can only be maintained by continuous regeneration, the most effective means of which is active listening to music. As opposed to this the constantly spreading home cinema, instead of resolving, heightens the daily level of stress, thereby perpetuating the detrimental process. In order that one can remain healthy spiritually, mentally and physically harmonious alternation of processes is necessary, in the same manner as can be experienced in nature: relaxing and tightening, exhalation and inhalation, just as winter is followed by summer, etc. In nature, if a process extends in one direction, that will terminate in an explosion. Likewise, unidirectional processes taking place in human life, if allowed to continue without any counterbalance, will end in collapse.

From what has been said above, it can be easily seen that in the case of reproduced music, if one is fully committed to life-like reproduction of the original sound then the regenerating effect of musical experience is greatly enhanced. As opposed to this the more life-like the recreation of a catastrophe or an explosion in a home cinema, the more it is going to provoke stress in the viewer. This fact in itself unveils the stark contrast between current market processes and the requirement to satisfy real human needs.

It will probably come as no surprise to you if I say that our company does not intend to participate in this field of international competition. We will retain our objective: we intend to offer equipment that, through the most life-like presentation of artistic beauty possible, serve both the mental and spiritual regeneration of their owners.
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