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Monthly Editorial by Marc Mickelson
May 2001


I've been asked a few times how I go about choosing topics for my editorials, and I've responded in true writerly fashion: I don't choose them; they choose me. What this means is that something will recur -- or occur with such force -- and I just have to pay attention, then write about it. Sometimes the topics bring more passion with them than others, and other times I'll write about something that's particularly timely. But it doesn't take a lot of thought to determine what I'll write about. It's always there, in front of me, so to speak.

And so it is this month, the topic tapping me on the shoulder as I listened in awe to a wonderful new JVC XRCD2 -- Lightning Hopkins' Goin' Away [JVCXR-0211-2]. Last month I editorialized about two CDs I heard in Montreal that reminded me how much sonic improvement a recording can bring to bear on an audio system. The Lightning Hopkins CD reiterated this -- you'll soon read a full review of it -- and solidified for me how strong the CD is these days, even with DVD-A and SACD waiting in the wings.

Will the CD be gone next year, next decade, next century? Hard to say, but clearly it's still doing well as a format now. New CDs are released continually (we receive many of them for review), and there are many remasters on retailers' shelves, and coming there soon, proving that people are not only buying newly released CDs, but buying music they already own on CD too. There's more. I know of no music stores local to me that have any DVD-As or SACDs, and I've looked. I don't live in NYC, but I'm not in Siberia either.

Actually, when I think about it, the new format to make the greatest inroads is MP3, which is antithetical to the higher-quality/more-channels mantra of DVD-A and SACD. This signals to me that access and convenience are overriding factors for consumers of music in the new millennium. And, of course, neither of these applies to DVD-A or SACD, which you pretty much have to buy via mail order and may need five speakers to play at their best. Yes, the bleeding edge is interesting, but it's not for everyone.

Or hardly anyone nowadays, it seems. I'm into great sound as much as the next audiophile, but I want my music too. So at least for now, I don't need to urge you to keep CD on your mind. Run out and get Goin' Away on XRCD2 and you'll be reminded that CD chooses us, whether we want it to or not

...Marc Mickelson

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