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When I'm 64

Posted on December 07 2018

The following article by Tom DeVesto, Como Audio's founder & designer, originally appeared on the front page of Neil Young Archives' NYA Times-Contrarian on November 30th, 2018. 

 
Como Audio's Tom DeVesto with music legend Neil Young.

 

There are high fidelity enthusiasts and music lovers today from all generations. But, it seems to me, there is a dividing line between Millennials and Boomers regarding their inherent understanding of the importance in delivering music the way the artist intended it. 

With Boomers our mission as product designers has always been to demonstrate that our equipment delivered the musical art form as accurately as possible. We grew up listening to high resolution, high-quality vinyl records.

Millennials on the other hand grew up with buds in their ears or at best, some cranky Bluetooth speaker. Both were good enough to listen to their low resolution, highly compressed MP3 files. In many cases as little as 5% of the artist's original music makes it to their ears.

When I speak to Millennials about sound quality a fair amount of energy goes into explaining the value of the sound quality itself. About the endless hours the designer spends making sure that each part of the musical spectrum delivers everything the artist intended and nothing more. There is an octave tonal balance that needs to be maintained so that musical instruments are true to their acoustics. 

It is important that voices, both male and female, can be heard as if one was standing in front of the performer as opposed to hearing them down at the end of the long hallway or behind a curtain. If you carefully select the source of your music and the equipment you play on you can still get great sound today. But it is not going to come out of those little plastic boxes.

I was 21 years old and "When I'm 64" came out by the Beatles, turning 64 seemed like a really long way into the future. Little did we know that the level of high fidelity resolution of the equipment we were listening to then was going to turn out to be better than most of the stuff available in the future. When the Beatles sang "will you still need me", had we been able to see into the future, the answer would've been a resounding yes. 

Tom DeVesto 

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