Recently an owner of REF600M amplifiers asked if they can be bridged. I told him that this was not an option and wondered why he was asking, given that they develop more than 300 Watts into 8 ohms and 600 into 4 and still more into 2ohm loads. He replied a bit sheepishly with a funny anecdote. He and a friend went to his friend’s mother’s house to work on something and they found her struggling in her yard. His friend asked his Mother what she was doing, she said that she was trying to put up a fence to keep the wild turkeys out. His friend pointed out, “You do know that turkeys can fly Mom?”
This anecdote reminded me of the general confusion around networked audio streaming which is sometimes regarded as the poor cousin in music delivery. My experience with networked audio leads me to a very different conclusion. I find that using the Ethernet or WiFi connection to stream from either a local server with your personal FLAC or ALAC library or listening to Tidal or Qobuz results in a superior musical experience, equal of any digital source. Bel Canto’s bit perfect, asynchronous Ethernet interface and our custom MQA filters for MQA material and MQA based filters for PCM material play no small part in my personal streaming experience, of course. When you add in the remarkable sonic advantages of MQA from Tidal or high res FLAC from Qobuz and factor in the enormous musical libraries it is obvious that not only is the sound excellent but it opens up a compelling new way to experience music in your home.
This was underlined in an eclectic musical journey at home. We started with a CD from my personal library of a Barney Kessell release from 1959:
I heard a cut from this disc on the VTuner internet radio station FIP. This station is part of Radio France and has a wonderfully eclectic selection of great music. Now neither Tidal nor Qobuz has this CD so I purchased a copy and ripped it to my personal collection. We listened through the disc and it made me think of a remarkable Charlie Byrd remastered LP from Analogue Productions. This LP sounds extremely natural and musical. Showcasing the best of the venerable LP.
We listened to several cuts and I pulled out an old Paris flea market LP find from some 30 years ago, Nina Simone’s Bethlehem tour de force “Baby Just Cares for Me” compilation.
Having enjoyed several cuts on both sides I was curious how the CD remastering of a couple of cuts would sound streaming from Tidal or Qobuz as this well listened to LP was showing its age- though the music remains as compelling as ever. Finding the tracks proved simple enough and we were treated to a closer reading of the original master tape without the attendant LP artifacts and I found myself drawn even deeper into the musical experience of the 5 ½ minute instrumental “Good Bait”, experiencing the quality of the piano and its response to Nina’s very dynamic playing. Then on the final cut of the evening, “Plain Gold Ring” I found myself literally getting goose bumps in response to her powerful vocals on this emotional track.
Explore your own musical adventures without concern for specific formats or dogma surrounding internet radio, FLAC or MQA streaming, LP or CD playback. Just sit back and enjoy the trip!
DO check out FIP on VTuner as this is a great way to discover new and rediscover old music and feed your musical explorations. There is a FIP app where you can follow what the VTuner station is playing in real time, then you can look for a track on Qobuz or Tidal in CD or better quality-or purchase a new LP or CD to add to your collection.