Over the Christmas break, I took the time to install the new under-the-cabinet radio/CD player that will replace the counter model in my kitchen.  While I was enthusiastic to reclaim some of the counter space, my excitement soon dwindled when I turned on the new stereo model;  Even though it's a brand name product, I was more than disappointed with sound quality.  It's not the first time.

As a self-professed audiophile for the majority of my life, I am ever-concerned with the degradation of sound quality that comes from today's "stereos".

To my ears, it seems like we've been forced to accept a tradeoff:  With each new digital invention (I.E. MP3 players) and compact innovation (I.E. - smaller sound systems), the rich sound we SHOULD be getting from our playback systems is waning.

I know that they're convenient, but quite frankly - MP3's are compressed so bad that there are no "highs" or "lows" anymore.  I have vinyl records that aren't even in the best of  shape that sound better than any mp3 I've ever heard.  And the speakers they install in stereos these days leave a LOT to be desired.

What can we do about it?  Sadly - nothing.  We now have a whole generation (or two) that have never experienced what a good-sounding stereo system should sound like - so - the likelihood of anyone making an improvement is nile.

So what is an audiophile left to do?  Hold on to their component systems and "furniture-like" speakers forever.