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The Sound Recording Technology History Site explores the history and impact of the inventions that changed the way we listen. Click on the links below to learn about the economic history of sound recording, the nature of recorded culture, or simply the hardware itself. The ubiquitous stereo mini-system - a slew of technology crammed onto a desktop that often sounds more expensive than it costs - has morphed into a new genre that leans toward multimedia: the DVD mini-system. "All in one" is usually a phrase that signals alarm when audio equipment is involved. I've long bought into the theory - obsessively, at times, and sometimes to my embarrassment - that separate components deliver better sound because each piece of equipment is designed to perform a singular function. Gear freaks (read: audiophiles) get off on this separates stuff, and there's a logical method to their madness, because one can upgrade a preamplifier or a CD transport or a power conditioner, ideally without disturbing the integrity of the rest of the system.