It’s not customary for the Rain team to publically comment on everything we are notified of floating around the Internet ether. Like the prime directive, general order #1 from Star Trek, we observe, but try not to influence indigenous life on any given forum.
So we do not generally participate in online forums (though our CTO Robin Vincent who runs our subsidiary in the UK does) and, like many corporations, the presentation and distribution of information on or about our company is carefully considered.
That all said, we now have our Blog, Twitter and Facebook entities all aflutter with both corporate and individual information and mind sharing about Rain and many other worldly and other-worldly topics. Clearly the cat is out of the bag. But our beloved CCO, Keith Link is one of the few people on this planet that can actually herd cats. So before I am lassoed back into the corral, I must jump out of the cone of silence to comment on a thread I found at groups.google.com in rec.audio.pro. The thread ultimately speaks for itself. Like many forum threads there are statements both good and bad made by the writers that are not necessarily true, misrepresented, mere opinion or out of context. Nevertheless, this particular thread had a statement that I cannot resist tossing back over the fence.
Mike Rivers has a very useful and well written blog site with many pertinent articles and reviews. He seems a good sort in what I have read from him thus far. I like his writing and find both his open forum and periodical information to be balanced and fair. But in this forum thread he made an inaccurate assumption as to why Rain does not reveal the innards of our systems. In my capacity as the head of design of all our products, this inaccuracy as to the reason we do not generally reveal the component level details of our computers has compelled me to make this sidebar correction.
I and the rest of the team at Rain Computers adhere to a principle of intellectual generosity. So first of all, if you want to know what motherboard, hard drives, video cards or any other component we use in our systems give us a call. We will gladly tell you. But here is why we do not generally advertise what we call the “monotonous minutia” of the speeds and feeds of our systems. OK, ready? Here we go… it’s not about any individual component. Rain Computers are about best choice and balance of all components. The issue with the lion’s share of DIY (do-it-yourself) systems for audio and video is that they do not have a DIY R&D component. Certainly there is T&E (Trial and Error). But Rain possesses vast amounts of direct and contributed data from a plethora of computer component as well as audio and video hardware and software manufactures that cannot be purchased at a Fry’s or New Egg. While I could still argue that there is not really a $1,000 difference between our systems and a similar DIY (more like $500 to $800) the true value is in the intellectual property of our research, production methodology and support infrastructure.
The not-so-Secret Sauce: Experience.
My stepson is in the Navy. One day my wife and I were invited on the ship for family day. For 14 hours we traveled out to sea and roamed all about the USS George HW Bush Aircraft Carrier. We were pretty much allowed to go everywhere; the bridge, the engine room, berthing. I saw all kinds of technology and engineering. I could even take pictures. I took pictures and video of EVERYTHING I saw including a dilapidated old Dell computer next to the coffee maker in the flight deck control and launch operations room where the infamous and awesomely low-tech “Ouija Board,” resides. When I asked an officer if there were any security concerns or if any of the civilian guests could be spies, he replied, “we know for a fact that spies have been aboard our ships on many occasions”. This was strange to me at first. But when the officer explained that what made the US Navy the most powerful and effective military force in the world were people and training not hardware, I had a WOW moment. Yes, it is the training, the ways and means, the procedures and policies that make the Navy what it is. Though the 6.2 billion dollar aircraft carrier is most definitely a significant contributor to our naval prowess, it’s not like I was going to find some secret mystical orb 100 feet down in the underbelly of the ship (though I was actually down there).
So yes Mr. Rivers and all my fellow techno geeks, audio aficionados and gear slutz, what’s in the computer or an aircraft carrier is important. But it is how they are made and how they are run that is ultimately what makes them good or bad. Ultimately Rain Computers are physically just a select pile of components. I could recite chapter and verse how all the various components contribute or detract from audio application performance. But what truly makes a computer for creative applications useful is its ability to be transparent. For after all, was there ever a Grammy or Oscar for who built the best computer? I think not. But when the time comes, Rain will be seeking your vote.