Newsflash. CNet Says "Audiophilia a Dying Sector" [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums

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Worf101
05-23-2008, 03:47 AM
Well, why not, everything else around here's going to hell in a hand basket.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-10784_3-9950368-7.html?tag=nefd.lede

I don't think it's a permanent trend though. I believe that eventually Generation Ipod will hunger for something "better" when and if they ever settle down and want to hear what music was/is supposed to sound like.

Da Worfster

kexodusc
05-23-2008, 04:46 AM
Well, why not, everything else around here's going to hell in a hand basket.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-10784_3-9950368-7.html?tag=nefd.lede

I don't think it's a permanent trend though. I believe that eventually Generation Ipod will hunger for something "better" when and if they ever settle down and want to hear what music was/is supposed to sound like.

Da Worfster

Don't think they're telling us the whole story though - I know more people with competent home theater systems that replaced mini-systems or those cheap old Emerson/Yorx type stereo systems. And they're way better off for it. While hi-fi might be dying, home theater is still trooping on. The lowest common denominator is a lot better now than the lowest-common denominator was 10 or 20 years ago. Maybe not what it was at it's high point in the 70's but oh well.
Whether we call it a stereo or home theater is mostly irrelevant.

Besides, the article implies that iPod is directly responsible for the declining fortunes of MacIntosh. That's ridiciulous - I bet we could count on 1 hand the number of humans who were or would be potential Mac owners and gave it up for an iPod. If you could afford a Mac amp and even knew the brand name, chances are you had both anyway.
Now I could believe the modern computer/home theater combo and iPod are killing the mini-system and budget all-in one Emerson stereo system to some degree, but it's not putting MacIntosh and Snell out of business.

What happened in the 1980's when the Walkman took the world by storm? This can't be a new trend...

Feanor
05-23-2008, 05:27 AM
Well, why not, everything else around here's going to hell in a hand basket.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-10784_3-9950368-7.html?tag=nefd.lede

I don't think it's a permanent trend though. I believe that eventually Generation Ipod will hunger for something "better" when and if they ever settle down and want to hear what music was/is supposed to sound like.

Da Worfster

Basically I agree with Kex. Audiophiles do not buy iPods as replacements for high-end, (or mid-, or even entry-level), systems.

One wonders whether the average iPod/mobile user is even a music lover so much as a noise lover, but let's leave that aside. Many genuine music lovers are simply not concerned about sound quality beyond 128kbps MP3. Audiophiles are small minority of among music lovers and only they are interested in really superior sound; however this minority is here to stay and will always demand superior playback sources and equipment.

The '70s was the heyday of hi-fi but that day is over and won't return as such. What ended that era? It was the video cassette. The general population was and is inherently more interested video than audio. But like KeX says, the real the inheritor of the '70s hi-fi enthusiasm is home theatre, not mobile devices.

Worf101
05-23-2008, 05:39 AM
I see both your points and I also think you're correct. I personally don't know anyone who'd dismantled their HT or dedicated 2 Channel systems for an IPod and docking station. But as I said, peoples tastes change when they mature.

Da Worfster

kexodusc
05-23-2008, 05:41 AM
I listen to portable music as much as I do my system because I'm on the road so much - to be honest, I think this represents the old adage that being a music lover doesn't necessitate being an audiophile. Two different things. I bet most of the best musicians/performers from ANY era did not start out as audiophiles at all. Most probably still aren't.
I use my portable media devices to play back much higher audio quality than 128k mp3, and I gather more and more people do. Gotta start somewhere though. It doesn't sound bad at all, I prefer it to any FM radio. And it is convenient. Hard to argue against that.

Ajani
05-23-2008, 12:39 PM
to be honest, I think this represents the old adage that being a music lover doesn't necessitate being an audiophile. Two different things. I bet most of the best musicians/performers from ANY era did not start out as audiophiles at all. Most probably still aren't.

I 100% agree with that point. IMO, you can be a music lover, an audiophile or both.

A Music Lover is... well... ummm... someone who loves music and as a result spends lots of time listening to music and/or playing musical instruments.

An Audiophile is someone who is obsessed with the quality of his/her playback devices and medium.

Many Audiophiles are also music lovers, but I'm sure that not all are. Some spend more time criticising their systems, making tweaks, changing cables and dreaming about new gear than actually just reclining in a chair and enjoying the music.

budgetaudio76
05-23-2008, 02:12 PM
I 100% agree with that point. IMO, you can be a music lover, an audiophile or both.

A Music Lover is... well... ummm... someone who loves music and as a result spends lots of time listening to music and/or playing musical instruments.

An Audiophile is someone who is obsessed with the quality of his/her playback devices and medium.

Many Audiophiles are also music lovers, but I'm sure that not all are. Some spend more time criticising their systems, making tweaks, changing cables and dreaming about new gear than actually just reclining in a chair and enjoying the music.

YEAH!

dogorman
05-23-2008, 04:12 PM
I'm not sure I agree that people who've been listening to compressed formats will mature into something better -- they'd have to know it was better, first, and if a great many of the high-end salons are out of business by the time these folks might have come around, then they never get the chance. I mean, gosh, a person could have said that eventually those same folks will yearn for a telephone call that they can actually hear the other end of, but it keeps not happening.

hermanv
05-27-2008, 09:08 PM
It's certainly a popular refrain. Stores are closing, but this may be due to the internet. Much high end gear is so expensive that saving 10% amounts to real money.

I wonder how they know it's dying? Yes the old magazines seem dead, but they may have died because their content became more and more superficial, most of the reviews were gushingly positive - drek. Yet the big names in equipment are still there, new models on a regular basis, you don't do that if you're going broke.

Anyway I see lots of vendors for high end gear, SACD lives on in spite of Sony, turntables are experiencing a resurgence. Things may be better than they look.

Ajani
07-15-2008, 12:49 PM
There are several problems that will prevent audiophilia from becoming more than just a niche market (In North America anyway, where I suspect it is dying much faster than in Europe and Asia):

1) Lack of advertising - This is a no-brainer... since the only brand that really advertises outside of crappy North American Review Mags is BOSE, then BOSE becomes synonymous with high-end audio to most consumers in North America...

2) The very image of the audiophile - essentially a pompous old snot with a $10K or more setup, clutching his collection of 1960's original LPs, and having utter contempt for both modern popular music and modern technology (especially solid state and digital) and worse yet anything remotely affordable (which gets dismissed as 'mid-fi' or 'mass-market')... That image does not jive with the desires of younger generations....

3) Outdated and Irrelevant review magazines... The North American mags cater to the audiophile mentioned above... Hence they choose to review a small number of mostly expensive products... They test the products using music that younger generations have never even heard... Simple comparison... I can't remember ever reading a review from either Stereophile or the Absolute Sound in which I was even familiar with the Artist being played... In contrast, I've read so many reviews from the UK's What-Hifi and Hifi Choice in which a listening panel tests the products using a wide range of music. from classical to modern artists such as Nelly Furtado and Eminem... If you want to get younger generations to read these magazines, then you need to review products of a relevant price range and use music that they are familiar with...

4) The stores that carry 'audiophile' gear have also chosen to cater mostly to the audiophile mentioned above... meaning lots of ultra-expensive gear, bad attitudes and Vinyl...

I'm actually the only under 30 Audiophile (Audio-Enthusiast) that I know (not including members of this site, since I haven't met any of you)... and the reason I even know that high-end exists is because about 10 years ago I stumbled across this website, when I was looking for a consumer review of a cheap pair of Technics speakers that I was planning to buy... I scrolled through the speakers section (sorted by price) and got the shock of a lifetime... That should not be the only way that younger generations get introduced to high-end audio...

3-LockBox
07-15-2008, 03:08 PM
There are several problems that will prevent audiophilia from becoming more than just a niche market (In North America anyway, where I suspect it is dying much faster than in Europe and Asia)

Well said, all four ponits.

blackraven
07-15-2008, 10:47 PM
MP3, HT, computers and poorly recorded music has contributed to the dwindling Audiophilia. In the 1970s when I was a teenager and in college, every one wanted to have a good sounding stereo and you could buy a nice sounding Marantz, Pioneer, Technics or Sansui 15wpc receiver for under $200 that would blow the pants off of most of todays sub $800 HT AVR's today. Good sounding equipment was cheap and well made back then. My vintage 1970's technics integrated amp still blows me away when I listen to it.

Part of the difference back then was that many people just listened to a transistor FM radio or a cheap stereo and then, when you went to some one's house or dorm room and heard a good stereo, you were blown away and wanted one. Today, just about every one has some sort of stereo, boom box or IPOD and the wow factor is no longer there.

Todays teens and college age people think that great sound is their IPOD playing through their radio, 20yo daughter no exception, but she's learning. I find her more and more using my stereo these days.

pixelthis
07-15-2008, 10:57 PM
There are several problems that will prevent audiophilia from becoming more than just a niche market (In North America anyway, where I suspect it is dying much faster than in Europe and Asia):

1) Lack of advertising - This is a no-brainer... since the only brand that really advertises outside of crappy North American Review Mags is BOSE, then BOSE becomes synonymous with high-end audio to most consumers in North America...

2) The very image of the audiophile - essentially a pompous old snot with a $10K or more setup, clutching his collection of 1960's original LPs, and having utter contempt for both modern popular music and modern technology (especially solid state and digital) and worse yet anything remotely affordable (which gets dismissed as 'mid-fi' or 'mass-market')... That image does not jive with the desires of younger generations....

3) Outdated and Irrelevant review magazines... The North American mags cater to the audiophile mentioned above... Hence they choose to review a small number of mostly expensive products... They test the products using music that younger generations have never even heard... Simple comparison... I can't remember ever reading a review from either Stereophile or the Absolute Sound in which I was even familiar with the Artist being played... In contrast, I've read so many reviews from the UK's What-Hifi and Hifi Choice in which a listening panel tests the products using a wide range of music. from classical to modern artists such as Nelly Furtado and Eminem... If you want to get younger generations to read these magazines, then you need to review products of a relevant price range and use music that they are familiar with...

4) The stores that carry 'audiophile' gear have also chosen to cater mostly to the audiophile mentioned above... meaning lots of ultra-expensive gear, bad attitudes and Vinyl...

I'm actually the only under 30 Audiophile (Audio-Enthusiast) that I know (not including members of this site, since I haven't met any of you)... and the reason I even know that high-end exists is because about 10 years ago I stumbled across this website, when I was looking for a consumer review of a cheap pair of Technics speakers that I was planning to buy... I scrolled through the speakers section (sorted by price) and got the shock of a lifetime... That should not be the only way that younger generations get introduced to high-end audio...


Its sad what has happened to high end audio.
Part of the problem is education, and lack of outreach.
Also, mainstream audio gear used to be two channel, catering to great sound.
everybody had a decent stereo, with a mainstream receiver with specs that in every way outdid those of todays receivers.
The problem is that the "midrange" market has been conceded to HT,
instead of a market that strives to higher end audio, you have a market that knows nothing about high end audo, or cares.
They just want a bigger monitor.
Audio is considered to be a minor part of a HT experience.
Just sitting and listening to music is an alien concept to the modern busy world.
And we're all the poorer for it.
you cant miss what you dont know you're missing:1:

kexodusc
07-16-2008, 03:52 AM
I dunno - When I look back at a lot of systems 25 years ago they were often poor quality, faux-woodgrain finish one unit systems bought in Sears, units made of pure crap. Or entry level Pioneer/Kenwood/JVC/Technics stereo receivers which are not anywhere near as good as modern a/v receivers (at least not the stereo receivers I could afford as a kid). Kids in college might have had better stereos but I've been to enough homes to know not everyone did.

Access to good gear might be a bit worse now, but I don't know that the average North American stereo is all that worse than it ever was - I don't think the average consumer ever had all that great a system.

What the audio industry may have lost in the availability of entry level amplification, it certainly recovered and then some in the leaps and bounds entry level speakers have made the last 20 years.

The only question would be whether people have a dedicated stereo at all - I would argue that computers, multiple TV's and home video, and other forms of entertainment are more responsible for stealing disposable income from the audio sector than the Ipod phenomenon on its greatest day could ever be.

One thing's for sure - if people are willing to use computers, mini-systems, and Ipods for their music enjoyment purposes, the audiophile industry never really won the loyalty of consumers anyway.

Worf101
07-16-2008, 04:37 AM
As the "OP" (Original Poster) of this thread I'm gratified and pleased to see that it has resonated with some folks and produced some absolutely stirling repsonses (gold star to Ajani). I've not read a post here that I disagree with. Like Kex I don't know if todays average listener can comprehend the idea of just listening to 2 channel stereo with a dedicated 2 channel system. It is more of a rarity than one might think. Sigh, the more I read on this though, the more depressed I'm getting.

Da Worfster

Rich-n-Texas
07-16-2008, 04:59 AM
As the "OP" (Original Poster) of this thread I'm gratified and pleased to see that it has resonated with some folks and produced some absolutely stirling repsonses (gold star to Ajani). I've not read a post here that I disagree with. Like Kex I don't know if todays average listener can comprehend the idea of just listening to 2 channel stereo with a dedicated 2 channel system. It is more of a rarity than one might think. Sigh, the more I read on this though, the more depressed I'm getting.

Da Worfster
I heard Klingons don't use toilet paper. :nonod:

Chas Underhay
07-16-2008, 05:35 AM
The '70s was the heyday of hi-fi but that day is over and won't return as such. What ended that era? It was the video cassette. The general population was and is inherently more interested video than audio. But like KeX says, the real the inheritor of the '70s hi-fi enthusiasm is home theatre, not mobile devices.

Hi Feanor

Personally, I think it was CD that ended the era and thats not meant as a pop at CD, let me explain:

Cheap record players of the 50s 60s and 70s were crap, absolute crap and they offended the ears. Not only that, many of them destroyed records. They were so bad that they inspired a multitude of people to try and get something better. Back in those days there werent really any mini systems, the choice was between a crap record player and a Hi Fi set of varying degrees of quality. Also in those days, people had less money so would have to ponder the Hi Fi magazines to find out what to buy. Very few impulse buys back in the 60s.

People would go out and buy their first system typically in the UK with a Garrard SP25 turntable etc and it would be so much better than their old record player that many of them would then become hooked and and a few years later go out and buy a Thorend TD150 - wow! so much better again then back for a Shure V15. It used to be a logical path from total crap gradually through better and better.

However, nowadays with CD and a mini system things start out very well, in fact, so well that few people want anything better.

End of story as far as I can see!

Cheers

Chas

Ajani
07-16-2008, 06:42 AM
Hi Feanor

Personally, I think it was CD that ended the era and thats not meant as a pop at CD, let me explain:

Cheap record players of the 50s 60s and 70s were crap, absolute crap and they offended the ears. Not only that, many of them destroyed records. They were so bad that they inspired a multitude of people to try and get something better. Back in those days there werent really any mini systems, the choice was between a crap record player and a Hi Fi set of varying degrees of quality. Also in those days, people had less money so would have to ponder the Hi Fi magazines to find out what to buy. Very few impulse buys back in the 60s.

People would go out and buy their first system typically in the UK with a Garrard SP25 turntable etc and it would be so much better than their old record player that many of them would then become hooked and and a few years later go out and buy a Thorend TD150 - wow! so much better again then back for a Shure V15. It used to be a logical path from total crap gradually through better and better.

However, nowadays with CD and a mini system things start out very well, in fact, so well that few people want anything better.

End of story as far as I can see!

Cheers

Chas

Good point.... a $200 mini-system won't sound remotely good by audiophile standards (trust me, I know)... but it sure as hell won't destroy your CDs and for most people it provides suitable musical quality, especially if you don't sit down and listen critically... another option is to get an Ipod and a decent pair of headphones, as you'd have to spend a LOT more on a 2 channel system to better it sonically... (the only reason I don't recommend the ipod setup is because headphones are potentially bad for your hearing)...

Now if you want to have a real fun activity, try to convice someone with a $10K setup that they can get decent sound out of a $300 Ipod + Headphones combo... not, that I am in anyway implying that an ipod combo sounds nearly as good as a proper $10K stereo, just that what is available for very little money is far far better than many 'audiophiles' imagine...

If we really want to get younger generations interested in this hobby, then we need to end the snobbery and simply show realistic upgrade paths... Most consumers will never feel the need to upgrade (as Chas mentioned) but those who do, will be able to move up in reasonable increments...

The other strategy is to do as Naim (Bentley), B&W (Jaguar) and Mark Levinson (Lexus) are doing.... which is to align themselves with luxury cars... If you want to aim at the $10K plus market, then getting people who can afford those kind of setups used to your brand, is a good way to do it... Heck it's worked for BOSE (Mercedes) for sometime now (though Bose isn't really $10K, more around $5K but the principle is the same)...

GMichael
07-16-2008, 06:54 AM
Oh no! We're dying? Is that why I keep getting older every year? This sucks.

Chas Underhay
07-16-2008, 08:18 AM
The other strategy is to do as Naim (Bentley), B&W (Jaguar) and Mark Levinson (Lexus) are doing.... which is to align themselves with luxury cars... If you want to aim at the $10K plus market, then getting people who can afford those kind of setups used to your brand, is a good way to do it... Heck it's worked for BOSE (Mercedes) for sometime now (though Bose isn't really $10K, more around $5K but the principle is the same)...

Hi Ajani

I guess you could also relate it to cars in another way; 1950s 60s and 70s cars were also generally crap and because they were quite simple many people used to tinker with them and probably did often make them better but consider modern cars; even basic models are now so good that you don't need to tinker with them and they're reliable.

In the 60s the difference between a basic Ford and say a Bentley was vast. Nowadays that basic Ford will actually be quite close to a Bentley inasmuch as it will be totally reliable, will be able to (legally) complete long journeys in similar times it will be comfortable, quiet and will have all the toys like air-con, CD player, sat nav etc. A 1960s Bentley had a basic heater and wind up windows. Oh yeah, and it really wasn't that quick, handled like a sack of dung, wasn't very reliable and rusted badly. The Ford was ten times worse.

What I'm saying is that nowadays, the basic models are often so good (Ford or mini system) that many people don't feel any necessity to progress to more exotic products.

A $200 (100) mini system may be a bit too far down the line to use as a comparison but something for around $400 to 500 (200 to 250) would probably be quite good and considering inflation; that would roughly equate to spending about 10 to 12 on a record player in the 1960s. I think a Garrard 401 was about 30 in those days and Quad electrostatics about 30 each. A Bentley would have been about 5000 and an E type about 2000 by the way.

Cheers

Chas

filecat13
07-16-2008, 07:08 PM
It's important not to overlook marketing and distribution to see where some of the change is coming from. People's buying habits have changed dramatically in the last ten years, as well as their research habits, communication habits, and social networking habits.

I'll bet a large number of the members here go to the Internet first when researching potential purchases. This is far more convenient than the old method of looking in the yellow pages, calling stores, and driving around trying to find stores that had something you wanted to see/hear.

I'll bet a large number of the members here will buy over the Internet even if they went to a store (if they could find one) first to listen to something. It's generally cheaper, and easy to do. It's far more convenient that the old method of comparison shopping store-to-store and stopping in to try to make a deal based on competitor's prices.

I'll bet a large number of members here do much of their preliminary and final social networking here and on other forums when it comes to deciding what to buy. How many times have people come seeking advice, they get it, they buy, and they don't stay long? This is far more convenient than the old method of getting opinions from neighbors, relatives, and idiot acquaintances who can get you a great deal from a guy who has a van load of audiophile gear that he'll sell WAY below cost.

The iPod is available on the Internet, at BB, at CC, at the mall kiosk, at Target, at Macy's, I mean where is it NOT available? We have at least six of them in the house, and there's two of us. As a contrast, when I wanted to buy a Sony Walkman way back when, I had to trudge from store to store after making several calls from the yellow pages to find out who carried them, then had to show up in person to see if any were in stock when I got there, had to pay the darned MAP on it, and walked out of the store wondering what the real cost was in my time, gas, and energy.

Those who adapt to the new marketing and distribution paradigm will profit, and those who don't will need to keep margins high by moving upscale and generating lots of repeat business. The problem with audiophiles is they get old and die, so at some point the business does not repeat and the old model becomes more vulnerable.

Yes, I think in a very literal sense, audiophilia is dying.

Ajani
07-17-2008, 04:52 AM
It's important not to overlook marketing and distribution to see where some of the change is coming from. People's buying habits have changed dramatically in the last ten years, as well as their research habits, communication habits, and social networking habits.

I'll bet a large number of the members here go to the Internet first when researching potential purchases. This is far more convenient than the old method of looking in the yellow pages, calling stores, and driving around trying to find stores that had something you wanted to see/hear.

I'll bet a large number of the members here will buy over the Internet even if they went to a store (if they could find one) first to listen to something. It's generally cheaper, and easy to do. It's far more convenient that the old method of comparison shopping store-to-store and stopping in to try to make a deal based on competitor's prices.

I'll bet a large number of members here do much of their preliminary and final social networking here and on other forums when it comes to deciding what to buy. How many times have people come seeking advice, they get it, they buy, and they don't stay long? This is far more convenient than the old method of getting opinions from neighbors, relatives, and idiot acquaintances who can get you a great deal from a guy who has a van load of audiophile gear that he'll sell WAY below cost.

The iPod is available on the Internet, at BB, at CC, at the mall kiosk, at Target, at Macy's, I mean where is it NOT available? We have at least six of them in the house, and there's two of us. As a contrast, when I wanted to buy a Sony Walkman way back when, I had to trudge from store to store after making several calls from the yellow pages to find out who carried them, then had to show up in person to see if any were in stock when I got there, had to pay the darned MAP on it, and walked out of the store wondering what the real cost was in my time, gas, and energy.

Those who adapt to the new marketing and distribution paradigm will profit, and those who don't will need to keep margins high by moving upscale and generating lots of repeat business. The problem with audiophiles is they get old and die, so at some point the business does not repeat and the old model becomes more vulnerable.

Yes, I think in a very literal sense, audiophilia is dying.

I especially agree with your last point... Trying to hold on to audiophiles from the 70s or earlier, means a constantly declining customer base.... I think more brands and stores need to start trying to attract the younger generations if they have any serious plans of growing their business...

Interestingly, several major brands are now creating products that are in touch with modern times... Amps with USB inputs/DACS and media servers.. the only problem is that too many of these products are at the top end of their product lines... How many younger consumers can afford media servers in excess of $4K from Arcam or NAIM? Or Integrated amps (with built in DACs) for over $5K from Musical Fidelity or NAIM? Even Integrated Amps with just a USB input (very basic DAC) are $2K or more - Musical Fidelity and Bel Canto...

Ajani
07-17-2008, 05:04 AM
Now I could believe the modern computer/home theater combo and iPod are killing the mini-system and budget all-in one Emerson stereo system to some degree, but it's not putting MacIntosh and Snell out of business.

Yep... according to the article, shelf systems are down 40%... which wouldn't suprise me... given that brands like Panasonic no longer even have mini-systems on their website (just a few models of micro-systems)...

To combat the effect of Ipods and cheap docks, I notice that the latest generation of mini-systems from Philips and Sony are shockingly advanced... they have internal hardrives and are able to access the music on your computer wirelessly... Now If only the major audiophile brands would follow...

pixelthis
07-17-2008, 01:13 PM
I especially agree with your last point... Trying to hold on to audiophiles from the 70s or earlier, means a constantly declining customer base.... I think more brands and stores need to start trying to attract the younger generations if they have any serious plans of growing their business...

Interestingly, several major brands are now creating products that are in touch with modern times... Amps with USB inputs/DACS and media servers.. the only problem is that too many of these products are at the top end of their product lines... How many younger consumers can afford media servers in excess of $4K from Arcam or NAIM? Or Integrated amps (with built in DACs) for over $5K from Musical Fidelity or NAIM? Even Integrated Amps with just a USB input (very basic DAC) are $2K or more - Musical Fidelity and Bel Canto...


Theres a word for that...RIPOFF.\Why anybody pays several grand for a "music server" is beyond me when a 300$ pc can do the same job.
CIRCUIT CITY HAD A "MEDIA SERVER" for 500$, basicall a TOWER PC.
And dont tell me you have to be "computer literate" to use your PC for a music server, Itunes, etc betray that falsehood.
Maybe the "audiophille " isnt dying but just moved maybe he's listening to itunes piped through his stereo.
I keep hearing about people ditching their CD collections, burning their music to HD, maybe this is the future.
If so then we need a version of teh future that is as "audiophile" quality as possible.:1:

blackraven
07-17-2008, 01:18 PM
Chas, good point, there are much more choices now such as mini systems compared to the 60's and 70's. Most people are satisfied with this type of sound. The CD has changed that HiFi landscape. But now its Mp3 thats contributing to the problem as well.

In my previous post, I did not mean to imply that AVR's are junk although I came off that way. Its just that back in the 70's you could get very good 2ch sound from a $150 receiver. (although if you browse this forum and mention that you want to use an AVR for quality 2ch music, many people try to steer you away from this saying that a sub 1K receiver cant possibly give you excellent sound quailty).

Ajani
07-17-2008, 01:24 PM
Theres a word for that...RIPOFF.\Why anybody pays several grand for a "music server" is beyond me when a 300$ pc can do the same job.
CIRCUIT CITY HAD A "MEDIA SERVER" for 500$, basicall a TOWER PC.
And dont tell me you have to be "computer literate" to use your PC for a music server, Itunes, etc betray that falsehood.
Maybe the "audiophille " isnt dying but just moved maybe he's listening to itunes piped through his stereo.
I keep hearing about people ditching their CD collections, burning their music to HD, maybe this is the future.
If so then we need a version of teh future that is as "audiophile" quality as possible.:1:

lol... I have to agree.... In the past I've used a mac-mini connected directly to my preamp as a music server... Now I run itunes on my laptop and stream all my music (apple lossless format) via a Squeezebox Classic...

Rather than spend big money on an overpriced music server... just set up a cheap computer/squeezebox combo and buy a good DAC (if you must)....

hermanv
07-17-2008, 03:10 PM
<snip>
In my previous post, I did not mean to imply that AVR's are junk although I came off that way. Its just that back in the 70's you could get very good 2ch sound from a $150 receiver. (although if you browse this forum and mention that you want to use an AVR for quality 2ch music, many people try to steer you away from this saying that a sub 1K receiver cant possibly give you excellent sound quailty).

I used to own a $1799 NAD surround receiver, I had 1st class speakers (about $5K worth) and try as I might and no matter how hard I wished, the sound was never as good as my dedicated 2 channel system. I also used to own an all Denon system (about $3K worth), again I couldn't get the 2 channel sound quality I was striving for.

So while I have certainly not heard all brands of receivers, my personal experience is that this a a hard way to go if true audiophile sound is your goal.

Many well regarded stereo only people now make 2 channel integrateds or pre-amps with a bypass system to avoid duplication of expense but still allow a good mix of quality 2 channel and surround sound.

blackraven
07-17-2008, 06:41 PM
I'm not saying AVR's can compete with high quality separates, but you can still get very good sound from them. I'm using a $2200 Adcom AVR and I'll put it up against most sub $1,800 amps. Its 2ch sound is very good and it drives my Maggies without any problems at very high volume levels. Its all about equipment matching and synergy.

Ajani
07-18-2008, 04:53 AM
I used to own a $1799 NAD surround receiver, I had 1st class speakers (about $5K worth) and try as I might and no matter how hard I wished, the sound was never as good as my dedicated 2 channel system. I also used to own an all Denon system (about $3K worth), again I couldn't get the 2 channel sound quality I was striving for.

So while I have certainly not heard all brands of receivers, my personal experience is that this a a hard way to go if true audiophile sound is your goal.

Many well regarded stereo only people now make 2 channel integrateds or pre-amps with a bypass system to avoid duplication of expense but still allow a good mix of quality 2 channel and surround sound.

Would you have paired a NAD C372 Integrated Amp ($1K) with $5K Speakers? The best you should really hope for in a NAD surround receiver is sound on par (though most likely less) than their top battleship grey integrated amp...

A HT Receiver is essentially an integrated amp with a pile of processing features for both audio and video & at least 3 times as many channels of amplification... Thus I never expect a HT Receiver to sound much better than an integrated amp for half its price....

You can definitely get a great sounding HT Receiver or Pre/Pro & Multi-Amp combo... you'll just have to spend about double what you would on an integrated amp...

hermanv
07-18-2008, 09:48 AM
Would you have paired a NAD C372 Integrated Amp ($1K) with $5K Speakers? The best you should really hope for in a NAD surround receiver is sound on par (though most likely less) than their top battleship grey integrated amp...

A HT Receiver is essentially an integrated amp with a pile of processing features for both audio and video & at least 3 times as many channels of amplification... Thus I never expect a HT Receiver to sound much better than an integrated amp for half its price....

You can definitely get a great sounding HT Receiver or Pre/Pro & Multi-Amp combo... you'll just have to spend about double what you would on an integrated amp...In this case the primary use was home theater. I needed an AC-3 and PCM decoder and I had nice rear and center channels speakers.

There was little point in using the system for 2 channel, as I already had a dedicated set up. I would put the home theater set up into straight stereo mode for comparison, no processing, room enhancements or sub woofer (my main L/R speakers were good to 22Hz), I just expected sound that was close to my main system, if a little less refined, from the HT set up. I didn't get it.

The Denon was a 2 channel only set up. It had that etch, glare whatever you call it, a roughness with maybe a touch of white noise thrown in, centered at what sounded like 3KHz. What was sometimes called a transistor sound. By comparison the NAD had far less of this problem, it's main short coming was a muddling of sound, a lack of clarity, while somehow maintaining significant tweeter energy.

The closest I've heard to good stereo from an HT set up was the Outlaw, fewer negatives still, little or no improvement of the positives.

I realize budget is an issue and a good receiver system will still beat an iPod or Bose table radio hands down. A carefully chosen system will also beat the mass market "package" deals.

E-Stat
07-19-2008, 06:24 AM
A HT Receiver is essentially an integrated amp with a pile of processing features for both audio and video & at least 3 times as many channels of amplification.
Hmmm. All the HT Receivers I've seen are receivers. While I don't know anyone who uses the AM/FM tuner section (never used mine), they do nevertheless have one.

I, too have a NAD unit (T763) that sounds pretty decent. While it doesn't have the refinement of the main system, it is still pretty neutral sounding. Since I'm a speaker guy, I could easily imagine driving some Maggies with it.

rw

hermanv
07-19-2008, 08:28 AM
My NAD was also a T76?, did they make a T765? That sounds right. I think it was 70 or 75 watts/channel all channels driven. about 110 watts for stereo.

I certainly never meant to imply it was junk, if I wasn't an audiophile nut, I'm sure it would have been just fine.

E-Stat
07-19-2008, 08:39 AM
My NAD was also a T76?, did they make a T765? That sounds right. I think it was 70 or 75 watts/channel all channels driven. about 110 watts for stereo.
There were many 76x receivers. Look here. (http://nadelectronics.com/product-manuals) The 763 does 100 watts all channels driven.


I certainly never meant to imply it was junk, if I wasn't an audiophile nut, I'm sure it would have been just fine.
I didn't take your comments that way. I'm an audio freak, too. :)

rw

SlumpBuster
07-19-2008, 08:54 AM
Another thought to throw into the mix is the use of AVRs with separate amps. I have what a consider a decent mid level system: Yammie RX1500 with Yammie M-65 amp. I added the amp for two channel stereo. With the Pure Direct feature the AVR just becomes a straight preamp gain stage. Have I not just created a separates system for less than $1200? Plus, when I do wan't to watch a movie, the AVR is still right their to do the processing.

hermanv
07-19-2008, 11:01 AM
There were many 76x receivers. Look here. (http://nadelectronics.com/product-manuals) The 763 does 100 watts all channels driven.You made me look, found old paperwork it was a T770. Funny, manual on the site you listed seems to be missing any specs such as power/channel.

Ajani
07-19-2008, 01:21 PM
Hmmm. All the HT Receivers I've seen are receivers. While I don't know anyone who uses the AM/FM tuner section (never used mine), they do nevertheless have one.

LOL... my bad... I forgot to mention the tuner... since a Receiver is an Integrated Amp with a Tuner...

I guess it should be obvious how often I listen to the radio (apart from in my car - hmmm, just about never)....

Ajani
07-19-2008, 01:28 PM
Another thought to throw into the mix is the use of AVRs with separate amps. I have what a consider a decent mid level system: Yammie RX1500 with Yammie M-65 amp. I added the amp for two channel stereo. With the Pure Direct feature the AVR just becomes a straight preamp gain stage. Have I not just created a separates system for less than $1200? Plus, when I do wan't to watch a movie, the AVR is still right their to do the processing.

Yep... you've essentially created a seperates system for under $1.2K... That's a pretty common practice now... another one is to get an integrated amp with HT passthrough in place of the M-65....

Since I'm a 2channel guy, I'd just opt to spend the entire $1.2K on either an amp/pre combo or an integrated amp, rather than have part of my budget spent on the Tuner (thanks E-Stat), extra channels of amplification and all those audio/video processing features....

filecat13
07-20-2008, 11:58 AM
LOL... my bad... I forgot to mention the tuner... since a Receiver is an Integrated Amp with a Tuner...

I guess it should be obvious how often I listen to the radio (apart from in my car - hmmm, just about never)....

My pre/pro has a tuner, though it's not a touted feature. I don't use it or need it, but there it is, sitting unobtrusively for the most part.

When I moved, I hooked the pre/pro up to a two channel amp and used the tuner as the source while I put everything together. It was actually one of the better tuners I've used in terms of pulling stations and providing excellent FM sound. Still, without an analog signal strength meter, center tuning meter, and an illuminating STEREO light, it just didn't seem right. It's merely a digital readout on the LCD screen.

I don't think I've listened to it since.

FM radio seemed like an "audiophile" experience to me when I used to listen to Texaco Presents the Metropolitan Opera on the old Magnavox console as a kid, but it doesn't seem so anymore. Maybe HD radio? Haven't tried it.

E-Stat
07-20-2008, 02:39 PM
LOL... my bad... I forgot to mention the tuner... since a Receiver is an Integrated Amp with a Tuner...
I could have worded my observation a bit more tactfully. Should have included a smiley face. :)

Speaking of unused features, how many folks actually double up on the cable runs just to switch the video through the receiver?

rw

Worf101
07-21-2008, 04:55 AM
I could have worded my observation a bit more tactfully. Should have included a smiley face. :)

Speaking of unused features, how many folks actually double up on the cable runs just to switch the video through the receiver?

rw
When your ole lady's as "technically challenged" as mine, if you can make the process of switching from DVD to TV a "one button process" by doubling up on your cables, you do it.

Da Worfster

Ajani
07-21-2008, 05:14 AM
When your ole lady's as "technically challenged" as mine, if you can make the process of switching from DVD to TV a "one button process" by doubling up on your cables, you do it.

Da Worfster

Personally, I'd rather use a Logitech Harmony remote.... so when she wants to watch a DVD, she just presses DVD and everything that should be turned on is turned on and switched to the right settings (oh, and the DVD begins playing)... and when she needs to watch TV, the settings change and the cable box comes on... (depending on how much you spend to double up cable, the Logitech may be a cheaper option)....

E-Stat
07-21-2008, 07:57 AM
Personally, I'd rather use a Logitech Harmony remote....
Sounds like a neat solution. I'm more averse to increasing the already busy collection of cabling. In my household, wifey is more the video champ so she's adapted to the three remote scenario (cable is third).

rw

hermanv
07-21-2008, 09:12 AM
Although digital connections help a lot, it's kind of disgusting that the industry hasn't come up with a better cabling or signal distribution system. Not only are individual cables expensive, the resultant home theater rats nest makes it near impossible to figure out why one channel is dead, but only on DVD.

Even the "S" video cable had separate internal leads for luminance and chrominance, did they include a right/left audio channel, hell no.

RCA cables were fine for mono, how long ago was that? Multiple signals in one standardized format is hardly rocket science.

Auricauricle
07-21-2008, 02:53 PM
I reckon I oughta weigh in here, as long as the dialog is still hot....

My opinion is that while the "audiophile" industry does not command the same presence as it once did, there are enough folks out there who enjoy good music and wish to have it reproduced in as exacting a way possible that there will always be a market. Unfortunately, computer-inspired music delivery systems, such as IPOD, MDISC, mp3, etc., have flooded the market and, armed to the teeth with aggresive marketing and the promise of "more for less", have pretty well knocked the ap industry to its knees. It's no wonder we see revered brands of old ponying up to the challenge and coming up with equipment that caters to the current market or pushes the envelope.

I use a two speaker and subwoofer system and don't plan to go further, speaker-wise. I am, first and foremost, a music lover. I take extreme measures, perhaps too much so, in searching for ways of reproducing music in as life-like a fashion as possible. This amounts to some processing, but if this gives me the ability to produce a sound that I consider aurally "true", then so be it....

I use a minidisc recorder and a cassette recorder, the latter being rather underused, but with the number of cassettes seen in thrift stores and friends' collections that I am interested in listening to, I keep it on hand and dub to the Minidisc if the material strikes the right chord. I do not consider the minidisc format to be a critically exciting medium, but as a source for material that either does not require critical listening or is "under consideration", the format is fine. A little expansion via the dbx, and I have enough juice for many hours of happy listening.

I will submit that while my enjoyment and demanding fashion of listening to music goes back to the Chromium Dioxide Age (post bronze and iron, LOL), my listening habits became decicively (sp?) more critical in the Walkman era, when Sony brought the portable to the mainstream and tape manufacturers like TDK and the like had to rush like mad horses to catch up. Things were brought to warp speed with the release of the CD which, at first, showed all the glories and awful limitations of the product. As I listenend more and more, I became increasingly demanding, and wanted nothing less than sonic perfection. Hence the many copies of "Dark Side of the Moon", incarnations of Beethoven's Ninth, all the gear and the tongue-in-cheek "Auricauricle" appellation.

Loving music and audiophilia are, as many of you have rightfully said, are different sides of the same coin. With most people, music is a pleasant foray that makes life's burdens a little easier to take and makes awful beer taste a little better. In the territory of the damned, where we tread, the love of music is not only these things but more. It is a blissful state that transports the soul. Like the enjoyment of any great art, the love of music inspires the deepest recesses of our very selves: the imagination. Think of any dead or lost civilization: there is no art. No music, no literature, no paintings, nothing remains of that creative spark. Without it, we are truly dead (ahem!).

So, is the audiophile industry dead? No. Is it changing? Yes. As long as you and I are around, to inspire others and to get misty every now and then when a pleasant strain comes through the ether, the love of music will never die, and there will always be people out there to make darn sure it doesn't.

Okay. 'Nuff rambling....

hermanv
07-21-2008, 09:39 PM
As long as music represents an artistic collection of sound, people will go to live events and a few audiophiles will strive to recreate that emotional impact at home.

It may be worth mentioning that many of todays best selling music performers have little or zero artistic ability, this too may be contributing to the apparent decline of the audiophile industry. Why spend money to accurately reproduce drek?

pixelthis
07-21-2008, 11:28 PM
Another thought to throw into the mix is the use of AVRs with separate amps. I have what a consider a decent mid level system: Yammie RX1500 with Yammie M-65 amp. I added the amp for two channel stereo. With the Pure Direct feature the AVR just becomes a straight preamp gain stage. Have I not just created a separates system for less than $1200? Plus, when I do wan't to watch a movie, the AVR is still right their to do the processing.

This is the most popular (and probably best) way to have a "hybird"
system that can do double duty , both HT and stereo, certainly the most
inexpensive and convienent.
AS for FM I too dissed it for a long time, until I heard an actual, commercial JAZZ station on my car stereo.
So I set mine up, sounds quite good.
ALSO I have noticed that surround receivers tend to sound better when you use all channels, dont sound quite as good in stereo:1: