Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 67
  1. #1
    Ajani
    Guest

    What is really killing High-End Audio?

    So I was discussing the apparent decline in High End Audio with Musical Fidelity Boss Antony Michaelson the other day (Ok, ok, let me stop trying to pull a Melvin on you - The truth is that I read some claims by Musical Fidelity on their website and in Stereophile... heck, I've never even met a sales rep from MF, much less Antony)....

    Anyway, the point is that while many have attributed the 'decline' in high end audio to the growth of Home Theatre/other distractions or Snakeoil products and ridancullously (I wonder if I spelt that correctly... lol) high prices... MF seems to think that consumers just aren't being wowed by what they hear in hi-fi shops anymore... specifically products lacking any real horsepower (ummm watts)...

    Now when I first read all the claims, I really just regarded them as a cheap attempt to push MF's high powered amplifiers and their new 550K Superchargers (550 Watt Monoblocks - I really want those).... But having given the topic some real thought, I realised that:

    There really may be a disconnect between mainstream audio and 'High End'.... Just look at what drives the sales of Mini-Systems and even HT-in-a-boxes ----- Louder sound and deeper bass.... Just look at the number of claims of '500 - 1000 watts of power and thunderous bass' made by theses products (even if those 500 watts are the combined output to 5 speakers and a sub at 3 ohms & the bass is bloated and disgusting)...

    Now imagine trying to convince a consumer expecting more volume and deeper bass, that he should pay 20 times as much for a product that he can only play at moderate listening levels (without clipping)... A product that would require the addition of a subwoofer to produce any meaningful bass... a product that may only sound really good with him sitting exactly 8 feet from it in low chair with his head tilted slightly to the left... to be enjoyable...

    Is there a disconnect between what High End audio companies are producing and what the consumer wants? Are companies like MF correct that what the industry needs is more power? Products that can go loud and deep?

    Is Audio really even dying or has it just settled into a comfortable (maybe niche?) market?

    If it is dying, but MF is wrong then what are the reasons for its death?

  2. #2
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    London, Ontario
    Posts
    8,127

    Not really killing it, but ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    ...

    If it is dying, but MF is wrong then what are the reasons for its death?
    ... Vinyl is calcifying its existance

  3. #3
    Ajani
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    ... Vinyl is calcifying its existance
    I'm no vinyl lover (that technology is way too incovenient for me).... but I wonder just how much impact a product like vinyl can still have.... I haven't read any sales figures for vinyl compared to CDs/MP3s or even SACD/DVD-A, but I suspect that vinyl must be at most a niche market product in 2008....

  4. #4
    Forum Regular
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    506
    I don't think high end audio has died or is dying. Rather it is changing. And change makes people uncomfortable, whether we're talking hi-fi or any other subject.

    Hi-fi has never been a true mass-market pursuit. However, one of the primary problems these days is fragmentation. There are simply a lot more brand names out there. Add in the HT market and the new formats and things get additionally confusing.

    Think of TV. Just a few decades ago there were only three national networks in the US. If you lived in a big city, you might have an independent TV station. Most of America had the choice of two to four channels to watch. As such, it was pretty easy for a hit show such as Ed Sullivan to garner a tremendous percentage of the viewership.

    Today, with satellite offering over 250 TV channels, specialized interest channels are "narrowcasting" and that makes it impossible for the broad, general interest viewer trends of the past. Yet, the many networks have still figured out a way to fill those programming hours and advertisers still pay for access to their target audiences.

    Audio isn't much different. In the old days, serious music listeners had LPs. Open reel users were a very small segment of the market and FM didn't get going until the 70s or so. Serious listening was pretty much only done at home.

    Today you have LPs, CDs, FM, DAB, lossy downloads and high-res downloads, DVD, SACD, plus others. A lot of music listening is done in cars or on personal portable devices such as the iPod. You've got digital music servers competing with traditional turntable and CD players. You've got radical changes in how equipment is sold, with the brick & mortar outlets far less important than in the past.

    Just like the old-school TV networks have lost market share and have to work ever harder to keep what they do have, the audio market is in similar straits. There is a lot more competition from a lot more directions.

    However, in both cases, the viewer/listener is far better off in terms of choice and variety.

    So, is high-end dead? I don't think so. It is no more dead than TV is dead. It simply just doesn't look the same as it did 25 or 50 years ago. If you value musical fidelity, you can still put together a damn fine system on a budget, especially if you shop used. If you want to spend beaucoup bucks, you can do that in spades. If you are into DIY, there are plenty of kits or forums where you can discuss design theory from scratch. You name it, and you can still do it these days with more options than ever before.

  5. #5
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    France
    Posts
    2,523

    Damn...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    So I was discussing the apparent decline in High End Audio with Musical Fidelity Boss Antony Michaelson the other day (Ok, ok, let me stop trying to pull a Melvin on you - The truth is that I read some claims by Musical Fidelity on their website and in Stereophile... heck, I've never even met a sales rep from MF, much less Antony)....
    ..Walker really is a legend among us

  6. #6
    Audio casualty StevenSurprenant's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    592
    mlsstl is correct in that it is changing. It is changing to surround sound. I almost never speak to anyone who has any interest in highend audio today. If there is any interest, it is usually in surround systems.

    Back in the sixties and seventies, music appreciation was very strong and many people had stereo systems. Also, there were relatively few channels of television and so very little to choose from.

    Today, we have a hundred or more channels of TV available and DVD rental stores peppering our towns. With the advent of large wide screen TV's, surround sound, and sub woofers, the entertainment level of home movies has skyrocketed.

    Most people have limited funds for these types of purchases and given a choice, they would prefer a surround system over a stereo.

    To make matters worse, high end audio stores highlight their expensive gear and cram the affordable speakers onto shelves in a small room where they sound their worse. It's no wonder that their sales are faltering.

    They need to learn to cater to the masses rather than the well to do if they are to survive. How many $5,000 to $30,000 systems can they sell? Most people would walk away from that.

    What I'm trying to say is that a high end store cannot survive on selling only expensive gear. They have to cater to the average joe with the possibility of an upgrade path. In addition, they have to sell "complete" affordable system packages set up correctly in their own rooms and forget about carrying a hundred brands.

    A few stores do it right, but many are setting themselves up to fail. Highend audio stores cannot survive in a world where surround sound is becoming the norm. They must learn to cater to both markets and remember that a low cost teaser system is a great way to bring customers back.

    Finally, take them speakers off the shelves!

    Anyway, that's my two cents..

  7. #7
    Forum Regular filecat13's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    492
    Thirty or forty years ago when I bought my first serious music system (Kenwood KR-6160 receiver, Dual 1219 turntable with Shure M91E, JBL L100 Century speakers), I could start with a system like that, then go back to the same retailer and work my way up the stereo food chain if I wished. That's tough to do today.

    I can get some entry level stuff at BB or CC or RS if I want to deal with underqualified sales persons, I suppose; or I can do the ID thing and deal with raw marketers; or I can get some ridiculously expensive stuff at a high end boutique where commissions drive the sale; but there's no longer any place I can go where I can build a relationship and grow my system with people I know and trust.

    Fortunately, I do not need to at this stage of my life, but at one time it was essential. I don't know how kids will move from MP3 players and iPod docks to solid entry-level systems, to mid-level systems to high end stuff.

    My two cents: I think lack of vertical integration in the audio/video business chops the market into segments that tend to separate over time. This works well for marketing companies like Bose who prosper in a segmented market by selling the illusion of high end, but it works against companies with true, full range product lines that cannot get more than one or two models in a store, because the rest of the line is too upscale, too pedestrian, or too close to the upscale or pedestrian models. So the middle gets lost, and few make the transition from entry to high end.

    I'm amazed at the number of people who think their $1500 sound system ($500 for receiver, $100 for DVD player, $700 for speakers, $200 for cables, interconnectors, and "power conditioner") is already high end and all they'll ever need. Since they'll never go to one of the high end stores, if they even know where one is--and if they do some snooty jerk will pi$$ them off so they'll never return--the only place they will see the path clearly is at someone's house.
    I like sulung tang.

  8. #8
    Forum Regular filecat13's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    492
    Some folks here have $10s of thousands of dollars of equipment, some have much less. Everyone is welcome, regardless, and we (more or less) respect people's passion as well as their gear since we all know we're in a constant state of motion regarding the high fidelity thing.

    But there are lots of people I know who come over for "Dinner and a Movie" night and look at my simple stereo set up in the bedroom and think I'm crazy because it cost a few thousand dollars and because it's not Bose. When we go down to the music room and they see the multiple stereo pairs that can be played from one source via a switcher, they think I'm certifiable for having so many speakers and dumping so much money on them. Then when they go into the HT for the movie and see and hear the MC sound system and it sounds better than the last time they were at the movies, they start by saying I must be insane but end the evening by stating, "Wow, I need to get one of those."

    So then I become the trusted and knowing person who does pro bono consulting as they pursue their high fidelity dream.

    So what I'm really saying is that the vitality of high end audio depends more and more on personal example than the retail market place these days. There is more great stuff available today than ever before, but it's a vast and confusing place for most people. So those who know at least part of the landscape will be the ones to guide those who do not.

    We already do this for each other in a sense by posting here.
    I like sulung tang.

  9. #9
    Ajani
    Guest
    I agree with StevenSurprenant & filecat13.....

    There is too great a disparity between audio stores... not enough focus on creating dreams and an upgrade path.... I've been in too many stores that offer only entry level gear (often poorly setup) and then been into another store that focuses almost exclusively on ultra-expensive gear...

    Where is the upgrade path???

    I actually believe some of the younger ipod generation (I guess I'm probably included in that bunch as well, though I don't currently own an ipod) would be willing to invest in good sound if their imagination is inspired.... I know so many people who buy MP3 players and immediately upgrade the headphones for better sound quality... I think that's the first step towards becoming an audio enthusiast....

    I think part of what we need is to let go of the attitude that things like ipods and computer audio are crap, and instead build great setups around these items to inspire younger generations to join the audio hobby....

    Don't be snotty, provide encouragement... that should be the motto at our high-end audio stores...

  10. #10
    Aging Smartass
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Moore, SC
    Posts
    1,003
    I fondly remember the "good 'ol days" of the industry, when there was a stereo shop on every street corner, and a high-end shop on about every fifth corner. Those of us in the industry at the time really enjoyed our jobs, especially when we could evaluate one another's products and do so over and over. Almost any manufacturer would be willing to "lend" a "sample" of his products to anyone else in the industry, and many of us were able to have a good many different pieces of equipment in our houses before we made the final decision as to what to buy.

    I have to confess that I haven't been in a high-end audio retailer in well over 10 years. There are two reasons: first, there's no possible way I can afford the newer (and better) equipment that would improve the sound of my existing system, and, two, I'd be all but clueless wondering just what a large number of the products available today actually do. I have a lot of fun looking at the turntables, tonearms and cartridges listed on The Needle Doctor's website (I had an excellent working relationship with its owner, Jerry Raskin, for a number of years), but I'm all but flabbergasted at the price tags on so many of them.

    I spent a good deal of my career working for cartridge companies, but when I read some of the threads here on AR discussing newer turntables and MC cartridges, I'm a a loss as to what many of them are talking about. I'm also flatly astonished that anyone would say that $800 for a step-up transformer/pre-preamp for using an MC cartridge is somehow a "deal."

    High-end audio may, or may not be dying. My gut feeling is that it isn't, but is very much the "niche" market it's always been, and continues to shrink, rather than grow. I've also always maintained that most consumers simply don't know how good a quality audio system can sound. I love the sound of my system, but know that many others eclipse its performance. Still, and this happens each and every time, when someone unfamiliar with audio products (other than Bose) hears it, that person is plainly and simply astonished that something can sound that good. This is how I've always felt: people just don't know how immensely satisfying it is to listen to music on a really good system, and accept mediocrity instead. I guess you can say that about just about anything, no?

  11. #11
    Forum Regular O'Shag's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    543
    I don't think that the high-end audio industry is dying at all. Like anything else its rhythms are connected with the ebb and flow of the world economies. When times are good, people spend more to get what they perceive to be the best. When there is a recession, such as the one we are entering into, then buying will slow down, because people in general (even many higher-income earners) cannot afford to be so frivolous about spending.

    By the way, take what Musical Fidelity's Anthony Michaelson is saying with a grain of salt. Musical Fidelity's whole marketing strategy is based around high-performance for lower cost. The reason Mr. Michealson is harping on about power, is because MF recently released and is heavily marketing the Supercharger, and their value pitch is and for some time has been heavily based on the 'watt-per-dollar' proposition. I do like a lot of Musical fidelity products, and they can offer exceptional value for money... but you have to distinguish the company's excellent products from their clearly biased marketing jargon. Hi-Fi and the high-end are not going anywhere, just constantly changing to suit the market.

    Ajani, I would recommend you listen to a decent vinyl rig. You'll be surprised at how good it sounds.
    Last edited by O'Shag; 02-08-2008 at 01:39 PM.

  12. #12
    Forum Regular filecat13's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    492
    There are places in the world where the high end market is thriving, just not so much in the US.

    There are amazing shops in Japan and audiophiles (in the true sense of the word: lover of sound) who spend far more for their gear than their apartments or furnishings and who actually intensely listen to their gear, They have listening parties. They go from home to home enjoying each other's gear. They preserve/revere the greatness of the past and tweak in the present.

    Music and high fidelity is a passion, and much of it is borne out of their own musical achievement. I'm amazed at how many of them still play an instrument as an adult. they love to pull out the clarinet, trombone, guitar, whatever, and of course, sing, sing, sing.

    I'm a child of band and choir, having participated in both in school and church. Loved it. Those experiences shaped a deeper appreciation for music and a desire to be surrounded by good music, diverse music, interesting music.

    Most of the kids I work with in the tough parts of LA have no music in school. They don't play an instrument. They can't read music. They don't know how to sing. But they can spew out a string of expletives in a rap or hip/hop explosion and imitate their favorite, vapid pop artists.

    Maybe part of the problem here is that for a couple of generations music has been largely an external experience, and all that can produce is imitation. I think that if one starts with music in his or her heart, the odds of becoming a true audiophile and high end seeker are much improved.
    I like sulung tang.

  13. #13
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    St. Louis, MO, USA
    Posts
    10,176
    I don't believe high end audio is dead. Like was mentioned true high end was always a nitche market. How many people did you meet growing up that had real high end like a Mac or ARC system? I don't think too many, if any.

    I believe things like Audiogon and Ebay has had a large impact on high end retail, which is bad for them and in the long run will be bad for us if they disappear. The positive is more people with limited funds have access to high end audio. If all we have to buy from is the web we are in trouble. How many of you are willing to buy multiple brands off the web and bring them in for audition? 99% will buy and say, it's good enough. Unless it just absolutely blows. We need local B&M stores to go into and put our hands on the stuff and give it a listen. To bring home gear to try. Wake up! BB & CC are merely warehouses and they don't care if you are unhappy, look at the herd still coming through the door.

    It's interesting to see that you all realize the problems with audio stores but the public is what allowed this to happen. You run to BB & CC with their total lack of customer service and respect for the customer to save a buck. So the mom and pop stores who have to charge a couple dollars more to keep the door open and is willing to do what it takes to keep your business has to shut down because everyone thinks they are saving a buck. No one realized the big picture, who is there after the sale? Everyone complains but they keep mindlessly coming back. You have what you created. People here will complain about spending a little more from Crutchfield who has the apitomy of customer service then buy from some fly by night website to save a couple bucks and then are left on your own if a problem occurs. You voted with your wallets and now you have what you chose. Back when we had private stores a customer used to be able to bring a broken piece of equipment in under warranty and get an exchange. Can you do that at BB & CC? Sure you can, IF, you bought their extended warranty. After you've done that what have you saved? Nothing, you actually paid more. Mom and Pop did that as a service for a mere few dollars profit to live on. What's done is done and will never change. We can't go back once the damage is done.

    If high end audio is dead then who is buying all the Chinese tube gear coming over here? Who is keeping all these cable companies in business? Where's all the stuff coming from on Audiogon?

    When I went into my first high end shop if the guys didn't show me stuff and let me listen I might not have ended up on the path I did. The visit planted the seeds, I didn't buy that day but I have spent enough since. If a shop snobs people off they won't be in business long. My last visit I posted about I listened to a lot of gear with out buying. Shops have to be willing to do that.

    There's no doubt that Home Theater has impacted the industry and even high end, now we have preamp processors and multi-channel amps but I don't think it has harmed the high end. Many people who now have HT in their house are not likely to have had a "high end" system. I mean people aren't going to say forget the Mac or Krell, I think I'd rather go and buy me a Yamaha HT set up. The only thing that has changed is people who are receiver people now have a limited choice of stereo only receivers. People who want high end either still buy it or go for the higher end preamp processors.

    Another point of confusion is people get price mixed up with high end. You tell a guy who just spent $2.5k on a Denon HT receiver it isn't high end. Well, it isn't, it's expensive but a $2.5k Krell integrated will kill it in terms of just sound quality and power. High end equals a high level of sound quality. The guys $2.5k went into multi room capability, all kinds of video and interfacing and a host of other bells & whistles.

  14. #14
    Forum Regular hermanv's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Santa Rosa, CA
    Posts
    968
    No one has mentioned content and it's impact on sales of high end gear. When I grew up a major focus of the music industry was artistry, I know people who love Jazz or Classical and it is possible to buy truly first class sounding recordings of any of the the older music genre. Each of us tends to favor music we grew up with, that's normal and fine by me.

    I'm having trouble in making my point. Where I'm heading is that for todays future audiophile, does Britney Spears actually sound any better when an SACD of hers is played on Levinson and Sonus Faber? Does Rap music improve on a high end system? Of course it will all be somewhat better but the intrinsic musical quality and performance was never much (IMHO). So what's the point of playing it on a $30,000 system?

    Ever see gold CDs or SACD of today's pop artists? Maybe I'm just out of touch, but it seems the production values of todays albums are far more concerned with fluff and appearance than they are with artistry or sound quality.

    One probably shouldn't expect todays young people to save up for exotic and expensive equipment so they can play first class copies of Duke Ellington's music.
    Herman;

    My stuff:
    Olive Musica/transport and server
    Mark Levinson No.360S D to A
    Passive pre (homemade; Shallco, Vishay, Cardas wire/connectors)
    Cardas Golden Presence IC
    Pass Labs X250
    Martin Logan ReQuests.

  15. #15
    Ajani
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by hermanv
    No one has mentioned content and it's impact on sales of high end gear. When I grew up a major focus of the music industry was artistry, I know people who love Jazz or Classical and it is possible to buy truly first class sounding recordings of any of the the older music genre. Each of us tends to favor music we grew up with, that's normal and fine by me.

    I'm having trouble in making my point. Where I'm heading is that for todays future audiophile, does Britney Spears actually sound any better when an SACD of hers is played on Levinson and Sonus Faber? Does Rap music improve on a high end system? Of course it will all be somewhat better but the intrinsic musical quality and performance was never much (IMHO). So what's the point of playing it on a $30,000 system?

    Ever see gold CDs or SACD of today's pop artists? Maybe I'm just out of touch, but it seems the production values of todays albums are far more concerned with fluff and appearance than they are with artistry or sound quality.

    One probably shouldn't expect todays young people to save up for exotic and expensive equipment so they can play first class copies of Duke Ellington's music.
    Ummm.... I see your point... but I think it's a bit off.... Much of the music made today is poorly recorded and crappy... but not all... even some of the modern pop are well recorded (yeah I know what I just said....lol)....

    Some of these pop and rap artists produce their albums on high-end equipment and the albums really do sound much better with quality electronics.....

    The problem is that audio products seem to be geared towards specific genres of music... so some clearly favour Classical, Jazz etc.... but others handle modern music excellently...

    When I audition speakers I always bring a wide range of music from Classical and Soul to Rock, Pop and Rap.... While some speakers (most noticeably B&W) have tended to make my modern music sound terrible, others (Monitor Audio especially) have mastered the art of making modern sound amazing.... I will never forget how magical the opening of Billie Jean sounded on a pair Monitor Audio Gold Series 20s....

    Yes music changes, but it still inspires generations and will sound even better with the right gear....

  16. #16
    Ajani
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by O'Shag
    I don't think that the high-end audio industry is dying at all. Like anything else its rhythms are connected with the ebb and flow of the world economies. When times are good, people spend more to get what they perceive to be the best. When there is a recession, such as the one we are entering into, then buying will slow down, because people in general (even many higher-income earners) cannot afford to be so frivolous about spending.

    By the way, take what Musical Fidelity's Anthony Michaelson is saying with a grain of salt. Musical Fidelity's whole marketing strategy is based around high-performance for lower cost. The reason Mr. Michealson is harping on about power, is because MF recently released and is heavily marketing the Supercharger, and their value pitch is and for some time has been heavily based on the 'watt-per-dollar' proposition. I do like a lot of Musical fidelity products, and they can offer exceptional value for money... but you have to distinguish the company's excellent products from their clearly biased marketing jargon. Hi-Fi and the high-end are not going anywhere, just constantly changing to suit the market.

    Ajani, I would recommend you listen to a decent vinyl rig. You'll be surprised at how good it sounds.
    I know vinyl can sound excellent, but I'm more of an audio enthusiast than an audiophile... so I'm more about enjoying the music... so it has to both sound good and be convenient to listen to... Vinyl is just way too inconvenient for me...

  17. #17
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    London, Ontario
    Posts
    8,127

    Vinyl

    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    I know vinyl can sound excellent, but I'm more of an audio enthusiast than an audiophile... so I'm more about enjoying the music... so it has to both sound good and be convenient to listen to... Vinyl is just way too inconvenient for me...
    Once again, I'm kinda with you, Ajani. I never cared for the riduals of handling and caring for LPs. (My experience of the medium goes back to the days before CDs, and there were no real options to LP. When CD came along I switched my emphasis there.)

    I've never been tempted to go back to vinyl even though CD wasn't a better sound overall, at least in the beginning, apart from clicks & pops. In my case the type of music I listen to isn't available on LP any more.

    As discussed before, what I think is unfortunate is that the rigid, reactionary adherence to vinyl by many alternatives has retarded the acceptance of superior media such as SACD, especially given the multi-channel potential. I actually resent the intractability of vinylphiles because it works against the advancement of good sound.
    Last edited by Feanor; 02-09-2008 at 05:17 AM.

  18. #18
    Forum Regular
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    506
    Feanor wrote: ...the intractability of vinylphiles...
    Good point. I've got a fairly large music collection which is almost completely converted to a music server. Probably 40% or more of my 20,000 plus tune collection has been digitized from vinyl.

    I know there are golden-ears out there who will disagree with me, but when I do a conversion from LP to digital I find the difference in sound quality between the two primarily resides in my imagination. In fact, the digital usually sounds better simply because I can get rid of any clicks or pops that had become permanent residents on my LP copy.

    However, you make an excellent observation in pointing out the "rigid, reactionary adherence to vinyl" by some. I've heard lots of crappy sounding LPs and plenty of wonderful sounding CDs. I know both can deliver wonderful sound and they can equally disappoint. Ultimately though, both are just a medium for transmission, nothing more. That means it is the care and attention taken during the process of creating the music that counts. The skill of the recording engineer, the care taken during mixing and/or processing and the attention to quality during the actual manufacturing process are all far more important to me versus whether I get a 12" piece of plastic or a 5 1/4" one.

  19. #19
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    St. Louis, MO, USA
    Posts
    10,176
    I really don't think that playing vinyl detours that much from better digital formats. Even though I feel vinyl has made a come back of sorts, I just don't think the impact is large enough to stop a good new format. I believe the lack of acceptance of SACD has nothing to do with vinyl. In my case, I was really dredding collecting another format BUT if it was better and I could get the titles I wanted, I would have.

    I can see both sides of the discussion of music, on one hand I remember playing Alicia Keys on my Krell system and being amazed at how great the CD sounds for a R&B/Pop album. On the other hand, I played some other music, let's say Nelly, for instance, and the Krell had such a control on the bass response that the normal bass rumble from Hip Hop wasn't there. I mean everything was there and it played the various frequencies but they were very tight and clean. This could be conceived, and has been by others, as a lack of bass. A friend who I don't see very often visited me a while back when my Krell gear was hooked up and he actually told me I needed an EQ. You can imagine how difficult it was to control my emotions at that point, humor, amazement etc. But he was one of those guys that hooks up more speakers to a system than it is intended to drive and a sub turned up to 11. He had no concept of what a system should sound like. And, you can imagine what the bass sounded like on a sub cranked, you hear it going down the street all the time. Krell would be quite a contrast. I couldn't convince him my system was better, in some aspects he conceded but not on that lack of booming bass.

  20. #20
    Ajani
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    I really don't think that playing vinyl detours that much from better digital formats. Even though I feel vinyl has made a come back of sorts, I just don't think the impact is large enough to stop a good new format. I believe the lack of acceptance of SACD has nothing to do with vinyl. In my case, I was really dredding collecting another format BUT if it was better and I could get the titles I wanted, I would have.

    I can see both sides of the discussion of music, on one hand I remember playing Alicia Keys on my Krell system and being amazed at how great the CD sounds for a R&B/Pop album. On the other hand, I played some other music, let's say Nelly, for instance, and the Krell had such a control on the bass response that the normal bass rumble from Hip Hop wasn't there. I mean everything was there and it played the various frequencies but they were very tight and clean. This could be conceived, and has been by others, as a lack of bass. A friend who I don't see very often visited me a while back when my Krell gear was hooked up and he actually told me I needed an EQ. You can imagine how difficult it was to control my emotions at that point, humor, amazement etc. But he was one of those guys that hooks up more speakers to a system than it is intended to drive and a sub turned up to 11. He had no concept of what a system should sound like. And, you can imagine what the bass sounded like on a sub cranked, you hear it going down the street all the time. Krell would be quite a contrast. I couldn't convince him my system was better, in some aspects he conceded but not on that lack of booming bass.
    Good points....

    I agree that the reason SACD/DVD-A failed to take off was probably due to consumer's reluctance to collect a new format and likely had little to do with Vinyl... Vinyl is nowhere near being a mainstream medium anymore, so it's relatively tiny market share can't account for much of SACD's failure....

    What has taken off is downloadable content... and part of the reason (apart from the obvious convenience) is that it doesn't mean you have to ditch all your existing CD's/Cassettes/Vinyl, as you can easily convert your collection into the same format... Consumers want to gain and not lose on an upgrade...

    I think the best move for a superior format like SACD, would be to focus on the download market and start offering SACD quality downloads on itunes etc... Really give consumer's all the choice in the world... AAC for people who could care less about compression, Lossless for people who want exact CD quality and SACD for people who want premium Multi-channel capable sound...

  21. #21
    Audio casualty StevenSurprenant's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    592
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    A friend who I don't see very often visited me a while back when my Krell gear was hooked up and he actually told me I needed an EQ. You can imagine how difficult it was to control my emotions at that point, humor, amazement etc. But he was one of those guys that hooks up more speakers to a system than it is intended to drive and a sub turned up to 11. He had no concept of what a system should sound like. And, you can imagine what the bass sounded like on a sub cranked, you hear it going down the street all the time. Krell would be quite a contrast. I couldn't convince him my system was better, in some aspects he conceded but not on that lack of booming bass.
    This reminds me of a posting I read many years ago. One person (Let's call him Sam) had a very good system and his friend (We'll call him Paul) told him that the music that was playing didn't sound right and that his (Paul's) system played it correctly. Sam told Paul that his system was not playing it the way it was recorded. To prove his point, Sam used a digital recorder and recorded Pauls system playing the song. Then Sam played it back on his system and it sounded the same as it sounded on Pauls system.

  22. #22
    I took a headstart... basite's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Mortsel, Antwerp, Belgium, Europe, Earth
    Posts
    3,056
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    A friend who I don't see very often visited me a while back when my Krell gear was hooked up and he actually told me I needed an EQ. You can imagine how difficult it was to control my emotions at that point, humor, amazement etc. But he was one of those guys that hooks up more speakers to a system than it is intended to drive and a sub turned up to 11. He had no concept of what a system should sound like. And, you can imagine what the bass sounded like on a sub cranked, you hear it going down the street all the time. Krell would be quite a contrast. I couldn't convince him my system was better, in some aspects he conceded but not on that lack of booming bass.

    maybe that's one of the points why 'high end', is often described as 'a waste of money'.

    The masses who buy bose and sony and other HTIB's think the sound they're getting is 'the real deal', so the masses influence the adopted meaning of 'good sound'. The masses think good sound is supposed to be loud, no real highs, no real lows, superficial, flat and with boomy, muddy bass. Why? because that's how everything sounds in the shops like BB and CC, where the masses get their gears.

    Then there is a moment when they hear a really good sounding Hifi system, and is completely 'different' than the crappy HTIB's.
    Then you'll get reactions like: 'why are they so big, my bose system can go louder, has more bass than yours and is a fraction of the size'. but they don't realize the Hi-fi system is actually much better, just because the masses think 'good sound' is that that comes out a HTIB.

    of course, this is just a simple theory, slightly more complicated would be a two step flow theory, in which there is a middle person, influencing the receiving person. and some more theories, but this is the easiest. This theory, however, does not go for everyone.

    Then,

    IMO, high end audio ain't dead yet. far from, actually...

    It's just that the quality level of absolute entry level products (the ones you find in BB and CC) is lower than it was in the 'golden age of audio'. Back then, everything was of a certain 'quality', it had metal somewhere, was useable, and could actually sound somewhat acceptable. Now, the cheapest products lack even every sense of quality, it's completely made out of cheap plastic, has wobbly knobs all over the place, looks like crap, ...
    and the market is being flooded by those things. A bose system looks like 'THE real deal' compared to those cheap things. there is just so much crap out there that it looks like the real High end products are near extinction. But that's not true at all, they are just less known...

    There are more high end products now than there ever were before. it just takes a little longer to find them, which causes lots of people to rather go with a bose system than with a high end system...

    Keep them spinning,
    Bert.
    Life is music!

    Mcintosh MA6400 Integrated
    Double Advent speakers
    Thiel CS2.3's
    *DIY Lenco L75 TT
    * SME 3012 S2
    * Rega RB-301
    *Denon DL-103 in midas body
    *Denon DL-304
    *Graham slee elevator EXP & revelation
    *Lehmann audio black cube SE
    Marantz CD5001 OSE
    MIT AVt 2 IC's
    Sonic link Black earth IC's
    Siltech MXT New york IC's
    Kimber 4VS speakercable
    Furutech powercord and plugs.

    I'm a happy 20 year old...

  23. #23
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    St. Louis, MO, USA
    Posts
    10,176
    An interesting experiment would be to take a line like maybe Jolida and put it in a store like CC or maybe Ultimate just to see how it does. I haven't been in those stores in a long time but I think CC at least has a listening room to put a resemblence of a system together. I wouldn't bother with BB, whatever you put in there would be just another piece on a shelf. There is no possible way anyone could make an informed purchase there.

    Ultimate may have already answered my question though, when they first hit town they had a few higher end lines like Adcom, Sunfire and even Martin Logan but they have lost them all, at least in my market.

  24. #24
    I took a headstart... basite's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Mortsel, Antwerp, Belgium, Europe, Earth
    Posts
    3,056
    that would maybe be a good idea.

    I do think it would be easier to start with a well known brand first though...

    Maybe B&W or Monitor Audio, and Rotel.
    then if those work well (and I assume they will, Here in Belgium, if you go out on the street, and you ask someone to name a 'high end' audio brand, they'll either say bose or B&W), they could maybe add less known (or smaller, more audiophile minded) brands too...

    However, before they could try that, they would first need employees with at least a basic knowledge of audio...

    Keep them spinning,
    Bert.
    Life is music!

    Mcintosh MA6400 Integrated
    Double Advent speakers
    Thiel CS2.3's
    *DIY Lenco L75 TT
    * SME 3012 S2
    * Rega RB-301
    *Denon DL-103 in midas body
    *Denon DL-304
    *Graham slee elevator EXP & revelation
    *Lehmann audio black cube SE
    Marantz CD5001 OSE
    MIT AVt 2 IC's
    Sonic link Black earth IC's
    Siltech MXT New york IC's
    Kimber 4VS speakercable
    Furutech powercord and plugs.

    I'm a happy 20 year old...

  25. #25
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    London, Ontario
    Posts
    8,127

    Hi-Res downloads

    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    Good points....

    I agree that the reason SACD/DVD-A failed to take off was probably due to consumer's reluctance to collect a new format and likely had little to do with Vinyl... Vinyl is nowhere near being a mainstream medium anymore, so it's relatively tiny market share can't account for much of SACD's failure....

    What has taken off is downloadable content... and part of the reason (apart from the obvious convenience) is that it doesn't mean you have to ditch all your existing CD's/Cassettes/Vinyl, as you can easily convert your collection into the same format... Consumers want to gain and not lose on an upgrade...

    I think the best move for a superior format like SACD, would be to focus on the download market and start offering SACD quality downloads on itunes etc... Really give consumer's all the choice in the world... AAC for people who could care less about compression, Lossless for people who want exact CD quality and SACD for people who want premium Multi-channel capable sound...
    The day will come for hi-rez downloads will come, I believe, but with today's bandwidth it isn't quite feasible. Two things would convince me to download hi-rez multi-channel:
    • Dowload an hour's worth of 6 channel hi-rez in 15 minutes, and
    • Pay no more for the download that for a hardcopy.
    Right now $1.30 per "song" at 320bps or even lossless is marginal value at best if you're classical music listener.

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •