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RGibran
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Another One Bites The Dust?
Buddha
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Re: Another One Bites The Dust?

But where will all the audiophiles go to audition gear before they buy it online?

JSBach
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Re: Another One Bites The Dust?


Quote:
But where will all the audiophiles go to audition gear before they buy it online?


Well put. Penny pinching audiophiles have only got themselves to blame for this one.
You pay peanuts, you get monkeys.

roadster
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Re: Another One Bites The Dust?


Quote:

Penny pinching audiophiles have only got themselves to blame for this one.

These Benedict Arnolds should be banished to the Shack, Walmart and the like.

RGibran
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Re: Another One Bites The Dust?

Brilliant! Blame the consumer! Apparently you didn

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Another One Bites The Dust?

Robert,

Every one of those points is dead on. Sadly, Bose seems to hit on a workable model with their own stores, but it is a different market...to a degree.

The interesting question would be if high end was sold like cars, could it work? I doubt leasing could, but financing components(systems) over $15K over 5 or 6 years, with inerest or at 0 might be an interesting tool. Maybe the gear manufacturers need to be in the "paper business".

I know regardless, that a Krell 707 @ $30K is NOT in my future either way. I still haven't bought any amps or speakers yet. This would be at least a $100K system.

I thought the Krell mfg comments about Dr. Kal's system were interesting.

It could be a great business if it wasn't for those darn customers messing things up, buying when and where they want.

jazzfan
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Re: Another One Bites The Dust?

Perhaps the closing of SBS is as simple as Mr. Singer reaching retirement age and not finding someone to continue the business?

tom collins
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Re: Another One Bites The Dust?

in times like these, most sellers of luxury goods will suffer. in addition to the economic downturn, we have all of the depressing news that we are faced with day-in and day-out and unlike in years past when we could tune it out, that seems impossible these days in our multimedia universe. as a result, times are not good for these vendors. several years ago, i did not really think about the money i spent on hobbies, now i watch every dime. i feel buyer's remorse now too, a new feeling compared to "don't look back". i live in a metro area that has only had one hifi store for the past 5 years and i do not think they are doing so well either. i always tried to support them in the past, but just can't spend the money on new gear right now. a hybrid business model based on the car business would see the store taking trade-ins and offering financing. just like cars, there can be a lot of money in used high end equipment (and it can be sold online). that still would not be enough cash flow to save all, but some perhaps. i don't have the answers either.
just some more news to go with oil spills, wars, etc.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Another One Bites The Dust?


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Perhaps the closing of SBS is as simple as Mr. Singer reaching retirement age and not finding someone to continue the business?


-------------------------
The fun of the business may be totally gone as well. Without passion...there is little left.

I would think NYC will be underserved in the high end market. These are troubling times and just printing more money is NOT the answer.

One must ask: At what pricepoint does a manufacturer need to rethink his R&D efforts as the return may not be there. It makes me wonder where the market is for all the high priced speakers reviewed in Stereophile recently.

Buddha
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Re: Another One Bites The Dust?

In some industries there is a point of business called the "death spiral" which occurs with a decline in sales that is met with a subsequent increase in price to make up the difference.

This leads to a further decline in sales and subsequent price increases....until, in theory, the company would have just one incredibly expensive sales item which no one buys.

(You can Google the phenomenon for cool examples.)

Even as an avid audiophile, I can't help but get the same feeling from many "high end" products in my hobby. I love gear as much as the next guy, but even I admit to price fatigue with the direction the hobby is headed.

Jason's coverage of the Cali Audio Show was terrific, but at this point, I see many of the attached prices and just "bleep" right over the products in a 100 large Hi Fi system. Much of the gear in my second favorite hobby is becoming "invisible" to me.

Beyond the price of acquisition of any one item, I also mourn the passing of my ability to own more than one item from the new price columns: Nowadays, the price of a given "high end" (bullshit term, by the way) piece of gear requires a commitement akin to marriage if one ever wishes to change it out. A 60,000 dollar speaker system is an anchor - how flexible is that relationship for 'playing' with other otions through life?

Beyond the malaise of 2000-2010, something else is rotten in the "high end."

Editor
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Re: Another One Bites The Dust?


Quote:
Perhaps the closing of SBS is as simple as Mr. Singer reaching retirement age and not finding someone to continue the business?

Andy is not that old, but neither he nor his wife are in good heath, and that may well have been a contributing factor.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

Benonymous
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Re: Another One Bites The Dust?

If the proprietor and his wife are in poor health, that's bad news and I wish them better health in the future.
As to the health of the "High End" I think that it's reckoning time. The utterly ludicrous prices that have been asked for basically dollied-up valve amps and speakers had to end somewhere. With unemployment rising and business confidence slumping all over the world. Even deluded audionuts will be snapping their purses shut as they count up the pennies and decide whether to eat or buy a new RCA cable. Bad news for all the tweak purveyors out there, a rumbling tummy will drown out the microscopic improvements wrought by polished stones taped onto your cables.
I think the most telling thing about this clear out will be the manufacturers, struggling to make sales, who magically lose a few grand (or substantially more) off the asking price of their goods. What??? You mean those speakers really weren't worth $160,000??!!??!???!?!?!??!?!

Hang on! What about my tuned bowls on bits of wood??

and my big black block of stuff that doesn't plug in even..

JSBach
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Re: Another One Bites The Dust?

I'm not going to get into a debate about Mpingo thingamies killing off the audio industry even though I suggest there's sufficient reason the general population thinks of audiophools as mad beyond belief. What I do suggest is the stagnation we now experience is largely caused by the insane number of small boutique manufactures attracted to this area. Consider this, what would we pay for an average family car if the shrunken economics of manufacturing scale infesting the so called high-end infected the auto industry ?
But then again I'm sure your average six cylinder auto would go twice as fast if you applied Mpingo disks and Peter Belt foils etc at strategic locations on the family chariot.

jazzfan
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Re: Another One Bites The Dust?


Quote:
Bad news for all the tweak purveyors out there, a rumbling tummy will drown out the microscopic improvements wrought by polished stones taped onto your cables.

Could you please elaborate?

Size and type of stones? Spacing of stones? Size and type of tape? Does the glue on the tape have an audible effect? Where does one get audiophile grade duct tape?

And of course:

How much improvement in the sound of one's system can be expected from this tweak and will more stones lead to better sound? Does this tweak work for all music or just for rock music?

geoffkait
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Re: Another One Bites The Dust?


Quote:
I'm not going to get into a debate about Mpingo thingamies killing off the audio industry even though I suggest there's sufficient reason the general population thinks of audiophools as mad beyond belief. What I do suggest is the stagnation we now experience is largely caused by the insane number of small boutique manufactures attracted to this area. Consider this, what would we pay for an average family car if the shrunken economics of manufacturing scale infesting the so called high-end infected the auto industry ?
But then again I'm sure your average six cylinder auto would go twice as fast if you applied Mpingo disks and Peter Belt foils etc at strategic locations on the family chariot.

Might be a little msiplaced aggression to categorize small manufacturers and especially tweak manufacturers in the group with mega buck speakers and amps. It makes sense, given the current economic climate, that those of more, uh, ordinary means consider seeking out less expensive upgrade alternatives and put an indefinite hold on new Sound Labs or Walkers.

On the other hand, I certainly understand all the angst and hand-wringing re foils and ebony discs and pebbles and such.

greenelec
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Re: Another One Bites The Dust?

Another one rides the bus!

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Another One Bites The Dust?

The problem is that here in America too many people feel they are "defined" by what they drive, so huge car payments are not an issue.

Some audiophiles are probably the same way, but most of us own the gear we do because what is does matters to us greatly. The music matters to us greatly and it is not some "thing" in the background while we do something else.

I think there may have been a time when even owning a good audio system was something to be proud of, but now the latest phone is the rage and having a pocket of songs through some cheap earbuds is the norm. Full format files? Man, I got 2,000 songs in here.

Enjoying or owning a $1k disc spinner is not even thought of by most people unless it feeds BluRay to a huge, hokin TV. 2 channel audio will never be experienced on that system. If it is it will probably be matrixed to 7.1 .

I do think that some of the high end as lost its way. I can't place a value on something for someone else. I'm sure Mr. Fremer's Caliburn is swell, but it is the price of my house, so I don't live in that neighborhood, but I am happy that people can. I repsect AD's turntables and know THAT is something I could do one day. Is that high end? You bet it is even to me.

For others, they might think a Rega P3-24 is crazy, but for us it is only a starting point. The list could go on and you could make it yourself. I looked at the prices at the CA. Audio Show and wonder is THAT what the high end is? This is where you insert ST evil laugh. Not for me. Not in this economy.

I' probably wrong, but it just seems that the highest priced of the best, may not necessarily BE the best. That to me should just not be so.

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Re: Another One Bites The Dust?

This is a problem in many markets, not just in high end audio.

In a lot of markets, the technology has moved from a point where it was difficult to satisfy the "common man", to a point where most people, unfortunately or fortunately, just don't give a (*&*(, it's "good enough".

Coupled with this is the problem that many kinds of music production have moved to highly unnatural production methods, synthesized settings, etc, that pretty much presume the lowest common denominator for playback systems. This means that when you have a good system, it has no benefits for this kind of production. (rant on "focus group" marketing, and the "committee comes out grey" problem omitted here)

What's left is, if you will, relegated to the esoteric marketplace, the "buick" and "lincoln continental" markets have disappeared, and what we have is the Kia, Chevrolet markets in the box store, and then the Jaguar/Rolls market in the high-end store.

The Buick, Cadilac, Mercury market doesn't exist any more.

I'm not sure I have a solution. This is also true to some extent in photo gear, in recording gear, and a lot of other places.

In short, 99% of audio has become commodity. Most of us would like something better, but we can't go to the dealer for the Caddy, we can only go for the Chevy or the Rolls-Royce.

As I said, I don't have a solution, but I hope that the commoditization starts to flag a bit when it becomes just too cheap to commoditize, like happened to, say, portable radios.

Presently, many good things that can be done are too expensive for the Chevy market, and too "new" for the Rolls. What this means is that there is a lot of new, good technology out there that simply doesn't have an existing commercial market any more. This means that the incentive ot make more such technology is approximately zero, of course, which further separates the Rolls from the Chevy, and isn't improving the situation (as far as moving to better sound) at all.

Somewhere, either the chicken needs to lay the egg, or the rooster egg needs to hatch

Is the whole thing passe'? I don't think so, I've converted more than a few people from "compressed hideously produced CD on cheap speakers" to something a lot better. But there is little exposure for the average consumer that shows them that there is in fact something out there worth more.

And so we spiral down.

RGibran
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Re: Another One Bites The Dust?

Perception. They say it

RGibran
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Re: Another One Bites The Dust?

The Jaguar/Rolls crowd is still rolling over into the new models because the majority of those vehicles are leased! Perhaps if MBL or Burmiester offered such a program, 3 year roll, things would be better. Free oil change (check up) every year to get em back in the store?

But even the wealthy don

Grosse Fatigue
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Re: Another One Bites The Dust?


Quote:
The Jaguar/Rolls crowd..
..And so we spiral down!

Jaguar and Rolls has not been the same crowd for a long time

Mediocrity is everywhere today
not only in music
Stereophile is stuck with the sexless Rubber Ducks and the Stephen Mejias
Same in showrooms
Why would anyone be interested in audio today??

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Another One Bites The Dust?
JSBach
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Re: Another One Bites The Dust?


Quote:

Quote:
The Jaguar/Rolls crowd..
..And so we spiral down!

Jaguar and Rolls has not been the same crowd for a long time

Mediocrity is everywhere today
not only in music
Stereophile is stuck with the sexless Rubber Ducks and the Stephen Mejias
Same in showrooms
Why would anyone be interested in audio today??


Although from my snobbish musical perspective Stephen Mejias musical taste is limited I can't see anything in his functioning at Stereophile that has worked against the survival of Hi-Fidelity and what the hell sexless Rubber Ducks has to do with all this is totally beyond me . Please explain.

Freako
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Re: Another One Bites The Dust?

First I am not sexless!

Second, A small story:

My brother in law who is a managment consultant, and who has earned a LOT of money, and who had a wonderful setup, decided to skip the whole charade and go for streaming computer audio. I almost cried. The only good thing was, I got to plunder his LP collection. Sad story.

Grosse Fatigue
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Re: Another One Bites The Dust?


Quote:
First I am not sexless!

Your audio "installation" is

As far as your brother in law is concerned he is right
It makes no sense playing with vinyl anymore
and this is why there is no need for showrooms
in a streaming world
I still play CDs but I put my 6 Denon CD changers I loved for sale
I love that squeezebox!

Freako
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Re: Another One Bites The Dust?


Quote:

Quote:
First I am not sexless!

Your audio "installation" is

As far as your brother in law is concerned he is right
It makes no sense playing with vinyl anymore
and this is why there is no need for showrooms
in a streaming world...

Says who?

JSBach
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Re: Another One Bites The Dust?


Quote:
As far as your brother in law is concerned he is right
It makes no sense playing with vinyl anymore
and this is why there is no need for showrooms
in a streaming world...

Says who?


Well, when they figure out how to download amplifiers and speakers over the web I'll believe it.

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