When people ask me about the future of the high-end audio hobby, I always become at least slightly annoyed. I’m tired of the question. To be honest, I was tired of the question from the very start. Because, first of all, I’m not a fortune-teller. Second, everywhere I turn there are obvious signs of growth in high-end audio, and even more potential opportunities. The biggest problem faced by the high-end audio industry is lack of awareness. People don’t know we exist. When I got this job with Stereophile, I had never heard of high-end audio. I had never heard the word “audiophile.” And I don’t think I’m unusual in that respect.
The second biggest problem faced by the high-end audio industry is one we've created and continue to feed: When we tell people we exist, we insist on telling them only about the $100,000 loudspeakers, the $60,000 amplifiers, the $30,000 cables, and so on. We fail to tell them about all the exceptional and truly affordable products that are out there, the exact products they'd love to hear about.
And so it’s no wonder people don’t know we exist, and worse, don’t care. We need to step out of our own little worlds and get real. (It's not as scary as it seems.)
So, I was especially happy to hear that Zach had gone out of his way to introduce schoolmates (he’s a junior in college) to a true high-end system. Working with his school, Zach set up a demo comprising Magnepan loudspeakers, Pass Labs amplification, Bel Canto electronics, and Transparent cables. As you might expect, all who attended were impressed. It’s easyincredibly easyto hear the difference a good system makes, and, once you hear that difference, it’s incredibly difficult to go back to bad sound. And Zach, of course, was sure to tell everyone that it’s not necessary to spend thousands of dollars to get good sound. Good sound can be enjoyed by all, if only they knew.
So, how do we get young people interested in hi-fi? Ask Zach.