You are here

Log in or register to post comments
jgossman
jgossman's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 days 1 hour ago
Joined: Aug 18 2011 - 6:21am
The largest hinderance to getting people interested in audio is....

Well, cost.  There, I said it.  I don't fault Stereophile any more than you can fault Car and Driver for the fact that an entry-level real sports car cost over 30k dollars.  Here's the thing, this really hit me in two ways.

First my visit to a high-end salon in Columbus, Oh.   Me and the girlfriend are walking along enjoying our little weekend when I run in to the shop.  It's a nice enough place but somethings amiss.  First, there is no music playing.  And then we finally see a setup ready to listen, and it's of course thier "big rig".  And it sounds terrible.  Not bad.  Not off.  Terrible.  Flat, lifeless, not particularly detailed or dynamic.  Amusical.  I enjoyed the people working there, except the obvious owner, who was, well, a prick.  Which is kind of the point of why audio is dying.  It's as if he wouldn't PROPERLY set up a nice $5-10k system out of fear that it would sound better then his $120k system. And judging by the equipment he sold in that price range, including some very nice used Vandersteen speakers, Musical Fidelity amplification, Nordost cabling, it WOULD'VE.  So what gives, dear audio retailers.  If you want to convince 20 and 30 somethings that it's worth it to spend 50 grand on a stereo instead of a Volvo, wouldn't you start by showing how good audio can be, in say $1500 doses?  By the time the average dapper middle classer has an extra $50k laying around, if he hasn't been bit by the audio bug, than a Volvo it is.

Next is the equipment itself.  I understand there HAS to be markup to maintain supply chain, recover R and D, etc.  But most people "into" audio know about how much a Mundorf Cap runs.  A Silmic II Elecrolytic.  A 1000 pack of wirewound resistors.  Even building very fine gear using very good parts, equipment simply doesn't very often COST nearly as much as the PRICE should indicate.  This is not the fault of Audio rags.  In fact I am regularly impressed when I read between the lines of Stereophile to hear them saying that no, in fact, it's not very good.  And for the money, it's terrible.  But you have to admit, that based on cost, the High Quality Audio market is slowly pricing itself out of even the dreams of all but the most well heeled buyers.

However, I have to hand it to Stereophile for paying attention more than most Audio Rags for carrying the flag for more middle class buyers.

What do the rest of you think?

WillWeber
WillWeber's picture
Offline
Last seen: 9 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: Nov 11 2010 - 7:54am
Well, knowledge and experience.

Cost can be high, but doesn't have to be if one makes a hobby of finding value performance gear. This takes time and patience, but is more rewarding than writing a fat check for a dealer supplied system, with no understanding except that it "ought to be good at that price." Likely that it won't though, because proper setup will probably be ignored.

Fact is, great sound can be found, if you hound, nearer the ground.

The obstacle? Perhaps it's passion. If more people heard great music on a nice system that is set up well, the bug would bite, and the iPod hence be abandoned. The value would suddenly be self-evident.

My $0.019999,

WillW

JIMV
JIMV's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 hours 33 min ago
Joined: Jan 31 2008 - 1:46pm
Cost, yes but...

I agree cost is absurd, and the trend is not helped by reviews that dismiss the cost with silly phrases like budget or bargain. That said, your other point is key. People do not support the idea of good sound simply because they have never heard good sound. 99% of the population thinks an iPod docked to a set of speakers playing MP3's is high quality sound. When they do wander into a high end store and hear vastly overpriced gear set up poorly and playing badly, the choice you present '$50K Volvo or audio system' always fall in favor of the Volvo, especially when the sound system in the Volvo sounds better than the stuff set up in the store.

Anton
Anton's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 4 months ago
Joined: Apr 30 2011 - 1:31pm
The largest hinderance to getting people interested in audio...

The largest hinderance to getting people interested in audio is...audiophiles.

We fetishize "sound" and equipment like those sneaker nuts who keep track of which laces Nike put on the new Air Jordans and then we ask what's wrong with everyone else. Bleh.

I have seen the enemy of high end audio, and he is us.

If 99% of people are happy with MUSIC on an iPod, then get off 'em, quit being the old guy yelling at kids to stay off his lawn, and let 'em continue to enjoy music on their iPods. Opining their lack of audiophile aspiration is condescending crap.

The audiophiles of the 60's probably opined the fact that I liked a little portable AM transistor radio and a single earpiece to enjoy music, too. If I managed to find Hi Fi, then someone who has an iPod (that likely does sound better than what most of us had as kids on the go) will also have the opportunity to step up. Soon, lossy compression will become a relic and those damn iPods will be outperforming the damn 70K DCS fetishwear we plotz over now.

Besides, most hobbies of connoisseurship are limited in scope and general public participation. People will probably continue to wonder in as they always have, if we don't burn the place down with flaming showers of hundred dollar bills tossed at gyrating, over-priced, over-hyped, floozy gear.

Once us geezer dopes die off and the market for 25K per pair minimonitors and 15K interconnects loses its target audience, I expect big things from Hi Fi!

Big things!

To paraphrase Henry Rollins, most audiophiles (but, no, not you, I am referring to the other ones) are liars. It being all about the music is utter bullshit. If you don't believe me, go to some audiophile shows!

We are the faulty ones, requiring that final bit of sheen on the sound of a cymbal before we can get off on "Jazz At The Pawnshop." Why is it a good thing, being able to yell, "Hey! I can hear the subway train go by on this lame ass "Harry Belafonte at Cernegie Hall" 200 gram 45 RPM pressing?

Perhaps if we step up our game and join the people who do like music, we could be better 'representatives' of what it means to be into Hi Fi.

 

 

devil

kager
kager's picture
Offline
Last seen: 8 months 3 days ago
Joined: Oct 1 2006 - 8:28pm
well said

I would also like to add that anyone can through money at this hobby and get reasonably good sound but putting together a great sounding system for a fraction of the cost is a little more of a challenge but is very rewarding.

Taking the time to get the most out your system by proper setup and help from a knowledgeable audio shop could make a big difference. Yes, good audio shops are harder to find these days but can be found. 

A system needs to work well together in you listening room with the types of music you enjoy. 

tmsorosk
tmsorosk's picture
Offline
Last seen: 21 min 55 sec ago
Joined: Dec 5 2010 - 12:34pm
Well

We have had just about the opposite experience as our OP . The two shops that we have frequented the last ten or fifteen years have always had music playing and have many systems set up from inexpensive to not so inexpensive , and there sound is applicable to there price . The staff at both stores knows us by name and have always been polite and helpful . I don't thing conclusions should be drawn from one negative experience .

Drtrey3
Drtrey3's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: Aug 17 2008 - 2:52pm
The largest hinderance to getting people interested in audio is

that we don't invite them over for a listen more. I think most of us are reluctant or shy evangelicals.

 

Trey

WillWeber
WillWeber's picture
Offline
Last seen: 9 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: Nov 11 2010 - 7:54am
the experience

That is key, as Trey suggests, many people simply don't know what good audio sounds like. We do not have to admonish anyone, as Anton rails against. That could be counterproductive, a turn-off. I'm often surprised at peoples reactions--and the passion that they sometimes get--when they hear my system (with their music choices). Not everyone "gets it" but, that is OK too.

And then with some knowledge, we don't need to spend outrageous moola. It helps to share our acquired knowledge with those who become passionate but don't know how to get started. Everyone wins. We can enjoy great music with others (the real payoff), and collectively we just might keep the high-end industry alive and moving in the right direction with a growing market for reasonably priced performance gear.

The industry might be self defeating with some of the prices we see, such as kilo$ power cords. That is intimidating, and unnecessary. It smells like greed and snake oil. Knowledge is the weapon of choice.

WillW

geoffkait
geoffkait's picture
Online
Last seen: 13 min 36 sec ago
Joined: Apr 29 2008 - 5:10am
Your hearing is only as good as...

Your hearing is only as good as the best system you ever heard.  When you hear an even better system you will exclaim, "Now, that's the best system I ever heard!"

 

"Everything is relative."  - Pee Wee Herman

 

G. Kait

Machinadynamica.com

WillWeber
WillWeber's picture
Offline
Last seen: 9 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: Nov 11 2010 - 7:54am
best I've heard...

Live performance is my standard. If a reproduction system is nearly indistinguishable from that, it's as good as one can expect; good enough even for me, a perfectionist physicist and a musician. Some people even exclaim that the system "sounds better than live", which is of course, an illusion after all.

I have heard , and listened to intently, some pretty exotic systems; that's how the passion was reinvigorated in me. But I did not desire to sell the house to buy such a system, I would need a place to put it and to listen after all. I found that a great system can be created from far less than the exotic, and the owners of those systems woefully agree when they hear it. But, takes some effort, and that is a hobby of joy. When one can taste the savory music and be buoyed in emotional levity, that's it!

WillW

dbowker
dbowker's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 months 1 week ago
Joined: May 8 2007 - 6:37am
Here's my thoughts

Number 1 Barrier: Most people listen to music with passing interest at best, and for background noise at worst. I can't tell you a real percentage, but what I've observed this is roughly 75% of the population. Even worse, the of the population that truly loves music with a passion, seems to gradually become less interested as they get older and can afford the really high-end gear.

Number 2: Price But that's largely a factor of number 1. The less people who buy any given product, the more expensive it is. It costs billions to develop the next generation computer processors, but when they come out they are rarely above $800 (for the top of the line chips) and quickly drop after. But it's all because you have such a vast base of consumers. Sure, not everything can come down, especially given expensive materials and lots of labor, but for many hi-fi components, it's just too small a scale. Look at HDTVs, you can get an incredible 50-65" plasma today for a fraction of what one half the size cost 5 years ago. At some point everyone decided to get one, and it's easier to see the difference than hear one, and they became just another commodity.

Number 3: Lack of awareness, or misunderstanding, or other. But they are all way lesser issues than number 1 or 2. If even half as many people cared, the knowledge would be out there, and the prices would come down.

greenelec
greenelec's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 months 1 week ago
Joined: Feb 10 2006 - 12:37am
Too Much Work

 I have a friend who tells me that my system is the best he ever heard. Then he tells me that there is no way he would ever spend the amount of time I have in building such a system. He says that if he could just go buy a system and be guaranteed that it would sound as good as mine then he would do it. He says he doesn't want to spend more than 30 min. to an hour on buying sound equipment. Less time setting it up! That and it must go where his wife says it can go. 

JoeE SP9
JoeE SP9's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 months 4 weeks ago
Joined: Oct 31 2005 - 6:02pm
Decent sound and "stones".
greenelec wrote:

 I have a friend who tells me that my system is the best he ever heard. Then he tells me that there is no way he would ever spend the amount of time I have in building such a system. He says that if he could just go buy a system and be guaranteed that it would sound as good as mine then he would do it. He says he doesn't want to spend more than 30 min. to an hour on buying sound equipment. Less time setting it up! That and it must go where his wife says it can go. 

It would seem your friend needs to develop some stones!cheeky

Maybe you should tell your friend that something for nothing is worth the time money and effort put into it. Of course you could sell him your system, depending on whether or not his wife lets him spend any of his money on what he wants.wink

Inviting any and every one in or over for a listen to music they like makes a big difference. They hear my main rig and some are very enthusiastic about everything but the cost. I then let them hear my bedroom system (vintage Kenwood separates, Advent Mini's, Sony DVD player and old passive DBX sub). It cost me a whopping $500 and that includes a new 24" HD LCD TV. That really impresses them although they readily admit my serious rig sounds better. They without exception prefer my BR system to any HTIB, Bose or MP3 based system they've heard.

Gentleman, you have the means to spread the word. You just have to be proactive.

dumbo
dumbo's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: Sep 26 2009 - 6:59pm
Xxxxxxx

I think one of the reasons why the larger populous of folks struggle to have more skin in this game is laziness! If it can't be purchased in its final "tuned" state they aren't interested. The other reason is a severe shortage of attention span. If I were a three toed sloth I would have more than enough toes to count the number of buddies who could actualy sit thru an entire album in one sitting without chomping at the bit to pickup their damn i-Phone/Blackberry and send the next text message. I realy think that it takes a different personality then the norm to be an Audiophile and many folks will never "get it" no matter how far out of our way we go to try and share the experience.

kager
kager's picture
Offline
Last seen: 8 months 3 days ago
Joined: Oct 1 2006 - 8:28pm
This hobby is not for everyone

Over the more then thirty five years I've been in this hobby I can count on one hand how many people/friends got involved in audio after they heard my system. They loved the way it sounded when they came over to hang out for hours while I played album after album but few if any got involved to the level I did but mostly not at all. 

I bring my audio magazines to work to read and sometimes leave them on the table for other people to enjoy. The usual questions and responses I get are. Is that your magazine? I say, yes it is. They say, how could anyone afford that equipment? I say, there is less expensive equipment that will sound pretty good. They say, how much? I say, about $2000.00 would get you  something really nice.. That's when they look at me like I have two heads.

I have always enjoyed this hobby and listening to music but like I said, this hobby is not for everybody..

tom collins
tom collins's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 11 months ago
Joined: Apr 3 2007 - 11:54am
dumbo and kager

i agree with both of you.  i speak from the perspective of one who's children are grown, when they were growing, i did not have the time or money to indulge in this hobby beyond a bare minimum.  as to spending the money, life is all about choosing your priority.  to me, spending $500 a month for 60 or more months on a car is not a choice i would make.  i sure don't spend $500 a month on audio (well, some months).  but that's my priortiy.  as for putting a system together, when i rejoined this hobby, my friendly audio dealer helped me put together a modest system that sounded very good, not just for the price, but very good.  it was very close to plug and play, nice british integrated and matching cd player, interconnects and some under $100 speaker wires (killed the radio shack ones i had been using), already had the speakers.  attention span is definitely a problem for many people, especially these days with all of this tech. in your hands.

soulful.terrain
soulful.terrain's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 months 5 days ago
Joined: Nov 22 2010 - 12:15pm
Reasons

 

The number one reason that I can think of right off the top of my head would be one visit to an audio store and encountering a snobby, anal retentive salesman that doesn't want you touching anything unless you carry yourself like the Crown Prince of Monaco. Well, I don't wear Armani suits to audio salons. 99% of the time it's mostly a band shirt, shorts and Jesus sandals. You want to see what hubris is? Just dress like that.

It's funny to watch these over-promoted car salesmen to all the sudden become very interested in your audio needs once you flash a few thousand...and remind them as your walking out the store that you were ready to buy, but they were obviously 'too busy' at the moment.

Soothsayerman
Soothsayerman's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 1 month ago
Joined: Jun 4 2011 - 5:41pm
Just find a different dealer or an audio advisor

Just find a different store or if there is none in your area, there are plenty of online dealers that will help you put together a reasonably priced system that will sound great.  I did business with a store in my area for many years that sold mega buck systems, but the owner was a hi-fi evangelist.  He was on a mission from god to get good sound to the people with whatever they could afford and if his store didn't carry something to fit your budget, he would find out where you could get it. He was a rarity. Just go to a different source.  Good sound is not expensive. It is just that the old audio dealership business model is still in the dark ages but there are plenty of goods ones around.

drumguy48
drumguy48's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 1 month ago
Joined: Apr 1 2007 - 12:19am
Different addictions

I think it's all of the above- gettting hooked on high quality sound and the equipment that it provides it is a fringe activity and probably always will be - millions watch sport, but only a few go to every game, know every player's stats ,get every t-shirt etc

Most people listen to mainstream top 40, most audiophiles don't -different addictions - my son and daughter in law for example are pretty mainstream on all fronts- both work, drive 2 near new cars, just bought a house in the burbs, but their addiction is rallying driving -got a $200 surround sound system -but did'nt bat an eyelid when spending $6,000 on a new gearbox for the rally car

I'll leave the last words to my brother-after much pleading, he reluctantly sits down to listen to my new system, reading a magazine the whole time - when I suggest he put the mag down , he looks at me and says, "what, you think I'm going to sit here and intently listen to music?"

LM2940
LM2940's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 5 months ago
Joined: May 16 2006 - 10:36am
Too Many Distractions...

...Internet and cell phone are where everyone's minds are. Who has the brain space to sit through a whole album now?!?! Oh, and it's way too expensive as well.

zounder1
zounder1's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 days 10 hours ago
Joined: Aug 23 2011 - 6:41pm
My personal experience...

So,

This is an interesting thread so I thought I would chime in.

For a long time I liked to occassionally enjoy listening to my music on a very simple system.  (Sony amp, PSB speakers, Sony CD player.)  Then I discovered the Logitech Squeezebox Touch/Squeezebox Server.  I quickly digitized my CDs (to FLAC) and suddenly found myself enjoying my music again since is was so readily available.  I was also suprised that the Touch sounded better playing the same music versus the CD player.  This started my interest in learning why this was so.  After some research it seems that the DAC in the Touch was better than the DAC in the my old CD player.  Which I found to be fascinating.

I also discovered that I could purchase 24/96 FLACs online... so I gave that a spin.  And I could hear the improved sound even through my modest system.  It was not earth shattering but I could say the sound was crisper and more enjoyable.

I was truly enjoying my now digitized CD collection again.  I then took the plunge into listening to my old LPs from the 80s.  After some research I picked up a Rega RP1 and was quite proud of my purchase.  Of course, I went into a few audiophile stores looking for a good Phono preamp... what a big mistake.  They would not give me the time of day when I mentioned what my turntable was... one even literally snorted in disgust at my turntable choice.  Nice, real nice. 

Instead of giving encouraging words of stepping up and trying to improve my audio experience  I was ignored or basically treated as a fool.  It was insulting to put it mildly.  Even better, one store refused to let me into a demo room with their higher end equipment.  (I was curious and wanted to learn what they carried and see what $20,000+ speakers sound like.)  Needless to say, those snobs will never see a penny of my business.

I suspect for a lot of folks such an experience would be an understandable end of their quest for better audio enjoyment.  For most it is not worth the bother and aggravation.

The amusing thing is I am willing to spend money to enjoy my music.  Quite a bit if I think it is appropriate.  But now I am researching stuff myself and purchasing things online instead of using any local "stereophile" shop.

Upgrades so far:

  • Rega RP1 Performance pack turntable
  • Rega Fono MM preamp
  • ADL GT40 DAC (for digitizing my LPs as 24/96 FLACs)
  • Polk Audio Atrium 7 outdoor speakers (pleasant sound quality... but more about enjoying my music on my deck outdoor)

Now, I suspect that a lot of audiophiles would look down on these upgrades... and if you do, then take a serious look at yourself.  Do you want to encourage someone for trying to improve their listening enjoyment?  Then encourage them... don't look down at them.

I will slowly upgrade my system over time and try and find a good compromise between costs and performance.

robertbadcock
robertbadcock's picture
Offline
Last seen: 7 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: Mar 23 2011 - 7:46pm
A good opposing experience...

I was able to sit and listen to a pair of Focal Grande Utopias at an Austin Texas dealer (Sound Mind Audio, I believe).  Amps the size of suitcases (Boulders IFRC), a turntable that I of nine feet of vinyl would not even touch (seriously, would you?) at the end of the LP (Ricki Lee)...

I was so impressed by the Focals, and the respect of the demo (or rather the 'hey, you check out ok...  speak well, know where you are (top tier store), and although not wearing a suit are groomed for the day); well.

I bought a pair of Cobalt 806s.  My first real speaker.  Several notches above my B&W 601S3 pair. 

A poor demo would have had me leave the store; and the brands I saw forever, as I illustrate below, sadly.

Ah, my visit to Audio Systems in Austin, TX.  - Had gotten back from a four day camp trip in aged VW Camper; well...  salesman came in from parking lot; made a 'no no no no' gesture off to the side at the saleman that was 'helping' me...  My first speakers were Tympanis.  The large three panel ones.

But for me; the AV experience I received at Audio Systems will be remembered forever.  And I can not patronize brands that have people like that selling for them.  No mater my shaved and fresh appearance, my fine college English; oh my.  Should have left the Westy at home that day.  Tsk tsk.  Not even good enough for a sit down.  No equipment was turned on ever.  An experience like this can RUIN a persons impressions for LIFE of our hobby.      .

Focal and Boulder...  fan for life.  And the honor of being able to actually get to literally bathe in a $150,000 lushness of sound.  WOW!

So.  My tale of two types of dealers.  t/y.

BrolicBeast
BrolicBeast's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 1 month ago
Joined: Aug 24 2011 - 5:19am
Inventing Improvements......

I come from a slightly different background--I am an audio enthusiast, not an audiophile.  I made the distinction a few months ago as I sat back (listening to a crisp CD of J.S. Bach's Adagios) and began reading a review of some amplifier-"feet" that retailed for $1700/set-of-four, with no justification other than it"decreased resonance." Up until this point, I considered myself an audiophile, but realized there is no way I would ever hear the difference in sound that "feet" make with an amp that has no moving parts to begin with. As i pondered this, and other things that cause some--not all--audiophiles to invent improvements, I realized I was not one.

I think one of the greatest barriers to the kingdom of audiophiles--and this barrier will never change--is the mental satiation of other audiophiles who've already achieved superb systems, but still want the upgrade bug to bite them, so they go to the upgrade bug's nest and hit it with a bat.  They pursue--and by doing so, bring to the forefront--the gimmicky, off-putting equipment and accessories that may improve their system's performance in THEIR mind, but make newcomers think "is this what being an audiophile is about?"  I cannot fathom "amp-feet" changing the sound of an amplifier, as opposed to inserted an upgraded power supply and high-grade power cables--Kimber, Nordost, etc. Those will produce audible results based on basic rules of electricity.  This is just an example.  I read another article (it may have been here) where placing an electromagnetic box in the room supposedly made speakers sound better--again, unless there is a detailed description of how it can possibly do this, it's a turn-off. 

My current audio rig costs nearly as much as my car did--which goes to say I have no problem spending (and sometimes sacrificing) money for high-quality gear. But it is essential to keep in the spotlight items that people can at least remotely interpret as valuable.  Speakers for $20k? Sure, a newbie may say "if it sounds good, eventually I'll get a pair."  A $3k box that does nothing? A newbie will say "what is this malarkey? and off they go to invest in Apple or Google with the money that would have been allocated to audio. (Not saying investment is bad--my point is audio at the moment.) This game is half about the music, and half about owning the equipment.  If I wanted a reproduction of live music all the time, I would attend one concert a week for a few years and get my fill--all for roughly the same price as a decent audio rig.  We love our equipment, and we need newcomers to love their equipment as well, as i believe that is half the battle. They need not be scared away.

If this post is all over the place, forgive me.  I am at work, and wrote this entry over a course of a few hours between meetings.

maury
maury's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 10 months ago
Joined: Jul 30 2011 - 6:47am
N00b Here

I'm just getting into this, and the main issue I'm having is access to dealers to audition equipment. I'm just 50 miles South of Houston, and while there are a few places in Houston to visit, they have slim-pickings. I'm stopping by a shop today that sells some shelf units I'm interested in, so we'll see how their shop is. Accessability is a HUGE issue when it comes to hearing speakers, too -- there just aren't enough shops to hear the big guns I'd like to hear. As a guitarist, I'm used to this, though: I rarely have the opportunity to try out a guitar before I buy it, so I have to rely on my research, trusted reviews, etc., and buy "sight-unseen" -- and hope for the best!

I would also say the complexity of the setup can be daunting. You have your sourse(s), a phono preamp, a preamp, amps, integrated amps, tube amps, solid state, cables, etc., etc., etc. For those not acustomed to "rigs" of any kind, this can be confusing and scary. As I've been setting up my system, I have fond that there's not a whole lot of information out there answering "basics" -- so I can see where people that don't know a thing about components can be reticent to join the hi-fi club.

Patrick Butler
Patrick Butler's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 months 1 day ago
Joined: Jul 11 2011 - 8:00am
Creating Desire

I'm reminded of a guy that I knew in college.  He wanted a girlfriend but didn't have one.  In confiding this to me, I asked him a series of questions:

"Do you date?"  no

"Have you introduced yourself to someone you might want to know?"  no

"Do you know any women?"  no

"Do you talk to any women?"  no

"That might be the problem."

People have an interest in Audio because they have had a great experience with Audio that exceeded their expectations.  Combine that with a love for music, and you have a fighting chance.  When I worked in retail, nothing was more satisfying as a salesperson than talking to a customer who came into my store and asking them "do you want to hear something special?"  It did not matter that they came in for a radar detector, vcr or tv.  Nobody ever said no.  Know what happened?  Some people actually purchased that lovely pair of $1000 Italian speakers I so loved.  Most did not walk out with that particular box, but they did leave with a new set of expectations about what Audio could do for their love of music.  Over time, I received the dividends of that simple and satisfying work.

Bottom line.  If you want people to want you or what you are selling you have to generate desire.  In the world of Audio or dating, it all starts with a great experience.

matt123
matt123's picture
Offline
Last seen: 7 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: Aug 24 2011 - 8:01pm
Why is Audiogon the best buying experience in audio?

I completely agree with the general sentiment that's emerging here - the audio industry needs to change the way it sells.

There's a saying, "no one likes to be sold, but everyone likes to buy." Its amazing how hard it seems to be to get out of the way and let people buy. Given all the stories told above, the dealers just need to shape up. However, bad sales people are not unique to audio - look at car sales, and heaven forbid, realtors. Its a problem, but I think its a symtom and not the cause.

The solution, I think, is for the audio manufactures need to become much more active in selling their products. Audio dealers are mostly mom & pop shops competing very close to Amazon's turf. This is very hard. Dealers need more support if the industry is to stay alive.

I recently was looking on a manufacture's web site where I know a local dealer carries their gear, but  the web site had 1 phone number and email contact for the US. Come on!

Peachtree seems to have done a great job here - you can buy their stuff everywhere, including direct. I'd think dealers would dump them for selling direct - a seeming no no in audio - but they don't. I suspect the dealers carry them because their marketing is great and you still want to listen at $1000+.  Another example I love is The Cable Company, with its loaner Cable Library. However, by far the best example I've seen of a reatalor promoting obscure, mostly foreign producers with subtle differences between them in an industry known for snobery and inflated prices is Moore Brother's wine in New Jersey & NYC. Any audio dealer looking to improve retail sales and connect to absolutely "offline" clients on the web should visit them and sign up for their email list.

The first audio sales were made by furniture salesmen - in person, with a demo in the home, with the wife there. Why can't we order a demo direct from the manufacturer with follow up from their local dealer? (I'd pay for that!) Why can't we lease equipment that can cost more than most cars?

Why is Audiogon the best buying experience in audio?

lucien
lucien's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 2 months ago
Joined: Jun 15 2011 - 5:26am
Branding and distribution

The problem with hi-fi from another noob’s perspective…

--Lack of brand knowledge and the inability to get to them in big box stores… My entry into hi-fi was inheriting a killer turntable. I wanted to be able to use it but make as little an investment as possible. So I bought a multitasking Sony soundbar. I knew it wasn’t ideal, but I wanted to see if I could get into the lifestyle. I had no idea what else to buy at my big box store, and didn’t think I could get anything cheap enough at a hi-fi shop, so I did that as a first step. I had never heard of NAD or PSB or Focal or Wharfedale or anything else that would be considered entry-level audio gear. 99.9999% of people are in the same boat… They’ve never seen or had any experience with the brands in any context to take a chance on them and still feel good about the choice. As a result, they are getting subpar gear at Best Buy.

 

--The perceived price point problem – Now that I’m post-soundbar but still a cheapskate, I am listening to my inherited turntable through Audioengine A5’s. It sounds 5x better than the Sony for an extra hundred bucks. You can get great sound for a pittance, and now I’m about to go one step further along the upgrade path but if I can justify doubling the cost for quality.

 

--Distribution – I’m reluctant to buy a brand without having heard it. In my area, I can hear PSB, B&W, Kef, and a couple other brands in my price range. But I can’t hear some of the intriguing equipment that gets great reviews in Stereophile, like Wharfedale and Totem, and my local shops certainly don’t have all the amps configured to hear the difference between, say a Music Hall amp and NAD, that I would shop for. As a result, I’m reluctant to buy online and deal with the return hassle if I'm unhappy. I was OK doing that with Audioengine because the price point was low by comparison, but moving up the cost ladder, not so much.

 

Real audiophiles probably don’t want to admit it, but the opportunity is really there with iPod fans. I’d say that in general, they are music fans, not audio fans. Yes, it sounds terrible, but there are millions of them sold, and frankly it’s easier to carry my 64GB iPod Touch to work than 500 CD’s. Embrace that, and profit by it. The ideal marketing message for hi-fi for the next few years needs to be “We can make your iPod sound better than you’ve ever heard it.” 

And then you need to somehow coax a Peachtree iDecco or Audioengine A5 (or pick your fave iPod friendly brand) into Best Buy without screwing up the quality.

kager
kager's picture
Offline
Last seen: 8 months 3 days ago
Joined: Oct 1 2006 - 8:28pm
the current state of audio

Years ago while still living in New York there were plenty of places to go and talk to a sales person that was knowledgeable and yes, (sometimes rude) and audition equipment. If you liked what you heard you made the purchase usually at list price. It's hard for me to fathom anymore with audio stores being so scarce that I have to order something online without auditioning a thing and still have to pay full price, I think that's nuts.

Yes, some places have a liberal return policy but at a cost of shipping round trip if you decide not to buy it, depending on what it is, that could cost a bundle.. I have to make a decision based on what someone else thinks and hopefully know what there talking about. The landscape of Hi End Audio has certainly changed for the worse. 

I believe that's why Audiogon is doing so well, you get to buy a used piece of audio at a reasonable price. The downside is, you don't know how many states in the US the equipment you just purchased has visited.

Melo man
Melo man's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 10 months ago
Joined: Aug 6 2011 - 11:20am
Marketing.

In our capitalist society, marketing is more beneficial than the performance of the actual product.
If you investigate the materials that go into these hi-fi products, so will find out that companies mark up those products 10 fold.
They are not worth their asking price. How much time goes into labor to manufacture these products? Certainly not enough to warrant the end price.
But it's the marketing that tells the consumer that they want this product, either for it's exclusivity or name plate.
It's also the fault of reviewing websites. They need to review smaller companies products. I understand that stereophile has a rule to not review a product until it's sold retail in at least 5 stores.....what happens when there are no more brick and mortar stores? Will they only review Harmon kardon products sold at best buy?

downunderman
downunderman's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 6 months ago
Joined: Aug 15 2011 - 9:32pm
Punk/Lo-fi movements

One issue that has not been given a a great deal of attention has to do with the philosophical bias against artists producing well recorded material that pretty much commenced with the advent of Punk.

It became part of their musical statement to produce poorly recorded material.  A flag that has been proudly carried through to the current day by the lo-fi movement.

So it largely ceased to be cool to put any effort into the recorded quality of your work and the taste making youngsters over the past thirty years who are the people listening to this material have also bought into the lo-fi philosophy.

Heck the Beatles are lo-fi by todays standards, but they sure put the effort into trying to make their records sound as good as they possibly could be.

These days it just aint cool to care about hi-fidelity in your recorded music and the hi-fi industry is paying the price.

Soothsayerman
Soothsayerman's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 1 month ago
Joined: Jun 4 2011 - 5:41pm
Well as someone else brought

Well as someone else brought up the point...

I think if you are a brick and mortar store, a requirement is to have a high-end ipod dock.  If you do not have one that people can hook up to your systems to and listen to their music, you are REALLY missing the boat and living in the stone age.

lwood
lwood's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 2 months ago
Joined: Aug 25 2011 - 4:56pm
Audiogon, Local snobs....and turning someone ON!

Yes, Audiogon is the best thing going, whether your new or seasoned in Audio.  Learn what sells, what a good price is, buy and try it, don't like it, sell it...it goes on and on, and you never know till you try.

Local Dealers are too snobby, no doubt about it.  I was going to buy an older, very good Preamp that was priced a little high, but was MINT, I picked it up and went to their display case to pay, but the salesman had to try and sell me something new that I DID NOT WANT, then he talked too long and I walked out empty handed, what a boob!

I got my nephew into the this crazy hobby, and as my ears have aged, his have become more tuned, he knows what he's listening too....there is no better feeling in the world than going to his place and listening to his rig, and the big smile on his face because he knows it sounds damn good, money be damned!

Ugly Truth
Ugly Truth's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 4 days ago
Joined: Aug 25 2011 - 6:14pm
Sacred cows make the best burgers...

If we are serious about enticing new converts to our hobby, then we need to take ourselves a bit less seriously. If you find yourself mentoring a budding enthusiast, rather than perpetuate the many lies of the industry, save them some time (and cash) by offering some sound advice.  Here's my Top 5 "Things I wish the experts had told me..."

 

1)  The "source" of a system is indeed the most important link in the chain, but this refers to the recording itself (including the mastering process and the format) NOT the amount of money you spend on the device.  So don't use this old chestnut to justify a $10K turntable. 

2) The single most influential component in the chain is the listening environment.....this is why that expensive system doesn't sound the same at your place.

3) Loudspeakers are very personal choices and (all things being equal)  contribute more to the character of the system than amplifiers or disc-spinners (particularly in conventional solid-state systems). 

4) If you're starting from scratch, but the speaker before the amplifier, then decide what you need to drive it.

5) The circuit boards and other internal elements of source components and amps are not made of solid silver, so what is the point of spending thousands on interconnects that feature esoteric materials?

One final thought .... much like luxury cars, the World's best hifi is not owned by enthusiasts, but by fat cats who instruct their personal assistants to acquire "the best of everything" to adorn their photogenic and soul-less homes.  These clients do not  know what things are worth in the real world, and without them, high-end brands would become extinct.  So don't knock yourself out aspiring to achieve this level of performance, it's not targeted at you or me.

 

Face
Face's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 4 days ago
Joined: Aug 26 2011 - 7:14am
...
geoffkait wrote:

Your hearing is only as good as the best system you ever heard.  When you hear an even better system you will exclaim, "Now, that's the best system I ever heard!"

 

"Everything is relative."  - Pee Wee Herman

 

G. Kait

Machinadynamica.com

IMO, the sickening amount of snake oil drives a good percentage of people away from spending real money in this hobby.

Soothsayerman
Soothsayerman's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 1 month ago
Joined: Jun 4 2011 - 5:41pm
And remember....

The best audio tweak are Q-Tips.

paul.raulerson
paul.raulerson's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 6 months ago
Joined: Aug 23 2011 - 8:29am
Wow- Total opposite. :)
robertbadcock wrote:

Ah, my visit to Audio Systems in Austin, TX.  - Had gotten back from a four day camp trip in aged VW Camper; well...  salesman came in from parking lot; made a 'no no no no' gesture off to the side at the saleman that was 'helping' me...  My first speakers were Tympanis.  The large three panel ones.

But for me; the AV experience I received at Audio Systems will be remembered forever.  And I can not patronize brands that have people like that selling for them.  No mater my shaved and fresh appearance, my fine college English; oh my.  Should have left the Westy at home that day.  Tsk tsk.  Not even good enough for a sit down.  No equipment was turned on ever.  An experience like this can RUIN a persons impressions for LIFE of our hobby.      .

 

Wow- now I had the exactly opposite experience at Audio Systems. One guy there is a bit tense, but the other guys are all cool, easy to work with, and give no pressure at all. I've bought about $10K worth of stuff there, just because of that really good attitude. 

Admittedly, they usually see me in business casual, but they have seen me in a grouchy mood, and when I was first getting to know them, I pulled the "turn away from the speakers get down on one knee, cup your hand around your ear, and claim this is the *only* way to really listen to the speakers" bit.  I think it took them about 5 minutes before they caught on I was teasing them... :) 

All I intended to do when we first walked in there a couple years ago was replace my poor beatup set of Advents from the 1970s. But I have wound up buying a couple or three little Amps, a DAC or two, a turntable, and several sets of speakers, including a set of Maggie 1.7s. 

I am fairly cheap by the way, which usually means I want to spend the least amount of cash possible, but I like seeing the people I am dealing with face to face. I'll haggle a bit with them upon occasion.  If the pricing is wrong, or they don't carry or can't get what I really want, I just buy it off the net. 

You might want to give 'em another chance. Everyone has an occasional bad day, and that sure doesn't sound like these guys. 

Besides, they bring more people into decent audio than anyone else in the area. They put together a little NAD/PSB setup for under a grand, and actively help people tradeup when they want to. They are also the only Maggie dealer in town. :) 

 

-Paul

kager
kager's picture
Offline
Last seen: 8 months 3 days ago
Joined: Oct 1 2006 - 8:28pm
not an exact science

written by dumbo:

I think one of the reasons why the larger populous of folks struggle to have more skin in this game is laziness! If it can't be purchased in its final "tuned" state they aren't interested.

 

I also think that what drives some of us to pursue this hobby besides the love of music is the gear. The gear is what also drives people away. It's not an exact science, meaning once you jump into audio with both feet it can be a very daunting task for the neophyte. I myself have gotten frustrated at times and I've been at it for many years...

Then there is the frustration of poorly recorded music and you spending much time and money on your system, you think to youself, way did I bother.

Drtrey3
Drtrey3's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: Aug 17 2008 - 2:52pm
Good thoughts

about the topic. Well done. It got me thinking that only a percentage of the population cares how their music sounds. We can only reach those. I wonder what the percentage is, but that is our fishing ground! We all need to spend more time fishing I think, but it is important to realize that not everyone is interested or responsive to better sound.

Trey

Ajani
Ajani's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 3 weeks ago
Joined: Mar 19 2008 - 7:07pm
Audiophiles are the problem
Anton wrote:

The largest hinderance to getting people interested in audio is...audiophiles.

We fetishize "sound" and equipment like those sneaker nuts who keep track of which laces Nike put on the new Air Jordans and then we ask what's wrong with everyone else. Bleh.

I have seen the enemy of high end audio, and he is us.

If 99% of people are happy with MUSIC on an iPod, then get off 'em, quit being the old guy yelling at kids to stay off his lawn, and let 'em continue to enjoy music on their iPods. Opining their lack of audiophile aspiration is condescending crap.

The audiophiles of the 60's probably opined the fact that I liked a little portable AM transistor radio and a single earpiece to enjoy music, too. If I managed to find Hi Fi, then someone who has an iPod (that likely does sound better than what most of us had as kids on the go) will also have the opportunity to step up. Soon, lossy compression will become a relic and those damn iPods will be outperforming the damn 70K DCS fetishwear we plotz over now.

Besides, most hobbies of connoisseurship are limited in scope and general public participation. People will probably continue to wonder in as they always have, if we don't burn the place down with flaming showers of hundred dollar bills tossed at gyrating, over-priced, over-hyped, floozy gear.

Once us geezer dopes die off and the market for 25K per pair minimonitors and 15K interconnects loses its target audience, I expect big things from Hi Fi!

Big things!

To paraphrase Henry Rollins, most audiophiles (but, no, not you, I am referring to the other ones) are liars. It being all about the music is utter bullshit. If you don't believe me, go to some audiophile shows!

We are the faulty ones, requiring that final bit of sheen on the sound of a cymbal before we can get off on "Jazz At The Pawnshop." Why is it a good thing, being able to yell, "Hey! I can hear the subway train go by on this lame ass "Harry Belafonte at Cernegie Hall" 200 gram 45 RPM pressing?

Perhaps if we step up our game and join the people who do like music, we could be better 'representatives' of what it means to be into Hi Fi.

 

 

devil

yes

I don't see Audiophilia as something for the mainstream... Like any other hobby it is only going to appeal to a small subset of people... Also, I don't see audiophilia and music loving as synonymous... You can love music and yet not be concerned with achieving that ever elusive audiophile goal of recreating the live performance (or whatever)... Expecting the large percentage of the population who listen to music to become interested in HiFi, is like expecting everyone who cares about knowing the time to become a watch enthusiast. It's never going to happen...

There are tons of things that can be done to make HiFi more appealing to a wider range of people, but that still doesn't change the basic point that most people just won't be interested regardless of the changes... 

quadlover
quadlover's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: Apr 7 2007 - 9:58am
where is the draw today???

The first time I went to audio store when I was in high school in the 70's everyone had to hear the Advent loudspeakers.  The store offered spiffs to customers to bring in people to hear them play ELP "Lucky Man".  The woofer's excursion at the end of the song always blew out a match.  Anyone bringing in music that did the same got spiffs as well.  I ended up owning a Double Advent system as well as worked there  

Fast forward a few years and the store I was working for was the largest DCM Time Window dealer in the world (according to DCM President at the time Bob Waterstripe).  We were one of the very first stores to demo Carver's Hologram on Time Windows.  Anyone walking in got a demo...no exceptions.  We offered spiffs to any customer who could outdo Pink Floyd's sonic effects.  As a result old customers as well as teenagers with all types of music were brought in and usually ended up buying something.

Yes these 2 examples are hardly ultra high end but they succeeded in bringing in people who had never been in an audio store before and real tangible benefits of not going to a meat market like today's big box store cannot.  It was not a matter of bad mouthing...all we did was demo using ours as well as there music to demonstrate why they should spend money with us.  And once they started to spend the upgrade ladder started.  We had frequent wine and cheese parties to demonstrate new equipment as well. 

I have worked in the automotive industry now for 30 years.  There is a saying "Catch their eye and you catch their pocketbook"  The same needs to be appluied for the music lover/audiophile world to succeed.

JIMV
JIMV's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 hours 33 min ago
Joined: Jan 31 2008 - 1:46pm
Soothsayerman...

Great observation....for the really serious, a way to play a flash drive in Hi-Rez as well.

JIMV
JIMV's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 hours 33 min ago
Joined: Jan 31 2008 - 1:46pm
Dumbo...you wrote

"I think one of the reasons why the larger populous of folks struggle to have more skin in this game is laziness! If it can't be purchased in its final "tuned" state they aren't interested."

 

A corelary must be that there is an equal responsibility on the part of the manufacturer to produce a machine that does not take a degree in either computers or electronics to use the thing, optimize its behavior, or at the least produce a clear and usable manual.

viola_player
viola_player's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 2 days ago
Joined: Aug 27 2011 - 6:40pm
The largest hinderance to getting people interested in audio is.

There was some interesting research recently published that stated (my paraphrase) the people are remembering where to find things out rather than remembering those 'things'.  So, instead of remembering what the capital of Iowa is, you remember that you can find out what the capital of Iowa is by going to Google and typing "Iowa, capital".  The audio industry, by in large, has not changed to accommodate this.  We need solid on-line resources that folks can visit to learn about the different types of systems, what can be expected of them, where to find them etc.   Combine this with the constant downward pressure on pricing and it gets harder to employ knowledgeable sales staff.  So, there is no place for folks to find out about good quality unless someone takes them to an audio store.  (as opposed to a big box retailer).    One of my son's friends thought the best possible sound was an iPod playing MP3's through the 10 cent ear buds that come with it.  Then he listens to my stereo--which isn't anything special--and was amazed at the difference.  If people don't have a reference point for better sound than it is going to be difficult to convince them that such a thing exists.  I like "quadlover's" comments, give folks an opportunity to hear really good sound and they'll recognize the difference.  I think we also need to make it easier to build up computer based systems because that's where most of the market is going.  There are very few dealers--in Portland, OR anyway--who really understand all of the pieces it takes to build up such a system and most folks don't have the time to research everything.  When you're working two jobs to make ends meet and trying to make it to your kid's ball games there just isn't a lot of time left.  You want to get home, turn it on and have it work--AND--provide really good sound.  I think it would be great if we could have smaller scale audio shows, perhaps in conjunction with other local events, that would give people the opportunity to hear really great sound and explain that it can be done for a reasonable price without tons of research, you just have to go to a different store.  Does this all make any sense?

Thanks

Ray

kager
kager's picture
Offline
Last seen: 8 months 3 days ago
Joined: Oct 1 2006 - 8:28pm
The big box store ambush

Every now and then I like to go into the well know big box store to purchase some music and also look around at the new computers, TV's and camera's. On a particular day recently I wondered into what they call there higher price gear section. I have to admit some of the speakers I saw I didn't think they had ever heard of like Martin Logan and B&W.

While I was looking around, in walks the sales person (a young man) and asked if I would like to hear the new B&W speakers they started to carry. I haven't heard anything by B&W for many years and thought why not. He connected the speakers to some very large and powerful receiver then cued up some rock music that was in the player.. I sat down on the round cushioned chair, he shut the doors and away we went.

I remember thinking as the music was playing at a reasonably loud volume, this sounds terrible and thought B&W speakers should sound better then this. We listen to the whole song and he asked what I thought? My answer was, not so good. He looked at me like I had two heads and said that these speakers are exceptional, which I agreed but told him It might be the electronics.

I'm sure he thought, a guy his age probably can't hear that well anymore or I didn't know what I was talking about.. I thought people that come in here to listen to music must think this sounds great. I realize profits run a company but years ago the B&W's and Martin Logan's of the world would be very selective about were there speakers where sold so they could sound there best.

I'm sorry to say, as we loose more and more of our high end audio stores in this country  we also loose perspective audiophiles as some people have said in this thread...

iListen
iListen's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 months 1 week ago
Joined: Aug 24 2011 - 11:12am
Great posts!

(New) Just made me think about my audio and calling myself a "wanna-be audiophile".  I want to be an audiophile, but on my budget, I am just an audio enthusiast. ( I too can not justify $1700 for amp feet ) 

I agree with a lot of post on here about most audiophile stores are full of snobs that look down on you if you aren't looking for a set of $55,000 mono blocks. I have been treated that way in a few stores.  Most people do not understand what good sound is because they have never been exposed to it.

Half the people I know buy all their music from iTunes, store it on their iPhone and play it using Dre Beats headphones. If they do listen to anything at home, its thru a $200 surround system from best buy.  I must admit, after reading Stereophile, maybe iTunes/iPhone that is the way I need to go...

My system: Rotel RB960 dual mono 60W amp. Anthem TLP 1 pre amp, and after recently throwing my Linn CD player in the garbage, I am now forced to use a Sony Blu Ray player for my Source. All this playing through a set of Paradigm Studio 60's v.4's (audioquest interconnects, and MIT Terminator 3 speaker cable)  The Linn CD player, sounded beautiful, cost $2k, and was in the "shop" being fixed more than it was at my house being used.   The Linn was one of THE biggest let downs on High end audio.

I finally spent $2k bucks for a good source and the thing "broke down" 5 times under warranty, and twice more out of warranty. Linn saw that it was the SAME PART going bad time and time again and wouldn't not admit there was a defect and just give me a NEW unit. This last time is "broke down" I literally threw it in a dumpster. I will NEVER buy anything Linn again. 

Stereophile rated my Paradigm's pretty well. The Linn sounded wonderful, so I was on my way to a good system, that is, soon as the Rotel and Anthem were replaced. 

Since the Source died. I nearly lost all interests in being an "audiophile" until my daughter came home from school selling magazines and I grabbed a sub to Stereophile.  I started listening to my system again. As bad as my source, amp and pre amp are, I enjoyed actually listening to music again that wasn't playing thru iTunes on my iMac and Logitech 4.1 speakers.  

However, I started reading Sterophile magazine and this site and I started seeing all kinds of contradictions from the reviews.  One guy would review a $1000 integrated amp and go on about how good it was and even go so far as to say it was almost as good as his $10,000 rig.

The next review would be an amp that cost $1200 and he would say there is no such thing as an amp or pre amp under $1000 that didn't sound like crap'ola. I have been looking for anything "affordable" to replace my Rotel/Anthem that was strong enuf to drive a set of Magnepan 1.7's with some authority. ( I plan to go back to maggies in the future, sold my maggie 2.7QR's a year ago)  Of course that means the amp HAS to be high current and Stable at 3.1 ohms AND still sound better than the Rotel.  I don't even know where to start. There are Zero audio stores left within 300 miles of where I live, so I can't listen to anything. 

I read a review from 2008 tonight on this site for the DIA-100 integrated and that's where the reviewer said that there wasn't a single pre amp or amp under $1000 each that were worth buying. The DIA was the only thing he could recommend under $1000. 

I wish Stereophile would review the Emotiva line. They have some stuff that looks nice, is priced very wallet friendly, but no real audiophile has ever reviewed. 

I'm sorry, I am rambling on and on. Conclusion: I want to be an audiophile. I might even believe in some of the "snake-oil" (hi-fi tunning fuses anyone?) Problem is, even being readily willing to spend a little more cash on a system than most people would, I can't find and audio store, and stereophile tells me this system was great, then reviews system B and says, nothing in the price range is worth buying. 

I have to say, one of The best inexpensive systems I ever heard, was the most listenable systems I've heard to date.  Jolida 60w integrated on some Vandersteen 1c ($795 a set) with a rega CD player. But, that amp may not sound good on my paradigm speakers, and most likely will not do well at all on Magnepan when I go back to those..... 

Audiophiles are going away because even wanna-be audiophiles don't know what to buy.... 

Soothsayerman
Soothsayerman's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 1 month ago
Joined: Jun 4 2011 - 5:41pm
Warranties are your friend
iListen wrote:

(New) Just made me think about my audio and calling myself a "wanna-be audiophile".  I want to be an audiophile, but on my budget, I am just an audio enthusiast. ( I too can not justify $1700 for amp feet ) 

Since the Source died. I nearly lost all interests in being an "audiophile" until my daughter came home from school selling magazines and I grabbed a sub to Stereophile.  I started listening to my system again. As bad as my source, amp and pre amp are, I enjoyed actually listening to music again that wasn't playing thru iTunes on my iMac and Logitech 4.1 speakers.  

Audiophiles are going away because even wanna-be audiophiles don't know what to buy.... 

Stuff breaks, it just happens and that has been my experience from day one 30 years ago.  That's why it really pays to work with a local dealer.  I bought a B&K $3000 home theater amp/pre years ago and it broke 3 times in 3 months.  My dealer just finally gave me full credit and I got something else that has lasted.  There have been countless other things that have gone kaput. 

One of my main motivations for buying Bryston amplification was their 25 year warranty.  I was going to replace some of my front end with Musical Fidelity but they only have a 1 year warranty.  No way, no how... been there done that.

Plenty of manufacturers offer 3 and 5 year warranties.

Of course it is all a roll of the dice as it is with anything and things just break...

kager
kager's picture
Offline
Last seen: 8 months 3 days ago
Joined: Oct 1 2006 - 8:28pm
to be an audiophile

Just made me think about my audio and calling myself a "wanna-be audiophile".  I want to be an audiophile, but on my budget, I am just an audio enthusiast.

 

You are definitely in the audiophile camp. Big money doesn't make you an audiophile, the love of music and good sound quality regardless of money spent does. These days you don't have to spend big money unless you want to. Carefully selecting equipment that sounds good to your ears and setting it up properly will do it. Enjoy the hobby at any level..

Jerry

mav52
mav52's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 week 5 days ago
Joined: Aug 29 2011 - 10:42am
I'm new here, actually this

I'm new here, actually this is my first reply.   What I have experienced is that if a business treats it's customers with rude, inattentiveness the credability of that business goes right out the window and the customer will get that feeling, maybe all of these type of shops are "like this".  Happens a lot .

There is a little shop in North Augusta GA that I go to, where the owner will set down and go over anything in his shop and he will answer your questions without driving you to high priced equipment and you can listen to any system combination with your music if you desire which he encourages, since as he puts it, "it's your music taste and your ears, not mine".  This owner really enjoys and to he takes pride I feel in being able to introduce new people to this hobby.. Will I buy from this owner, you bet I will.   I have always felt, a friendly atmoshpere will generate a lot more interest than rude and inattentiveness.

I guess the above also carries over to forums where a question is asked about a piece of equipment you happen to be interested in which fits your budget, your space and your ears and the the reply you get from an " audiophile", is it's overrated, spec's are off/false, you can do better, buy this.  Hold on, a lot of people can spend someones money easier than the person who is spending the money.  The snobbery does carry over to forums as well, and at times these audiophiles forget that , here is a person wanting to enter this hobby and is asking for guidance, NOT to be talked down to which causes people to just go to a brick and motar store and being their own personal trial.  Remember these audiophiles started out as newbies to, so give newbies a chance.

Stephen Mejias
Stephen Mejias's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 6 days ago
Joined: Nov 7 2010 - 3:35pm
FYI

iListen wrote:
I read a review from 2008 tonight on this site for the DIA-100 integrated and that's where the reviewer said that there wasn't a single pre amp or amp under $1000 each that were worth buying. The DIA was the only thing he could recommend under $1000.

That review was written by Corey Greenberg. Never listen to anything he says.

Just kidding. Seriously, though: The review you're talking about was written in 1993. And Corey didn't exactly say that there wasn't an amp under $1000 worth buying. What he said was: "...there just isn't anything in the sub–$1000 range that approaches the kind of sound quality of the gear I have in my He-Man rig."

There's a difference there. And a lot has changed since 1993, anyway. I bet my modest reference system (Rega P3-24 turntable, NAD C316 BEE integrated amp, NAD PP3 phono preamp, PSB Alpha B1 loudspeakers, AudioQuest cables and interconnects) would hold its own against Corey's "She-Ra" system, or whatever he was listening to.

iListen wrote:
I wish Stereophile would review the Emotiva line. They have some stuff that looks nice, is priced very wallet friendly, but no real audiophile has ever reviewed.

Kal Rubinson reviews the Emotiva XPA-5 5-channel power amp in his November issue "Music in the Round" column, and I'll be talking about the Emotiva ERC-2 CD player in the December issue's "Entry Level" column.

iListen wrote:
Audiophiles are going away because even wanna-be audiophiles don't know what to buy....

There are many, many options and just as many opinions.  One of the things that makes hi-fi so much fun is there's something for everyone.  Buying hi-fi is like buying anything else: With the help of some friends, the advice of trusted sources, and the knowledge of your own interests, you figure out what you like, decide how much you can afford, and go for it.

iListen
iListen's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 months 1 week ago
Joined: Aug 24 2011 - 11:12am
Bryston
Soothsayerman wrote:

One of my main motivations for buying Bryston amplification was their 25 year warranty. 

I was actually looking at the Bryston 2B SST2 amp and  B100 SST integrated tonight. May not be the most powerful amp on the market, but I hear Bryston aren't picky about speaker impendance and the 25 yr warranty sounds wonderful.  I am certain either would be an upgrade from Rotel and Anthem. 

Maybe pick up a used CD player from Audiogon. 

robertG
robertG's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 10 months ago
Joined: Mar 11 2010 - 12:59pm
iPods and old farts

1. Over 100 millions (or is it billions?) are using iPods and do not seem all that annoyed by the sound quality;

2. Most audiophile shows attendees will likely be dead in 5 years;

3. Most iPod users will likely still be around.

Perhaps it's time to consider this.

Pages

  • X
    Enter your Stereophile.com username.
    Enter the password that accompanies your username.
    Loading