Will the market for high-end audio get better or worse?

Will the market for high-end audio get better or worse?
He's nuts---it'll get better
29% (56 votes)
Worse: limited income
8% (16 votes)
Worse: goofy products
5% (10 votes)
Worse: computers
13% (24 votes)
Worse: all of the above
21% (40 votes)
Worse: other (add comment)
24% (46 votes)
Total votes: 192

In the January '98 <i>Stereophile</i>, Michael Zeugin of Audio Influx asserts that high-end audio is being sucked into a "Black Hole" for a variety of reasons. These include: goofy products, computers taking over the youth market, and boomers' limited income being channeled elsewhere. What do you think?

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COMMENTS
K.  Owings's picture

DVD Audio & Multimedia will become more dominant. I'm 56, but most younger people don't care that much about "perfection," but rather mid-fi. Except for my Lexicon processor, $1500/unit is about tops for me. Music is 70% of my listening and I prefer SGHT, but Stereophile is very interesting reading.

John Lendel's picture

I'm new to this right now and can only see improvement with new computer technology available enhancing audio development. Not everyone will get into, it but that's an individual choice.

j jordan's picture

There is so much dust in the air over new formats and standards that it will be difficult for consumers to focus on a path for new equipment/upgrading. After manufacturers get focused, consumers will respond. After a few more years in the fog, I think that the market will ultimately get better. It's just going to take time.

Sohail Gazi's picture

It should get better because of better digital technology, better power amplification techniques, & better loudspeakers.

Geoffrey McKim's picture

Tweaks (esp. but not limited to multi-thousand-$ speaker cables and interconnects) give hi-fi a bad name. Reviewers should just concentrate on what really makes a difference: quality music, quality speakers, quality components designed for musicality rather than volume sales.

Joe Marinan's picture

More fools are being born every minute.

Piaw Na's picture

I still can't imagine spending the kind of money High End manufacturers want us to spend on the equipment. As with computers, I'd always rather spend my money on the "software."

john schlesinger's picture

Looking at some of the stuff reviewed and the prices asked, it makes me wonder. Wooden horn speakers, $50,000 amplifiers. But I guess if you can sell it, why shouldn't you keep making it?

Tom Wolters's picture

High-end aaudio resulting products which are reaching the masses. The average person is reached by these new technologies and gadgets through common, mass-market electronics stores. To this average consumer, these products are far beyond what he/she has ever experienced. This average person is being confronted with wonderful products that they never thought to ask for---and they're completely thrilled when offered the prospect of learning about them and owning them. High-end, on the other hand, is not reaching out to people who don't know what to ask for. I'm not suggesting that high-end could ever go mass-market, and I would not want it to be so (and high-end would not be high-end if mass-marketed). The reality is that the average consumer is being offered something beyond what they would have ever thought to ask for, and are thrilled with it. They would feel the same way upon learning more about high-end audio, however, the mass-market products are making it to them first. We can only hope that a good percentage of the average consumers will become more involved in what might be possible when all of these mass-market technologies are perfected---that will lead them to the high end.

Craig Ward's picture

In today's world, the affluent individual has more options than years past on which to spend his money, computers included. With increased competition, the high end makes the fatal mistake of poor marketing. While I have been exposed to the high end for many years, I have only recently taken the plunge to invest in a good system, and have found entry to the "club" to be difficult indeed. The hobby is filled with elitist attitudes, especially by retailers; lack of focus with the advent of home theater and DVD; and an inconsistent and confusing message, even for those who want to "get it". The vocabulary of the high end is wrapped completely around "recreation of the live event" when the live event is completely irrelevant for 90% of the recorded music that is being listened to. Certainly the comparison to the sound of a live symphony is descriptive, but what about everything else? I don't want to recreate the sound of a rock concert in my home, or even the sound of a bluegrass concert, which generally has far superior sound. In closing, I think that the quality of high-end sound will always have an audience and market, but the future for the current purveyors of high-end sound is bleak.

Dave Martson's picture

Two-channel stereo is becoming a thing of the past. Even though I am a devotee to the format myself, a look at the marketplace shows that multichannel surround sound, home-theater, and the like are taking over. Zeugin is right in his comments about Generation Xers; they are more interested in computers and boomboxes than they are in megabuck two-channel stereo systems.

David Deines's picture

The discerning audiophile is a dying breed in America, in my experience. There are too many channels of information in the world with the internet, 200 channels of TV, etc. It doesn't help that there are a BUNCH of wacky products in the high end that are receiving an awful lot of ad space and attention these days.

v.blouin@videotron.ca's picture

I agree . . . However, the home theater craze is, in my opinion, the reason. Too many gizmos and gadgets . . . give me a good sound, that's all I ask . . .

Joel S.  Feigenson's picture

Most of above, plus generally poor attitude of many high-end stores (NOT MANUFACTURERS).

Jason Paskowitz's picture

The unmitigated greed of the music industry, combined with a dearth of new, interesting artists (or at least the appearance of such), has led to a broader loss of importance of music. This, in turn, naturally affects the future of all audio strata, especially the high end.

whacker@inlink.com's picture

he's nuts , but every one else is not nuts every one is tires of paying those kind of prices for equipment to prove my point why don't you check out www.llanodesign.com where you can buy an amp that will equal any Krell ever made at thirty cent on the dollars ,why don't you guys quit reviewing your buddy's product and tell the public where they can buy quality product without speading there childs college funds, and please don't come back with that same old ,there not big enough or been around long enough crap they have been around as long as anyone out there!

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