Are the numbers of audiophiles increasing or decreasing? Why?

Are the numbers of audiophiles increasing or decreasing? Why?
Going way up
24% (30 votes)
Going up
8% (10 votes)
Slight lift
6% (8 votes)
Staying the same
12% (15 votes)
Slight dip
5% (6 votes)
Going down
24% (30 votes)
Going way down
21% (26 votes)
Total votes: 125

Some folks proclaim that the iPod will be the death of high-end audio, while others claim that it will bring new generations into the fold. Are the numbers of audiophiles increasing or decreasing? Why?

djl's picture

Lots of folks are getting back into analog audio, especially vinyl! So there might be a slight increase in the number of new audiophiles. Some digital stuff is so missing the mark. I'm just glad I run my S/PDIF signal out of my PC into a Theta Pro Prime!

Stephen Curling's picture

I think the adoption of HDTV will force people to take their audio experiences more seriously. DTS and whatnot on HD and Blu DVD adds serious audio horsepower to the show. After watching a great movie then having to listen to a clock radio at work the next will have an impact. Adoption will be slow due the costs of bringing HDTV home.

F.  Chasinovsky, Van Nuys, CA's picture

Unfortunately, most people don't place much value on music any more. What a very sad commentary.

Francisco Valery's picture

The cost of the "real" high-end is going "up, up, and away." With $15.000 ("normal" Stereophile reader system cost), you can buy a car, and people prefer portability and ease of use over anything else. If iPod finds its way into really good sound, then bye-bye big guns!

JH's picture

Apple successfully marketed the opposite extreme.

Dimitris Gogas's picture

The iPod generation is more interested in music quantity (that is mainly ease of access) than sound quality. I can't really blame them. I do the same for my third music "system," which is my MP3 player.

Jared Gerlach's picture

I can't remember the last time I ran into someone who thought that being an audiophile (by anyone's definition) would be: A) fun, B) enriching, or C) cool. Usaually it's, "Dude, why all that expensive stuff when an iPod at 128 kbs sounds just as good." And, maybe an iPod at 128 kbs is fine with today's mostly crappy recordings that have undergone maximum dynamic compression. When I was in high school, I was an audiophile, listening to everything from The Cars to Beethoven on my system (financed by my parents and my job at the local grocery store). I don't actually know any audiophiles under 35 now. There doesn't seem to be a replacement generation.

Anoni Mouse's picture

Someone's got to be buying all this new kit!

N.  Wolfe's picture

I wish my choice were true, then perhaps we would have far more high-rez digital music from which to choose.

Mel Datson's picture

The technology is going backwards and the prices are going forward.

Mike Agee's picture

I'd guess they're declining in America, dropping slightly in Europe, holding steady in Japan, and increasing in the developing world. The declining dollar must be helping American manufacturers, but these days I can't see growing numbers of Americans listening to a record thoughtfully from beginning to end.

Dan Wilson's picture

Us two-channel guys are getting harder to find. It is, however, great to attend audio shows and see a number of audiophiles in attendance.

Neil D.'s picture

Now that computers have become less of hobby and more of a commodity, there should be a drift back to audio.

Ken's picture

Decreasing. They are turning to video.

Nodaker's picture

As the boomers and pre-boomers die off, the numbers will dwindle. With the new generation(s) one has to ask: "Is it interactive? You mean you just sit there and listen?" The new kids can't sit still long enough to listen.

Mark L, NJ's picture

Purely my opinion: As the number of people with more disposable income rise, the number of people who can make expenditures for higher-end audio equipment will rise. Music is not going away and the evolution of higher resolution sources, components and interfaces avail top-shelf reproduction to a greater number of people.

Michael A.'s picture

People aren't taking the time to slow down in this need-it-now society.

Chris Lankford's picture

With home theater the priority is usually on visual over audio until someone's budget becomes less of an issue. This is offset by the fact that younger audiences that drive pop music sales are willing to use a credit card to pay for higher-quality audio components.'s picture

It's not the I-plod Thats killing audio, it's the frauds pushing surround-sound, that's doing it. We've limited the main stream population to "home theater" so only the Tweeters of the America get to sell to them. They don't even know there is a two-channel industry left. More and more we've become an industry that will sell you as many channels that you're stupid enough to buy. The I-plod is just proof there is still an interest in music.

Johannes Turunen, Sweden's picture

Did Sony Walkman kill high-end audio? iPod might increase the interest in music that might lead to higher demands on fidelity when not on the move.

Graeme Nattress's picture

Why? Daft prices for audio cables spring to mind. Pseudoscience and other mumbo-jumbo that just makes any prospective high-end audio user laugh out loud!

Stephen Hawking's picture

With the advent of portable media players, compressed media files are all the rage these days. Alas, this is due to the active life-style that seems to be driving us all (we can't sit still to eat dinner, much less have time to lay around the couch to listen to our home systems, except for the home theater crowd, but audiophiles laugh at every one of that ilk). With portable, compressed media, it may be the cause of SACD's decline in popularity, and ultimately its inability to be adopted as a standard by the mainstream. Unless portable media shifts to encompass the capacity to handle the storage capacity necessary for SACD and DVD audio along with the necessary equipment to reproduce their sonic capacity in this new, modern, hectic lifestyle by which we all lead, we will continually see the decline in the ranks of audiophilia.

David L.  Wyatt jr.'s picture

I see high-end stores closing all around me, or in one case going to an "appointment only" business model. You can't tell me that would be happinging if our numbers weren't shrinking.

Edw.A.Roth's picture

Good question. I may be wrong, but I just don't see the influx to high quality audio that I did in the late '70s and '80s. The folks who could afford expensive gear then most likely can still afford it today. I am content with my kit and am not looking into upgrading anytime soon. I wonder how many will upgrade in the near future. The economy here in Michigan is in the pits,that alone will prevent some from entering the ranks. That does not mean, however,the amount of folks who love music is waning.

Freecloud's picture

They must be going up or you wouldn't have so many new products and new companies selling the latest and greatest amp or whatever.

Brad - Atlanta's picture

I blame the cell phone. People just can't seem to spend any time with their own thoughts anymore. Unless, they are using their iPod. And for some reason, they are used mostly in public.

Audiocrates's picture

Are there any stats that can give an honest and accurate answer to this question? I would think if more younger people are getting on board, then it's going up, but I don't know! I have a question: Can one be considered an audiophile even if they can't afford to buy the toys? On second thought, maybe that person wouldn't be an audiophile, but just a music lover blessed with a dream of one day rising to audiophile status!

Rob's picture

MP3 players are the demise of audiophiles.

Lytle's picture

It will but steadily increase, because technology is improving the quality of playback. The numbers of audiophiles will accelerate in direct proportion to the amount of affordable technology avaiable.

Dan Coffee's picture

The iPod is a toy. Who needs it? They sure do carry lots of music files. I have seen many dock systems (all price ranges), so there are options one could go for cheap or mid-fi. Most iPod owners have not a thought about Sterophile, hi-fi, or home theater. It's a toy.