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jazzfan
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High End Audio and the Economy

I've not been very active on the Stereophile forum for the past few weeks because I've been spending my time online following the economic news. This morning I finally had the chance to log into the forum and I checked the new posts in the "General Rants'n'Raves" section of the forum fully expecting to see at least one thread dealing with the issue of the failing US (and possibly world) economy and what the impact might be on the world of high end audio. Since I could find no such thread I figured it was high time to start one.

So what, fellow forum members, are your thoughts on the future of high end audio in light of the current financial meltdown?

I'll start:

Economic hard times, such as we are presently experiencing, which involve individuals losing their homes and savings, are usually accompanied by people drastically reducing spending, especially when it comes to "luxury goods" and high end audio equipment falls squarely within the "luxury goods" category.

Based on these assumptions I would think that an extended economic downturn could and will have far reaching and very negative effects on the high end audio business. Many manufacturers will not be able to weather the storm and will fail and the manufacturers who can survive are likely to be recast into a radically different form from what they are today.

So what manufacturers will not survive?
What manufacturers will survive but undergo major changes?
What will be the fate of "cost no object" statement products?
Will the used equipment market become a bargain hunters paradise?

CECE
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Re: High End Audio and the Economy

Buy the biggest speakers made, so you can save the shipping crates, they are then usable for living in. The crates for the Whispers can fit 1 person without a watch or shoes. If you need to wear shoes get the Helix's, the crates would be much larger. Living in speaker crates is an old custom. Refrigerator boxes are temporary shelter, cardboard doesn't hold up to weather as well as wooden crates. This old box, from In Living color. There is nothing wrong with the economy, Warren Buffet is buying up stuff on sale, nothing changes in 5 years the wealthy will own more stuff and be more wealthy, it's all happened before, it'll happen again and again. Being unemployed allows for more listening time, so buy the best stuff.

jazzfan
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Re: High End Audio and the Economy

DUP,

While I appreciate your attempt at humor and your keen insight into just how high end audio can have a positive effect on the housing crisis, I really do not want this thread to become a jokefest about creative uses for high priced audio equipment.

Perhaps I should have added something in my original post asking how the economic downturn will be effecting people's audio equipment purchasing decisions. For example, based on the fact that I've seen the value of my investment portfolio come crashing down over the last few weeks, I can safely say it will be a very long time before I purchase another piece of audio equipment.

What effect is/will the failing state of the economy having on other forum members' audio equipment purchasing habits?

bifcake
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Re: High End Audio and the Economy

If I maintain my current job, I will be in good shape to weather the storm. In fact, for me, it will be a bargain hunter's paradise. I suspect that the prices will drop substantially on Audiogon as people try to get rid their equipment. I think that's going to be the case for everyone. If you hold on to your job, you're going to be fine. If you can't, you'll be screwed every which way.

I took a major beating on the market the last time it crashed, so I don't play those games anymore. I don't even have my 401k in the market, so I am personally immune to this crash as long as I keep my job.

My friend Stew is already feeling the pinch. He's having difficulties selling his Nova Utopias. Seems like people are reluctant to pull a trigger on a 20k purchase.

loonykev
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Re: High End Audio and the Economy

Hi jazzfan, I must say that the hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people who can "safely say that it will be a long time before I purchase another piece of" - real estate, having suffered foreclosure, are probably more worthy of sympathy. Whatever happened to a sense of priority? I'm sure many of the greedy bas*ards who dropped your country and mine in the crap, are happy listening to their high-end
hi-fi at this very minute.
Regards and a small amount of sympathy, Kevin Hall

tom collins
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Re: High End Audio and the Economy

macro econ 101 - we can not overlook the effect that the tight credit market will have on small and midsized producers. you may see some of the smaller boutique brands merging into larger groups such as harden has done. whether the original brand will maintain its individuality and the qualitys that made it great will have to be seen. sometimes when this happens, the dominant company milks everything it can from the brandname of the small company, coopts its technology and then casts it to the wind. sometimes the merge is good for both companies. i am fairly certain this will be another win for china as more euro and american companies move production over there. those that do not have sufficient resources, or can merge, or move production to china will be gone.

micro econ 101 - for individuals - i agree, they will cut back and hard, you betcha. in a former life, i was a sales rep. for a brand of luxury auto. in 1991-1992 when the last bush recession hit and at the same time the gulf war and luxury tax imposed. think we sold many high dollar cars that year? even people who are relatively secure will sit on their wallets, its human nature.

in any event, there will be bargains and fire sales for those that can take advantage of them. very good gear will be available for 40 cents on the dollar or less on a-gon and e-bay.

i take no joy in this because many people in the industry will lose their jobs doing work that they had real passion for and we will be left with fewer choices. also, some of those fire-sale items will no longer have manufacturers to back them up.

lord help us all.

tom

RGibran
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Re: High End Audio and the Economy

Anyone looking for a good deal on a Transporter? The S/Pdif out of this computer is sounding pretty good!

RG

jazzfan
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Re: High End Audio and the Economy

loonykev,

It's not that I (and many other forum members) don't have sympathy or a sense of priority rather it's that this is a forum about audio and not a political forum so I tried to frame the present economic crisis with respect to the possible impact it may have on the world of audio, and particularly high end audio.

Along with the many people who enjoy high end audio as a hobby there are many people for whom high end audio is a way to make a living so concern for the health of the high end audio business does involve some degree of sympathy. I also understand your frustration since I am also very frustrated - frustrated because while bailouts, buyouts, loans and mortgage restructurings are the order of the day I have yet to hear anyone mention how those of us who "simply" lost money in our 401Ks are going to be "repaid" - right now it appears that along with the our investment loses we will also be facing a big tax increase, regardless of what the two numbnut Presidential candidates may be promising.

loonykev
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Re: High End Audio and the Economy

Hi jazzfan, I'm sorry, my reply was meant to be a slightly less flippant and humorous reply than that from DUP. The sad thing is that those greedy bas*ards that I referred to earlier are sitting pretty with their ill-gotten gains ready to be re-invested at fire-sale prices, so they can screw us all a second time round. Maybe some of them will buy up the remains of the high-end audio makers that will undoubtedly fail. I was really heartened to see that the CEO of Lehmans, when grilled by a Congressional? committee, denied taking $500m out of the company. When pressed he admitted to only taking $310m !!!!!
Regards, Kevin Hall

CECE
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Re: High End Audio and the Economy

Yeah, Congress asking wall streeters about shady deals....that'll get much done.. Who question the congress? What a bunch of useless crap. Like when they grilled the oil dudes. They spent more time worrying about Sirius/XM merging than they do on stuff that matters, like how do you not know stuff is going to be this big, and bad, like overnite? Like a mismanaged large company, this is the U.S.A. run by nitiwts, and they keep getting reelected, why don't they want to ever leave, how many grey white hairs run this country, they never want to give up the gravy train.....

bifcake
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Re: High End Audio and the Economy

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows that the good guys lost
Everybody knows that the fight is fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That's how goes
And everybody knows.

BillB
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Re: High End Audio and the Economy

ooh, I know that song but I can't place it!! Give us a hint, alexo.
(is it john fogerty?)

bifcake
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Re: High End Audio and the Economy

It's Leonard Cohen

JIMV
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Re: High End Audio and the Economy

The folk selling $1000 gear for $3000 will either have to reduce their prices or will go away. A lot of cable companes will fail and the high end vinyl resurgence will take a hit as folk buy affordable vinyl gear and not $5K cartridges.

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Re: High End Audio and the Economy

Hi, Jazzfan!

Good to see you.

(I can only get your playlist in 30 second bites. Do I need to join in order to listen?)

On topic...

I think I break this down in several parts:

1) If the dollar rises as international economies take hits, my buying power for things from the Euro market will improve.

2) If the dollar rises against the Yuan, it's scary to think about how much we may be able to buy courtesy of the slave HiFI employees at Cayin, etc...

3) If the dollar stays down, I would expect Audiogon to do brisk business as people focus on more 'bargain' priced used gear. I think this could all be good for the price of used gear, unless...

4) If things get really bad and we enter and era of deflation, then we'll all just have to keep working for free and let the gubmint own all the banks and homes!

loonykev
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Re: High End Audio and the Economy

DUP, I'm not too great on US history being a Brit, but wasn't it Pres. Truman who had on his desk, a plaque or card or similar with the words "The buck stops here", for all to see? If only.............
Regards, Kevin Hall

jazzfan
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Re: High End Audio and the Economy


Quote:
Hi, Jazzfan!

Good to see you.

(I can only get your playlist in 30 second bites. Do I need to join in order to listen?)

Buddha,

To answer your queston: yes, you need to join Last.fm to hear more than 30 second bites, although I'm not 100% sure just how last.fm work in the US since I've been using last.fm here in the Netherlands. I will be permanently returning to the US in a week.

Seems like I screwed up since it now looks like 2009, not 2008, would be the better year to spend over in Europe. I may not be able to find a job any time soon (I'm an engineer and I work within the construction industry and nobody will be building anything until the credit markets unfreeze) but at least I'll have my music collection and audio equipment to help ease the pain.

mrlowry
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Re: High End Audio and the Economy

Jazzfan-

How did you get the last.fm list in your signature line? The standard code is too long? I've been meaning to ask for a while

gkc
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Re: High End Audio and the Economy

And the Helix models have (no shit -- read the ad) "Acoustic Steering." Not only can you use the crates to live in, you can steer yourself sonically (presumably, from inside the box -- Jeff, where are you, when we need you for a proper visual rendering of this abstract advertising mumbo-jumbo??) to the nearest soup-line for some free nourishment. And you go in style, riding the "Wavelaunch algorithm."

Jeff, puh-LEEZE! We need you to depict this contraption, with all its miracles, in the visual splendor it deserves. I suggest a leprechaun-like figure, seated behind the woofer magnet, "steering" the "Wavelaunch" to the corner Mickey D's.

DUP, how does it feel to be DUPED? Sonic steering. Snort. That's a good one.

After this ad, YOU have the balls to debunk the claims of other listeners.

Oh, my. Oh, my. Acoustic steering. Broadening of the "listening sweet spot via longer projection." Snicker. Longer projection, eh? Now that's for me!

DUP, you tone-deaf, miserable moron. You been HAD! Bwaaahaaahaaaa!

Steer that baby home. For only a mere 50 large. What economy??? Maybe AIG or one of the monolines will insure the loan...

gkc
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Re: High End Audio and the Economy

And everybody keeps borrowin'. Remember, all the recent machinations by Hammerin' Hank Paulson, Helicopter Ben, and at least 90% of the Hamptons, are designed for ONE purpose -- keep the illusion going. Debt is eternal. We MUST be able to borrow, or the economy will die, die, die.

Remember, half of the root cause of all this bullshit were the borrowers. Of course, the other half were the nasty ol' greedy Wall Street and Regional Bankers, who FORCED everybody at gunpoint to sign on the bottom line. Yeah, right. I doubt if ANY mortgage rep had to ask twice...

Cohen probably never had any problems making his payments. Nor did any of the other protest singers.

Bad poetry. Worse politics.

Pray tell, Leonard, just who ARE "the good guys" in this doggerel?

CECE
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Re: High End Audio and the Economy

Mr. Cliffy obviously has 0.0 knowledge and experience in audio, listening and what hi fi is all about. I think Mr. cliffy needs some edumacation on loudspeaker designs and acoustic concepts. And mostly a listening EXPERIENCE, of what is Legacy design concepts, based on reality, not magic.

Elk
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Re: High End Audio and the Economy


Quote:
And the Helix models have (no shit -- read the ad) "Acoustic Steering." . . . DUP, how does it feel to be DUPED? Sonic steering. Snort. That's a good one.


"Sonic steering"?

No wonder DUP is so confused when it comes to cars.

Is there anything an Audi-phile won't believe?

rmeyer52
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Re: High End Audio and the Economy

When the new issue of Stereophile arrived with the buying guide I was amazed at some of the prices. I mean $100,000 for a turntable and $46,000 for a set of speakers? I guess there are people that have money to burn but at some point you have to ask yourself "is it worth it?" I am happy with my Arcam Solo and Paradigm Studio 100's and every time I listen to a VanGelder recording I am amazed at just how good my system sounds to me.

CECE
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Re: High End Audio and the Economy

http://www.meyersound.com/support/papers/steering/
Sooner or probably later you will understand stuff, not based on advertising, and magic. You obviously don't understand concepts of acoustics, speakers amongst otehr items.

Elk
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Re: High End Audio and the Economy

Sorry, Duppy. I should have added lots of smileys for your benefit.

loonykev
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Re: High End Audio and the Economy

Hi Rich, It must also be heartening to know that the folks with the money to burn these days are probably burning your money and mine.
Regards, Kevin Hall

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