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bobb's picture
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 16 2005 - 5:59pm
State of High-End Article

I came across this article
and thought it may be good fodder for discussion here. The author covers a lot of ground regarding high-end audio. Some (maybe a lot) has been discussed before, but it is always interesting to read new missives. Stereophile gets a few mentions, mostly in a negative way, though. I find myself agreeing with much of what the author says. Like the inability to find expansive classical sections to explore at bricks and mortar record stores (I used to love spending an afternoon at Tower, but now their classical section looks like Best Buy's.) Or the state of equipment availability and reviews. I can't agree with his prediction that the future of high-end is combining audio with video to make it "more involving." Not for me, thank you. I don't want to be anywhere near a TV when listening to music. I would rather close my eyes and let my brain paint a picture as the music plays.

After reading this article, I keep coming back to the eternal question - if we grunts can identify the problems confronting the industry (hardware and software wise) and seemingly know potential solutions, how come the guys getting the big bucks can't figure it out???


Disclaimer: I don't know anything about the Audiophile Audition website. This is the first time I have been there. I actually found this article through a link in an industry e-newsletter I get at work (I am in high-reliability electronics manufacturing.)

High-End Article

CECE's picture
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 17 2005 - 8:16am
Re: State of High-End Article

Closing your eyes and painting a picture is soooo RETRO Man, where you around in the 60's man!!!! Peace, Love.....LSD was the paintbrush man..far out, groovey....Scuse me while I kiss this guy.....

Lamont Sanford
Lamont Sanford's picture
Last seen: 3 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: Mar 31 2006 - 8:32pm
Re: State of High-End Article

Take it easy, Dorothy. Not everyone can be the girl friday for the magazine.

Actually the author sounds like something you would post if you took the time to do the math, except in readable English:

"In a recent issue of Stereophile they gave the average price of each type of component they have reviewed in the last couple of years. If you would put together a system from average-priced equipment it would cost about $30,000. You could buy a very nice car for this amount. This price does not include cables, stands, LP equipment or accessories. The average cost per component was $7667. If you eliminate a $350,000 amp from the average, the average goes down to $6204 per component. Probably less than one in a hundred thousand people can afford this type of system. For the price of some of the really highest end systems you could buy a nice house."

jazzfan's picture
Last seen: 1 year 8 months ago
Joined: Sep 8 2005 - 8:55am
Re: State of High-End Article

Hi Bob,

Thanks for the link. I read the article and I was less than overwhelmed. First of all, what Stereophile and other traditional print publications have that the Audiophile Audition and other online publications seem to lack is a good editor. There were quite a number of times in the article that I found myself scratching my head and saying "What?"


Most dealers do not use tweaks in their systems. Many of the tweaks do not look appealing, and the dealers do not want to admit that tweaks are needed to make their expensive equipment sound its best. The customer who buys an expensive piece of equipment based what they hear in a well-tweaked system is probably going to be surprised that it does not sound that good at home. The customer may be very unhappy if he is then told that he must spent more money on tweaks to make it sound good.

If the dealer does not use tweaks then how did the buyer hear the tweaks?

There is not big money in many tweaks; in fact there are many that cost nothing - for example lifting speaker cables off static-prone carpets with black thread.

DUP - you read this and didn't pounce, shame on you. This is just the kind of nonsense that turns people off to the high end. And just how do you use black thread to lift something? I believe you need more then just a piece of thread, perhaps a few sticks and some thread.

The review, though very harsh, leaves no question about how the reviewer feels about the product. Those days are long gone. In today are reviews saying,
Monty's picture
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 16 2005 - 6:55pm
Re: State of High-End Article

That was pretty much my impression with the article as well.

I think there are two obstacles that keep high end audio from becoming more appealing to the masses. The first and most important is the fact that people simply do not know what it is that they do not know. People are not being exposed to what a real audio system is capable of doing. There is little point in arguing what percentage of people would value what the high end has to offer if they never hear it done right in the first place.

The second obstacle is one of convenience. We have a generation of people who have been trained to value convenience, portability, flexibilty and good enough. Life moves faster and more efficiently than ever. Listening isn't a characteristic that the current generation is strongly suited for.

These aren't obstacles unique to the audio world; these are obstacles in just about every aspect of modern life. I still think there are millions of people who would place a high value on good quality sound if they were to ever hear it, but the percentage would still be relatively low.

LM2940's picture
Last seen: 4 years 7 months ago
Joined: May 16 2006 - 10:36am
Re: State of High-End Article

"I don't want to be anywhere near a TV when listening to music."

I agree completely! I have my video setup way off to the side of my audio system and the two are not connected in any way. The audio system takes center stage in my room. I listen to TV audio through the built in speakers on my TV set. Quaint, I know. TV/Movie audio just doesn't matter that much to me and I must admit that I sometimes wince when I look at some of the user pics in the gallery and see a TV set between the speakers. But, hey, to each his own.

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