Will high-resolution technical advancements finish high-end audio?

Will high-resolution technical advancements finish high-end audio?
Yes, and soon . . .
5% (7 votes)
Yes, but in the long term . . .
7% (10 votes)
Possibly . . .
9% (13 votes)
No, but it will change for the worse . . .
3% (4 votes)
No, it will get better . . .
42% (60 votes)
It's more complicated than that . . .
34% (48 votes)
Total votes: 142

Last week's "Soapbox" stirred up a hornet's nest of comments. Kevin Wilkinson postulated that high-resolution technical developments like DVD-Audio and SACD might spell doom for the High End. On the other hand, they could contribute to its rebirth. What do <I>you</I> think?

Art Alenik's picture

Actually, it's SIMPLER than that! There will continue to be advances in sound reproduction, and the "state-of-the-art" will always be more expensive. So the "High End," as in high fidelity AND high price, will continue.

Navmax's picture

The coming availability of reasonably priced high-performance audio for the masses will simply reveal the "High End" for what it is unfortunately becoming. Just as Rolls-Royce and Rolex buyers cannot rationalize their purchases with assertions of unmatchable performance in transport and time-keeping, buyers of expensive/esoteric audio equipment will have to admit their acquisitions have less to do with accurately reproducing music and more to do with believing that they have achieved membership in an exclusive elitist club.

Grant's picture

DVD-Audio & SACD are supposed to be of higher quality (than CD), and a more limited & expensive means of listening to music. But we already have a higher-quality means of audio reproduction---it's called the analog vinyl record!

lord_coz@webtv.net's picture

I find hi-rez to be the best thing to ever happen to hi-end jo blow thinks the cd is fine. Hopefully the cd will be replaced by dvd and soon! this will make hi end sound not only avalable to jo blo but will put it in his hands. If he doesn't know about hi end he can learn much more easilly. When the foundation of good sound has been layed the rest will follow more easilly.

Anonymous's picture

What will ultimately kill high end audio are the over-priced, under perfroming equipment out there. That and its follwers propensity to cling to old technology beyond its time and simotaneoulsy rejecting new technologies as inferior sounding. I think Alan Parsons sumed it up best in your interview with him when scoffed/laughed at people how beleive in voodoo products like cones for placement under equipment and peole insisting turntables sound better when physics does not support the case. Finally what really strikes me is that most of the muscians listen to mid-fi systems. Maybe that's because they listen to the music, not the system. Sort of like the old adage, thjose that can do, those that can't teach (or write).

Paul Van Dyck's picture

The analog domain part of whatver 2 or multi channel system will always be there. So speakers, acoustics and amps will be around in hi-end for a long time to come. Digital domain equipment will be improving all the time (sorry for the vynil die-hards). A good programmable DAC with a high performance analog part will be an asset.

Richard Kinkel's picture

High end gear is too expensive.

Jay Vahaly's picture

If "High End" means 2-channel stereo, then it's goodbye. If "High End" means expensive refinements that ignore the Law of Diminishing Returns, that will always be with us. Proof? Look at every technological change in this industry. Only the manufacturers that can adapt to change will survive. The listeners, including us old folks, are moving on up.

Norm Strong's picture

It depends on what you mean by "High End" If you mean very high price, the answer is YES

Paul Kamp's picture

of course

Mike Molinaro's picture

Perfect sound forever. This time we really mean it!

David S.  Dodd's picture

The mixed messages in the "press", including Stereophile, would have it that High End is either already dead... or that the business has never been better! Your current issue quotes the President of Krell as saying that there are no gen X'ers interested in the high end... in my observation this is certainly not so... just wait another 4 -5 years when these kids have real discretionary income. As a teen there was no way I could afford the music system I wanted, nevertheless, in my mid 20's I *and all my contempories* were spending constantly on our systems. We all listened to contemporary music... we were not classic or opera buffs as the Stereophile editorial might suggest. There may have been something of a slump (or may not have been)... but it certainly is not a generational issue. The improved technology... particularly high bit/high sampling rates will ultimately draw more people into the high end arena as the need for better downstream components will be recognized. Meanwhile it is up to the industry to invest some real money into getting the message to the target audience (try advertising in Rolling Stone for heaven's sake!!)

jim oitzinger's picture

the more bits to play with, the more audiophiles will have to do.

Richard H.  Araujo's picture

If you mean that the stupidity and inflated prices of the high-end will die, you may be right.