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    R.I.P. High-End Audio

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    Bob Latino
    Admin

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    Location : Massachusetts

    R.I.P. High-End Audio

    Post by Bob Latino on Sat Feb 09, 2013 4:20 pm


    "
    Below is a link to an 2013 article in "Stereophool" (misspelling intentional) magazine that evidentally had its seeds in a 1994 article on the slow death of High-End audio. Reading the reader comments below the article gives a good insight on how the brick and mortar high end shops have slowly declined over the past 20 years or so for a number of reasons. Three possible reasons are below and there are others ..

    1. The gear that high end shops carried was really overpriced. Why should I buy it new when I can go on Audiogon/ Ebay and get a mint used piece in proper working order for maybe 50 to 60% of the list price ?

    2. The rise of internet based businesses. There are many internet based companies out there that sell high quality audio gear at reasonable prices.

    3. The down turn in the world economy in 2006 - 2008 have caused the average audiophiles to have less disposable income and to turn to more "higher value for the buck" audio gear.

    Check the link below and if you have any comments post them in this thread ...

    R.I.P. High-End Audio article in Stereophile

    Bob

    gouldglen

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    Join date : 2012-03-22

    Re: R.I.P. High-End Audio

    Post by gouldglen on Sat Feb 09, 2013 6:20 pm

    Well, what have we learned from reading this article? Is it possible that the major magazines have been a strong contributor to the decline of high-end audio. Most definitely they have done just that. Consistently reviewing "systems" that cost $20,000 to $200,000 may be entertaining to some but completely out of touch with reality. the idea planted by the mags that you can upgrade or fix any problem in your system by simply tossing thousands of new dollars away is very common. I don't think the high-end is on a death watch as of yet. Consider turntables and vinyl records. In the nineties many music lovers were very concerned that the 'death" of vinyl and turntables was coming fast. Now in the year 2013 there are more manufacturers of turntables from moderate to expensive than i think there ever previously. It is very possible to purchase new tables from a store including tonearm and cartridge for $3000 or less and get very high-end sound. there are also very good quality speakers such as Vandersteen, PSB etc, amplifiers from quicksilver, rogue etc, preamps from E.A.R and so forth. The Spica TC-50 (no longer made) is still considered one of the finest small speakers ever produced and sold for no more than $800. The late George Wright made fantastic all tube point to point wired phono pre's amplifiers that were VERY high end at prices mainly between $800 and $2000. If you search you can still find dealers who do care that you get the best sound possible for reasonable cost. what is hurting the industry the most is manufacturers and dealers who believe that the "price is the product!" There is still a window of hope out there in my opinion.

    denny9167

    Posts : 152
    Join date : 2011-05-09
    Age : 49
    Location : Texas

    Re: R.I.P. High-End Audio

    Post by denny9167 on Sun Feb 10, 2013 10:59 am

    Bob Latino wrote:
    "
    Below is a link to an 2013 article in "Stereophool" (misspelling intentional) magazine that evidentally had its seeds in a 1994 article on the slow death of High-End audio. Reading the reader comments below the article gives a good insight on how the brick and mortar high end shops have slowly declined over the past 20 years or so for a number of reasons. Three possible reasons are below and there are others ..

    1. The gear that high end shops carried was really overpriced. Why should I buy it new when I can go on Audiogon/ Ebay and get a mint used piece in proper working order for maybe 50 to 60% of the list price ?

    2. The rise of internet based businesses. There are many internet based companies out there that sell high quality audio gear at reasonable prices.

    3. The down turn in the world economy in 2006 - 2008 have caused the average audiophiles to have less disposable income and to turn to more "higher value for the buck" audio gear.

    Check the link below and if you have any comments post them in this thread ...

    R.I.P. High-End Audio article in Stereophile

    Bob

    It really is a shame that many in the high-end industry have lost their "first love" so to speak,other than a few here and there. Nelson Pass is only one I can think of right now,who smelled the proverbial coffee before many others did. I was really hoping Mr. Dan D,Agostino would have done the same thing when He left Krell,but He's become more out of touch now than ever. I also think that Mr. Atkinson is very disillusioned if He thinks High-end audio is stronger now than it was 15 or 20 years ago. which was probably the peak before the decline.

    It is my understanding that Home Theater,and multimedia systems are the rage now. I have a cousin that has worked in the industry for years,started out working for high-end two channel shops in the mid 80's,and now is working for a company that does multi-media,and installs home automation systems. That seems to be the current trend.

    PeterCapo

    Posts : 386
    Join date : 2008-12-05

    Re: R.I.P. High-End Audio

    Post by PeterCapo on Mon Feb 11, 2013 2:07 am

    Yes, the economic downturn has hurt things, but we also live in a time of greed and price gouging that is too often reflected in the absurd prices of some audio gear. Just as one example only, remember a couple of years back when Manley Labs raised their prices overnight by over 80%?

    Audio used to be a fun hobby, a pleasant pastime for your spare time. But, no one has any time now, because people seem to be working all the time and listen to music on-the-go with their iPods and with computers at their desks while they are multitasking and focused almost exclusively on their careers. And, if anyone were to seek out audio social networking (such as forums) to find kindred spirits, what you find often enough is fanaticism that turns what should be a fun, pleasant hobby into a full contact match, which is bound to turn some people off.

    I don't think rich people should be the only ones who can afford good hi-fi. Keep up the good work, Bob and Roy. The community is fortunate to have you guys around who make good sound affordable.


    Last edited by PeterCapo on Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:53 pm; edited 10 times in total

    Zimmer64

    Posts : 113
    Join date : 2013-01-29
    Age : 52
    Location : Switzerland

    My 2 cents

    Post by Zimmer64 on Mon Feb 11, 2013 2:13 am

    I think there are lot’s of factors, that could potentially explain this.

    One is the poor sound quality of today’s recordings. Listening to compressed and data reduced music over a highend system is just plain, well sh....t. itunes downloads or the MP3 stuff that people are listening to is just not worth spending a year’s salary on equipment for.

    Another aspect is prestige. Found this on the Sterophile page:

    Quote:

    »missing the point
    Submitted by Pjay on January 24, 2013 - 10:58am.
    Excellent reprint John. I believe I first read a similar article in the 1970s from (I thought was) Stereophile. It was a Xeroxed copy some high end store near my high school had on the counter. Something like 12 pages. I was hanging out there lusting after a Scott amp.

    The core problem is we are selling sound, not image. When someone buys a Rolex they care little for the specs. Rolex, Porsche, Cartier and Bose sell image. Rolex is about as accurate as a Casio, Porsche about as fast as a Mustang, Bose - well. We are killing ourselves seeking the best sound we can. The costs are almost always outside a sane ratio for what we earn (like most Porsche owners). Unlike Porsche our products are well hidden.

    We need to generate public lust. Consider the 12 year old with a Ferrari poster on the wall. Where did he get that image? Someone created it and fed it to him. We need to look a lot closer at image to draw more people to the hobby. Better sound is learned from hearing better sound and that first sale needs to be image based or people will never cross that line. So stop advertising in Stereophile (sorry JA) and put ads in WineSpectator, Cigar Afficianato, Road and Track, The New Yorker, Conde-Nast, etc. Buy some movie placements. When James Bond comes home and there are a couple of Wilson MAXX he fires up for a quick unvailing of Halle Berry, there will be sales.



    Right he is.

    Michael

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