Re: Are we reaching the end of High End Audio?
You wrote: Also, OP, you discredit yourself by mentioning Sony and Pioneer in the same sentence as Theta and Wadia - even if you're talking about the ES/Elite lines. I mean...for serious? That is like comparing a Toyota (or let's even say Lexus, since you're talking ES/Elite) with the Rolls-Royce echelon of digital audio...
Perhaps I didn’t write it well enough, but I was trying to say is that, in the 1980s, it seemed every company, from the “lowest” Sony to the highest, were trying to put out at least two lines, one for the average store and a higher one for the stereo stores. I agree with you that Sony is in a totally different class. Yet, the same store that carried the Wilson Wamms in my neck of the woods also carried Sony ES. Later they would carry Pioneer Elite. That store is gone now. Panasonic even started, as I recall, the Technics line to get into audio stores. Notice I put the words “high end” in quotation marks.
I am not arguing, but I asked, not claimed, if High End is dying. Maybe it is just shrinking. You list four stores, but they are in two states. One store, Sound images, seems to give custom installation and is not a showroom. My point is a decade or so ago there were three or four times as many stores and we permanent lose some every recession. I spent a lot of time in your area in the mid 1980s and there were more stores then.
“True high-end hi-fi has always been a small niche segment” but I see it getting much smaller.