Re: Helping Audiophile Dealers with the "Audio Room of the Future"
You are right on the money on this one, and any retailer who wants to put a system in the doctors lounge at my hospital would be welcome to! I can tell you that it would get trashed as doctors are pretty sloppy when not watched (at least in my observation, look at the doctors dining room after lunch!)
To my ears the difference between high end and mid fi is great, others find it subtle, and some will deny hearing any difference at all. The mid fi gear has been making huge leaps and bounds in narrowing the differences as well. Look at the trend of Class D amps, these were barely good enough for subwoofers a few years ago, now Jeff Rowland, Mark Levinson and others are making reference amps from this technology.
Sure Enoch, a big pair of Martin Logans won't shine on a cheap receiver, but you might be surprised how good they would sound on some 'mid-fi' gear of late....
I'm not saying I'm selling my Meridian 861 any time soon nor my Levinson amp, but someday, if technology continues to progress, which it always seems to, we all might have a receiver that can drive anything well and be bought at BB! Just look at the new flagship Pioneer Elite receiver, sure it's $7K now, but in a few years when the technology trickles down, 200 Wpc Class D amps and all the flexibility that thing has?? I don't know when or if receivers will outdo separates, or if mid-fi will ever catch up to high fi gear, but I do see a trend in diminishing returns from high end versus mid-fi that will cause high end retailers big problems in the future.
If someone is on the fence, and the price difference is thousands of dollars and they can't truly hear a large difference in sound, the non-audiophile will go the cheaper route and spend more money making the room look good for the wife.
Sorry for the rant.....
Ken Taraszka, MD