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Old 02-03-2009   #7
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Smile Re: Are we reaching the end of High End Audio?

I am glad I have the system already then that pleases me the most. I have tried many, many different kinds and now have the top end in-wall Infinity's, CAS 3.1's and CAS 2.1's plus two Infinity powered Interlude subs. I have the sweetest sound in all the world and I still get static from the neighbors. I like to play it loud, especially for movies. The Blue Ray has really added a lot to movie enjoyment. I don't know what I would do without all that stuff.
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Old 02-03-2009   #8
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Default Re: Are we reaching the end of High End Audio?

I agree with the OP and others that it's getting harder and harder for dealers to survive.

BUT, I disagree with the claim that hi-end is dying. True high-end hi-fi has always been a small niche segment and will continue to remain that way probably forever...it's more of a hobby than anything. Just take a look at the used market at www.audiogon.com and there are tons of forums like ones on audiogon, www.audioasylum.com, www.head-fi.org, www.audiocircle.com and there are plenty more that are *only* audio. You'll realize there are a ton of hi-end enthusiasts. There are a lot of other huge forums that are AV and home theater related, like www.avsforum.com - but there is still definitely a market for 2-channel.

I have seen numerous posts like the one above on varying forums over many years, but what I think you're missing is that the younger generation can't afford $10K+ systems at age 18. They can only afford iPods with maybe nicer-than-earbud headphones. A lot of the younger folks that are actual audiophiles just can't afford big systems yet. You will find all the young audiophiles (that care about more than MP3) at head-fi.org because they can only afford hi-end headphone rigs right now...but when they get older and start making real $, they'll move on up to the speaker rigs and get the continuous upgrade bug like a lot of you have! (Obviously, not everyone that has an iPod appreciates good sound...but an extremely small percentage will go on to invest in hi-end audio equipment.)

I live in the DC area and we are lucky here as there are at least 4 very high-end retailers here:

http://www.dejavuaudio.com/
http://www.giftedlistener.com/
http://www.soundimagesusa.com/
http://www.jsaudio.com/

There are a couple other dealers that don't have a webpage, too.

The "recession" will hit a lot of businesses hard and it's very sad, but it's my belief that hi-end enthusiasts will live on and find a way - even if it is DIY...(and you can find that at www.diyaudio.com)

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...

(Hopefully the mods don't kill off too many of my links here, I'm only using them to prove a point.)
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Old 02-03-2009   #9
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Default Re: Are we reaching the end of High End Audio?

RHMMMM

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.
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Old 02-07-2009   #10
wes
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Talking Re: Are we reaching the end of High End Audio?

There will always be High End Audio, like there will always be Jewelry, luxury cars, jets, boats no one needs it but it makes you feel good because you feel it's worth so much and is exclusive!!!

Plus if you can afford it you are part of a club.... There will be a lot less companies that is for sure, we will see very much needed attrition let's hope it is the bad ones that go first...

I love music and movies but I have never bought into the myths such as super expensive cables, tube amps..... on the other hand I am a sucker for good design and good sound to my ears not someone else 's ears
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Old 02-09-2009   #11
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Default Re: Are we reaching the end of High End Audio?

I think it's a two-pronged answer. First, in this economy, high-end audio and video (while essential to me) move to the bottom of the list. Second, and perhaps more significant, the children of the baby-boomers, now reaching their peak purchasing power, did not invest (or waste, as my parents put it) the time in listening to music as the focus of their social scene as I and my friends did. My son had the benefit of growing up with good music and good equipment to listen through, but quality sound is much lower in his hierarchy of needs than mine. He is happy with private listening through his ipod and social 'listening' to background music through a mediocre system. He'd rather spend $1,000-2,000 per year going to concerts and carry the memories in his pocket.
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Old 02-09-2009   #12
wes
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Default Re: Are we reaching the end of High End Audio?

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Ear View Post
I think it's a two-pronged answer. First, in this economy, high-end audio and video (while essential to me) move to the bottom of the list. Second, and perhaps more significant, the children of the baby-boomers, now reaching their peak purchasing power, did not invest (or waste, as my parents put it) the time in listening to music as the focus of their social scene as I and my friends did. My son had the benefit of growing up with good music and good equipment to listen through, but quality sound is much lower in his hierarchy of needs than mine. He is happy with private listening through his ipod and social 'listening' to background music through a mediocre system. He'd rather spend $1,000-2,000 per year going to concerts and carry the memories in his pocket.
I could not agree more mine are the same
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