Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 23rd May 2008 13:02 UTC
Multimedia, AV Many of us grew up with the idea of the component audio system. A receiver (or a separate preamplifier and amplifier), tuner (radio), record player, tape deck, and later on a CD player. If you were into more fancy stuff, you had a DAT or MiniDisc deck as well. While some of us cling on to this mindset like there's no tomorrow, the real world seems to favour a different method of consuming music. According to Erica Ogg (what's in a name), the component audio system is on its way out - thanks to the iPod and the commoditisation of music.
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AdamW
Member since:
2005-07-06

http://www.head-fi.org

music going more portable doesn't mean the death of the audiophile, it just means the equipment changes...

it's not that surprising for speakers from the 1980s to still work. Speakers aren't inherently particular prone to breaking through normal operation. I wouldn't be surprised if most cheap boomboxes bought today still work in 30 years, there's just not a lot to go wrong in there. My dad's speakers are from the early 70s, I think.

Even for non-portable systems, I don't think people are necessarily spending less on components, it's just that the components change. The drop in separate CD players is just as I'd have expected. Aside from the really loony ones, even most audiophiles recognize that just about any CD player with a digital output of some kind will do. Yes, you can argue about timing issues and error correction and a ton of other theoretical bullcrap, but frankly, in the end, you're going to get much the same stream of 1s and 0s out of the $20 off-brand drive in your PC as you would out of a top-end, $5,000 'transport', much as the loonyphiles would want to believe the opposite. So, of course people don't buy separate CD players any more, as almost everyone has something that'll do the job already.

Then you look at the next stage - amplification. If you looked at the numbers, I bet you'd see sales of traditional hi-fi two channel pre-amps and amps are down, but I also bet if you go over to the 'home theater' numbers and look at sales of combined surround sound receivers / amps, they'll be way up. And that makes sense too. Most people spending a reasonable amount of money on audio equipment these days will probably be watching movies as well as listening to music. Why buy equipment that can only do one of the two?

Overall, I suspect the same (fairly small) percentage of people as always really care about the quality of sound they get, but these days, those people are just as likely to own a top-end pair of headphones and another pair of IEMs, and / or a Blu-Ray player and a home theater receiver, as they are to own a 'traditional' set of hi-fi components. That's certainly what I have: Spitfire Audio headphone DAC and amp, Grado HF-1 headphones, Etymotics ER-4p IEMs; then an HTPC and a PS3, a Pioneer home theater receiver, Paradigm Mini Monitor fronts and Titan rears, a Velodyne sub and Energy center channel. All (relatively) expensive audio equipment, only the speakers really traditional 'hi-fi' stuff.

Reply Score: 6

kejar31 Member since:
2006-01-08

I couldn't agree more with AdamW.

Edited 2008-05-23 20:28 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1