The Hi-Fi Industry and Hobby

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Frasernash
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Re: The Hi-Fi Industry and Hobby

Unread post by Frasernash » Fri Apr 28, 2017 8:58 am

Simon Hickie wrote:This http://www.audioholics.com/loudspeaker- ... udspeakers is quite interesting. In particular, "By the time we have built a finished $600 retail box, the amount of money left over for actual components (drivers, crossover, etc) may be no more than 10% of the retail price. In other words, that $600 retail speaker likely has no more than $60 in speaker components in the box." and "let us not forget that marketing budget which can go anywhere from 0% to 90% of the cost of the speaker system"

Elsewhere they are pretty scathing about thin walled resonant speaker cabinets too.
Nice to see an article from established media that is anti the rip off movement pity there's not more like it

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CN211276
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Re: The Hi-Fi Industry and Hobby

Unread post by CN211276 » Mon May 01, 2017 1:47 pm

Going back to the Doc’s original post the paragraph below got me thinking:-

This takes us up to the end of the 90's. During the late 90's growth in the industry stopped and a slow decline set in which has accelerated since. Since then youth has turned its back on hi-fi and especially the hi-fi enthusiast who became almost as maligned as the train spotter. The new way is personal and of course on line based, so the rump of the hi-fi market is left to customers largely getting older and older, but because of property values mostly also richer and richer.

Why did the industry enter what appears to be an irreversible decline at this time? The answer is not simple and a number of factors come into play.

I think music has a lot to do with it. What today is labelled classed rock was very important to many teenagers in the 70s. I remember kids coming to school proudly clutching the latest albums from Jethro Tull, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd etc. Others would bring albums from obscure bands they had discovered from the likes of Pink Farias, PFM, badger and Queen (the first album). The cassette tape had emerged on the scene and home taping was rife.

The bands kids raved about were all at worst technically proficient and in many cases contained virtuoso musicians, arrangements often being intricate. This was bound to lead to a desire to play the albums on something better than a dansete, radiogram or rudimentary stereo record player. As the decade progressed and the kids grew older income from jobs would be spent on hi-fi equipment. The generous student grants at this time could also make a contribution to purchases. Comet would be a favourite destination, hi-fi dealers playing a part in respect of magazine recommended budget equipment not stocked by Comet such as the Sansui SR222 Mk2 turntable and NAD 3020 amplifier. Systems were not bought as a whole, often they would start off with a cassette deck (friends with a turn table taping albums) and head phones, an amplifier speakers and turntable being added when funds permitted. When I was a student, in the late 70s, a hi-fi system was regarded as something of a status symbol and something to be aspired to by others. Many rooms at halls of residence would contain a budget system. This is the generation which is maintaining the hi-fi industry today, in the UK anyway.

Fast forward to the 1990s and beyond. From its beginnings in the mid 1950s rock has ran its course, there is nothing which can really be called new anymore. The excitement of the 70s has gone. Rap and hip hop become the music of choice amongst the impressionable youth, musicianship, melody and talent are at a premium. What need is there for a hi-fi system to listen to this? I believe this is a major factor behind the decline of the industry, but not the only one.
I think the Walkman had a part to play from the early 80s. With home taping on the increase what was the need to buy a hi-fi cassette deck, as a possible start of a system, when something portable would suffice. The advent of CD soon followed, but it was not until the introduction of portable CD players that its introduction would seriously take effect. These players sounded far better than the cassette players they replaced and the need for a hi-fi system to provide a decent sound was less as far as the mass market was concerned.

A bigger far transformation, to all intents and purposes revolution, came about with the introduction of the Internet computers, MP3, Ipods etc from the late 90s. In a short space of time, as far as the mass youth market was concerned, there was no need for the physical medium and with it a hi-fi system. The sound quality produced, coupled with their music, was totally adequate. It is only in recent years with the development of fast broadband and small mass storage devices that downloads and streaming can be taken seriously by anyone with an interest in sound quality.

Shortage of living space and small houses are often cited as a reason for the decline of the hi-fi industry. I would dispute this as these issues were more pronounced in decades past in halls of residence and bed sits.
So these are my thoughts, some might agree, some might not. To put it very bluntly the hi-fi industry has declined since the 1990s because of a decline in musical standards, in relation to what is popular amongst the young, and advances in technology.

I would like to think that the decline is not irreversible. What I have noticed is my two year old daughter’s contrast in reaction to music played on my system, to that of Bluetooth MP3 on her Dad’s Ipod. It can’t be anything to do with the music played, only the huge gulf in quality of sound. In respect of anything for Abba to Motorhead she will light up and smile, something I do not see when music is played at her home. The irony is that her parents have a former decent budget amplifier I owned, and speakers, gathering dust in their loft!
I set a course just east of Lyra
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Sonore microRendu/McRU PS, AQ J-bug, Wirewold Ultraviolet, Chord Qutest, NVA P50SA, NVA A80sMk2, NVA Cube 3s, NVA LS6, NVA TIS mk2, NVA SSP mk2, Rega Planar 3, Denon DL-110, NVA Phono 1, NVA BMU, Grado SR 325e, headphones, Chord Mojo.

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Geoff.R.G
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Re: The Hi-Fi Industry and Hobby

Unread post by Geoff.R.G » Mon May 01, 2017 4:07 pm

Whilst the hi-Fi industry may be in decline I am not totally convinced that sound quality doesn't matter to the current 18-30 age group. One reason people like to think that sound quality doesn't matter is the "MP3" player. Unfortunately MP3 has become a catch all for portable music players, some are only able to cope with MP3 files but many, including the iPod, are able to play a range of file formats, including some lossless ones making them a reasonably decent sound source. Certainly some of them can store music at CD quality, whether they can reproduce it at that quality is a different matter.The MP3 format isn't a constant either, there are some very high resolution options available when saving files as MP3, the only constant is what MP3 encoding does to music.

If we accept that sound quality matters to at least a proportion of 18-30s we need to look elsewhere to understand why they don't buy Hi-Fi. I am sure that intolerance to noise is part of it, play music at a reasonable level and the neighbours complain but if you use a portable player and a headset they can't hear what you are listening to. In which case, why buy a Hi-Fi system that you can't turn up?

Given that students are now required to accumulate debt it is perhaps not surprising that they don't spend their loans on audio equipment. Even less so when one considers the prices charged for some items. The cheapest system from Richer Sounds to include a source is £400 before you include any interconnects or speaker cable. Even the purchaser of such a system will need records or CDs unless they use that ubiquitous personal player as a source. I don't know what £400 represents to a student but these days a computer is essential so I would guess that comes first, you can always plug some powered speakers into a computer.

Any industry that believes it can charge what it likes for its products is going to be in trouble sooner or later and Hi-Fi won't last long if there is no affordable upgrade path so, even with reasonably priced entry level equipment, an over priced upgrade is going to put people off.

Can I now be controversial and question how many younger people are exposed to pro audio gear and then realise that they can get a power amp and speakers for rather less than a Hi-Fi amp and speakers? There are plenty of pro amps that can be driven by an iPod or similar and later they can be used with a band. Who, on a strict budget, wouldn't be tempted to forego Hi-Fi for pro audio?

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Fretless
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Re: The Hi-Fi Industry and Hobby

Unread post by Fretless » Mon May 01, 2017 6:47 pm

Geoff.R.G wrote:how many younger people are exposed to pro audio gear and then realise that they can get a power amp and speakers for rather less than a Hi-Fi amp and speakers? There are plenty of pro amps that can be driven by an iPod or similar and later they can be used with a band. Who, on a strict budget, wouldn't be tempted to forego Hi-Fi for pro audio?
As far as I have seen - under 30's are only interested in audio equipment if it has Bluetooth. :doh:
...and iPod's are already something that were used back in the Neolithic period,
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CN211276
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Re: The Hi-Fi Industry and Hobby

Unread post by CN211276 » Tue May 02, 2017 8:05 am

Fretless wrote: As far as I have seen - under 30's are only interested in audio equipment if it has Bluetooth. :doh:
...and iPod's are already something that were used back in the Neolithic period,
This is very much my experience, stereo, cables and interconnectors are things of the past. They just can't be bothered and SQ is of secondary importance.

It is of note that Naim have introduced a bluethooth thingy which is being sold at Richer Sounds. It appears to be a success and their accounts look quite healthy. In contrast the net profits of the Glasgow mafia have plummeted in the past two years and in March they took out a loan. I wonder if this is to finance the introduction of something like the Naim Muso?
I set a course just east of Lyra
And northwest of Pegasus
Flew into the light of Deneb
Sailed across the Milky Way

Sonore microRendu/McRU PS, AQ J-bug, Wirewold Ultraviolet, Chord Qutest, NVA P50SA, NVA A80sMk2, NVA Cube 3s, NVA LS6, NVA TIS mk2, NVA SSP mk2, Rega Planar 3, Denon DL-110, NVA Phono 1, NVA BMU, Grado SR 325e, headphones, Chord Mojo.

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Fretless
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Re: The Hi-Fi Industry and Hobby

Unread post by Fretless » Tue May 02, 2017 8:37 am

Naim's idea of 'real' hifi.

Image

"Mu-so Qb is the new compact wireless music system from the engineers behind the award-winning Mu-so. Controlled by a powerful audio brain, Mu-so Qb is alive with custom-made features all designed in our audio laboratories in England. It’s a true feat of sound engineering. From the contours of the glass-filled polymer casing to the bass radiators that help create huge low frequencies – every millimetre of space has been used to great effect. Simple to control and easy to connect, Mu-so Qb delivers a staggering 300 watts of power that unmasks your music with a sound that defies size."
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Re: The Hi-Fi Industry and Hobby

Unread post by CN211276 » Tue May 02, 2017 9:16 am

https://www.richersounds.com/product/wi ... naim-mu-so

Looks like it is selling well, plenty of reviews, but not many from under 30s.
I set a course just east of Lyra
And northwest of Pegasus
Flew into the light of Deneb
Sailed across the Milky Way

Sonore microRendu/McRU PS, AQ J-bug, Wirewold Ultraviolet, Chord Qutest, NVA P50SA, NVA A80sMk2, NVA Cube 3s, NVA LS6, NVA TIS mk2, NVA SSP mk2, Rega Planar 3, Denon DL-110, NVA Phono 1, NVA BMU, Grado SR 325e, headphones, Chord Mojo.

Second system
Arcam Miniblink Bluetooth DAC, Marantz pm 5004, Wharfdale Diamond 121, NVA LS2.

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Re: The Hi-Fi Industry and Hobby

Unread post by _D_S_J_R_ » Tue May 02, 2017 9:46 am

Don't forget the AV 'sub-sat' invasion of the early noughties. It killed off a number of long standing 'two channel' HiFi dealers and so many others moved into specialist AV custom installs (Rayleigh HiFi locally, although that didn't prevent the Colchester store from closing a few years ago).
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I live alone in this my heaven, in my love (and) in my songs.

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Re: The Hi-Fi Industry and Hobby

Unread post by _D_S_J_R_ » Tue May 02, 2017 10:01 am

Fretless wrote:Naim's idea of 'real' hifi.

Image

"Mu-so Qb is the new compact wireless music system from the engineers behind the award-winning Mu-so. Controlled by a powerful audio brain, Mu-so Qb is alive with custom-made features all designed in our audio laboratories in England. It’s a true feat of sound engineering. From the contours of the glass-filled polymer casing to the bass radiators that help create huge low frequencies – every millimetre of space has been used to great effect. Simple to control and easy to connect, Mu-so Qb delivers a staggering 300 watts of power that unmasks your music with a sound that defies size."
I don't have a decent enough picture, but this unit is an updated blinged version of the 1950's Pye Black Box record player followed by the Achoic stereo player, both having a speaker each side. You placed them in a corner and the sound spread out from the source. -

This one can sound enchanting playing 78's -

http://www.grammofoon.com/frameset.htm? ... ntentFrame

Below Achoic stereo model from the mid 60's was one of the first to offer low tracking force ceramic 'Butterfly' cartridge.

http://www.radiomuseum.org/r/pye_achoic ... _1005.html


So much more interesting than a fancy boom-box from Naim which is really in the Bose market imo.
...I have renounced the worldly bustle and live in peace at a quiet place,
I live alone in this my heaven, in my love (and) in my songs.

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CN211276
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Re: The Hi-Fi Industry and Hobby

Unread post by CN211276 » Tue May 02, 2017 10:11 am

Comments from a Richer Sounds review sum up todays market:-

The only slight downside compared to a pukka Hi Fi system is that the stereo separation isn't really present.
I would highly recommend the Mu So, just remember the sound quality is excellent but don't expect the same sort of separation you get from separate speakers.
I set a course just east of Lyra
And northwest of Pegasus
Flew into the light of Deneb
Sailed across the Milky Way

Sonore microRendu/McRU PS, AQ J-bug, Wirewold Ultraviolet, Chord Qutest, NVA P50SA, NVA A80sMk2, NVA Cube 3s, NVA LS6, NVA TIS mk2, NVA SSP mk2, Rega Planar 3, Denon DL-110, NVA Phono 1, NVA BMU, Grado SR 325e, headphones, Chord Mojo.

Second system
Arcam Miniblink Bluetooth DAC, Marantz pm 5004, Wharfdale Diamond 121, NVA LS2.

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