A real "wake up call" available to most....High End Audio vs. Mainstream......

Obviously you are familiar with AudiogoN and, likely, have a decent system.  I have known this, but a great visual on what most people use for sound reproduction is a Craigslist in you area.  If you have one or more market Craigslist available,  check out what is for sale for "sound reproduction" on those sites.   I thought I knew how bad it was, but it was beyond my imagination.  But I guess that is the way it is with many things Americans buy to make noise, drive or eat at.  Locally it is all under "electronics".  ebay is somewhat better, but still a great deal more items you would not want vs.  those you would. 

In music, electronics, cars and so much more....."the road less traveled" is the best path.  The poem is actually "the road not taken". 


Thanks to AudiogoN and its members for existing.  

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The Road Less Traveled is a great poem. If you read it closely, it is about delusion

Speaking of, did you even read the OP?
The Road Less Traveled is a book by M. Scott Peck.  The poem is The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost.  Simply that high end audio is the road that audiophiles take and it is not taken by the mass of people that get their sound making machines at Wal-Mart rather than an audio dealer. 

But that is also the road not taken in many consumer choices that are in the minority.   And as in many things, the audiophile path is more costly than the boombox path.  As most know, a single location  McDonald's in most towns will do a great deal  more business today than the best restaurant in that town.....nothing wrong, but still a choice that freedom gives us.  Freedom of choice gives us the chance to choose what we want and the freedom to choose what we do not want. 

To bring full circle the freedom of choice is another delusion, the delusion is that we think we choose among many choices when the choices are few and the freedom limited. Our paths are set our universe determined. We travel a well worn road.
I think they ought to start serving wine at McDonald's, something like a lighter Zinfandel 
Many people use an audio system to boost the muscular system of their body and the testosterone level of their organs...

No need of a subtle refine audio system for that goal.... Some enjoy bomb detonations in their car with bass system able to provoke deafness...

Many people will never know what they do to their own body, they live in a continuous fall.....


The road they go with is the road against the same wall and they dont see it....

A piano note against some cheap thrill, pick your choice of drug....

Most audio system are sold with the only goal to be able to cause deafness at all cost....

But the good news is we are FREE to learn about ourself or not....

Knowledge and freedom are siamese twins.....

« There is only one main road, it is the vascular system of your body, and you begin to travel trough it even when you sleep»- Groucho Marx

Do you think the only way to buy quality audio components is thru a dealer? You are wrong. I have read a couple of times that people have purchased speakers (1 pair was totem model 1’s) from goodwill for a few bucks. I have friends that shop at estate sales and have picked up some nice vintage audio stuff on the cheap. There are other sites that sell good audio equipment 
That wasn’t the intent of the original post....the idea is to look at what is for sale in order to get a glimpse into what a mojority in your area are listening to.....
"If you chose not to decide, you still have made a choice"

NP 1979
You can get good deals by stroke of luck. Bought brand new tannoys at a used price due to salesman screw up. Also got terrific deals on ebay from well known sellers of audio gear. An integrated amp $1000 off just because it was a return within 30 days. It’s like brand new. I have never paid full price for anything I own, and it is all good stuff, imo. Great deals can be had on models that are on their way out as well, clearance sales.  I have personally never found anything worth while at a goodwill or salvation army, except maybe a record or two. 
Wow, some really interesting comments here and surprisingly many are in reference to the original post.  Following are my takeaways;

1. Far too many people have crap audio in their lives
2. Many with crap audio think it's just fine, for whatever reason
3. Freedom of choice, in an informed sense, is illusory as most lack the     tools and resources to arrive at the right conclusions on their own
4. As per #3 many rely on others (experts and so called) to make their   choice for them.
5. So called experts rarely care about the customer.  Certainly not   enough to direct them away from a high margin crap cube to something   decent.

To my thinking two of the worst elements of the crap market is how well it gets promoted to the public and the public's willingness to convince themselves that it is great!
There is a reasonable explanation I believe. Keep in mind that the "average" citizen does not have the luxury of leisure time, nor enjoys the disposable income necessary to purchase multi-thousand dollar components. Their priorities are food, rent, medical, mortgages, college tuition, car payments, retirement savings etc. Some of my fondest memories listening to music were via a hand held SONY AM radio as a kid. I often wonder if I was better off deriving enjoyment from a ten dollar transistor radio rather than a fifteen thousand dollar collection of components in my current sound system.
Occasionally on Craigs List you can find real bargains, because the sellers, being uninformed, don't know what they have. Unfortunately, around where I live, everyone seems to value (or even over-value) their ancient Spendors and Celestions.
@danielduryea  Thanks for writing my biography.  A simpler explanation is many people bereft of good or even acceptable audio choose the Vette or the fifth-wheel or the upgraded tooth whitening instead. Quality audio can be expensive and it also comes with a learning/growth curve which means many will walk away without a second look.  Also we have the deniers who actively oppose the high end community.  Most people like music, can't trust people who don't, but not many love music to the point they will push it to the front of discretionary spending.  As for the handheld radio, any music is better than no music and if worrying about your 'big' system is taking away from the pleasure of listening, the radio might be just what is needed.  
Yeah, russashe, you pegged me pretty closely.  I do pretty much push music to the top of my discretionary shopping list.  Let the finger-waggers (have I used this term before?) continue to wag their fingers.  I'm going to continue to listen to my stereo, and get new gear when I'm convinced an upgrade is warranted.  I'm gonna play my musical instruments until my fingers fall off.
Is any of this a revelation?  That most people don’t care about audio?  We need to skower  Craig’s List to discover this?  And the inevitable flip side, the navel gazing by confirmed audiophiles that we somehow have lost our way, that life was better when we had cheap transistor radios?  Which of any us would really trade our systems for the little taste of post war Nippon?  And we already KNOW that most people listen through schlock and that they don’t care, which Is why he have joined an Internet Forum that caters to the 0.0001% that finds that unacceptable?
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Oops...Scour...although skewering Craig’s List may not be a bad idea...
" There is a reasonable explanation I believe. Keep in mind that the "average" citizen does not have the luxury of leisure time, nor enjoys the disposable income necessary to purchase multi-thousand dollar components. "
How can we have this discussion & this get remarked only once? People eat cat food a McDonalds because its cheap. The shop at Wally World because thats all they can afford & they drive crap cars & trucks because new vehicles are silly expensive.

Way more folks than we realize struggle to get the basics. Expensive hobbies are not in their playbook. We are the lucky few. Whether due to our own efforts or due to an accident of birth, we should appreciate that we have resources many folks do not.
"...the idea is to look at what is for sale in order to get a glimpse into what a mojority in your area are listening to....."

I think what is on sale is what people are NOT listening to (anymore).

@bobinw, You make a good point. At the other end, I have worked in homes worth many millions that had neither any quality audio gear or any room that would make a good location for it.  The more recent advent of the 'media room' means that some thought was given and some money was spent but almost always the focus is ground shaking movie sound tracks.  Would be great if this group suddenly found an interest in hi end gear, the industry would welcome the support.
In many, many cases it simply comes down to priorities. I have friends that without saying it I can tell don’t understand why I spend what I do on my audio system (implying a wonder of how someone has the money to do what I do). Meanwhile, they literally have thousands of dollars monthly sunk into expensive pickup trucks and Audis that these days barely leave the garage, $2k drones that collect dust and a walk-in safe of handguns and rifles. I literally listen to music every day. For me, I feel that it is money much better spent than sinking $3,000 on a used titanium mountain bike when I have a great road bike that I ride pretty often, but certainly not every day. It often all comes down to what hooks us in life and redirects our focus due to the pleasure we experience or at least think we get from it. How much is truly self determination versus marketing manipulation is a whole different philosophical discussion that would churn endlessly:). Happy listening!
I view this a little differently. IMHO, most people listen to music as a backdrop to whatever they are doing. They like it, however it is really just background noise. If that is the case, any old music reproduction equipment will do. 
To audiophiles, music is much more than that. For me personally, music is IS an activity. Sure, I listen to music as a backdrop sometimes. But when I am really listening to music, I do just that. It becomes a visceral, emotional experience that just isn’t the same as listening to a single Sonos speaker or a Walmart boom box. 
If you just use your tools for small home improvement,a Ryobi saw is fine. But if you’re a craftsman and take pride in your work, you use a Festool saw. 
Your argument could be applied to clothes, but if you're interested in high fashion, you're not really going to be interested in what clothes people are selling on Craigslist or eBay for analysis of the lowest common denominator.  You're going to be interested in good design, and maybe search the used market for bargains.  I don't really give a rip about what bad clothes or audio systems the average person owns.
This is a serious question:  Decades ago, when I first discovered high end audio, I auditioned Rotel and did not care for it.  Recently, I decided to give a good listen to a Rotel preamp and CD player.  It was truly horrible sounding, akin to my first pre-amp, a Crown IC150, IC being proudly in the model number for it's non-discreet electronics.  Akin, as really electronic sounding!   Why would this crap be made?  It was about $4-5000 for the pair.  What gives? Are people deaf?
I guess I am in the minority here as usually I am doing something else while the stereo is on - reading or watching sports without an announcer,  doing a puzzle, whatever. Sometimes I'll just sit back and really listen, but then inevitably I'll think about something else and forget to focus on the music. The enjoyment comes most often when I'm surprised by hearing something that I hadn't noticed before or hearing it sound clearer, more detailed or with more depth or a more emotional sounding  vocal. I wonder what % of audiogoners have dedicated audio rooms.

And yes we are lucky to have the time and money to pursue the optimal sound. I once knew a guy who said he doesn't have time for records. I felt sorry for him.
Glad to see that people on Craigslist are listening to the tunes. The gear does not really matter relative to the importance of music.
I have bought and sold many decent things on Craigslist, but it's true that there's LOTS of GARBAGE on it.  I do wish it had better categories and search engine.  I recently sold a couple music instruments and amazingly sold them in 3 days, and no commission or shipping hassles.    I'm willing to sell it for less if I don't have to pack it up and ship it. Waiting for people to show up is the real headache.  

sokogear: Yes my 16x23 family room is a dedicated music room/home studio/LP playback room. It's my home office too, now that I'm working from home due to covid.  It's a polite kind of torture to have to "work" all day on my computer while surrounded by high end audio, recording gear, and music instruments.  Does anyone else notice that it's harder to work, the better the sound is?  

To audiophiles, music is much more than that. For me personally, music is IS an activity. Sure, I listen to music as a backdrop sometimes. But when I am really listening to music, I do just that. It becomes a visceral, emotional experience that just isn’t the same as listening to a single Sonos speaker or a Walmart boom box.
If you just use your tools for small home improvement,a Ryobi saw is fine. But if you’re a craftsman and take pride in your work, you use a Festool saw.

well said saul!

wait is that the new show on netflix? :)
Yes! For me it is a listening session. I get fully engaged. I have a 2nd system that I roll out onto my back deck spring through fall months to have sessions outside.  I have a porch swing so swinging to the music in included in the activity. Along with beverage. 

outdoor listening in the fall on the deck... sounds just wonderful (pun intended) :)
mirolab - having your stereo in your office is not what I consider a listening room. I meant dedicated as in a separate room for audio (and probably a TV). Some would call it a man cave. Kind of like a demo room at an audio dealer, only with one system.

I don't have that - the room would be too small, so it's in the main room of the house (den) so I get to listen several hours a day. And my wife mainly puts up with it unless it is really loud.
Yes jjss49 it is. Also it is interesting to hear speakers outside without room boundaries.  Do need somewhat more power than that required for a listening room however.  
"the road less traveled" is the best path.
It is also a much more expensive path that few can travel.
Most people cannot afford a system such as the ones on this forum, or have the luxury of a dedicated listening room. Their priorities lie in mortgage or rent, basic necessities, and feeding their children. So they buy what they can, and are most likely happy with what they have.
I find the premise of this thread denigrating to those simply trying to make ends meet, and have neither the time nor resources to debate the efficacy of their recent $1000 ic or $3000 stylus, especially now with so many in economic turmoil. If Craigslist is such an affront to your audiophile senses, stay off it.

we are no doubt fortunate to have this as a hobby (and the means to do so, and to come on this forum to ’play’ and share)

it is indeed a difficult time for so many around us

i suspect the op is raising the craigslist issue in the sense of hifi vs mid fi gear... not a commentary on wealth or lack thereof -- clearly someone with less financial means can still have good sound on a tight budget, i find it very interesting to see youtube videos talking about true hifi system for $1000 or less...

I’ve put big audio speakers outside and what would be ear splitting inside is not nearly loud enough outside.
I also put a little JBL Bluetooth speaker outside and it was sufficiently loud.
meaning I just can’t figure out the outdoor realm.

Extension to the OP’s statement, I find it amusing when non audio informed  people encounter hi end audio systems. I was on a business trip in London and stopped by Harrods when I had some free time. It was a pleasant surprise to see Kef Blades set up and a whole group of Bang & Olufsen offerings. 
The comments some people made as they passed by were funny..one guy was bragging to girl about some of the features..like he was pulling rabbits out of his butt.
I was soooooo tempted to ask him to elaborate.
Jacksky, I have a friend that uses the JBL Bluetooth speaker outside. They broadcast very well and have desired volume.
I have used 2-way book shelf with 70-100wpc integrateds which provide greater body and soundstaging. The bass one perceives is that coming from the speaker, lacks room boundary reinforcement.  With many recording it can be more refined.
Really engaging thread. I can't resist a few thoughts (and why should I? It's the internet). 

First, I strongly agree with the few who have pointed out that most of the systems out here are far beyond most people's means. The median household income in this country is in the mid-60k range; remove the top 1% from the equation and that median income drops quite a bit. A $1200 cd player, which wouldn't be noticed out here, is outside of most people's imaginations--and means. 

Second, I do think we want to be careful about snobbery out here, not so much about the audiophile hobby but about music. There's a vibe out here that implies that there's a simple correspondence between our elaborate systems and our passion for music, as if we love music more than others because we are willing to commit our lives to high-quality reproduction. That's silly in a lot of ways. This hobby is about gear, not about art (and that's just fine!). For one thing, a person with considerable disposable income might love music so much that they put that money into attending concerts around the country; or spend their money on their own instruments; or donate that money to local musical organizations. I live in the world of the arts and I know plenty of people passionate about music, deeply so, who commit to that passion in ways other than buying expensive stereo equipment. For another thing, some people love and know music well enough that a modest stereo suffices for them to hear the beauty in the music (even if we say it's not there in the sound). An analogy: I know many people who have spent more than $150k on their kitchens (Viking stoves, etc) and I also know plenty of people who are knock-out cooks. In my experience, if there's any connection between the two, it's an inverse one. Great cooks are often just fine with modest kitchens. 

One might say that we're over-compensating out here! I'm not saying that, just that most folks can't afford even mid-level equipment (and virtually none of the stuff that we see for sale on this site every time we come out here), and that there's not much correlation between our systems and our love of music. I'm not saying we don't love music! Just that one can love music without committing to this hobby!