Any Young Audiophiles Out There?

I am 20 years old and I do have my concerns about the future of this hobby. I do not see or hear about many people that are into this under the age of 30. I understand that this could be for financial reasons, but when factoring in this site, fairly nice setups (that perform miles above what you get at bestbuy) can be obtained for under 2000 dollars. A lot of my close friends love coming over and listening, and they do appreciate the quality, but at the same time they are more than happy with their Ipod and stock Apple headphones that come with it. They seem to be more impressed with a 2000 dollar Plasma than a 10,000 dollar stereo system...So if anyone is out their, this post is for us!
well im 28 but i feel ya man, its crazy, peple love surround sound but they are fine with a sony boombox or crappy headphones to play cd's or hook up the pod, Ive actually loaned my grado sr-60's to a few people and they said it sounded great- dont know if they are just being nice but ive never convined them to spend any money on getting better sound!
If I was in my 20s and starting out with "high end" audio, I'd seriously consider assembling a system made entirely of classic gear from the 60s or 70s (except for digital sources).

This stuff will hold its value, and it can make for a really great system.

There are a few systems in the "Members Systems" comprised of vintage stuff. Check it out...
Dwindling #'s at least in the traditional sense in the US.

Maybe, in the traditional sense, it will catch on more in modern day developing countries the way it seemed to for awhile in the US?

Depends on whether to qualify as an audiophile one must start a record collection, buy a turntable, and roll some tubes for acceptance.

Most people these days lean towards ipods, convenience and home theater.

Does this indicate that we are in fact truly in decline?
Long time ago market was oriented toward older people and everybody wanted to be older (you wouldn't name car company Oldsmobile today). Today teenagers and children drive marked and they don't buy LP or SACD. It's great that in age of 20 you can already appreciate finer things in life (it took me much longer) but you must be exception, I guess.
Kijanki, very interesting point. Do you think that once my generation grows, their will be an equal demand for Hi-Fi?
Good for you Darren, and enjoy it while you can. At your age, you have perfect hearing. I am approaching a big five O and my hearing is getting more and more out of whack every year; music sounded very different to me 30 years ago.
In a recent conversation with Jeff Roland, he mentioned that the bulk of his sales are exports. I know the same to be true for Audio Research. There seems to be quite a growing number of younger audiophiles in England and the Pacific Rim. I believe that some of the problem in the US is the mass merchandise trash that parades as music in this country. Pick up a Gramophone Mag or BBC and you'll see what I mean about the enthusiasm for fine music abroad.
27 here, started with high end audio at about 15, heard some N802s driven by Krell FPB and it was all over...
Probably not too many youngsters on here if we judge by the artists' mostly talked about in the 'music' section.
Macd - Greater demand maybe, but there will be much greater demand for 3D music/video players for 8 years old. I think that it is a general trend toward younger and younger generations. Just look how it has already changed. 10 year old girl said "I'm having manicure/pedicure at least once a month" (mother pays). Her mother had first manicure in age of 40. 100 years ago (or more) children were standing against the wall while parents were eating dinner, waiting for their turn. I'm not judging (and I think it was pretty bad) but just want to show the trend. Today children are demanding very expensive tickets for Jonas Brothers and Milly Cyrus concerts while I had (many years ago) to ask parents for permission to go (ticket bought from allowance money). My friend had very conservative father who ordered him to wear slacks because jeans are too revealing.

Unfortunately, as I said before, children don't buy LP and SACD.

What amazes me is that average people are willing to spend a lot of money for the picture (HDTV) but not for the sound. Why?
I have invited young folks to come up to my room and listen
to what I consider high end. The problem I found was that they would not sit down long enough to compare the sound.
They were impressed with the way the equipment looked and liked the room,but had better things to do.
Nobody wants to just sit and seriously listen to music.
With their I-pod, just as with their cell phone, they can stay on the go.
Tan43 - don't get depressed. Not the young people only - my late relative was big music fan thru all his life and had hundreds of LPs but did not care at all about sound quality. He had very old, inexpensive integrated LP/amp but It could be as well small transistor radio, I suspect. There are just some people who do not care. I cannot understand how one can appreciate orchestral works with many instruments "missing".
well, i'm 31 now, but i've been into the hobby for several years. i was probably in my mid to late 20s before i got into it.
For a young "audiophile", an Ipod or mp3 player with decent earphones is the most practical and affordable first system.

I loved music and audio as a kid in a blue collar US household but did not have my first "good" system until I was 18 or so.

So in a sense there are more young potential audiophiles running around out there today at a younger age with halfway decent sound, so in a sense kids today may in fact be ahead of the curve compared to past generations in terms of # kids equipped with decent sounding music at younger ages.

Anything is possible from there.

All peoples both young and old enjoy music though....that will never change.

So maybe there is hope FWIM.....

Not me. I am in my early 30's.
I don't know if I fit the young category anymore at 31 yrs old. I have been into audio and music since I was a teenager and always had decent systems from that point on.

I only got hooked on the really expensive and excellent sounding equipment about 8 years ago in my very early twenties.

I have lots of audiophile buddies but most are quite a few years older than I am. Most of my friends that are the same age as me have multiple young children and are not worried about music or high fidelity systems.

I do have a few buddies my age that are really involved. We are out there just not in huge numbers.

Introduce your friends to it. Some people can appreciate the finer things in life. Some think everything sounds the same.

I have a buddy who owns 20 automobiles. Cars are his hobby and passion. I expect my vehicle to get me where I need to go in a safe and reliable way. I have no interest in owning many different vehicles and working on them all the time. I can however appreciate a beautiful automobile such as a 1970 Dodge Challenger convertible. He probably expects his stereo to work when he turns it on and be reliable. Beyond that he doesn't spend time on it or worrying about it.

He thinks I am nuts for how involved I am in audio and how often I change components and try new cables, cords, tweaks. To each his own.
Hey everyone, don't believe Nicksgem10s for a minute. He's actually 54 but just ACTS like he in his 30s. His system is an old Sony Walkman (yes, the cassette type) with stock headphones and he listens to the Cowsils, the Partridge Family and old Donny Osmond songs (with an occasional diversions like "Feelings" by Morris Albert or Debbie Boone's Greatest Hit)

I am his MUCH younger friend with what he thinks is a high end system (I have an iPod with a Hornet).

Don't feel too bad for Nick though - his twenty something wife buys him all of his gear as she is the real audiophile of the family - I think she just designed a really high-end USB DAC and Nick thought it was a toaster.
My son is 22 months old and every night before bed he says "fi, fi, fi" and I let him turn on our second system, hit "play" and then forward through the tracks on a compilation CD. When a couple of his favourite tracks (Weezer - Island in the Sun, The Cure - Push) come on he turns and starts to dance around. So at least one more is on his way!

Ya got a start 'em young!! Come on all you parents out there!
If you are young, protect your ears. Being over 50 doesn't necessarily mean that your hearing is worse than a younger person's. Heavy bass in car stereo's, loud live concert music, ear bud's turned way up can take their toll no matter what age you are. Taking care now, means you will still have the opportunity to appreciate a good system at any point in your lifetime. Things change. New technology and/or clever purchasing might make what seems hopelessly unaffordable now a reality in the future. If you trash your ability to hear, it won't matter.
2muse - good advise. Do you think hearing can be improved or exercised (or diet). I'm OK now but I'd like to keep it that way. I found once info about book by ophthalmologist who claims that eyeside can be improved by training eye muscles and gives exercises for that. His name is dr. Bates. You can probably find this book on Amazon.
I am 35, and for me it started at 6 when I got my first yellow transistor am radio for 5 cents at a garage sale. Since then music has been playing non-stop throughout my life, and it has been one upgrade after the next. I started working at a Hi-fi store when I was 19, which really opened my ears. High end audio is far from mainstream and not everybody is lucky enough to be exposed to it at an early age. When I was 19, none of my friends were interested, now at 35, none of my friends are interested. You either get it, or you don't, and I don't think age really has much to do with it. Finances yes.
Hey Hens,

My son is 4 1/2, he knows the difference between the super tweeter, tweeter and mid-range driver. He loves dancing, and he loves tubes, they make really cool designs in playdough.
Cool Hanaleimike!! My son still has so much to learn!:-) It's so great seeing just how much my son loves music. I feel sad for kids that don't get this exposure to music and good sound at an early age - I think it really does start this early!
I'm 32 and bought my first system when I was 21, shortly after my friends and I dropped in on the one and only hi-fi store in our little college town. We happened to have some favorite CDs with us--I remember the first thing we cued up was SRV's In the Beginning, through some electronics I don't remember and a big pair of bi-polar Definitive speakers--and it was a revelation. Despite the fact that I played guitar and owned a tube amp, it also marked the first time I'd seen a tube amp for audio--I wanted one.

By the time I'd saved my pennies, unfortunately that store had had to move out of its prime downtown storefront and into a tiny space in a strip mall miles away. Still, for $1000 I bought an NAD/KEF setup that kept me happy all through my low-paying post-college years and grad school. It's only in the past few years that I've gotten more into hi-fi as a hobby and caught upgradeitis--and gotten friends into it, too, as they've heard my system.

Part of my point here is that I wonder if as more brick and mortar stores close the kind of chance encounter I had is disappearing and with it some of the potential to grow the high-end. I am encouraged, though, because I teach on a college campus now and after a few years of Bose everywhere I see lots of students walking around with Grados and Sennheisers hooked up to their iPods. And when I use the Stereophile article on mp3 compression as an example in my tech-writing classes, a good number of students are already wise to lossless and uncompressed audio. I think the iPod via good headphones and uncompressed files is already leading more and more young people into the high end. And the current hipness of vinyl doesn't hurt either. Here's to it!
Hens, Hanaleimike,

I had no idea about high end audio until my dad brought me to Quintessence Audio in Morton Grove IL. I was 15 at the time and as soon as I saw the amazing tubes and wonderful speakers I was hooked for life. 10 years later my wife Ania and I started Nawrocka Distribution. Yes I am 26 and my wife is 25. We represent some of the finest Audio products in North American and I can honestly say I would have never started my own business in audio if it wasn't for my dad bring me to a high end audio store. My wife and I relax most weekends and through in our favorite CD and just listen for hours with the lights out. I think the key is not having a TV in our front room. All you have is the stereo.

Cole & Ania Hatfield
Nawrocka Distribution
first audiophile system by 16, (magnepans to a jolida tube amp), 26 now.... two audiophile systems, enough in the closet for at least 1-2 more systems, enough cables for 5 more systems....

hmm... I need to clean out the closet!
I delivered newspapers and mowed lawns in elementary and junior high school to buy my first Technics receiver and Infinity Qa speakers, which I upgraded to an SME tonearm, Grado Signature cartridge, Hafler amps and Magneplanars by the time I was 15.

30 years later, I still treasure every spare minute I can find to read, study or experiment with the 4 systems and spare components now in my house, and still love to discover some new music or revisit favourite old music.

I may be wrong, but my sense is if I grew up listening mostly to hip hop and/or the Jonas Brothers none of this would have ever happened.
No, I think the hobby is thriving. As you stated, most of the guys in their late teens or early twenties are not as financially established. But they are into it alright. You just need to find the right crowd. :-)

Most of them are over at And people get together often where they live. I participated in a few gatherings a few years back. They get pretty serious too. The crowd ranges from teenagers to old folky. And they enjoy comparing headphones, amps, different sources and cables. So it's encouraging. For the money, you can't beat what you can get out of a pair of good headphones. (But I still prefer listening to speakers)

I started with my first system when I was 22.

FrankC makes a really important observation regarding headphone listening. I honestly believe that this is where the younger generation can really get an opportunity to sample better sound. A relatively inexpensive upgrade to a half-decent pair of Senns, Grados or in-ear monitors and a person will quickly understand just how bad the stock ear buds have made their music sound. This is the first step and it is not a huge step from this to wanting their music to sound as good at home as it does through their 'phones and looking to upgrade from treble screeching computer speakers.

I'm encouraged by how many younger kids I see with decent headphones on their iPods and equally I'm amazed by how many of the older generations (40+) I see wondering around with the stock ear buds - I can't help shaking my head and wondering about these people having no idea what they are missing.
I am 40+ and I own and use Grados, Shures, Sennheisers and Etymotics with both Grado and Headroom external headphone amplifiers.

Most kids I see these days are listening to ear buds, and usually with hip hop or the Jonas Brothers, as noted above which may not encourage the use of high fidelity equipment.

The reason I know this is because I can hear their choice of "music" and the distortion of their earbuds very clearly whenever I take the New York subway, even from a few feet away and over and above the noise of the train.

To be clear, I am talking about the E train to Fifth Avenue in midtown, so the music could be different on the outskirts of town.

But I maintain that the decline of civilization is at least partially to blame.

Guys I have a confession to make. I am not in my early thirties. How about mid 60's. I figured with my mug shot on my website it would only be a matter of time before I was outed. Hope I haven't lost what slight thread of respectability.

I have two boys and they use Ipods for music. Hey its a little cheaper then what I have put myself through. Don't think I will encourage them to change any time soon.
Cwlondon, I'm also 40+ and use AKGs and Ultimate Ears but it's not people who are posting in an audiophile forum that I'm talking about. I'm talking about the huge number of 40+ who don't even know that there is such a thing as an audiophile or why we exist! I don't doubt for a minute what you say regarding the number of kids using the stock ear buds on the subway but where I am (Hong Kong), I see more 40+ (80%+) with stock earbuds than the "kids" (maybe closer to 50% with the ear buds).
I am 36 -- not old but not young either.
BTW--Hens--The Cure "Push" is in my alltime top 10--I just got the new 180g "The Head on the Door" on Saturday.
Nice one, Cajunpepe! I've been out of vinyl for too long. I picked up the remastered Deluxe Edition CD last year which is excellent and has an added bonus of an 18 track rarities CD made up of a mix of studio demo and live tracks - great package. Alongside "Push", "The Baby Screams" is my other favourite Cure song.