As a long-time audiophile, my personal experience has been that most people think we are part of the "lunatic fringe", and find the prices for most high-end audio gear absolutely insane (well, they are right about some of it...). I haven't decided if the majority of music listeners simply aren't very particular about audio quality, or if they just don't care.
Your right on both counts, they don't care and they aren't concerned. Music is just backround noise for 99% of them. I've been a audiophile for over 30 years and the true joy to me is to sit down and really listen to what the artist has said with the music. Doing so on a nice system only inhances the joy of the artists gift to me.
High quality audio/music is an acquired taste, just like many of the finer things in life. Most people, first of all, have never been exposed to a truly exceptional hi-fi music system, or if they have, it has only been for a very short period of time, maybe just a few minutes. After seeing such a huge range of reactions from people experiencing the high-end music at my house, I've realized that some people get it and some people don't. More of them might get it if they could take the time to start to listen for the subtleties and details.
The second factor is that it actually takes discipline, training and practice to truly appreciate the enjoyment level that good music on a great system can provide. I am still discovering deeper levels of appreciation for good music, because I take the money, time and effort to do so. The same evolution is also happening with my appreciation of good wines; the more I learn about them and sample and discuss them with other aficionados then the more I enjoy and appreciate the subtleties and nuances, and the more I find out what I like and don't like. Both hobbies are fun, relaxing, and rewarding. And fortunately both hobbies complement and enhance the enjoyment of the other.
As for media coverage, don't get me started on the laziness, inaccuracy, and incompetence so prevalent now in that industry.
No time to worry too much about that stuff, gotta go sample that new CD and new bottle of Pinot that I picked up today on the way home.
Truth is, very few people sit down and listen to music for pleasure. Fewer still strive to buy equipment that better ables them to "connect" emotionally with the music.
Hate to sound like an old fart, but consider this: just today I read that Mariah Carey has now tied Elvis' record of 17 number one US Singles. That woman can peel paint with her inane vocal antics.
We are deceiving ourselves if we think we AREN'T the lunatic fringe!
$12,000 is a ridiculous amount of money to spend on a speaker. In any field the state of the art will always be expensive, but I've gotten sick and tire of hearing how components costing $10,000+ are described as "a bargain" just because they don't cost $50,000. The majority of music lovers I've met do want high quality audio reproduction, they just don't obsess about it and they won't pay the equivalent of a nice new car to have it.
$12,000??? Look at all of the recent ads. You can buy a pair of Nautilus 800 Signatures all day long for $2,000. Jeeeeesshh!!
It isn't the $12,000 that's outrageous; it's that CNBC chose to highlight a lowlife speaker line. I guess that speaks to the low ratings CNBC books.
"I haven't decided if the majority of music listeners simply aren't particular about audio quality,or they just don't care" Don't get me wrong-I do care and love buying gear as much as anyone,but the famous last words of an audiophile always seems to be-"its all about the music" If this is the case why are they wrong and were right? If you can enjoy your music collection without listening to it thru audiophile grade components-is that such a bad thing? My personal situation would afford me to drive vehicles way beyond what I drive now,but its just not that important to me. This probably wouldn't be the case for someone with a passion for sports/luxury cars, regardless of their income level. Truthfully I think paying 12K for a pair of speakers is just as extreme as paying 75K for a car of a boat. With that said I'm sure someday I'll own a pair of 12 K speakers,but I'd have a hard time justifying my need for them-other than the fact of just because I wanted them. FatParrot- Are you really suprised at peoples reaction to this story? And other than being humurous,why would you feel even slightly offended?
Just like anything in life it depends on what it's worth to you. Unfortunately when it comes to alot of our market there are alot of products that are way over priced like th pair of speaker cables the guy is claiming he's almost giving away at 5,500 bucks. That's about what my speakers cost. I think the cable industry is the worst but there's alot of people who think the price makes the product and actually get sales.
To me I feel my enjoyment of music is worth investing the several grand I have into it. It's a pretty safe hobby. Many of our children will appreciate music more than the next person which in my mind is a nice gift.
You say that "I haven't decided if the majority of music listeners simply aren't very particular about audio quality, or if they just don't care." Do you think it could simply be that one person's "goosebumps" is another person's "rash"!?
Therefore, I submit that it's a matter of priorities. and not absolutes, in terms of what experiences provide an individual the most stimulation. Many people who appreciate music, and have experienced all kinds of live performance, have heard my system. And they DO go "Wow!". They bring they're friends over too. AND, some of them could easily afford wall-to-wall Goldmund if they desired. They just don't desire it, and would probably use it for background music, if they listened much at all. Simply put, they don't find themselves being transported, or deriving the kind of ongoing pleasure that we do, from achieving the (near perfect) replication of a real performance in our homes. When they do happen to hear a live performance, it's more often accidental than intentional.
And let's not forget budget Home Theater systems, more specifically, the ability of video to lend a greater perception of realism to audio.
And though I cringe when one of my friends says to me "Gosh, your stereo sounds soooo much better than the Bose & Olufsen so-and-so just bought!", I do get some satisfaction knowing that at least THEY won't be wasting THEIR money on a Bose & Olufsen any time soon :~))
Anything halfway nice seems to be costly nowdays. However don't think I could justify spending $12,000 on speakers. .
My son in-law comes over yesterday and asks what brand my speakers are, " Never heard of them he says". Tells me to turn up the bass on my speakers? so he can play Black Eyed Pea's "CoCo Puff" ( Rap ) or whatever that song is...Tells me his buddy has some "Awesome 12's in his car, 500 watts that'll really shake your guts inside".
"My other son in-law calls my music collection "Garbage". Nine Inch Nails on the otherhand is "good stuff".
Different strokes I guess.
I finally found a guy at work that knew what Super Audio CD's were..one guy out of 350 . I was excited that he knew a little about audio. After 10 years I finally found someone who shared my interests somewhat.
When we finally decide to get serious about wanting respect from the general public, we will have to begin with proper naming of these high end products.
People don't understand terms like Krell, ARC or B&W. Give them something they can relate to and they will pay attention long enough to come around to our point of view.
I suggest as a start, "Fatparrot Ultimates" as a speaker name.
Once the customer hears the salesman refer to the big burly box in front of him as OB 1 (or obese Parrot One) his resolve to spend money will vanish.
In keeping with the Fatparrot name, the literature could read:
(1)Sound so colorful, it seems to fly out of the speaker.
(2)Textures are feather soft, yet claw into the details and hang on.
(3)Musical performances so life like, you will forget about the "bill"
(4)Voices that emerge from the Parrot are so real, it will have the dog barking in response.
In fact, the only thing that could heighten this musical experience is for the customer to purchase The Perch from Jax2 and live life free as a bird.
Fatparrot, this subject was already explored in my post entitled, "Why are audiophiles percieved as wackos", which had many lengthly and well written perspectives on this topic. So, if your curious enough to start this thread, you might enjoy going back and reviewing the prior thread on this subject.
CNBC may not know what Hi-End Audio is, but the guys on the next floor at MSNBC do.http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6792008/
'Music lover' is one category. 'Audiophile' is another. That parses out to four possibilities, none of which are contradictions: 'Music lover/Audiophile', 'Music lover/non-audiophile' (which, btw, would include a whole lot of people in the history of the world), 'Non-music lover/audiophile' and 'non-music lover/non-audiophile'. There is no necessary connection between the two terms.
Hey, no serious stuff or I'll tell the story about "Sugarbritches The Cat" brand amps and preamps.
Albert, that is the funniest post I have ever read on an audio board. I about pee'd my pants...I literally laughed until I cried (just ask Chuck). Thank you for one of the best gifts of all...laughter. :-)
Tarsando- Excellent observation.
I've always known you as a resonable man and to emphisize my point I'd ask why would you care?
We're in the world that we have to follow the rules of a perfect live music despite the numbers marketed...
the new issue of stereophile reads like a harvard lampoon. its no wonder most music lovers steer clear of high end audio.
This is a reflection on how bad this Industry (Hi-End) is positioned in the wallet-share of consumers.
A friend came the other day offering me a $18,000 Audemars Royal Oak wrist watch, arguing it was a "steal"... but no one beleives that my Siltech IC worth $2,000 USED!!!
Alot most be done in the MKTNG area to place this industry in the wallet-share worldwide.
1.I've never listened to a price tag.
2.My piano cost more than my audio rig and software.
Quite the contrary, I think this just shows what a special breed we are!
WE know how laughable it is to speak of Bose as Hi-Fi, the "masses" have no idea!
Just think how many people out there that don't know sh*%# from shinola about Hi-Fi have no idea what powerful AND defined bass response is.
I realize this is somewhat of an overstatement; however, I doubt anyone who doesn't understand Einstein's or Hawkins' work could be accused of "disrespecting" physics!
This hobby doesnt get much respect because of the willingness to accept snake oil and defend it vehemently, notwithstanding empirical evidence to the contrary. So much laughable stuff being promoted to decent but gullible, insecure people with more time and money than sense.
$4,500 power cords that soundstage like crazy, absurd arguments attempting to discredit Double Blind testing, undefendable manufacturers claims; modifying multi-thousand pieces of equipment to immediately reduce its value; modifying (and of course improving) statement pieces without any of the facilities or measuring instrument available to the manufacturer; magic stones, digital clocks (see DBT again) yup, hard to understand why theres a lack of respect for this hobby.
As Tarsando rightly indicates, there is not necessarily any relation between equipment levels and musical appreciation. You want musical accuracy? buy a $150 acoustic guitar, and a few $50 lessons and be way ahead of the silliness that pervades this hobby. And by the way, acquire some respect from your associates too.
We who are into this hobby can be silly - there are no two ways about it. Please try to tell some one you long for 5K interconnects - several pairs of them - and several 3K powercords and see if you have any credibility left to suggest they should take audio seriously.
But silliness aside - and I know we never all agree on when things begin to get silly - the sad thing is that there is so much added richness that comes into ones life with a good Hi-Fi, and so many are needlessly missing out. That Hi-Fi need not cost a lot, at least not compared to other luxury goods: $3000 on the used market will get you wonderful two channel sound; $5000 will make it fairly awesome; and $7500 or so will get you to where there is really no need to go further. Unless of course you get bitten by the bug. (Or, if you want to add analog!)
It seems it is a sad failure of the industry and its marketing that more people haven't been made aware of the joy available for these relatively modest sums. Okay, the industry is of course trying to sell new gear, but just double the figures and the price still doesn't look outrageous for luxury items. I mean countless numbers of fortunate people in North America, Europe, and many other affluent places have more of an investment than this sitting in their wine cellars.
dbt/abx is it's own absurdity. we are hobbiest not scientists. you want absurdity try "antique road show"(kilobucks for "nick nacks") or the current real estate market and let's not mention the defense industry.
merry christmas see you in the new year.
Gregadd, regarding the defense industry, I have never seen a USED nuclear weapon for sale...just gotta buy 'em new for full price!
Albertporter, who "let the parrot off the perch" so to speak! Look for the new line of FATPARROT speakers at the 2006 C.E.S. [Clowns Entertainment Show] in Las Cruses. We will be located right on the STRIP[pers], room number...to change nightly!
The four FATPARROT models will be called THE MACAW, a large floor standing speaker, the CONURE, a medium size monitor, and the PARAKEET [in the U.K., to be called the BUDGIE] a small bookshelf. For those that are into RAP, we will be introducing the SQUAWKER, a 3 way speaker which features a 15" woofer with a 1/2 pound magnet structure, a cellophane midrange, and a tweeter made from some stuff that I found under the refrigerator. Speaker distortion is rated at 75%, but yo, it's mutha f**king LOUD, and bigger than a f**king Escalade, dogg!!
So, don't go to that other inferior C.E.S. in "Lost Wages", come here to see the new FATPARROT speaker line. And unlike that other C.E.S., the "dealers" actually enjoy themselves and have a fun time, at least the few hazy moments that they can actually remember.
And be sure to leave the wife and kids home!
Merry Christmas, and to one and all, a pleasant goodnight!
I want to be your Beta tester for the Squawker- I gotta hunch it might draw some biatches to the crib:)