Python musical interlude called for... to lighten things up a bit.
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Good reading and many intuitive conclusions. It seems to me the price of gear has remained constant as have the price/savings ratio of used equipment inclusive of CDP's. Much study would be required to test jim's hypothesis. The only constant here is that the industry does have real concerns over the aging population of $$ bearing enthusiasts.
One cannot argue over the convenience and security (redundancy) of having built a computer audio system. I agree that both CDP's (Reference Quality & otherwise) will still co-exist for some time to come - 'lowrider".
That said, it is perplexing when one begins the process of evaluating the choices available (Music Server, MS/DAC, USB Convertor/PC or Mac based, etc... I am laughing at this point.
I think it was all just a matter of advances in digital that both formats benefited from and the new kid on the block (PC audio) simply stole the limelight from the oldboy, CDPs, until some folk took notice of just how good they can still sound. - Spot on Nonoise!
Personally, having owned Esoteric gear in the past, I was thrilled they were bold enough to offer, I believe the first, swiss army knife of sorts solution; offering reference quality in one unit for both CDP playback and CA capability. I would venture to say this is the direction the market is likely headed moving forward.
It will certainly be interesting to see if the "x"/"y" and Millennial's adopt a taste for quality over content in the next few years.
"USA is pretty much toast, everyone knows it but us."
Well, we ain't what we used to be post WWII, that's for sure.
Then again, neither is anyone else likely to be in the foreseeable future. Military might ain't what it used to be.
Its a different world. Better in many ways, worse in many others. BEats a lot of alternate scenarios I can think of. :-)
Small world, Jim.
World Wide Audio in Bryn Mawr is kickin ass and has expanded into higher-end. They also have impressive showrooms for HT and cater to all those wealthy Bryn Mawr suckers..."of course you need 4K right now and better upgrade your HiFi with it." Not a real quote, just my sense of humor. Actually I like that place and have bought from them...no pressure salesmen.
There's HiFi House with 2 locations selling Wilson and the like. And of course David Lewis.
In Chestnut Hill there's Community Audio who admittedly is not selling the big ticket items they used to. It's a small shop strategically located and I hope they do well. I think I've listened to every system in the shop and they don't mind.
In the retail audio biz it's all about location, location, location.
To Lowrider, Interesting, I used to work in a quality audio store in Bryn Mawr. They sold out to Tweeter who subsequently went out of business. The Philly "Mainline" is recession/depression proof and the wealth per capita can easily afford the super expensive CDP's. I am surprised that no high-end dealer like David Lewis Audio or the now defunct Chestnut Hill Audio ever planted a store in Gladwyne or Malvern.
There are also HiFi shops in my area (the affluent Philadelphia suburbs) where they are doing very well due to the niche market. Business obviously has decreased since the booming 80s and 90s, but there is a market for the expensive CDPs and DACs.
The HiFi niche is going strong here; but you won't find any middle of the road, affordable CD/DVD players in these stores. This tells me that the online sellers can charge more for a typical CDP due to demand since the manufacturers are phasing them out.
"CDP's and CD hardware are a billion dollar a year industry that provides a fair amount of jobs even despite the cost effective automation of production. "
More people probably listen to more music and other forms of entertainment than ever before, just not using CD players.
Its all part of the normal advancements and changes in technology and lifestyles over time.
"The audio store of the past unfortunately is going by way of the buffalo, however, those that remain, that is, survive, will have a hard time paying bills just selling the music of cyber space via PC's with their own speakers, possibly even better than today's junk that sits on IKEA computer tables. "
There are still several higher end a/v stores in my area that seem to be doing OK. All of these keep up with the times to different extents and figure out ways to sell people the stuff the want that fit their lifestyles, including portable gear that targets those interested in sound quality as well as other usability/convenience features.
There is a limit to sound quality, and how much people care, but not to all the other convenience and usability features that tend to drive things forward more for most. Portable audio, wireless home media, hidden and stylish home a/v installations, etc.
At one local dealer, one can own SOTA Audeze or Sennheiser headphones for about the same cost as many high end smaller entry level speakers sold there. That part of teh shop seems to grow and get bigger each time I visit.
Its all just progress, I suppose.
Thanks to all for excellent comments about the issues addressed in this thread, especially DJohnson, Mapman,and Kacz.
To kacz, I think the last sentence of your response may be dead on target for the future of CDP's,and CD's. It depends on the niche market. Maybe,I am wrong but I don't see the buyer of audio systems up to $2000 (without T/T and accessories) wanting to bother with learning the jargon and in and outs of computer audio. They just want good sound, and possibly the bragging rights to friends.
The more sophisticated buyer who has been involved 5 to 10 years in above mid-fi audio and reaches for the inner circle of the best sound possible is the niche buyer for PC audio, even if he has a fair amount of CD's
I am not sure I know enough about current audio marketing to state with certainity what might motivate the high-end buyer to master PC audio and load up on its accessories.
Another issue that has perplexed me, is how the potential and ultimate abandonment of CDP's and CD's will impact a weakened and struggling economy; because, CDP's and CD hardware are a billion dollar a year industry that provides a fair amount of jobs even despite the cost effective automation of production.
The audio store of the past unfortunately is going by way of the buffalo, however, those that remain, that is, survive, will have a hard time paying bills just selling the music of cyber space via PC's with their own speakers, possibly even better than today's junk that sits on IKEA computer tables.
CD players and such just don't have the luxury of selling in the millions like they used to and don't have the benefit of scale of economy anymore. That has been taken over by servers, phones, ipods and the like. So the price has to go up. Eventually some companies find it's not worth it to make them all.
Many newer digital technologies/products are increasingly supplanting a dedicated CD only player for home audio use only. Its already become a small niche product on map overall.
Multi format music/video disk format players seem way more common these days.
I bought a CD player/recorded several years back. I only use it to record vinyl and other analog sources though my system these days. I never play CDs anymore. They all get ripped to music server. I do play a DVD on occasion via DVD player. Not a big video fan so I never bought into Blu-ray.
Jim, I don't know if this has occurred (haven't done any research) but it seems to me that the market is shifting. I think that persons who would have been in the market for an inexpensive CD player are more likely to switch to streaming than those who were buying the expensive players. It wouldn't be unreasonable for manufacturers to simply be catering to their (perceived) audience by shifting to more expensive equipment.
That has happened in the 'changer' CDP market. The Sony 300 disc units are a good example. Sony itself sold these units as refurb's for about $100 a few years ago, now these units go for $300 plus. I have three of these units chained together. They work great, sounding almost as good as my $3000 hi end player in my main system. My computer audio is limited to ripped MP3 files for use in my mobile player. I just love that I have 900 CD's at my finger tips to quickly play. I keep the file system in an Excel spread sheet which adds to the convenience. For me it did not make any sense to put my 10,000 CDS in a computer file.
I'd say in the last 10 years, CD players have had a significant advancement in sound quality; better DAC and clock technology, transports, preventing jitter. These are not at all like the CDPs we used in the early days of digital.
Also, I think people have realized that CD and computer audio can coexist, and you need a good transport if you are using an external DAC.
I don't think CDP prices have risen in response to "better sound forever" servers. It's deja vu all over again (thanks Yogi). Way too many threads here about which format wins and it all boils down to what sounds best to you and how much are you willing to spend to get there.
As for setting the bar higher, I think it was all just a matter of advances in digital that both formats benefited from and the new kid on the block (PC audio) simply stole the limelight from the oldboy, CDPs, until some folk took notice of just how good they can still sound.
All the best,