Is high-end audio dying, if not dead already???

Without sounding like the mad prophet of the airwaves, I think high-end audio is in its death throes. I would like to hear other opinions on this issue, but I think it is time to raise the question and also some hell as to what is happening to the high end audio and audio in general.

Here's why: Most of the major audio publications spend a great deal of time on romancing the "absolute" fidelity of computer audio and music that is digitally processed. On the other hand, you have critics, reviewers, celebrating the comeback of vinyl, analog, and turntables. The mantra goes: "it really does sound better, like real music", so chuck out your CD player, and buy a $5000 analog rig, and have fun again cleaning, preserving (a medium) searching record huts worldwide for pristine vinyl gems. Maybe, there are some shellac gems out there also

It seems the CD format has "OUTLIVED" its usefulness in the pursuit of the absolute sound because its technology and soft ware has never convincingly improved. It is like the BB King tune "the thrill is gone" or saying kids let's just change the channel for something more exciting and new.

High-end audio seems to now ( as the old joke goes)require a degree in engineering or rocket science to understand the circuitous (bad pun) route to audio nirvana. Equipment has gotten more expensive over the last 15 years, under the pretext that the electronic functions have increased and become more complicated. Take a look at the back of a 5 channel receiver or amp, or home theater receiver, a digital processor, etc. and you will see the future of audio. It might be easier to hook up a heart and lung machine.

Ironically, as high end audio and audio in general evolves, the music industry delivers more shit to the public's ears, Geez, I never knew that in order to really enjoy Shakira, JZ, Pharell, and the rest of the talentless trash discovered and pushed by American Idol, The Voice,and the popular Mega media, would require hearing it in absolute sound.

Showing 1 response by bombaywalla

looks like you've got a cloudy view of hi-end audio!! ;-)
I believe (along with many others in this thread/forum) that hi-end audio is becoming more of a niche market. It was always a niche market (for example, my vintage Yamaha integrated amp cost $700 or $800 back in 1977. how many people could afford that back then?) & it remains a niche market today.
Yes, the business has dropped off tremendously since the 2008 recession with all consumers seriously gauging whether they should piss away their money on audio components or something else. Money spent on audio pre-2008 has taken flight into other investment arenas that are more enduring of their investment value such as property/land. As you know, you never get your money back for audio gear.
Having said that, OTOH, the younger generation is coming up better than I expected to accept higher-end audio (notice "higher-end audio & not hi-end audio). Many generation X, Y & Z (is there a gen-Z?) people are into vinyl (look at the # of TTs being offered today) & the likes of Dr. Dre & Sol have made it a clear that having big-a$$ headphones on is not a social faux-pas. Plus, the main thing - spending $200 or more on Dr. Dre headphones for "better" sonics is OK. A few years ago, hardly anyone of the gen-X, Y, Z would be found dead/alive with big headphones; they were all into ear-plug headphones. So, like Syntax, wrote the marketing machines are slowly edging the gen-X, Y, Z folks up the spending ladder towards hi-end.
They are not there yet, like the Baby-boomers & the immediately next gen that followed, obsessing about $5000/$10,000 cables & 7'-8' tall speakers but they are being "worked upon" towards getting there.
So, luxury goods will always sell but it'll always be a niche market. Hi-end audio was never like Colgate toothpaste where everybody needed to have one.....
Alteast this is what I think. Thanks.