Is this the end of HEA?

This last year has made my ears perk up. Honestly I didn't even know the article above had been written until now. What I did know was listeners have been in touch with me about the future of HEA and their future as advanced listeners. It's been nice to see folks getting in touch with me and even nicer that they are doing so because they wish to settle into their final system sound. To say things in their words "it's been an expensive ride" and most of these folks aren't sure they've gotten a fair shake always from the hobby. Many feel they have bank rolled a part of a hobby that hasn't always delivered the goods. Basically instead of telling listeners that this is a variable hobby the "experts" pushed a very expensive game of component Plug & Play onto the discrete audio generation. I remember those days of guilt buying where a dollar amount was used as a representative for quality, when it meant no such thing. I knew first hand this was not the case as designers scrambled to make up-sell products that sounded less musical than the original products that put their name in audio fame. I also could see the HEA decline happening but still was giving the benefit of the doubt to those saying HEA was just fine and growing. Mom and pop stores for the most part have vanished in the US with the exception of a few creative thinkers. New expensive products are being adored but I don't see many actually buying them. Now I've got my eye on T.H.E. Show (Richard's show) and wondering if it's happening or not. Richard and I have talked many times about what will happen to HEA in the US if T.H.E. Show and CES cease doing their thing in Vegas. I wonder what Richard RIP is thinking now sitting in the clouds.

I am very excited to see the next few years come about even though I know some are still buying into the old paradigm that the HEA is the cutting edge with only a volume control to adjust and a fork lift included with every purchase. Going to the CES web, I have my answer for Vegas. Going to T.H.E. Show website I'm still in question. If these two are no more, in terms of HEA, who's next?

Michael Green

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The Strip was packed today. Looking forward to getting the news bites.

Last year 182+attendance, over 4K exhibiting companies, over 1K industry speakers.

It's not the CES that is dead, the place is exploding with excitement and innovation. It's the HEA section that has died.

Talking to several people here who are attending the CES the question that comes up is how does HEA attract the now generation if they don't have ties to an organization like the CES to piggy back. All the young dudes spreading the news are at the CES.

If HEA is going to be a part of the audio community again it will need to reinvent itself in a way that appeals to todays listener. I'm not even sure using HEA as a name or even high performance will be enough. It might even be a turn off. It was a mistake for HEA press and designers to get so wrapped up in high priced audio instead of quality sounding audio "at any price". Playing the snob for those many years did nothing but kill the  enthusiasm of the audiophile. JVS's report to me looks like back peddling. How does Stereophile for example after years of upselling and only covering the top come back down to earth with credibility. It feels like either they were not all that honest about the top or have to find a way to sell their opinions without price tags qualifying sound this next time around. And, do it smoothly enough that no one notices.

Low mass tunable innovators, this is your opportunity to capture the audiophile's attention. The audio signal is variable and tunable, this is the future and the few the grab it will be the winners.


The articles are coming out and the buzz of this CES is "innovation has arrived". What's interesting is that it's not a matter of getting rid of the in-room system, just the opposite, entertainment rooms are staying. And even more so the whole house is becoming smart to AV. 30 years of audio and video systems being pieced together is finally paying off and designed for the now. It's for sure a different look but it's easy to see where we are going and I like it.

Many on HEA forums talk about how the mini headphone (ear bud) has replaced the in-room system but that's not what I saw happening. I don't see the in-room system going anywhere. In fact I see the whole house now as an entertainment venue. We're moving from bulky to a style that is going to allow the room to perform better.

This isn't anything new some will say, but I disagree. It's becoming modern, organized and variable.


Class D amps are playing and many on the way to my place. Low mass, low price and highly tunable.

The race to the new top begins.