Making a product to sell and the need for modernity

A long time ago, I saw a picture showing Focal's marketing rep talking to dealers. He proclaimed the Focal Sopra to be the best speaker ever, or something like that. In the picture he's showing a slide talking about the dimensions across which they weigh a new product, as well as how the sell it.

There were several dimensions which had nothing to do with sound quality, such as aesthetics, cost, etcetera and one of those dimensions has stuck with me ever since: modernity. The perception that a product is cutting edge.

Keep in mind, this is about perception, not function. The idea is that to sell a new speaker I have to convince you, the buyer, that you are buying something that is as up to date as possible. A related marketing dimension would be "novelty." That I have something for sale others do not.

Anyone who has shopped around for gear for more than a week knows what this means. Every quarter there are new products, which claim modernity and novelty. And every year I am struck by how few of these alleged innovations stick with us, or fail to prove themselves as ending all previous designs of the type.

Over the last 20 years, what modern or novel approach have you seen which has truly advanced in the marketplace, or which you think is under or over appreciated?


Every "modern" Class D amp over the past 3 years or so touts the modernity of their circuits.  Over or underappreciated?  The jury is still out.
That sounds to me like every electronics maker I know of.
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Hey @ebm - great to see you.

Hey listen, what are the contributions to this site you are most proud of?


What’s you’re problem buddy?

While you are (always) here to criticize others...where is your positive side?

Since you are so negative with your reactions to others’ would seem that you could have a fresh approach.? Where is that fresh approach?

Would you be happier, by not reading/posting here? Maybe try to be a positive influence based on your knowledge?
"Keep in mind, this is about perception, not function. The idea is that to sell a new speaker I have to convince you, the buyer, that you are buying something that is as up to date as possible.................... That I have something for sale others do not"     I can't think of ANY manufacturer, of anything, that doesn't do exactly that, to one degree or another.  It's how they stay in business!    ie: food, clothes, cars, motorcycles, Big Pharma, the, "government" and it's presidential candidates' manufactured BS, etc
Hey @rodman99999 
 I can't think of ANY manufacturer, of anything, that doesn't do exactly that

You are 100% correct, of course! My point was not to chastise, but to point out that we are awash in it, and ask, how much of it ever sticks?


Being Teflon(and broke) helps!
Maybe a better question is, in the last 5 years, have you seen any new feature, more modern thing really stick?

The closest I can come to this is how much better DACs have become after 2010 (or so). And I'm not talking about MQA. In general many products have come to market that sound so much better with Redbook than they did in the 1990s. I don't know why, but I assume it has something to do with better jitter reduction/timing circuits. Very accurate oscillators got really cheap.
Well, thinking back that far it would have to be power. Power cords, power conditioners, all of that. Even today a lot of people still don't know about this. Or even worse, some poor souls actually doubt it matters. Which means it qualifies as under-appreciated as well.

Especially since even now when power conditioners and power cords have grown from a tiny nerd niche to fairly widespread use, even now the vast majority still fails to include wire and power right up there with speakers and amps in system budgeting. 

So yeah. Huge contribution. Has really stuck. And yet unappreciated.

Nailed it. What'd I win?
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Poor Erik. His parents go to all the trouble of spelling his name the coolest way, and to no avail ;-) .
The proliferation of Chinese, Hungarian and Russian vacuum tubes over the past two decades! Filling a need which we in the West no longer are willing to do!
Some modern innovations are truly extraordinary, and some are near worthless. It’s difficult to separate the two, you have to be lucky and also have the ability to tell when someone is being genuine, or not. Sometimes you just have to try things for yourself and that can be expensive, disappointing or embarrassing. Or mindblowing.

I think EMF blocking coatings are the new frontier. Especially for audio cable technology, but also for many other audio related uses.
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... I kind of wonder why more people don't take looks that seriously.
That's a rather odd observation from a guy who often insists others provide the results of controlled, scientific, double-blind listening tests.
" even now the vast majority still fails to include wire and power right up there with speakers "

The "vast majority" who enjoy this hobby, probable have a good reason for that. It's not that most haven't done some research or are ignorant to this subject. And most include some of these products, perhaps at a more modest price with good results. I'm not sure of the relative expense (wire to speakers) you are talking about, but (IMO) if you have good quality, basic power cables and the budget to upgrade, wire will not come close to better speakers. I understand if you do have problems with noise in your system, this must addressed first, but usually can be done at a modest price. Way more diminishing returns on wire than speakers. Cables and wire should be matched to your particular components, neutral and noise free. 
Digital streaming is far and away the big area these days where products can be easily differentiated by the approach they take and features delivered.

Other than that, for the most part, there are more options for good sound than ever at more favorable price points. Good sounding products are more abundant than ever in general at various price points though some products offer clearly unique and novel value, for example, OHM Walsh speakers with their ability to expand the "sweet spot" for listening to the entire room.

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….."This isn’t personal for me. It’s just passion.".....

In my world it is not clear how you can have passion but its not personal.

I enjoy this hobby, but I would stop short of calling it a passion. A lot of fun, yes.
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Could be passion for me. I sold my wife's Tibetan Mastiff  puppy to help pay for my Wilson speakers. I figure she will get the house, but I will get the speakers. Should sound ok in my new studio apartment?
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@viridian my feelings exactly.
"....... the audio rags, principally The Absolute Sound, started pushing imaging at the expense of tone." ???? What I recall and embraced, is some publications that, "pushed" realism(comparing what’s reproduced, to the sound of actual acoustic music, in a GOOD live venue) and trusting your ears, instead of clinical measurements. Imaging, sound stage(ambient info) AND tonality. NOTHING MISSING, from what was captured on a good recording. Of course, back when Edison developed his recording devices/methods, many couldn’t tell their playback/TONE, from the real thing, either. Some things just never change!
I think computer audio changed the game and is largely still with us, even if the computer isn’t always a traditional one. Innovation and advancements in both hardware and software continue to push the envelope. Implementing digital is better understood and even now many are finding out just how good the old Redbook standard is. At for forefront now is streaming, which is simply an offshoot of computer audio.