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Out of college, money spent
See no future, pay no rent
All the money's gone, nowhere to go
Any jobber got the sack
Monday morning, turning back
Yellow lorry slow, nowhere to go
But oh, that magic feeling, nowhere to go
Oh, that magic feeling, nowhere to go
Nowhere to go
It's been a buyers market for over a year now. Probably a variety of reasons, declining pool of audiophiles, declining incomes, upcoming elections causing lack of consumer confidence.
Who knows? All I know is it's a great time to be a buyer, but a terrible time to be a seller. Yet manufacturers continue to raise their prices.....hmmmm.
Jmcgrogan2, I think you are right about the declining audiophile pool, I have this impression too, at least people keep more to themselves. Whenever I read or participate in a discussion here, there are few active participants, it used to be different. And I remember more challenging economic times when prices were relatively higher and good pieces got bought quickly. Still, it's summer time, we'll see.
Whatever it is, I don't like it, even concerned. I might be able to save thousand dollars on my next purchase, but if it continues the outcome will not look good at all.
Now is the era of vintage receivers Pioneer SX xx80, sansui G 7000 or higher.
Folks realized that they sound super good and very often better than current hi-end units. In addition there's a HUGE advantage of having free service manuals with schematics over any current unit that doesn't have it. So to make long story short -- vintage receivers and amps are forever and other hi-end is temporary. Who's going to buy $5...10k 10...20 years old Lamm monoblocks? Only fools, because the smart one would look for serviceable unit.
Czarivey, you just, unintentionally I believe, called me an idiot, along with many others. I would buy those Lamms in an instant if I could. They last for decades and at least for now can be easily and inexpensively serviced by Lamm. The Rowland 8T that I mentioned is great too and again can be serviced without a problem. Servicing French made electronics could be a little more difficult, I don't know, but even sending not too heavy units to Europe should not be much of a problem for an audiophile. Just call the factory, pack the thing well and get it shipped without leaving your home.
I’d say there’s a good chance fewer people are dissatisfied these days with what they already have leaving a smaller market for the true "high end" stuff.
Many have good quality cellphones to start with these days and with the many good quality headphones and even Bluetooth speakers available these days for not very much few have little need for much else to listen to music with.
Not to mention all the other entertainment options people have out there these days.
So basically a lot of competition for a lot less out there.
that and also stagnant wages and rising cost of living probably has something to do with it.
Vladimir Lamm when had different last name, he also would provide schematics to his equipment known as Amphiton manufactured in early-mid 80's. I’ve had Amphiton when I was in 7th or 8th grade, but now my children are even older. When he’s gone, the equipment won’t be serviceable, but those vintage Pioneers and Sansui will be.
Hi-end temporary and good vintage stuff is forever.
How many high-end equipment isn’t serviceable anymore today? Wholebunchalot for sure.
Well, let's hope Vladimir Shushirin lives long. I believe, there will be a few places that will service pieces like Lamm and Rowland. If not, they only need service every ten years, and if this becomes impossible in ten years, that's all right. Lamm has a cult following, those amps will be serviceable for a very long time, little doubt. Biggest problem might be special tubes that he uses, matched to each unit.
If you will forgive this, I don't need this vintage Japanese junk, either serviceable or not.
As others have said summer is usually slower and also a lot of folks who've been doing this a long time are getting to the point where they make changes more infrequently. I know I used to churn through a lot of gear but not my $ is mostly spent on ancillaries, tubes, footers, cables etc. And please can we leave politics out of this?
There have been several interesting answers above and I'd like to offer some more.....
We are living in a time when even relatively "inexpensive" gear has gotten really good sounding. If you've been in this hobby for any length of time, you start to realize that the more expensive the gear is, doesn't always mean better sounding. Having gone to several shows like AXPONA, it becomes clear that most of the uber expensive rooms sound ok....not great. I started making it a game to seek out the lesser known companies to hear their gear and compare them to the better known names. In almost every case, the smaller companies produced gear that sounded as good or better than the others. Many of them were also made in the US which is a big plus for me. The customer service tends to be stellar with these manufacturers.
I also believe there is a move toward simplification with gear. I'm over 50 and I'm getting tired of lifting amps and preamps that weigh over 75 lbs or 45 lbs respectively. After 2 back surgeries, I'm not willing to take the chance anymore.
I've decided to move to speakers that are higher efficiency and integrateds that don't weight 65 lbs, but sound really good. An example would be to compare one of the choices the OP gave: Lavardin. I've owned the IT and it sounds good, but I recently heard about a small company from the UK by the name of Sonneteer and decided to give them a try at a fraction of the price. In my system, the Sonneteer Alabaster is a much more musical and enjoyable integrated amp. It retails for $2400 and the Lavardin IT retails for $9500 (I believe). A no brainer.
I also hear from other audio friends that they are nervous about the economy and with the prices of used gear falling like a rock, they are holding on to what they have. I think the word used above by audiotomb was content.
I've also noticed that more and more of my friends would rather spend some extra money going to local concerts now rather than keep chasing the unobtainable.
Just my 2 cents.
What sense63 said!
Here is an example. I've always loved ARC gear, but I can't afford it any longer. Even used most of its quite expensive. Recently, I purchased a used Blue Circle tube preamp and solid state amp in mint condition as they were so affordable. Cheaper than many decent integrateds. I was somewhat skeptical at first. After all it's not an ARC, CJ or BAT! To my pleasant surprise, the BC gear sounds wonderful, perhaps some of the best sound I've had. Better than my old BAT gear. I had always heard of Blue Circle, but just gave it no mind as there was always enough of the "big boy's" gear available and I had the disposable income to acquire them. Now, I've become much more frugal. The resale on some of the smaller and lesser known companies' gear just doesn't hold up; good for the buyer though.
More apparently though to me anyway is the fact that most audiophiles are aging and keeping what they have. We've taken years to learn, gain experience and build our systems. Like" jond " said, we're tweaking our systems more so than replacing entire components. Secondly, I don't have to tell you the middle class is dwindling. Many of the high end companies knew this and therefore raised prices accordingly. As an example, the sales of $500.00 to $5000.00 speakers has declined while the sales of speakers over $5k has risen. Even when these are resold, not cheap. As a previous boater, I can tell you there is definitely a parallel. Heck a few years ago a middle class family could get a really decent boat for a very competitive price. Now, runabouts are priced like cruisers used to be. Exponential increases! I could ramble all night, so I'll finish by saying:
Lesson if any...let's enjoy what we have and be thankful every time we put on our favorite music to relax and unwind. Regards......
It seems that elegance and power has gone small and light. So much power in your hand and so many songs on your Pod that big and heavy seems like dinosaurs of old tech. I certainly felt it when I gave my son-in-law my Classe amp. Like giving him my pet Brontosaurus. When everyone had a turntable, fat TV, and a big Dell PC, the high-end stuff looked proportional and cool.
...for your listening 'pleasure' and perhaps a form of education:
'Industrial Disease' by Dire Straits.
Still funny, and still wayyy too true.
IMHO, all of y'alls comments have elements of the Truth. Too expensive, too 'niche', too esoteric, too self-limiting in the modern marketplace. We're all discovering that the digital domain is dominating the discussion of the day. And I love alliteration, but that's just me....;)
The 'cultured ear' has become passe'...
I suspect that the majority of those of us who lurk these forums came of age and grew through the maturation of audio reproduction and the means and methods to produce and reproduce it. We witnessed the birth and growth of a market that has become so broad and varied as our tastes in the 'how' we prefer to experience it has mirrored this growth.
You can drink a 5$ bottle of wine or a 500$ version of the same vintage. In a blind test, would you be able to tell the difference if you hadn't sampled both in some fashion previously?
I sincerely doubt it.
We've 'created our own dilemma'.
To the 'newcomer' to 'audio', an all-encompassing system entails an HDTV w/7.1 surround linked to a digital device ('puter, I-whatever,'droid...) w/blueteeth sunk everywhere, controlled by a remote something that controls more than just that system....if they can afford that level of sophistication. And I'm not going to heft the 10' pole towards the economy, geopolitics, and whom y'all want to blame for all of That....
We are being phased out. Your monoblocks are going Class D, like it or not. I'm not going to say that vinyl is going to disappear tomorrow, or even a decade from today. But I have some transcription discs that unless I take an inordinate amount of time and treasure to resurrect them, they will still remain 'curiosities', remnants of an era passed.
'Twas always thus, and will always be such. Things change...and a lot faster than wallets, preferences, and opinions.
*Kicks soapbox into the corner, and stalks off....*
Ha, I'd rather be a Brontosaurus than engineered mosquito. Interesting angle of view, Electroslacker.
What Sense63 and Carmenc wrote sounds sad. We'll enjoy what we have and will have but next generation..it's very uncertain to say the least.
As soon as I can I'll get the biggest baddest amps I can afford and accomodate in my place, believe you me. Let's call it both a tradition and counter-culture. And they sure will sound better than any shiny box.
" We are being phased out ". That's a little too desperate, I would say, but yes the situation is not good.
About wine analogy. Yes, you can clearly tell the difference between a so-so wine and an excellent one even if you have never tried any wine before. But any analogy has limits. Those who were 'brainwashed' with digital, and usually poor quality digital, would have hard time to appreciate fine things.
There is a lot of great equipment available for sale here on Audiogon (as opposed to Cr**g**st), and some of it is expensive, even very expensive, but no one is forced to buy anything. The summer, notwithstanding, there is a button called "Make Offer" that allows anyone to submit an offer lower than the asking price. I have noticed that some things have been sitting longer than previous years. Sometimes, it's the fault of the seller. One guy, recently told me he was too busy for a short demo, despite living close to me. I just think that, with 100%+ feedback, I deserved a demo. Needless to say, I won't be buying anything from that seller.
I have been tempted to replace my Avalons with the latest in speaker development, but the price of an even used pair of, say Raidho, Rockport, Tidal, Vandersteen, YG Acoustics, etc., have reached into the unreachable stratosphere. Even if I was able to afford an uber-speaker, I have no assurances that I will find it's performance more satisfying. And...of course, I am left with the need to sell a more than moderately priced speaker in today's market. The days of continual upgrades may be over for me.
tonykay; I don't know. I have no problem letting a person into my home to hear the item for sale after they have made an offer. That way I'm sure I'm dealing with a serious person as opposed to a lookie loo.
If they are interested in purchasing that particular item and make and offer, my sole responsibility after that (if they want to come by to hear it work) is to make sure it is working as I advertised it and the prove to the buyer that it is working.
There is lots of equipment for sale. The real issue is whether a particular person is interested in that particular piece. Sometimes it takes awhile to find the right buyer.
This is true for most equipment. Cars, watches, art, etc. The right buyer has to see the advertisement or item for sale. If they don't, then the item will sit for awhile.
It is important to not be desperate to sell something. Patience is key, along with pricing the item correctly in the first place.
Just got from estates a fully functioning flagship giant of vintage Japanese high-end Sansui AU-20000 complete with box and service manuals AND schematics!!!
I think I've fallen in love again. It's an upgrade to most of integrated amps EVER built before.
Fully adjustable MM/MC phonostages with load impedance and capacitance.
fully adjustable input levels of every input individually!
low noise floor and incredible dynamic control.
switchable triple tone control -- got poor recordings, well, hey, no problem!
adjustable VU meters scale.
200wpc of continues power over the whole operating frequency bandwidth
internally switchable preamp out and poweramp in
Hey who wants to drag race with me hah?
The experience I described in my post doesn't really fit your scenario. The price being asked seemed reasonable, and I was willing to buy. I just wanted to be sure that the piece wasn't damaged in some way as the price seemed very reasonable. The seller gave me a story about being too busy to allow anyone to demo his headphones. I think he just wanted someone to send him the money, and not ask any questions, which is fine for me. If I hit the buy button, I would have been committed to buying which I may not have wanted to do based on a demo, if the piece was damaged. Then I would have to deal with negative feedback here on Audiogon. Since he was local, I thought a demo was a reasonable request. Apparently, the seller disagreed.
tonykay; I hear you. If someone is close by and want to hear the unit I would only agree with that if the person made an offer. That offer can be contingent with the buyer saying that they want to make sure the item works as I advertised it. However, since I'm not a store and don't want to be one, I don't want lookie loos.
I have sold many items and made many transactions out of my home and each time the person stated on Audiogon (for example) that they were buying the item. Again, I have no problem connecting the item to my existing system and letting that person hear their own music played. They paid when they got to my home and saw/heard the unit.
If they change their mind after hearing it, I really wouldn't have a problem with that either, I guess. But, that hasn't happened to me yet.
Each time, the buyer brought their own music and we sat, talked about music and equipment, enjoyed the music and the purchase was made. Sometimes it took an hour or so and was fun.
I actually prefer to physically pick up the item for sale if I was the buyer. Because 1) I want to make sure it was in the condition the seller stated, 2) I want to hear it work and is not filled with sand, 3) I prefer to physically hand over cash instead of internet money transactions, but you can't have everything I guess.
But to your point, if a potential buyer said to me they have to hear it first before making the offer, I would kindly turn that buyer down. I don't have the time. Make the offer (one should know about the equipment they want to buy), I'll accept the offer, then if he/she says that they must make sure the item works as advertised and want to hear it, that is fine.
Also, to me, it makes no sense for a buyer that lives in driving distance to pay me over the internet. I wouldn't do that. I would come by, listen and pay.
But, the offer has to be made and accepted first.
I bought a pair of Audio Research REF 250 amps months ago from my favorite dealer and that meant that one of my two Mark Levinson 23.5 amps has to go. I already have a seriously modified Bedini 250/250 amp (really nice amp) and a Mark Levinson ML3 amp as back up amps, so I really shouldn't keep the 23.5. I sent it in to an authorized Mark Levinson Service center for service and recapping. When I advertise it for sale, I would expect some buyers to want to come buy to hear and physically pick up this monster instead of shipping. So, that definitely would not be a problem. But, as I said earlier, offer made, price accepted, then come by to hear, pay and pick up.
And before anyone ask me. Yes, the 23.5 is a better amp than the ML3. Even though I upgraded the ML3 with much better, more linear output transistors (this amp sounds way better now). I want to keep the ML3, because it is really nice, vintage (upgraded), is extremely well designed and built and I really like it.
I'm keeping the other 23.5.
yeah, yeah, I know. I have lots of equipment. I'm working on that.
You should see the really vintage receivers and equipment that I have and have restored. You know, the old 70s Sansui, Pioneer or Marantz receivers with wood grain panels. For what they are, with the right speakers, they look and sound great.
My daughter is now into vintage equipment. I'm finding out that many 20 something kids are into vintage equipment also. Interesting and fun.
When you officialy make an offer and the offer is accepted, you have to buy, you are bound by the rules. Sure, you could make certain in person that the condition is as stated.
Not everyone wants strangers in their houses, me included.
Cash transaction is not the best way, there are many fake dollars, some say at least 5%.
There may not be a single reason for this. My experience has been that from 2009-2013 I was able to buy a lot of great gear for far less than it’s available for now. For example I found an ML 26 for $400 and that included 3 sets of CAMACS. Lots of people selling stuff to make ends meet.
I kind of over-indulged. Got enough gear during that timeframe that my "need" for more has slowed down - just a lot of toys to swap in and out. Not to say the audiophile thirst has diminished, but I personally have been able to enjoy mixing and matching gear I already have rather than acquiring a lot more.
Probably won’t last, but that’s why I’ve bought a lot less the last 3 years. That has also caused me to focus the budget on buying more music rather than gear - checking out genres that sound better on a given configuration.
This isn't going to be a popular answer but, too many FREE options to sell goods;. Craigslist and other sites ( I won't mention) are likely reducing the number of items on Audiogon. I know some high-end audio dealers who only sell on EBay. It seems the trusted feedback system would be enough to keep people buying on Audiogon, but people weigh the risk and buy/sell on Free listing sites.
Lets just say that it has become easier to buy with all the websites for high end today making buyers more uncertain of cost. You can add the fact maybe the buyers are an older crowd generation, the ones with money who are either passing away or just to old now to hear anything. Most of the people who buy from me are close if not in retirement. The cost of living put a hurt on everyone also where we are forced to buy our own medical insurance instead of saving for something we enjoy. Buying high end at one time was a choice now maybe it has become more of a selfish move with so many other needs.
Myself I will still buy the older gear, to me it is the best bang for your $.
Look who is talking with two posts history. North Koreans are said to be good at it too.
It is hardly free to sell on ebay. Many dealers and individuals put the same items both on ebay and on Audiogon at the same time, usually at higher price on ebay to cover higher fees.
There are plenty of items, though some stuff never shows up or sells quicker than I could see it.
I am 58 years old. I lived thru the great era of audio. 15 years ago my medium sized town had 2 dedicated hifi stores. Today they are long gone and the Best Buy doesn’t even have a listening room. IMO this is due to several forces. 8 years of horrible economic conditions is the start. But, there are other forces at play as well. In the home, everyone is focused on video today, not music. Music is for "on the go". Everyone has a phone in their pocket with 100’s of hours of music on them. Headphones can be had for $10-$20. People don’t get together and do things as a group anymore. And for those of us who love audio, there are the value systems. I have a pair of Klipsch Herasy’s being driven by an OLD Jolida 202 (with new tubes), using an iPod thru a dragonfly as the source. Total cost to replicate in the used market, about $2200. Everyone who enters my office is blown away at the sound. 40 years ago to copy that sound I may have had the Klipsch speakers but the rest of the system would have been McIntosh or something designed by Bob Carver. And the source material would have been big boxes of vinyl.
And then there is the source music. My children have my grand children growing up listening to the sounds of the 1960’s, 70’s, and 80’s. Those of us who grew up listening to these artists are watching them quit playing due to health reasons or death. We need some new artists that have mass appeal. The music of this era to a great extent was happy music. The music made you smile. We didn't have artists singing about raping people and killing police.
Can an audio return to greatness? Sure. But it has to start with better economic conditions and people becoming less polarized. When people begin doing things together, good music, coming out of loudspeakers will return. Then, the days of the hifi will return.
Can audio return to greatness? Question is can artistry return to being artistry and not you know what ? Theoretically yes.
Economic conditions are good enough for many and not too bad for most, this is not a cause but an excuse. People spend ridiculous dollars on bullsh-t and eat three times more food than they need. Alright, I'll be more gentle - two times more. Not to mention drinking like pigs, oops I mean drinking too much.