What will it take to have live music for everyone?

Given that the best of equipment in the best of rooms can produce live sounding music under certain circumstances. Not live musicians in real amphitheaters, but reproduce the sound, feeling, air of the experience.

That leaves a rare few with that experience sometimes.

What will it take in audio for everyone to have that at a price that they can afford and are willing to pay?
I don't think it's just the expense (up to a point of course.) I mean, I see folks spending gobs of money these days on stuff I consider frivolous things, or experiences with short-lived stimulation/rewards.

I think the real reason for the limited appeal of high end audio (at least so far) is not the cost so much as the difficulty.

If you want proof, look at all the inquiries in this forum -- especially from beginners who sincerely crave the great results you mention, but realize they have no clue where to start. Most people want instant gratification, and don't wish to make a study of the subject or become passionately immersed in it.

I wish it were easier to achieve the "live music" thing. Remember B&O? Not cheap! Big seller! I'm sure there'd be a huge market for a system you could just bring home and plug-and-play -- you know, like a big 72" plasma TV. Now that's instant stimulation! -- and about the cost of a very nice little audio system.
Most people don't care about great sound - they want a great TV instead. Nsgarch is right.
I think the other aspect is knowing that it's even possible. I had a musician in my home and he listened to my system and was amazed. His comment was "If Sonny Rollins was any closer he'd be spitting on me." He had no idea that kind of reproduction was even possible. I think most poeple believe that sound reproduction is what you can get at Best Buy--and they don't even sell 2 channel audio to speak of, it's all home theater in a box.

I would love to see a study of people that go to regular live events, such as symphony, acoustical, opera, jazz, and see what percentage have a high-end, or just respectable 2 channel system for reproducing good quality sound. Secondly, I would want to know how many are even aware that you can reproduce music at the level we are talking about. I'm betting these percentages are relatively low.

What will it take? I say education, both the type the Nsgarch spoke of but also awareness that it's even possible.
Yes, education on this stuf is what keeps most people out of it.
Most people never get the chance to hear true hi-fi or even mid-fi. Once they have been placed in front of a true high end system they have a new point of reference.
If you have ever tasted a great bottle of wine or driven a well built sportscar you will have a new appreciation for the possibilities.

Just like with wine though, there is an intimidation factor for the uninitiated. When either audiophiles or wine enthusiasts start talking about their passion those who are not familiar get that glazzed look in their eyes.

Because most have not had the chance to hear what they are missing they will question the cost/reward for a $5K stereo. "Does it get louder? Well my Kenwood has 550 watts which is more than your ____'s 100." Do these same people say "Wow! A $100 bottle of wine. That must get you really drunk."? No. They understand quality over quantity in that instance.

Oh well.
I've placed a couple of folks in front of my system which, is quite good, and they didn't get it, and really had no interest in trying to. You really have to know how to critically listen to both live and reproduced music to first realize what is missing in a given situation, and then to be able to hear when it is present. To most people music is a flat directionless wash used for background(unless their system referance is an explosion coming from some back wall of a home theater) and things like sound stage placement and size, instrument space, cymbal decay characteristics etc have zero meaning for them. They don't even know they are missing anything and they don't know it when it's hitting them in the ears
Hey, haven't there been a few previous posts stating that many musicians own really crappy home audio systems? Go figure?!!
A miracle. When did one last occur?
I might be off base on this, but I think a lot of getting people into hi-end audio begins with exposing them to live unamplified music at a young age. Doing so I feel essentially hardwires people's auditory memory, gives them a true reference for sound as they grow older, and instills in them a need to hear music reproduced the right way. I also feel that people who view music as a way of living (as many view food or religion) are driven (dare I say possessed) to seek out ways to get closer to the sound. And, too, let's face the fact that music does not play a primary place in the lives of most people, hence the fact that Best Buy is good enough for them.
Many musicians have "crappy" music systems because really, they're around live music all the time, and if they want to hear good live music, they'll just get together with friends to jam or attend a live event. And when they're listening, they may be more obsessed with hearing what the musicians are doing rather than how realistic they sound.

Live music can be had for everyone. There are many talented musicians and local groups that play in festivals and such for free or a nominal fee.
Some very good points by Bojack,Piezo and Rives. I go at least once a week to see a live performance nearby. Different bands each week. Most of the people are to busy talking and have the need for visual stimulation. Only a few people really get into the sound and can take note of an excellent performance. Is it possible that some people do not have the capacity to hear into the music? I have noticed that some people cannot be silent and still enough so as to eliminate the sounds that are comming from within. This may be the reason why some (not all) need to be drunk and dancing in order to enjoy music. Maybe they want the attention on them and not the peformers.This could be why there are fewer women audiophiles than men.
I agree with most everything that has been said in this post. As a musician myself, I have noticed that many of my friends who sit in front of my system seem to "get it." In fact, I have had a few friends ask me for help in designing fair priced systems for them. My friends have not spent as much time with audio as I have so their observations are not as detailed as my own, but I feel that they all have the capability to really appreciate hifi. I think that it is because we know what music is supposed to sound like, and hearing accurate reproduction of it takes an important precedence...Now if I could only explain to them that my system is only at the tip of the iceberg of what is capable!
I have several friends that are very tallented musicians. They all either listen to terribly cheap Wal-Mart stereos or stuff I have handed down to them.
I have other friends that listen almost exclusively to MP3's.

Are these people any less "into" the music just because they are reproducing it in less than "perfect" ways?

I know a couple of audiophiles who will not listen to music over their vehicles stock stereo. They will not listen to an MP3. They will not listen to a boombox. They will not listen to a box system.

Does listening to music have to be an all-enveloping, near-perfect, bring-a-tear-to-your-eye experiance every time to be worthwhile?
Good question, Lakefrontroad. In a word, as one told me some time ago, the best thing one can invest in their system is 'time'.

That is the best answer I can think of.

More specifically I think that when one invests 'time' they begin to realize there's a lot of old wive's tales being propagated out there. And without time and experimentation it is impossible to develop an open mind which often times leads to further experimentation, and hopefully greater sonics.

Just a few of the more popular old wive's tales that can prevent the masses from achieving the type of system/soncis you're talking about might include:

o A room's acoustics account for 80% of the sound when it really is speaker placement and the speaker's interaction with the room. Even then it's only perhaps 20 to 25 percent.

o Refusal to accept that everybody's AC is dirty and is in need of proper line conditioning. Instead they focus their attention on power cables only.

o Thinking that most line conditioners must be good.

o Thinking that installing dedicated circuits/lines somehow magically cleans up the AC coming from the street.

o Vibration control via racking systems and mechanical diodes does little or nothing to a system's soncis. Rather they install their systems on a china buffet, window shelf, floor, Plexiglas, kitty litter, innertubes, tennis balls, etc..

o Many still don't realize that sharing AC circuits with other components, lamps, etc. can literally choke the dynamics from the amp.

o Many still think they must spend lots of money.

o Many still think that assembling a superior system is all science, when like most things in life it is more art and trial and error than science.

o Many still think cryo-treatment is snake oil. But that's only because their systems fall short in one or more of the above categories.

o Many still think that if an ic, sc, or pc isn't thicker than their garden hose it can't possibly be any good.

o Many still think that amplifiers are more similar sonically than they are different.

o That dealers, mfg'ers, reviewers, and enthusiasts know what they are talking about and are trustworthy. Far too many times it can be the blind leading the blind. Or worse, far too many times it can be the deceptive leading the blind.

There's plenty of other old wive's tales but I think these are some of the more sonically impacting ones.

Stehno, your words of wisdom ring true, oh wise one :-) My only problem involves cryo'ing. Originally, cryo'ing was used as a tempering treatment for homogeneous metals. Different metals [or non-metallic objects] have different coefficients of expansion...think of how a bimetallic strip or coil works in a thermostat!

My concern would be damage done to a component using many different materials, with many different coefficients of expansion. They are being exposed to a temperature extreme for which the design parameters were never intended.

Yes, I know people swear that the sound gets better, or at least changes, but I would be afraid of premature failure or problems. I may be wrong...just my opinion.
I find it interesting that others don't have a sense that cost is a major factor. Cost being a function of volume for the most part. I can conceive of high end electronics being replicated in mass volume at costs that are mass affordable. Not cheap, but affordable.

If that was/is the case, and equipment continues in the same direction, it poses the possibility that many could have the equivalent of the rarest of systems today at prices that are currently in the uppwardly mobile market.

But, I believe correctly stated in another thread, the goal for many is not live or life-like music, but rather a skew on that. For some, as they imaging music to sound and for others as they wish it to be. Still others don't want the involvement and captivation that real music brings, but want music as a part of the landscape, not the subject itself.

I am all of those at various times and therefore relate to the ideas.

I just can't get my arms around the idea that everyone doesn't want the real thing, if they could get it.

Maybe, the truth is that most don't believe they can have it and therefore have a reason why it's not important to them.

As is obvious, the why really interests me.
Thanks, Fatparrot. Regarding the cryo-treatment thing, I was really only thinking of wiring, cabling, ics, outlets, IEC connectors and receptacles, plugs, etc., and perhaps some line conditioners. To be honest, I’m not even sure why I threw that issue in except to say that I’ve heard some fascinating improvements from even just one Hubbell 20 amp cryo-treated IEC connector upgrade (from a standard Hubbell 20 amp version) and yet there’s a host of people out there claiming it’s snake oil.

Lakefrontroad, from what I understand the percentage of adult population who even half-seriously endeavor in this hobby is perhaps 0.5 %. If that is true, the mass production thing probably will never happen. Although between Home Theater, 2-channel, price, and performance, mfg’er Nuforce may perhaps be as close as any high-end mfg’er is going to get toward ‘mass producing’ high quality components and at affordable prices.

I think the fact of the matter is most aren't even aware the potential for such sonics exists. For example, I like TAS magazine, but it was only in or around issue 126 in 2002 where they had written about the results of rewiring room 3 at Seacliff and installed 15 amp, 20 amp, and 30 amp dedicated circuits/lines, etc. Scott Markswell stated that the sonic differences were so great that he regrettably admitted until that point-in-time all their previous components reviewed could not possibly have realized their fullest potential until they installed the new re-wiring. That’s quite an admission maybe even embarrassing. Yet some enthusiasts had already been realizing those benefits of dedicated lines long before that admission.

I suppose if one has never seen or driven a Ferrari before, it doesn't make much sense to attempt to acquire one or make one’s Cadillac perform just like the Ferrari. Not to say that a Ferrari is the end-all. Bad analogy perhaps and my first post above may have sounded a bit scattered but that was actually one of the points I was trying to make.

The other side of that same coin are those who have a vested interest to steer the consumer or industry in a certain direction for monetary and/or prideful gain with little or no regard for true performance improvements and long-term improvements within the industry itself.

But I suppose what I was really trying to say was there seems to be a lot of potential baggage, history, politics, dogmatism, and just enough subjectivity to make it near impossible for even one (much less the masses) to begin to achieve the level of sonics you may be thinking of. Not impossible because there’s always a handful of mfg’ers who stay out and/or are kept out of the mainstream yet still manage to produce a superior product and remain in business.

These may well be some of the very reasons this industry has stagnated over the last 5 years and there are some who actually think it’s a dying industry.

But one thing seems fairly certain, conventional audio wisdom will never take the masses to the promised land.

I just can't get my arms around the idea that everyone doesn't want the real thing, if they could get it.

Maybe, the truth is that most don't believe they can have it and therefore have a reason why it's not important to them.

Lakefrontroad (System | Threads | Answers)

I believe if one could get recorded music to sound live in one's home, and if the system to do it was within reach budgetarily, then one would do it.

However, based on the constant changing of systems in these discussion threads, I don't believe it's possible, no matter how much money is spent.

Therefore, I'm just happy enjoying music produced in high fidelity, even if it's not The Grail.
""I just can't get my arms around the idea that everyone doesn't want the real thing, if they could get it.

Maybe, the truth is that most don't believe they can have it and therefore have a reason why it's not important to them."

Lakefrontroad (System | Threads | Answers)

I believe if one could get recorded music to sound live in one's home, and if the system to do it was within reach budgetarily, then one would do it."

Gentle People

I'm afraid that contrary to what has been posted here, many audiophiles definitely DO NOT want a system to sound like live music. Many people are addicted to euphonically comfortable and pleasing audio. Live music, often is not comfortable and as one who listens to live music (amplified and unamplified)often, I have found that people who hear systems that approach the live event often find it too edgy/intense, often (incorrectly IMHO) describing such systems as bright etched etc.