there are many forums these days compared to 2000.
And yes, many are dead for unknown (to me) reasons.
It is a shame because we all have something to contribute.
Now that the Absolute Sound Mag. is waxing so enthusiastically about Meridian's MQA technology, we are going to have to adjust our thinking all over again about getting even more realism out of our systems. I already have invested in CD's, Tapes, Vinyl, and an IPAD and MAC-Mini
formats, and yes, i am weary of even more technology that is superseding what i have already spent an obscene amount of money on.
And, with amplifiers costing over $150K and the latest speaker tech (Magico, Wilson, Focal, etc.) that HAS to be the next thing on my shopping list, i enjoy the pretty pictures for a few minutes, and then
put on the radio so i don't even have to get up anymore.
OTOH, when and if a store can sell off all my present gear and set up all this new stuff customized for my room, all guaranteed to thrill me beyond my wildest expectations, i will make out ONE check to make it happen.
Yes, traffic is slow.
As a matter of fact, I am pretty much set with my present system after getting a pair of Zu Event series I speaker cables. They really make me wonder if anything aside from PC audio would be a real step up.
I'm only a month and two days away from retirement and like the old saying about a man's mind being wonderfully concentrated the day before he's to be executed seems to apply here.
As for older, classic equipment, I can't say one way or the other. There's only so much out there, most have been taken, and the rest seems to have sparked a rekindled interest of sorts. Like anything old, what goes around, comes around.
All the best,
Audiophile forums and our hobby have not been the same since the market crash and soft economic recovery. It hardly takes Janet Yellen to predict sluggish high-end audio sales or a lack of exuberance in participation, because we don’t fit neatly into a standard luxury product model.
Audio rags have pretty much served their purpose and seen their lime light and now the scattered intellect of the web has our members more divided than ever. More/better informed? That could be debatable.
Exasperated locally by the subsequent sale and restructuring of A’gon also imo left a lot of folks less enthusiastic about sharing in the experience. And yes, on the whole, the dominant segment of audiophiles with deep pockets are growing older fast, and more cautious as well.
It takes a confluence of favorable conditions to create the robust specialized market we once enjoyed. The shear volume of high-end gear that was once available from day to day offered us a "kids in the candy store" situation which was rare and used sales fueled new sales and the overall enthusiasm. One might have thought it would never end...
There is still lots of activity everyday here. Many of those who've been here since the beginning seem put off by many of the newer members who don't treat others with respect and seem to be here to score points in an imaginary of "Who's The Expert?". For an all-things-audio perspective, this site is still the best online IMHO. It's far from dead.
I also used to read AudioAsylum regularly, but it really seems to have less participation than ever and it feels like the average participant there doesn't really want to hear much about anything newer than the Elcaset.
Computeraudiophile and headfi both have vibrant specialist communities. The former is teeming with knowledge and constant product updates both on hardware and software, but the tolerance is low for newbies who are too lazy to search archives before posting questions that have been covered. For me, it's currently the place with all the real audio action, even though I wish that were still here.
Headfi is the place for all things headphones and related gear. It's a very young & global community and "My 'Murica" will need to open their eyes & hearts a bit in conversation with many ESL typers, etc. Hey, remember that their English is better than my Norwegian, Mandarin, etc!
Audio enthusiasts are still busy online, we might just all have to dig a bit more to connect. Cheers,
As much as I hate to say/think it, the hobby's dying. Don't get me wrong, it will always exist, but its glory days very well may have happened in the last century. I'd agree that Headfi has very robust activity but it's not solely dedicated to audiophile (fact is, the amount of anti-audiophile ranting over there can be surprising). For me, I love my music and my gear and choose not to lament about the state of affairs as it doesn't affect that love in any way.
There is already more information and discussion available than any one person could read. New stuff comes up all the time but not all in one place. I am seldom not able to find info on a topic with a search. Most common important topics have been beaten to death already by now. Normal stuff. We are probably past the peak in terms of activity but so are most things that have been around awhile and not new or trend worthy.
Activity varies with the topic, MHO. With the advent of 'PC-fi', there's interest in adapting one's current system to the 'new standard of standardness'; that's where there's the typ. 'Q&A' happening. Those who've made a substantial investment already seem to have hunkered down and will only make a move 'sideways' to something that's either come on the market at a price point they can live with or 'trade across' to something they've lusted for that's become available used.
The 'hi-end' market has become so esoteric and pricey that having to choose between a nice pair of monoblocks or a car 'update' or covering the kid's college tuition or co-signing for a house makes matters moot.
I spent the bulk of my time on the DIYA forums of my choice, because that's what I can afford and where my primary interests lie. The bulk of the new gen market is 'into' the iThing/PC/Bluetoothed/AV interconnectability realm, and 'hi-end' to them is what they have NOW. Irregardless that us 'old timers' listen to this stuff and shake our heads in disbelief or at worse disgust. Until and unless they hear something that will make them pause and ponder, that's where the 'bleeding edge' IS, and will remain, the Moore's Law moving target.
I'm not surprised by this. If I didn't know better, due to 'age and experience', I'd be part of that chase too. Now I'm just picky as to what I let into my life, and the level of extremism I'm willing to go to.
I've consciously set 'the bar' a bit lower, as age and knowledge has superseded mere gadget lust. Age, because I don't have 'dog whistle' hearing anymore. Knowledge, as in recognition of the previous and that copper can be made only so pure and the pursuit of more zeros right of the decimal point becomes more of a bragging point than a unbiased A/B test in a listening environment that looks like a NASA facility....
...and I don't want one of those, either...anymore. I used to have a pile that was occasionally referred to as the 3rd member of the household and was just short of having a manual to get it up and running. The SAF was reached at that point....
I have Something Similar at this time, but it's not in the 'general living area'. The GLA has something far simpler, but still has too many remotes for her taste; fortunately ONE does suffice for most daily distractions...
Time has changed the playing field; forums for the new field are Elsewhere. Those of us who care about such are Here. We're in decline. 'Twas always thus. Maybe we can be the shoulders that get stood upon if we're lucky....
John Atkinson wrote in 2005 that from 1986 to 2005, the median age of Stereophile subscribers rose from 38 to 48-- at half the rate of chronological aging. Assuming that "Atkinson’s Law" continues, the median age for active participation in the hobby is now 53. Adjust for the unhealed wound that the industry suffered in 2008, for retirement planning, for high inflation in audio pricing, and for gradual ramping of boomers through the actuarial table. You get the idea. Can Jams have been one of the few consistent rays of hope at the audio shows..I suppose we have Dr.Dre to thank for that.
Actually since there are relatively few new audiophiles, you know, what with the Walkman, iPod, iPad and iPhone generation and given the lack of interest and or means to pursue an (increasingly) expensive hobby in the midst of a raging recession/depression, actually a series of them, I would opine the real average age of audiophiles doesn’t obey the Atkinson formula and to be around 64.
I could be handy, mending a fuse
When your lights have gone
You can knit a sweater by the fireside
geoffkait, you could again, be on to something here. Doing a very quick, very non-scientific study of my local audio group, the most stalwart, hardcore of the 300+ mailing list would probably fit neatly between JA's and your #, yet closer to yours. And I would agree that the market hit (2008) and continuing hangover, have left this hobby to waste for too many very logical reasons. Sad, but true. And we may well be the last remanent.
doing the garden, digging the weeds
who could ask for more?
I read the big two audio mags for 10+ years and then let them lapse. I've visited the big two fora for the last 10 years as well and find interest (my own) lagging as well. Been there done that in both cases. The freshness wears off, the same posters soldier on with, in may cases the same well worn agendas. The same handful of trolls keep popping up with the latest disingenuous topic of the day and the same crew of responders, oblivious to being played, it seems, chime in as if on cue.
10 years ago I might have logged on to tell you how my first adventure with full system cable cooking went (hooked everything back up yesterday after 100 hours on the Dharma). But now, I realize, I'll just as likely have to start defending myself from ridicule as much as sharing any insights. Don't get me wrong, I don't cringe in the corner in worry over internet reprisals. But why bother.
I have one more observation which may be overly simplistic, but with the advent of the compact disc and digital audio, the quest for high-end sound from this VERY-convenient-to-use format was a huge stimulant
in the market. I recall fierce competition to reduce "jitter" and other artifacts, not to mention a herculean effort to perfect the analog circuitry
as well (i.e. Levinson, Spectral, Meridian, etc.). The endless comparisons to vinyl (are we there yet?) also caused an additional (and very necessary) wave of improvements in everything else, even wall outlets and the thickness
of power cables. So now digital IS pretty darn good and truly enjoyable
to listen to, even for hours on end, and is still as easy as pie to get the music going without much if any physical effort. You can even stream
music which is the ultimate couch-potato audiophile dream machine.
So i go back to my original argument that, while a $5,000 pair of speakers used to be SOTA, today even $50,000 may not be quite enough money to get the very best that's out there. Ditto for amps,
wire, etc. And in the meanwhile, and BTW thanks to the HUGE improvement in the way CD's are recorded and manufactured, i am
(sorry to have to say this) SATISFIED- at least 95% anyway. Can you blame me?
So when i see a gorgeous pair of speakers in an audio magazine for $90,000, i admire them for several minutes, read part of the review, and then give the issue to someone else to read.
If you have the time to keep up with the Audiogon, Audio Asylum (much less moderated) and the Steve Hoffman Music Forums (very highly moderated), then you have too much time on your hands.
On the Hoffman site, albums, often including every different release/remastering are examined in minute detail to determine which is the "best" version. Almost anything else music related is also discussed at length.
As an example of the Steve Hoffman site’s attention to detail, the Dylan Bootleg Series Volume XII discussion is now up to page 545.
If there is less life in audio forums these days, it's because of the incessant close minded attacks and demands for "proof" when someone posts about improved sonics when trying out a new…anything.
This forum doesn't have these hall monitors to the same level as many forums out there, but one such forum, Audioholics, is a shell of its former self.
Maybe there's a very simple reason for the apparent decrease in active "audiophile forum participation." Our lives are a lot busier now, and we are using our computers and other "devices" (iPhones, iPads, Kindles, etc.) for far more activities than we were even a few years ago. So, .... when we finally have free time and want to relax, we're probably listening to music instead of hammering away on our computer keyboards. That's what's been happening with me. With so much daily "computer related activity," I'm finding myself spending my treasured free time listening to music, and not spending anywhere as much time on Audiogon as I used to.
Great observation as to audio traffic for some sites. I frequent AudioAficionado.org and over the past few years the experience has been very positive to the point where a group of us were together last fall and plan to do so again this summer. The site is more like a family. I love the site and suggest it for being a very positive and caring experience. The postings are robust and we share great information and support newbies. Positive people with a good general attitude is very welcome.
!!BIRTH OF AN AUDIOPHILE!!
Good day Gentleman!
let me start of by saying that "I am now an audiophile!"
(applause applause) thank you!
I am a 43 y.o. guy and prior to 4 years ago, "happy" with my then "COOL" 5.1 Denon system with OLD Polk monitor 7's GIVEN to me. and a small DefTec sub!
My new-at-the-time partner (another audiophile) introduced me to "higher end" audio via desktop PC/ mac mini system.
He then took me to one of the very few "high-end" stores in our area. The owner, actually a female!!! was sooo nice and helpful. She actually listened to what I like and how i like to listen and my living room. Basically giving me an "audio interview" what I liked / didn't like about my current setup at the time.
AAAAnnnyywayyzz, after looking around the store and listening to many WONDERFUL things over the course of 3 days.
She actually offered to send me home with what she and another very helpful employee (not a salesman) about 8k in Simaudio/ Focal gear with all the wires, plugs, interconnects ect ect. she just started "throwing" things to me to take home and demo to see how I liked it in my house.
Needless to say, I DID NOT RETURN IT!!, I made several modest payments, (at 10% off) no interest or charges.
anyway, a few years later and many upgrades later, I am in my system for more $$$$$ that I care to admit, and wouldn't tell anyone how much i have wrapped up in such a depreciating "asset"
it's embarrasing I must admit!
(My current setup is in my profile thing)
as for the future, I am "good for now" as to upgrade at this point would be diminishing returns as I live life by a "bang for the buck" mentality.
Now, I don't know if I would be considered "old" by the age of average audiophiles.. BUT most of my friends are younger thAn (not thEn) me.
Neither them, my family, or people I work with have any interest in music or quality beyond streaming or the radio. They do like hearing music through mine but just don't seem to care, at least not enough to explore it further.
Like another poster said, it all seems to be "trending" toward the I I I me me me pod, phone I-thing.
I do believe digital media IS the future like it or not.
sound quality is something that "would be cool" but not for the cost of equipment that can deliver the goods.. together with the lack of content/ media that is even recorded in high res in the first place!
I am not talking about Jazz, or classical, or music that uses "real" instruments.
The sad lack of high res in pop, dance, rock, EDM, electronica, and that type of music is what most younger people seem to prefer.
Digital audio can only be reproduced "so digitally"...
(sorry if I'm not explaining what i mean to well...) I don't think you can make digital music sound any better than it was made originally.
** LOOK MA! PARAGRAPHS!** :)
On a side note, I am noticing that young people are not driving or buying cars either soo many don't even have a driver license!!
and men are being driven around by there wives/ girlfriends like their mothers ..
So, yes I believe from what I have seen and experienced that audiophiles, at least to the level that most of us are on here is definantly on the way down and changing to more convienient/ cheaper/ free way of listening while doing other things...
Wow! that's allot of typing for me! Hopefully I made some sense and the meaning of what i was trying to say is there..
I would be curious of what the age spread of the people here are...
and whats with the lack of female audiophiles of ANY AGE??
they even have superior hearing to men!... HMMPF!!!
What's Best Forum
Steve Hoffman Music Forums
Just to name a few, and these don't include any social media sites.
I do think general social media, non-audio related, also has something to do with traffic slowing down.
Audiophiles are a dying breed, like it or not. Even those left have more and more distractions pulling at their free time.
Many of us left are in our 50's, 60's, and older, still recall when audio had a very central place in our lives. Before social media, Netflix, cable TV and VCRs. There used to just be audio and a couple of TV channels to compete with free time. It seems like now we have less free time, and more distractions fighting for the little free time we have.
I think audio had it's golden generation in the 80's before the internet. All my friends (in their late teens and twenties) had stereo systems and listened to them regularly. There wasn't the distraction of the internet, cell phones or video games (not many anyways). I used to subscribe to a few stereo magazines (Stereo Review, Hi-Fi Magazine, Audio Ideas Guide) and lusted over the more expensive gear. I also used to regularly visit the stereo stores and listen to the better components. As a teacher I do not see any of my students being interested in audio. They are interested in music but seem satisfied with the squeeky thin sound of earbuds. They don't even seem curious to hear better reproduction.
Now that I am older I have bought some of the vintage gear that I lusted over when I was young and have refurbished them to perform at or better than new. I also have all the lp's that I bought over the years along with cd's and I am now getting into digital files. I am not looking at much that is new except for digital as I see advancements there. Vintage gear such as early Jeff Rowland, Bedini, Ray Lumley, Beard and Acoustat with upgraded or newer parts sound wonderful and are more than competitive with new. And at 1/5 the price. I have spent on newer cables, though.
So I am not as actively seeking to upgrade my system as I have in the past as I think I am at a level now that I can truly enjoy the music. The itch to upgrade has mostly gone ...
There does seem to be an increase in interest in lp's, hopefully it will become more than a fad. This may save the hobby if some of them get infected with the audio bug.
I recently fired up my McIntosh gear that had been in storage for 10 years, and started the process of figuring out how to feed my digital content to it and enjoy the sound. As a result I'm more active than ever, and feel re-invigorated regarding high end two channel audio as a hobby. Interestingly at 61 years old, I'm not chasing vinyl nostalgia, but high fidelity digital audio, and it's convenience.
And loving it!
Could it be Home Theater ..?
I notice in recent years many Stereo shows that come to NYC put more emphasis on 5.1 HT than two channel stereo...
A lot of guys on my job and those who have retired packed up their equipment or sold it to down size just for a HT receiver ...
Today i look in movie theaters and sometimes while the movie is playing there's only one person sitting in the place , figure that out... I remember when the movie theaters use to be packed but today BLU-RAY and DVD are killing the old neighborhood Cinemas ...
While good Stereo equipment is very expensive and guys are down sizing from houses to apartments in their retirement years .. Top notch Stereo equipment is out of reach for most of us and this is another reason why "millions of dollars" are going into the HT market .. Sit back and watch the amount of money Disney will make on Star Wars when the Blu Ray DVD hits the stores ...
Some excellent insights in the above posts. If I had to summarize, I’d say that the primary cause is that the middle-class was gutted during the last (2008) economic crisis, and continue to struggle. So the amount of time and disposable income available to ’regular’ audiophiles has been dwindling for years. As a related aside, I am certain that this dynamic will become worse, as there is another major crisis unfolding as I write this.
Secondarily, there are plenty of people, like myself, who are actively engaged with forums while building or tweaking systems, but only occasional participants once those processes end. While I do enjoy both, I invariably reach a stage at which I see no purpose in further tweaking, and then spend years of satisfaction with a system.
As a fifty-something man with a broad appreciation for vintage (I have a serious vintage watch collection), I do enjoy owning some vintage components as well. I currently have an Accuphase E-303 integrated amp, and while it is obviously not as good as my first generation Jeff Rowland Concentra, it is a superb machine, and with good associated gear, produces really excellent sound.
Well, I think is all related to the generation gap. My Grand parents were born with no electricity, My parent had electricity. I was raise in a lighted house with a TV and Radio....we would hear music before we could see it (or who was playing it) It was EAR before eyes...I heard Hendrix before seeing him....I didn't know he was black, played the guitar with wrong position...but I heard and knew something was goin on....same thing with Miles, Coltrane, Doors, Ornette etc....the music catch my ears....I would drive to NY and more often to Montreal (I'm Canadian) in the 70's to go hear, Bill Evans, Miles Davis, even Led Zeppelin, Dexter Gordon, Opera , Orchestral etc....buying a stereo was an extention of hearing from live to try to get same experience in the living room. That needed decipline in buying the right stuff and by accident I became what we call an audiophile. I have only change system 3 time in 40 years.... Linn-Meridian. LS3/5A....Linn- MusicalFIdelity- Spendor....Linn- Naim, Neat with Naim CD....I still have my vintage Linn ( updated) which plays 98% of my music as I have mostly vinyl....keeping the gear in order like cleaning connector, washing records, ajusting the Linn once in a while, replacing worn phono cartridge....every step made a difference in sound and I have kept a reference from live venues I have attended...Heard Dexter at the Village Gate and that blew my mind....the sound was so ....well....real,,,,could never come close to that in my living room....but it's a good reference...Have you even heard Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams, Ron Carter live in a trio setting in a small jazz venue?
Back to the generation gap.....today this generation sees before hearing....Lady Gaga, Amy Winehouse, altough all very talented...we know who is the boyfriend , where and how they dress, what they do, where they go, even worst with artist like Beiber and compagny....It all in the EYES and not the EARS....it is not based on music first....the interest first is the lifestyle seen thought the images of digital files with music as a filler....My generation it was the other way around....so yes there is less interest in audiophile....activities will lessen as we are a getting older...the newer generation don't have to go throught what we did to get to the music....it's all supported with the images first to stimulate all senses....amazing little disposable machines...
The younger generation spent its funds on computers. Here is an example of what happened when I brought a few college boys home to hear music on my system: They were absolutely amazed that it could sound so good. When one replied, "WOW! I'd like to hear how much better that sounds like from my iPhone", they all agreed.. I ran them off, but only after showing them the difference, to which they agreed, that the old stuff doesn't match up with new technology. They went back to the frat house to hear their much better systems, a one piece Bose and a TV soundbar.
Younger peoples attention spans have also decreased. A friend of mine says he can never listen through a whole cd and prefers to just download a single song. He says he usually doesn't listen to a whole song either and likes to jump from song to song.
I teach high school and sometimes show Youtube videos at the end of a Friday. After about a minute they always want me to switch to another video, all the while texting away. I wish I could ban cell phones.
With this distracted generation, I can't see them developing any interest in an audio system where they actually have to sit and listen with attention to the music. I blame cell phones which have become such an addiction in our society.
Honestly, I came to these to learn and the information is so saturated right now anything I need to know at this point has been discussed ad nauseum.
I listen to mostly vinyl and there are really no ground breaking developments in analog to generate sustained dialogue on the net. I check in every now and again but what is there?
As someone who is 35 and sees a lot of young people thru my gym I can tell you there are many reasons why younger people are unlikely to get into Hi-Fi.
1. Everything cost a ton of money and wages at work have not kept up. Good lord budget model cars cost 17k now. Even middle class people are under finical strain.
2. The people I know that have enough money for this stuff have zero time to sit and listen to music for hours. Its really hard to justify 5k or 10k or 20k on something you won’t use that much. Especially when you barely have time with your family and friends
3. Our society has changed. The pace of life is nothing short of chaotic. At work we are expected to do 5 things at once. To make up for a smaller workforce we use technology to multitask. In addition with less time we try to do the same thing with our personal lives with social media. All done through a phone that is with us 24/7. So unhealthy. I hate it.
4. The options for entertainment are endless. So how is something that cost a good bit of money and that you have to bend over backwards to hear at a store going to win out? If its work to buy something its not going to be popular.
I can see why headphones are so popular. They can be quick on the go to meet lifestyle demands. Plus you can spend so much less and get so much more. Yes they are not speakers but its a personnel experience that can be integrated into the lifestyle people have now. I just got a 250 pair of headphones from music direct. They can be driven by a iphone or labtop. To be honest they sound really good. For most people the price to get this lifestyle headphones SQ in their living rooming with a speaker systems would stop 98% of people in their tracks.
Yeah, younger generation are becoming kind of The Borg, collective being from Star Trek: The Next Generation. They wish to consume and assimilate everything in their path to "increase the quality of life".
Individuality is being eroded to the point of non-existing.
We, the people of the old ways, will resist as much as we can for as long as we can. We may lose but it is going to be a good fight.
Death to the digital. And to the cell phones along with computers. God help us all.
Y'all are 'going negative'...stop it. Things change...not always for what one may consider better, but if you look hard enough there are still things occurring that stand as 'bright spots in the gloom'. LP's are 'trending'...there's niches out there that give me some hope that some aspects of 'our hobby' will continue. Perhaps not as we would like...perhaps in a means we can't predict or appreciate, but as long as the music plays, there will be those who care enough to take the time and make the effort.
Y'all are starting to sound like people I'd rather not hang out with.
Go play something LOUD. Restore some faith within. Don't go quietly.
OMG...I'd hate to be and have 'the last word' on this subject...
The fire dies if not tended. Music will continue...the 'appreciation' of it will evolve, as it always has. There will be a future, the shape of which we can only guess at, but that evolution is moving out of our hands. This is as it has always been, will always be, and is natural and normal. But there will always be those that will care. Diminished in numbers, but their involvement will be as ours.
Fan the flames when you can. One never knows...as usual. *S*
I think audiophiles can't see the forest for the trees. We are constantly exposed to exorbitant prices for equipment. As a result, we've become so desensitized that we don't question the price on a $3,000 preamp, but instead scheme on getting the funds for it.
What would your first reaction be if your wife came home with a $3,000 fur coat?
More and more audiophiles are "waking up" having become dissenchated with the whole industry, hence the absence of interest in forums.
Just my 2 cents.
As a female getting back into audiophile, I can say one thing...people need to play and instrument or sing, need to realize what music sounds like without a bunch of electronics getting in the way. I am getting back into it because it sounds better, but only because I grew up listening and playing violin, piano, accompanying the local choir. And if I listened to the critics rather than to my music, I would not have bought my PONO, and learned about FLAC files.
Forums need to have some basic language skills and translation for the newbies. (RMCF googles as Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.) I can understand ESS dac technology on the ESS website, can understand things on Ayre web site, a lecture by a Mr. Foote on stereo speaker science, but not understand forum sites, where there is no paraphrasing of technical jargon or acronyms, in other words: Say something in a different way based on the education and skills of the person asking the question, to help with understanding. Refusing to answer a newbie question because the forum FAQs are not updated, difficult to navigate, or all in jargon, is not helpful to promote new members. I have found the only way to get an answer in the forum is to directly message someone, who seems to have written an intelligent answer, thanking him or her for that answer, and asking something based on what they wrote. That does work well.
Salepeople need to sell me what I ask for, rather than try to get me to purchase the latest thing, (I am finding out everyone wants to sell me streaming, when I want a DAC) or a fully loaded proprietary system, so I will not have to worry (my cute little head?) about upgrades to the computer systems. (I did bring in my own laptop, with FLAC files, JRiver, etc ) If I, semi-retired, near an urban area with good audiophile stores, and 7 years post-grad education in the sciences, have problems navigating the forums and the sales hype, one can only imagine what the average male or female is going through.