Why Don't More People Love Audio?

Can anyone explain why high end audio seems to be forever stuck as a cottage industry? Why do my rich friends who absolutely have to have the BEST of everything and wouldn't be caught dead without expensive clothes, watch, car, home, furniture etc. settle for cheap mass produced components stuck away in a closet somewhere? I can hardly afford to go out to dinner, but I wouldn't dream of spending any less on audio or music.
Primarily because audio takes a fair amount of time and effort, and while money can buy lots of things, time is not for sale. It takes a fair amount of time to assemble a decent rig, collect a wide variety of music to enjoy, and more importantly the time to enjoy it. All of the accumulated "stuff" you listed is easy; buy and let it sit around or use it every now and then, perhaps pay someone to look after it, no real effort expended on their part. These people have things, but no real interests or passion in their lives.
Most people are able to love and appreciate music without obsessive concerns about sonic quality. It's not because they are ignorant or uncaring. It's well known that any number of professional musicians (classical & pop) do not have audiophile type systems, yet I don't think that anyone can seriously question their commitment to music. Audiophiles are a small minority who by definition obsess about sound quality. Most other people are able to simply enjoy the music. BTW, I'm both a music lover and an audiophile.
These are the same people who keep Dr. Bose rich and famous.Or, are looking to score Sound Lab-in walls 'cause speaker wire on the floors is a taboo. I am responding, but I don't usually give much thought to the subject.The thought of going to Wall-Mart for discount Vandy 5's would be more than I could handle. Does K-Mart carry Cardas? Yes, I'm keeping the day job, but this is how it would be if everybody were like us.
I think the difference is that being an audiophile is a very pasionate and creative hobby. I think the things you mentioned are related to status and image. Not that they dont share some characterstics but one is a lot more indepth then the other.
I am confused. I think Porsches and Ferraris lend themselves to passion and expertise and yet they are purchased as status symbols by idiots who probably never learn to drive them. How many Nikon camera owners know their way around a darkroom? How many Rolex Sea Dweller wearers ever swim beneath 3 feet? So why doesn't anyone care about high end audio?
The original question was why don't people who buy expensive things also buy expensive audio gear, not why are those people not audiophiles. I think the fact that they're not audiophiles or music lovers (or both) is adequately explained by the amount of time these pursuits take. Just like any hobby well done, it's time consuming and most people with a fair amount of money don't have time for too many well done hobbies.

I think the reason these people don't buy high-end / expensive audio systems is that the main impetus for owning other high-end things without being avidly into the hobby is status, and there isn't much status to be had by owning a high-end audio system. How many non-audiophiles have you ever really impressed with your system? Not just, "Wow, that sounds great" but a reaction that shows you really got their interest for even, say, 15 minutes. I think this is one of the reasons HT is so much more popular - it is easy to truly grab somebody's attention with even a halfway decent HT setup, even if they're not into it themselves. Super Bowl at my house on the new big screen and surround sound! A HT setup does have a fair amount of status associated with it, a high-end audio system just doesn't.

Great topic! This article contrasts a previous article that I wrote "Do audiophiles ever listen to the music". Some people just don't seem to care about the quality of sound, my friends included. If a cd is playing and it can be heard, it is good enough for most people. I honestly think that the people who have money are ignorant to high end stereo. They simply do not know that it exists. They go to sears and stroll by the audio dept and they ask the salesman "whats the best stereo you sell?" This is what keeps Dr. Bose in business. They can buy their new mercedes or BMW, because they know about them through advertisements. You don't find any adds on t.v for Wilson audio, Conrad Johnson or Quicksilver. If high end audio was advertised, I think these people would be interested, or at least curious about the high end hype that we seem to have a passion for. I do agree that it does take a lot of time and effort to put together a great system. If they don't have it and don't care about assembling a good system,then I guess I just lost time and money responding to this thread.
There's sort of two questions here: (1) why isn't high end audio a status symbol and (2) why don't more people love high end audio. With regards to (1), a lot has to do with the perceived technical nature of the audiophile hobby, which implicit means work, not recreation, making it inconsistent with the notion of conspicuous consumption of luxury items. Lack of lifestyle advertising promoting audiphile equipment as status also contributes to this. Note that Bose is successful in part because it does advertise in non audio-oriented magazines, appealing to the luxury of tiny speakers and simple one-box systems. Relative to (2), I don't have a well formed idea. When I first heard a true high end system, the music moved me so that I immediately HAD to have one also, and two weeks later purchased my first set of audiophile grade speakers and the rest is history. My wife and I now enjoy a system that sends shivers up my spine and can move her to tears. Recently I demoed the system to someone who is a wine connoisseur. Being passionate about the nuances of wine, surely he would appreciate refinement in audio, I thought... instead after listening for 30 seconds, he shrugged and said, "gee, I guess one of my speakers at home isn't working", and that was the end of that.
Is it that 2 channel is perceived as yesterday's news?? I know a couple of people who are doing well and they all have dedicated home theaters. Is it that you can finance a great deal of HT equipment into a home loan with out a problem?? I have never heard of anyone financing 2 CH audio into a 1st home mortgage, where builders have lists of people to do custom HT design and install at $120/hr and up in new construction. Some people just do not care about spending alot of $$ on a stereo.... Some of these people have the ears that can hear the differences... One of my good friends is a "gear-head", has a 7 car garage with heat and AC for his toys, a Snap-on tool set to kill for... and exotic cars to fill the garage (he knows how to drive (white knuckles and all) and repair them all). He comes over to evaluate the frequent changes I make to my Hi-End gear, and can explain the changes as well as anyone, but has a HT budget of 5K including the Big Screen.... Not every one cares about the best sound... I think 2CH is like art... I love art, but I care about my stereo more... I would spend 20K on a pair of speakers before I would on art to decorate... Others I know have spent 20K on art, and have the wave radio for sound. You don't see art advertised on TV, nor the High End 2CH audio.
There's sort of two questions here: (1) why isn't high end audio a status symbol and (2) why don't more people love high end audio. With regards to (1), a lot has to do with the perceived technical nature of the audiophile hobby, which implicit means work, not recreation, making it inconsistent with the notion of conspicuous consumption of luxury items. Lack of lifestyle advertising promoting audiphile equipment as status also contributes to this. Note that Bose is successful in part because it does advertise in non audio-oriented magazines, appealing to the luxury of tiny speakers and simple one-box systems. Relative to (2), I don't have a well formed idea. When I first heard a true high end system, the music moved me so that I immediately HAD to have one also, and two weeks later purchased my first set of audiophile grade speakers and the rest is history. My wife and I now enjoy a system that sends shivers up my spine and can move her to tears. Recently I demoed the system to someone who is a wine connoisseur. Being passionate about the nuances of wine, surely he would appreciate refinement in audio, I thought... instead after listening for 30 seconds, he shrugged and said, "gee, I guess one of my speakers at home isn't working", and that was the end of that.
And then there's some additional questions: (3) do we want audiophile equipment to be a status symbol and (4) why would that be beneficial. As far as (3) goes, that's relating back to basic human needs for validation. We've spent gobs of money our equipment. It would be nice to get knowing nods of appreciation instead of puzzled looks. As far a (4) goes, I don't think it would economically beneficial. Look what happened to the price of 4 wheel drive vehicles once having an SUV became a status symbol. It drove the price of practical SUVs (e.g., Chevy Blazer) up to luxury status, and created a class of luxury SUVs with astronomical prices. Those of us who live out in the boonies in snow country don't appreciate that. Audiophile equipment is expensive enough already!
I've always been a big live music fan, but don't have time to go out as much. I know for a fact that i have a high end stereo so I can hear music better. In many ways I prefer it to concerts because I can keep the volume level reasonable, and the fidelity is actually quite a bit higher. I look forward to listening to music when the day is done.
High end audio will never appeal to the average yuppie. It is too sophisticated, it takes a committment, and you can't show it off because nobody understands it. But thank God for that; BMW, amoung other enthusiast brands was ruined by the masses. I would rather keep it to myself, even if anyone was interested.
Actually audio has real snob appeal in many countries in the Far East. Some buyers of expensive stuff love music, others want status. There is no status to hifi in the West. Why, I don't entirely understand. True story: when we first started selling Clayton amps, one guy from Hong Kong came to our setup at HiFi 96, loved the sound, thought about buying our stuff and then was put out to find that our amps sold for under $10K. He said he would lose face and went on to buy a MUCH more expensive set from another long-established company. Of course, the economic crash in the Far East since 1997 has destroyed much of this business and destroyed lots of high end companies along the way. But clearly, advertising would help. It also wouldn't hurt if some big rags hadn't always claimed that all equipment sounds the same. Just my 3 cents worth.
Followup: Why lack of interest in hifi I do think there has also been a shift in taste away from high fidelity. People have been trained to want BAD, electronic sound. By this I mean, that much of the high end is about correctly reproducing acoustic instruments in a real space and being true to real sounds even in pop recordings. However, people are starting to complain that live music isn't as exciting as their stereo, hence the pressure for bright concert halls in classical music. I am also astonished at how often jazz is over amplified in tiny clubs where no mikes are needed. And look at musical theatre. Last time I was in London I was stunned at how often the music was broadcast at ungodly levels over a poor PA system. I talked to a local engineer who claimed that people want that loud ARTIFICIAL electronic sound. Let's forget most rock concerts, where noise and bright lights beat good sound any day. So some of it is lack of exposure. Some of it is lack of status. Some is lack of passion. But also, just face it -- relative to the general population we audiophiles suffer from a disease :) :)
I think all the responses are good but here is my take on this. "Exposure, exposure ". There was a time when I thought the little paper woofers in Bose speakers sounded pretty decent and I really wanted a Bose "system". Then I listened to Sony receivers, and thought these were the very best. Well, you guessed, pretty soon I explored this whole sound affair and now I am a hard core tube diehard. Yes I want tubes in my tuner ( M.D. if you please ). The problem is, my tastes now are way above my means - - easily $100,000. wish list. What's a poor guy to do with a simple $40,000 system ?? Music stirs the soul, it has passion. Rolexes do not, Ferrari's ... maybe, if there is a pretty blond in the passenger seat, then maybe, just maybe. I have friends with almost $1M homes and they listen to Pioneer receivers with cheap JBL speakers. Who buys Mark Levinson Transports and DACs to go with their Lamm SET's ? Not me.
Et's opinion has lot more truth in it. People (haves or have nots) have not listened to what could be possible with great system. If they listened to a very well set-up system,at least half of non-audiophiles will convert. Take me as another example: Just 11 years ago, I thought YAMAHA components and Cerwin-Vega was above the masses! And even then I paid somewhere around 7K for everything. If I knew then I would have put together pretty good system at that price!
I agree that exposure would have a positive effect on participation in enjoying high-end audio, but I think the estimate that at least 1/2 would convert upon hearing a very well set-up system is much too high, especially if your definition of "audiophile" is at all demanding. Certainly far fewer than 1/2 of the people that audition my system convert (or even sit through very many songs) - in fact the only person I've ever had get real interested was somebody who's already on the path. Maybe my system doesn't meet the criteria of exposure being discussed here, but I'd bet that it does, but in any case it's a pretty common theme that non-audiophiles who hear a nice system, even when they acknowledge awesome sound, don't show much interest in actually owning one.

That said, I've always agreed that exposure would do a lot to promote the higher-end industry. Put decent systems into CD stores with a sign saying "Displayed by .....". Repetitive exposure would quite possibly work a lot better than an individual session.

Kthomas, I agree. Pecentage I quoted is far too much.
The reasons are, of course, manyfold with most of them outlined above. I remember in the 1970s I could go to high end audio stores and find all sorts of people, male and female, being turned on to the current good stuff. Not any longer. High end stores service the same customers over and over. However, we all have to face the fact that Americans are, in general, no longer interested in music. Just check out the FM airwaves in just about any major city, almost pure, "wear-dated" crap. What people want is noise with a cool looking boy or girl jumping around in the video. Does everyone realize all pop, rock, etc artists now have to be actors first and foremost? Do you think Britney Spears, N'Sync et al are on your TV constantly because they make good music? Lets all face it, there are no "new" Beatles, Hendrix, Miles, Coltrane, Joni Mitchell; not even a new Shawn Phillips, Tom Rush, or Fairport Convention, for Jeebies sake!! And please don't start telling us about all those "great new bands and singers". 90% of these new recordings are so over processed in the studio and mastering facilities that any sign of life is gone. Anyway, just an aside: One of my wife's students remodeled his house at a cost of $950,000.00. He had, as he puts it, "a state of the art sound sytem" installed in ceilings throughout. The "heart" of the awsome system is a Marantz receiver (retail, as he told me, $795.00) and a comparable CD player. The man doesn't know the brand of bad sounding wall and ceilings speakers installed, his interior designer did everything for him.
What's the audiophile gold standard? Perfect reproduction of live, unamplified acoustic music. Well, the last time most Americans heard live, unamplified acoustic music it was their high school marching band. With no standard to compare it to, how could a high-end system impress them? People who love music can listen to anything. Being an audiophile means caring about sound reproduction. You can love music too, and most of us do, but it's really a separate passion.
I think the ingrediants that make up an audiophile is more then just the love of music. I think you have to also love the gear, be pasionate, creative, and to be a little on the obsesive side. The love of music is a perfrence but being an audiophile is a hobby. I think that marketing and exposure would be very benificial to the hobby and would make it more of a status symbol. I dont think anyone here buys it for status and if it turned into that it would cheapen it. Then again if it was a status symbol maybe my favorite little hi fi store wouldnt have just gone out of business.

I also think that most people dont have the listening skills. When I hear a laugh track I always here the indivdual people laughing. When I walk into a crowded room I dont hear a group of people I hear a lot of individual conversations. If you listen you can even hear a conversation crystal clear from twenty five feet away in a crowded loud room. They talk louder because of the ambient noise level yet trained ears can "focus" on those particular sounds. Try it.

Someone here once compared fine audio to wine tasting. I think that is an excellent analogy. Being a wine counasour not only takes talent but you need a trained pallet to be good at it. Like most people cant tell a fine wine most people cant tell a great audio system because there ears arent trained well.
Very well said Perfectimage...
Reminds me of a print ad campaign many years ago that asked, " Why do so many people buy Kenwood?" The owner of the Sound Seller in Marinette, WI (You still out there Roger?) posted the ad in his store with his own rhetorical question as a response, "Because they can't hear?"
I made a statement that we are doing ourselves a great injustice by supporting companies that have " money is not an obstacle" attitude. The cost of brewing up a true reference system is extraordinary. I'm sorry, but I can't justify spending $50,000.00 on a pair of monoblocks, even if I had 10 million in the bank. When support these companies we are hurting ourselves and the possibility of increasing the numbers of audiophiles. Anyone can learn to appreciate a good system, just ask my wife, but what do you give up in the process of aquiring a good system? I buy used equipment primarily. Champagne tastes, sparkling wine budget.
I find most people don't even know high end audio exists. Most people think Bose makes the best speakers. People also don't want to see speakers. I was at a friends house the other day and he has a pair of Snells behind his couch!
Jsbail makes a very good point: Even if people know about the high end and even if they like the great sound, for 95% or more of the population convenience trumps quality anytime. People don't want to sit and listen. Heck my wife is so used to my system that she always remarks on how bad other systems are. But I can get her to sit and listen maybe once a month. The rest of the time she's busy, or would rather read or watch tv. And she's always hoping for a high end system that's smaller than a boom box.
I think the price no obstacle systems are good for us all. Its there research and development that gets handed down to lower systes as the years roll by as they find cheaper ways to do things. I think if it wasnt for these companies high end wouldnt be what it is today.

Its easy to look at a product and say it only costs x aount to make it and complain about the price but there is so much more to the cost of business then the amount it takes to build it. Research and development and advertisement are two of the biggest. Nevermind payroll, marketing, machinery, rent, and electricity.

I use to run a small metal fabrication plant and our electric bill was seventy thousand dollars a month! Nevermind machinery which easily got into the millons. Thats just the factory. Then you have all the middle men who sell the product, pay for inventory, rent, employess, and on and on.

The electronics in your systems were the ultra hi fi of the past so remember in ten years you will have some of that awesome state of the art technology of today in your system.
Many Men do not want to go to bat with the wife .... Those speakers are so big why can't we have those little Bose speakers ?(don't get me started on that one!)But Seriously Audio like many things in human nature people enjoy simplicity. The Quartz watch almost Drove the Handmade Swiss watch makers into the ground (until the the art of automatic watches became a status symbol ) Any hobby or interest that requires an investment of time and money is too much for many people. I love Hi Fi Audio and have for over 30 years! When I was 12 I had practically memorized the Audio equiptment annual. I went to the CES show when I was 17 ... When I heard a demo of the JM Labs Utopias playing Who Are You I almost cried! Appreciating Fine hi Fi Gear is like admiring fine artwork You either "see" it or you don't. A great aside is that while the Carver & Pioneer Gear (nice stuff for the $) is sought after by the masses , the competition for the used gear at the upper end can sometimes be thin. plus Audiophiles are always looking for the next upgrade. The adventureous shopper can put together a truly amazing used class A system for $ 5,000 -$ 10,000 & up ! Enjoy the road to audio Nirvana it's a great ride!
people are too busy rating themselve on www chat-sites, to have time to listen to music, anymore... ;~)
A lot of good coments made here, one of my wealthy friends sold his good stereo(consisting of Martin Logan, Nordost and Audio Research) and bought some 'cheap' stuff(paradigm, sherwood and Radio shack cables). Image is everything to him and all of his friends(except me) like the current system better, go figure. They all think because he has money he knows what to buy(and what sounds better) and he went out in one day and bought everything, with very little if any research, but his system is better because it is his, right? Best wishes and I hope none of you ever fall in to this catagory.
Tireguy, great example to further prove the point : "just because ya got money, doesn't mean ya got taste"...

and besides, if EVERYBODY was into this, while it may cost less (demand and all that), I doubt the quality would be there. How much fun would this hobby be if EVERYONE was into it? It's like what most of the locals here tell people about where we live "you don't want to come over here, it's cloudy and foggy all the time"....why? well, we want to keep our little secret to ourselves where we can fully enjoy it....
I find this thread and the contributions so far fascinating. If someone where to call the audiophilic preoccupation with music and equipment IMPOVERISHING and NERVE-WRACKING, an average audiophile would probably resist. But I would like to insist that music lovers should be more cautious of high-end audio. The ability to enjoy the faithful reproduction (or is it, making present) of musical creations is anything but ann innocent pleasure, since it can gradually undermine and destroy the talent for being a fundamentally strong and profound musician and composer--that is to say, a musical person´s natural genius. As for myself, whenever I purchase another high-end component, I hear a voice inside myself cry out to me: "you don´t have to buy such an expensive, luxury product any longer; others can do that just as well!" What voice is this? This voice also tells me at times exactly how much or how little this new, intricate, advanced testament of the modern electronics industry is worth. Others can put these components just as well! And many could do it better! And those who could do it best--more talented, richer minds than myself--perhaps would not even be able to compose a worthwhile song for themselves given the amount of time and energy that they have invested in the reproduction of the music of others. Musicians and composers beware!
I'm not sure I understand your point, but I think I'm in the clear to buy whatever high-end gear I want since I have no talent for composing or performing music myself, so the purchase of an expensive luxury product of this ilk will not undermine any natural talent of mine, nor rob the world of any inherent musical genius. This is quite a relief, actually, as I've been eyeing the new Sony DVP-S9000ES pretty closely.......
Maybe (I hope) I am wrong. But here is the idea stripped down to its basics (for classical literature students, at least): High-end reproduction is the modern "song of the sirens." Every audiophile is Odysseus. Good sailing with your DVP-S9000ES...
I have to agree with Jsbail. Alot of people do think Bose makes the best. Hell when I started to build on my system my friends wife who is a assistant manager at the Bose outlet told me to come in and she'd hook me up. But I know the truth about Bose and it doesn't come close to what I have. Also many people are into HT, which I do both, it is expensive but I enjoy it. Many are not willing to spend the money on both or one.
As a long-time audiophile, music lover, and teacher of a class in jazz appreciation, I despair of the musical taste of much of today's younger generation of listeners. At the risk of offending some of you, too many younger adults (read: under 35) have been raised on a steady diet of music that is often mediocre at best. To make matters worse, the quality of the reproduced sound is sometimes execrable, and the popularity of MP3 suggests it is not going to get any better. Top all of this off with the decline in liberal arts education -- specifically music -- in the schools, and you are left with what Steve Allen calls a "dumbed down" American society. When you get used to crap, it shouldn't surprise anyone that high end audio is shrinking as a hobby.
I find that rather than being a status symbol as in exotic cars...Ferrari's and Lambos which touch in the heart of men as rich sportsmen, i.e. as the machinery we've all dreamed of driving fast, high end audio equipment is scorned by many who can't imagine how we'd drive those amps and speakers fast! I've listened to countless people declare that they can't tell the difference in wines. When I put great wine in their glasses and ask them to taste, everyone can. What I believe they mean is that they are unwilling to pay for what they believe is an outrageous extravagance.

Presumably, music is music is music. Why care how it is produced or how near perfectly it represents the musicians actual work? Once having learned to listen to a true reproduction of sound and having given up the taint of flavor which most audio equipment overlays, I don't find that it is difficult to want more, more, more of it. I just believe that like other non-status opulently expensive devices in life, most people don't have the ability to pay therefore they don't allow themselves the willingness to be touched by the sensuality of the experience. Basically, I believe people recoil from what clearly scares them... the obviousness that if we loved the music, we might not be able to afford the equipment.
I collect vintage watches, fine cigars, wine, Italian cars, houses, sailboats and WW II airplanes. Each of these hobbies gives me great pleasure and is a conversation starter for people I meet in business and socially. Someone once tried to sell me a very expensive Krell system, but I couldn't really understand how to justify the price and my wife hated it. In the end, I have Denon home theatre equipment built into a custom closet, B&W speakers and Bose cubes in every room for background music and entertaining. You guys seem to think this is garbage but it sounds great to me.
Mr Whitehead: You seem to have more money than sense. Let me guess -- Investment banking? Rolex Presidential? With diamonds, perhaps? If you weren't so smug and self satisfied, perhaps your education would be broader than rereading financial statements in between back issues of The Robb Report.

denon is fine for home-theatre; bose is fine for background music & entertaining. seriously.

however, sitting down & listening to music, not doing anything else, but actually *listening*, as if yude gone to a concert or club to hear live music, well, this is something totally different. while denon *does* make some hi-end audio equipment (hoover, on a-gon's classifieds, could surely set ewe up!), i'd hazard a guess that this is *not* what makes up yer home-theatre system. and, while i am not normally so blunt, to put it in your words, ya, h-t denon & bose *are* garbage for serious listening. don't take it personal, serious listening is obviously not what yure into - it's ok, not many people are... the equipment ya got prolly *is* great - for how it's being used.

regards, doug

ps - i hope ewe get enyoyment outta yer other hobbies, it's a shame to let nice stuff sit & not use it. cars, for example - i don't *collect* italian cars, italian cars are the only ones i own. they *all* get driven - as my commute is 45 miles each way, they get driven a *lot*... :>)

Just today I went to tweeter. A friend of mine works there. They had a Bose 30 lifestyle($3,000) hooked up in the ht room and also some other setups. I asked my friend scott to play them, a little A/B demo. Only cause another friend of mine has the Bose setup, his wife is an assistant manager for the Bose outlet in Kittery, Me. Before I bought my system his wife tried to get me into Bose, but I knew better. Well scott played the Bose in the ht setup, I was surprised "I said to scott" not bad. Scott smiled and switched over to other setup, B&K w/kef speakers. Wow what a difference, the bose was missing everything. Don't know how to explain it but the bose was missing lotssssss of information. No mids what so ever, sloppy, boxy, muddy, slow base. Sorry but bose really suck, baddddd...
Mark I'm sure your taste is very good in other areas, but do yourself a favor and find a different hobby or get some help on your system.
I think that one of the main problems is that people really don't expect a stereo system to sound realistic. I know people who think that "the stereo effect" - emphasis on the word "effect" means more bass. I beleive that most people want their stereo to sound like some bass - treble heavy stereotype that low quality manufacturers and retailers have imposed on these people. I find it frustrating at times that I cannot find any friends who either understand or care to understand what good audio is about - let alone find someone who already has good audio sensibilities.

As for Bose being good for entertaining, I agree that the only thing they do anywhere close to right is ambient sound in restaurants and public places, but many know about the fatigue - inducing nature of most Bose designs. It seems odd for Bose to have a mix of qualities like that. So really, Bose speakers are good for only one thing - to impress people in A-B demonstrations for short periods of time against similarly low quality speaker designs. I like how people come and brag to me how they witnessed this demonstration where the demonstrator shows a "large tower speaker" playing and then magically removes the false cabinet revealing a Bose cube. It just saddens me that marketing, again triumphs over truth.
A lot has to do with marketing. Discount stereo stores, top 40 radio stations, and movie theaters all promote the myth that volume equals quality. As audiophiles can tell you, any idiot can make a loud noise, but it is beautiful sound that people will remember. I know just listening to my system has convinced many to ignore the consumer grade junk and seriously listen to what they are buying. The bottom line is, it is up to the people like us who are critical about sound to educate others.
CW London, do you think this Mr. Whitehead is real? Seems rather like a bit of a wag.....but then perhaps he has a Bose system in his Spitfire and a big B&W system in his B-17. Me, I'm a snob, I'd rather be shot down and crash then listen to that stuff.
And what a hard job it is, educating my Bose-buying friends who don't even give my system a chance. I guess people don't really listen to music anymore, just sound. I guess for those who want sound coming out of their speakers Bose or anything else that makes sound is good enough. It is difficult to get people to understand what real quality stereo sound is. Oh well...
Tucker, I don't know if that would answer your question, but I'm thinking that if I were very, very rich, I would exactly know which Porsche to buy in order to enjoy "the best" in terms of acceleration, handling, etc., or which mansion to build and where and probably most of the cognoscienti would agree with me. Generally in these things we can establish a clear set of references. Audio on the contrary seems elusive. Nobody really has a fixed set of reference. Nobody can truly tell us ( thank the audiogods) what is "best". Cars can be compared by measuring performance, time pieces by their exactitude, rarity,workmanship, but nobody can measure how close our systems may come to the real thing, to a live musical event. So audio is more of a quest, an experimenting, a searching, a road full of doubts, of ups and downs and possibly often also quite a lonely thing. The lucky fellow with the oil wells, reading TAS and spending the 350.000 on a system described there as SOTA and showing it off as "as the best", without comparing it to a life concert and hence starting a quest of his own, I would not describe as an audiophile. So to be a true and dedicated audiophile is impractical, expensive, trying. The enjoyment of a new level of performance in your system is often enough followed by bouts of selfdoubt, the critical remark of a peer might throw you into the deepest of depressions, a new ampflifying star on the horizon will fill you both with greed and a new yearning for sonic nirvana. You are rarely at peace, neither with yourself nor with your system. Now who needs that? Nobody in his right mind. Besides if you want to hear music, why not switch on your radio, huh? So you ask why so few people love audio? We are an elite lot, my friend. The salt of the (aural)world. (-;
detlof, while i enjoy reading your posts, & for the most part agree w/ewe, by yer analogy to cars, i can tell ewe *aren't* also a motorhead. :>) even tho cars' performance stats *can* be measured, like audio, some do *some* things better, while others excel in *other* things. and the "cognoscienti" most certainly do *not* agree! ;~)

while i am nowhere *near* financially able to own any car i wish, the porsche, while a fantastic automobile, *might* be in my stable - if i could afford the at least 10 other *must-haves* 1st... ;~)

regards, doug *no radio while i drive* sedon

Thanks, Doug, you got the weak part of my argument...and I would be a motorhead, if I could only afford it. Regards
hey detlof, if yure a cheepskate w/cars, (like i also am w/stereo!), ya can *still* have some fun! ;~) that's why there currently resides chez-sedon 3 alfas, a pantera, a buell & a ducati - all for about the same price as *one* gnu 5-series bmw... :>)

regards, doug