Is the Audiophile Dying Out?

Is the Audiophile Dying Out?

  • Yes. The kids only care about eabuds and smoking weed.

    Votes: 17 51.5%
  • No. The kids are allright.

    Votes: 16 48.5%

  • Total voters
    33
gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
This article explores how the landscape has changed over the years in relation to hi-fi two-channel audio. Will this be the last generation of audiophiles? Or, can we embrace change to keep the passion alive and grow the audience of enthusiasts? Jerry Del Colliano (formerly of hometheaterreview.com) explores this topic and offers suggestions on how change can bring about opportunity.

Read: The Future of Audiophiles

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GO-NAD!

GO-NAD!

Audioholic Spartan
I guess I would have to include myself in the sceptic column, regarding the sustainability of the audiophile/HT enthusiast lifestyle. While I would agree that our dollars buy better performance than they used to, quality equipment is not inexpensive. Today's younger cohorts are much smaller than the boomers and less wealthy. They are also more itinerant, with more interest in "experiences" than in accumulating "stuff". Many young people can't be arsed to get a driver's licence, much less buy a car. I think the same would apply to major investments in audio gear. The current interest in vinyl is unlikely to become a game changer, if it doesn't die out altogether. If the industry can keep treading water, I think that's about the best that can be hoped for.

I can appreciate the idea of hiding gear away to improve aesthetics of rooms and free up floor space, but that comes with added costs. Unless one is a handy DIYer, running in-wall cabling and installing in-wall/in-ceiling speakers can be quite pricy. And, with today's more transient lifestyle, the thought of installing gear in this manner would give me pause. If you need to move, do you rip this gear out to take with you and patch up the holes, or do you sell it with the house at a loss, then start over in your new house? I'm close to retirement and have no intentions of moving anytime soon, so such options would appeal to me. But, I can't see a younger person who may have to move several times during their career seriously entertaining such options. I know I wouldn't.
 
Gmoney

Gmoney

Audioholic Samurai
Can't speak for the reset of the AH members, but just over the last 5 or so year's All of the homes I have visited had just a TV and disc player. Some had a sound bar nothing else.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
No, they're being bred out of existence by wives and interior detonators.
 
T

Trebdp83

Audioholic Chief
For many, it's economics. For many others, ignorance. You cannot very well put together a nice system if you have absolutely no idea what that entails. It is difficult to instill the value of quality products in a throw away society. Many buy cheap boxes of crap that end up broken before long and then head out on the next Black Friday for more of the same. Some young people use Airpods as a status symbol and have no use for real speakers. Some are far more invested in their gaming rig. Then there is trauma. Yes, trauma. Come on, there are a few out there that enjoy their nice systems. They just like to remind everybody else in the house that it is their system and theirs alone and anybody going near it will catch hell. Or, they can't get through an album because it wasn't in direct mode and has now been tainted so they start it all over again. Their kids end up curled up in a corner somewhere with their thumbs in their mouths and Airpods in their ears.
 
diskreet

diskreet

Junior Audioholic
This was a great read. As someone still new to this hobby, and younger (mid-30s), one trend stands out. High quality audio, video, and video games are plentiful and easy to consume. Even easier as streaming is here for all three. Younger people like to consume all kinds of media wherever they are, not just two channel music at home. Traditional audiophile gear doesn't doesn't provide an experience so much better that they're willing to invest huge sums of money and completely change how they consume media.

While some of you look at a $100k two channel system as the pinnacle of the music experience, a 20 year old would see it as spending a college education's worth of money on something they would never use. So yeah, companies that only make these components are going to suffer. It is a companies job to adapt to changing customer demands (insert trope about how millennials "killed" another industry here.)

The simple truth, though, is that younger people have no money to spend. You just can't sell many $5,000+ non-essential goods to consumers that may only have $5,000 of disposable income in a year. Brands that find ways to offer high value will thrive, especially as younger generations are looking more for value and social responsibility than pinnacle performance or exclusivity. Add in that many people just don't have the energy to devote to this hobby, and it's hard to even start to convince them to spend their money differently.

There will be plenty of high quality audio gear in the future. It just won't look the same. I say bring on some actually good HTIB bundles and soundbar systems to attract more people into the hobby without all the complexity and stress.


Edit: I am using "younger" and "millennials" as a proxy for people who are younger in the hobby. I am assuming teens and twenties aged people are less likely to spend significant money on audio gear. I would not assume they inherently have more/less interest in the hobby.
 
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T

Trebdp83

Audioholic Chief
When money is short, You invest in an inexpensive coffee maker and buy a bag of Starbucks coffee and not walk into the joint and spend $5 for a f#%kin' cup. That is not socially responsible or cost effective. "Consume media" is not the same as enjoying a musical experience. You do not have to spend $100,000. Gaming consoles, their accessories and games or the biggest and best iPhones cost more than a respectable sound system. I'm not bashing millennials but "Consuming media wherever they are" sounds a lot like "using." Get off the pipe kids. Look up every once and awhile and take in the view and smell the flowers. Time is a bitch and soon enough you won't be able to see that far and you'll be allergic to the flowers. :confused:
 
diskreet

diskreet

Junior Audioholic
I don't understand that @Trebdp83. Times change, younger generations enjoy the benefits of new technology, and older people criticize them for it. People said they same thing to kids listening to the radio or learning to type in school instead of writing in cursive.

To suggest you're "listening" to music and they are "using" it is a meaningless distinction, IMO. You're both listening to music for personal enjoyment. They might even get more enjoyment out of a terrible pair of earbuds because they don't take it serious.
 
T

Trebdp83

Audioholic Chief
Enjoying music for what it is and funneling in a torch song to some brokenhearted kid's ears so they can continue to cut themselves emotionally are not the same thing. I understand your point of view. I'm not much older than yourself. But, times and people do not change. New technology is developed to do the same things more efficiently. You don't have to go to the adult bookstore to get your porn on anymore. You can stream from Pornhub and rub one out in record time. But, I'd still be willing to bet that walking to the porn shop for a DVD or VHS tape, while not state of the art, is more cost effective than the costs of high speed internet and a smartphone or laptop. Society loses a little something every time somebody chooses to isolate themselves and put their favorite hits on repeat than join others in the living experience. When things become a habit, they are no longer special and it takes more use of them to feel anything. You know, like a drug.
 
Mark E. Long

Mark E. Long

Audioholic
As an long time audio and theater guy who raised a son who’s now 34 he’s a gamer first . He has no interest in high quality sound in his own home he’s got a sound bar he just don’t want to fool with large stacks of equipment but he always brings the latest disc over to sample the surround out lol . I’ve even offered to build him a system for his home .
 
Teetertotter?

Teetertotter?

Junior Audioholic
I think ages 20-40 masses, are still into, gaming, iPhone, iPad, and TV. Forget about surround systems and the like. The bigger the TV the better w streaming services. I am 77 and "Father Knows Best." lol
 
Gmoney

Gmoney

Audioholic Samurai
Speaking of iPhones, crazy to spend 1200 on a phone but that's what I've been seeing with younger people.
 
P

pcosmic

Audioholic
As an long time audio and theater guy who raised a son who’s now 34 he’s a gamer first . He has no interest in high quality sound in his own home he’s got a sound bar he just don’t want to fool with large stacks of equipment but he always brings the latest disc over to sample the surround out lol . I’ve even offered to build him a system for his home .
I got lucky. My older son and daughter introduce me to all kinds of new music though they listen to their stuff on very simple systems. Discovering new music makes me eons happier than finding new gear. My younger son is a gamer dude however with no significant taste in music.

I used to often bother one of the baristas at the local coffee shop with the "what're you playing young lady?" One day, she very politely grabbed my phone and installed Soundhound & Shazam on my phone a.k.a educated my stone age existence about such apps lol ..Now, i sit there with my Soundhound/Shazam and don't have to bother anyone!
 
P

pcosmic

Audioholic
Speaking of iPhones, crazy to spend 1200 on a phone but that's what I've been seeing with younger people.
Yeah,,,fk i have a 80 dollar LG phone and it does everything on earth! Folks who have a 1200 dollar iphone....What the fck for??? i don't know man....Steve Jobs was a mass indoctrinating crook...
 
diskreet

diskreet

Junior Audioholic
Society loses a little something every time somebody chooses to isolate themselves and put their favorite hits on repeat than join others in the living experience. When things become a habit, they are no longer special and it takes more use of them to feel anything. You know, like a drug.
What does society lose? I feel like this is just us being humans; we don't like change. Listening to music isn't inherently special. It can be special if you find it to be, but I don't see any issue with people listening music and not caring about it.
I love cars but I don't mind that most people hate driving. I know they can be expensive and inconvenient, and I look forward to self driving cars.


New technology is developed to do the same things more efficiently. You don't have to go to the adult bookstore to get your porn on anymore. You can stream from Pornhub and rub one out in record time.
That's true
 
Gmoney

Gmoney

Audioholic Samurai
Yeah,,,fk i have a 80 dollar LG phone and it does everything on earth! Folks who have a 1200 dollar iphone....What the fck for??? i don't know man....Steve Jobs was a mass indoctrinating crook...
I went into a AT&T store last year to buy a Iphone 6s + and all the sales lady wanted to do was sell me a 1200 buck phone. I walked out with a Iphone paid cash under 400 bucks with a prepaid plan. They where trying to get me to buy one of those 24 month plans would've been like umm 120 bucks a month.
 
B

Bernie Williams

Enthusiast
I don't the audiophile enthusiast has changed much. I remember when I was young (50 years ago) i would visit the old hifi stores and lust after the latest turntables and Reel to Reels. I was the only one in my circle of friends who had the audiophile disease. One of my friends dad was an audiophile and I really enjoyed going over to his house to see the latest. He was the only one I ever new that had such equipment.wasn't allowed to touch it though.
 
P

pcosmic

Audioholic
I went into a AT&T store last year to buy a Iphone 6s + and all the sales lady wanted to do was sell me a 1200 buck phone. I walked out with a Iphone paid cash under 400 bucks with a prepaid plan. They where trying to get me to buy one of those 24 month plans would've been like umm 120 bucks a month.
The only thing the 1200 dollar phone does better than my 80 dollar LG is the camera. Well, guess what, i went and got a Canon hybrid SLR for 400 bucks on sale which shts all day long over the iphone's camera. It will continue to sht all over many more iphones for years to come. Other than that, lets see, the iphone loaded up an app a half a second quicker than my 80 dollar LG! Well, semi-retired me has a 1/2 second to spare! No biggie! I'll sip some coffee and wait a half a second longer!
 
Ponzio

Ponzio

Audioholic Samurai
Let's face it, we self-confessed 'audiophiles' are odd ducks, compared to the norm. I don't think it's limited to a certain age group.

A vast majority of my friends in the same age group think I'm Cuckoo-for Coco Puffs with this hobby. While they acknowledge my gear sounds great, compared to their soundbars/Sonos systems, they're never gonna spend the same amount of money I have to set-up 4 different sound systems in their house.

It's a matter of economics and how much will you pay for a perceived incremental improvement in sound because you think you can hear a hummingbirds wings or feel the earth (room) move under your feet while listening to music or watching a movie? Not many.
 
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