Is the Audiophile Dying Out?

Is the Audiophile Dying Out?

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

    Votes: 25 56.8%
  • No. The kids are allright.

    Votes: 19 43.2%

  • Total voters
    44
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
Seriously, what makes a speaker like that worth a quarter mil/pr? I can almost see an argument for the big monolithic ones that weigh 1200 lbs apiece because you're getting huge-mongous speakers. Those Focals are gorgeous and I'll bet they sound awesome, but they don't look a whole lot different than many other towers that size. Are they using precious metals all through the thing or what? Is it just because they can get someone to pay that much for them?
A lot of the cost is the furniture- it doesn't help the sound, but it makes people drool and it makes the manufacturers wealthy. I can make cabinets, but I can't make the drivers or crossover components. Well, I could wind the coils, but I'm not going to.
 
Trell

Trell

Audioholic Field Marshall
Seriously, what makes a speaker like that worth a quarter mil/pr? I can almost see an argument for the big monolithic ones that weigh 1200 lbs apiece because you're getting huge-mongous speakers. Those Focals are gorgeous and I'll bet they sound awesome, but they don't look a whole lot different than many other towers that size. Are they using precious metals all through the thing or what? Is it just because they can get someone to pay that much for them?
Perhaps functions as a penis extender?
 
Ponzio

Ponzio

Audioholic Samurai
Are they using precious metals all through the thing or what? Is it just because they can get someone to pay that much for them?
Both.

Like I said previously, it's the greatest sounding speaker I've ever heard to date, whether they were played at a low or at an ear busting volume, without any sub(s) and in any genre of music (I'd brought along my speaker demo disc).

What really impressed me though is how you could pick out individual instruments in any song, from the soft brush of a cymbal in a loud song to a pianist tinkling in the background. It felt like I was in the studio when the artist/band recorded the song. Completely enveloping, no matter where you were standing or sitting in the room.

I realize they're ridiculously expensive but if I won the lottery tomorrow, I'd put in an order for a pair in a nano-second.
 
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S

sterling shoote

Audioholic Field Marshall
Fact: the rich are getting richer and the "middle class" are getting poorer. This means manufacturers of audio/video equipment will either strive to bring value to the market, meaning better products for less money, or highest quality with ZERO consideration for value. Some manufacturers like JBL deliver appeals to all markets, for example the Stage A130 and the Project Everest 67000 speaker offerings. The bottom line is this, since the world wide economic collapse in 2008 there has been a deluge of low cost/high quaility audio/video products coming to market by manufacturer necessity to stay in business, This economic condition has made it possible for us poor folks to enjoy recorded music in our humble abodes in great style. Get a Marantz NR-1200, or a Sony STR-DN1080 Receiver, a pair of JBL A130's and a Fluance RT81 Turntable and have an experience that rivals systems of yesteryear which cost ten times as much. If you're not into LPs, chuck the turntable for a Sony Universal Player and enjoy all kinds of disc media, including SACD.
 
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highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
Fact: the rich are getting richer and the "middle class" are getting poorer. This means manufacturers of audio/video equipment will either strive to bring value to the market, meaning better products for less money, or highest quality with ZERO consideration for value. Some manufacturers like JBL deliver appeals to all markets, for example the Stage A130 and the Project Everest 67000 speaker offerings. The bottom line is this, since the world wide economic collapse in 2008 there has been a deluge of low cost/high quaility audio/video products coming to market by manufacturer necessity to stay in business, This economic condition has made it possible for us poor folks to enjoy recorded music in our humble abodes in great style. Get a Marantz NR-1200, or a Sony STR-DN1080 Receiver, a pair of JBL A130's and a Fluance RT81 Turntable and have an experience that rivals systems of yesteryear which cost ten times as much. If you're not into LPs, chuck the turntable for a Sony Universal Player and enjoy all kinds of disc media, including SACD.
Manufacturers can want to stay in business but if the parts & materials aren't available and there's little demand, nothing is going to help them. The fact that China manipulates its money and owns the majority of some rare earth minerals and Chinese corporations have been buying well-known manufacturers puts them in a good position for this and they also buy a lot of scrap metals from the US, which is driving up the prices here. Most AV items have been commoditized, too- the margins on a lot of the most commonly bought are extremely low because of the mass merchandisers like WalMart, Best Buy etc. Small dealers may not want to tie up a lot of money in inventory, which means they pay a premium by using distributors and that makes it necessary to pick and choose what they sell.

It's too bad so many B&M stores have closed since speakers are the one thing that really need to be heard in order to make the right decision.
 
S

sterling shoote

Audioholic Field Marshall
Manufacturers can want to stay in business but if the parts & materials aren't available and there's little demand, nothing is going to help them. The fact that China manipulates its money and owns the majority of some rare earth minerals and Chinese corporations have been buying well-known manufacturers puts them in a good position for this and they also buy a lot of scrap metals from the US, which is driving up the prices here. Most AV items have been commoditized, too- the margins on a lot of the most commonly bought are extremely low because of the mass merchandisers like WalMart, Best Buy etc. Small dealers may not want to tie up a lot of money in inventory, which means they pay a premium by using distributors and that makes it necessary to pick and choose what they sell.

It's too bad so many B&M stores have closed since speakers are the one thing that really need to be heard in order to make the right decision.
Sony seems to always be a step ahead in reading where the market is going. Their emphasis right now is better audio, video, and photography form their cell phone offerings. This emphasis, from Apple too, makes me think the "audiophile" concept will not relate to folks who have not yet indulged in audiophile experiences. My crystal ball sees cell phones bringing multi-channel music and movies to Bluetooth speakers for fabulous entertainment to all without need for AVRs, Pre-Pros, and source component indulgence, Bye-bye audiophiles. Regarding Made in China, I wish I could boycott. After all, I do not want my purchases to support the communist regime. But, boycott is not possible. Sidebar: Milwaukee Power Tools are ALL made in China. To me that's false advertising. I talked to a Milwaukee Tools executive the other day and he told me that if their production was not moved to China they would be out of business. I discussed the JBL model with him, where premium products are manufactured in USA. His response was there is ZERO market for a premium product when the current product is considered premium.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
Sony seems to always be a step ahead in reading where the market is going. Their emphasis right now is better audio, video, and photography form their cell phone offerings. This emphasis, from Apple too, makes me think the "audiophile" concept will not relate to folks who have not yet indulged in audiophile experiences. My crystal ball sees cell phones bringing multi-channel music and movies to Bluetooth speakers for fabulous entertainment to all without need for AVRs, Pre-Pros, and source component indulgence, Bye-bye audiophiles. Regarding Made in China, I wish I could boycott. After all, I do not want my purchases to support the communist regime. But, boycott is not possible. Sidebar: Milwaukee Power Tools are ALL made in China. To me that's false advertising. I talked to a Milwaukee Tools executive the other day and he told me that if their production was not moved to China they would be out of business. I discussed the JBL model with him, where premium products are manufactured in USA. His response was there is ZERO market for a premium product when the current product is considered premium.
The brand is one of the reasons people buy Milwaukee Tools, but they are still one of the big brands on job sites for the simple reason that they work, they work very well and the warranty on many of them is 5 years. They make no secret that they're made in China- would you have them change the name when it has been established for so long? I would bet that Milwaukee sells far more items than JBL and the items JBL makes have far fewer parts, most of which never move once the thing has been assembled. I don't know if you have used any Milwaukee tools, but my 18V NiCd hammer drills are from 2005 and 2007, used extensively in all modes (driver, drill and hammer drill)- I replaced one set of brushes and the chuck on the first one and neither part failure was their fault. The newer of the two has never needed anything other than new batteries and that one has seen 99% of my drill use since I bought it in '07.

As the executive said, Milwaukee Electric Tool would have closed if they hadn't sold the company because it's absolutely impossible to make those products in the US and compete with the foreign brands although their designs come from the Brookfield facility. That said, the owners did a lot of work (remodel, expansion) on the design/engineering/test/service facility here, put up another building across the street and are planning another in the near future, so their investment isn't only in Asia.

How would a 'top of the line' brand make something better and what would they call it? They have the best batteries and when they came out with their first 28V Lithium Ion batteries, I saw the charge indicator and asked someone in the repair store if they had a way to track average & peak current, temperature, etc and he confirmed that and my question about whether they were seeing a huge number of repairs that were caused by abuse.

I knew a guy who was a design engineer for MKE Tool and the day I picked up my first hammer drill from him, I saw two 2x12 boards leaning against the building with fairly large holes- I counted 72 and he said they used one of the 2-9/16" self boring bits with a 28V drill with one battery to make all of the holes.

A YouTuber who goes by 'The Den Of Tools' has a post that shows which companies make what power tools and several others post tests comparing brands- the tests aren't scientific, but they could be seen as 'typical' WRT how tools are used correctly vs incorrectly. Some of these tests are destructive, but still informative.
 
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Spartan
The brand is one of the reasons people buy Milwaukee Tools, but they are still one of the big brands on job sites for the simple reason that they work, they work very well and the warranty on many of them is 5 years. They make no secret that they're made in China- would you have them change the name when it has been established for so long? I would bet that Milwaukee sells far more items than JBL and the items JBL makes have far fewer parts, most of which never move once the thing has been assembled. I don't know if you have used any Milwaukee tools, but my 18V NiCd hammer drills are from 2005 and 2007, used extensively in all modes (driver, drill and hammer drill)- I replaced one set of brushes and the chuck on the first one and neither part failure was their fault. The newer of the two has never needed anything other than new batteries and that one has seen 99% of my drill use since I bought it in '07.

As the executive said, Milwaukee Electric Tool would have closed if they hadn't sold the company because it's absolutely impossible to make those products in the US and compete with the foreign brands although their designs come from the Brookfield facility. That said, the owners did a lot of work (remodel, expansion) on the design/engineering/test/service facility here, put up another building across the street and are planning another in the near future, so their investment isn't only in Asia.

How would a 'top of the line' brand make something better and what would they call it? They have the best batteries and when they came out with their first 28V Lithium Ion batteries, I saw the charge indicator and asked someone in the repair store if they had a way to track average & peak current, temperature, etc and he confirmed that and my question about whether they were seeing a huge number of repairs that were caused by abuse.

I knew a guy who was a design engineer for MKE Tool and the day I picked up my first hammer drill from him, I saw two 2x12 boards leaning against the building with fairly large holes- I counted 72 and he said they used one of the 2-9/16" self boring bits with a 28V drill with one battery to make all of the holes.

A YouTuber who goes by 'The Den Of Tools' has a post that shows which companies make what power tools and several others post tests comparing brands- the tests aren't scientific, but they could be seen as 'typical' WRT how tools are used correctly vs incorrectly. Some of these tests are destructive, but still informative.
Is that the guy that did the milwaukee high torque driver vs the harbor freight version? That was actually quite impressive on both fronts.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
Is that the guy that did the milwaukee high torque driver vs the harbor freight version? That was actually quite impressive on both fronts.
The Den of Tools guy is heavy, balding and has a beard- he also has a CG alternative personality as Red, the Tool Bear.

This test?


If you click on the link and want to see more Hercules vs Milwaukee Impact driver tests, just remove 'Den Of Tool' from the search and you'll be busy for a long time.

My Milwaukee hammer drills are old enough that it's not cost-effective to continue buying batteries for them and they're damned heavy- with two bad shoulders, that has become a problem. New Lithium-Ion batteries cut the weight and since I'm no longer going to do big jobs, I don't need the pricey stuff but I do want something that works. If it lasts more than 5 years of moderately heavy use, something less expensive will have served its purpose although I still don't see 5 years as a long life. I just shipped one of the MKE drills yesterday and the other is listed for sale- I bought a Bauer a couple of weeks ago after watching a lot of tests, but haven't used it yet. I have had my eye on their stuff for a while and after buying one of their less expensive Earthquake tools (a 12V polisher that's very similar to the Milwaukee version), I started to take these more seriously. I bought a 2HP dust collector in about 2003 and it has been great.
 
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M

MrBoat

Audioholic Samurai
The brand is one of the reasons people buy Milwaukee Tools, but they are still one of the big brands on job sites for the simple reason that they work, they work very well and the warranty on many of them is 5 years. They make no secret that they're made in China- would you have them change the name when it has been established for so long? I would bet that Milwaukee sells far more items than JBL and the items JBL makes have far fewer parts, most of which never move once the thing has been assembled. I don't know if you have used any Milwaukee tools, but my 18V NiCd hammer drills are from 2005 and 2007, used extensively in all modes (driver, drill and hammer drill)- I replaced one set of brushes and the chuck on the first one and neither part failure was their fault. The newer of the two has never needed anything other than new batteries and that one has seen 99% of my drill use since I bought it in '07.

As the executive said, Milwaukee Electric Tool would have closed if they hadn't sold the company because it's absolutely impossible to make those products in the US and compete with the foreign brands although their designs come from the Brookfield facility. That said, the owners did a lot of work (remodel, expansion) on the design/engineering/test/service facility here, put up another building across the street and are planning another in the near future, so their investment isn't only in Asia.

How would a 'top of the line' brand make something better and what would they call it? They have the best batteries and when they came out with their first 28V Lithium Ion batteries, I saw the charge indicator and asked someone in the repair store if they had a way to track average & peak current, temperature, etc and he confirmed that and my question about whether they were seeing a huge number of repairs that were caused by abuse.

I knew a guy who was a design engineer for MKE Tool and the day I picked up my first hammer drill from him, I saw two 2x12 boards leaning against the building with fairly large holes- I counted 72 and he said they used one of the 2-9/16" self boring bits with a 28V drill with one battery to make all of the holes.

A YouTuber who goes by 'The Den Of Tools' has a post that shows which companies make what power tools and several others post tests comparing brands- the tests aren't scientific, but they could be seen as 'typical' WRT how tools are used correctly vs incorrectly. Some of these tests are destructive, but still informative.
I like some Milwaukee tools, especially their corded ones. Why? Because the cords don't rot, for starters. I keep this "wrist breaker" around for the heavy work. Nothing stops it. I hold onto this bad boy in the situation pictured below. I make sure I can stop the motor if that hole saw were to bind up.



Milwaukee portable band saw. Sure there are others, but these things will go for years. In the trades, your tools tell the people who matter, more about you than just about anything, as far as initial (or even random) impressions go. The Milwaukee Sawzall, yet another. When you see those on the job, you know it's going to work. I made this stationary bandsaw out of the portable one. It is an invaluable tool at home, or on the job. I cut through heavy stainless steel chain, or anything that will fit in it. Need to shorten a bolt, or screw? Now I have it at my job. It cuts wood, too.


Drills, and circular saws, I like Makita. One of the most durable, easiest drywall screw guns I ever owned, though, was a black and decker pro model. I would some days put in a case (I think it was 40#) of drywall screws with it. I flogged that thing for 8 years, and my brother still has it going on over 30 years now, total. I shimmed the brushes at one point, with a folded piece of paper drywall seals that holds the two boards together for transport. I don't know that the brushes were ever changed after.

All of my Milwaukee, Makita, Bosch (I like their routers and power planers) tools will outlast me, and I use them a lot.
 
K

Kevi9590

Audiophyte
My take: the gaming industry is the biggest industry in entertainment right now. Thats where young people are putting their disposable income. It’s essentially the parallel hobby for younger people to home theater, being tech based in largely overlapping ways. The audio of choice in gaming is headset for two reasons: The microphone that comes with it; The headphones themselves preclude echo from feeding back into the mic. Gaming with someone not using headphones ruins chat in many cases. That and PC gaming is already a bulky hobby with its own set of equipment. Add to that the newer domain of streaming, and you have soundboards, two monitors, a computer, mouse, keyboard, mic, camera, and probably some computer speakers, maybe a printer, all at your desk. That doesnt leave a lot of room for an avr, large speakers which would be suboptimally positioned anyways, seperates, etc etc.

Audiophile speaker equipment doesnt just clash with gamer equipment, it comes at a significant price which comes at the opportunity cost from money that could go into a better rig.

But what about console gamers? Well, console gamers are into console gaming over pc gaming because it is plug and play, easy to use, and still good quality. Integrating audiophile speaker equipment clashes with that mindset, thats often driven by budget, and distracts from the overall goal: to game. If Im busy setting up my system, Im not dropping into a warzone game with my bros. And they will be pissed if Im running my game on dolby atmos and they hear it echoing into my mic. Console gaming is in of itself a concession of gamers to convenience, which good home audio is not about.

Plus, despite what the audio community wants to hear, gamers dont much care about the newest home theater features/ blu ray movie playback features that were added to the PS5. They care about the games and the graphics. Sure, every once in a while you get a gamer who is fluent in home audio setup, but the honest truth is that most gamers dont even know that a setting exists in your console to turn on bitstream audio. Theyre busy enjoying the latest Halo, God of War, Call of Duty, Horizon Zero Dawn, etc. Which is what consoles were meant for.

So you have two hobbies that on paper compliment each other incredibly well but in reality constantly clash.

The disposable income argument might have some truth to it, but I hesitantly dismiss it because younger people find money for their hobbies when they really want it.

Which brings up another thing: as much as marketing for audiophile equipment keeps me up at night, the general public is simply ignorant on whats out there. Most people dont know what separates even are. And why should they? They know what they see at best buy or walmart, and they barely carry entry level sound equipment, let alone high end equipment. My coworkers dont know what atmos is, and if im lucky ill run into someone who thinks “atmos” are those weird bouncy house speakers on the Klipsches at best buy. Marketing for the audio community does not reach far outside of the audio community.

I say this as someone in my mid 20s that LOVES that i accidentally found this hobby recently when a Youthman video popped into my youtube feed. But the truth is, when I tell anyone I know that I spent 2500 on a PB-16 Ultra subwoofer, they look at me like Im retarded because they dont know what its even for. Hell, they probably never felt tactile bass in their homes before.

Which is why Im making it my life mission to make the best home theater I can and then bring every friend and distant relative I have over for movie night. ❤
 
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diskreet

diskreet

Audioholic
Great response @Kevi9590
When I first starting looking into home theater, my intent was to have sound that didn't suck for gaming when we finished our remodel of that part of our house. That's it - I wanted to spend all my money on the TV and gaming stuff. Then I found some YouTube content and realized there was a lot to learn. When I stumbled upon Audioholics, I found what I needed - information rooted in science and engineering.

I spend months learning everything I could in my free time, and changed many aspects of the home renovation around the audio. With much longer to save up I adjusted the budged directly based on Audioholic's recommendations for how to distribute your money. And I slid down the slipper slope of "if I spend a little more on this, I can get much better performance" for a while. But always was checked by measurements and facts.

In the end I use my system ~60% for video (mostly 4k streaming/blu-ray), ~30% for gaming, and ~%10 for music. It does each very well, but it was a good 6 months or more to learn enough to get it there.
 
B

bikdav

Senior Audioholic
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.
That’s a very interesting observation.
 
S

stalag2005

Full Audioholic
I am an ex broadcast engineer that was introduced to high quality audio in the early 2000's. After being spoiled with high quality equipment, I could not go back. After I picked up with my current job, I went to a 5.1 surround sound system that I added my two rebuilt Sansui speakers. Several moves and other issues my system went into a coma. However I work in my office on my computer all of the time and got tired of the consumer grade crap computer speakers that purport to be "high end" Even though not top of the line, the current audio on my computer consists of a pair of Martin Logan LX-16's and an SVS subwoofer driven by an Sprout 100 DAC/AMP. Yes that is not audiophile maybe to some here, but it has lasted far longer and is upgradable and sounds way better than Logitech/Sound Blaster/etc. that is commonly available. Sound bars are not that great of an option when I have heard them demonstrated. Given this, I am happy with my little 2.1 in my office. In my living room on the other hand I upgraded that this past year after I cleaned up my mess that was throughout my apartment due to covid 19. Just say this was driven due to a meltdown related to a lifelong condition Autism.

After my attempt to use the Yamaha RXV663 that I had bought with the 5.1 surround sound system, I was forced to buy a new subwoofer and I upgraded both the front and rear surrounds and center to the current config of all Paradigm speakers:

Premier 800F L/R fronts
Prestige 45C
Prestige 25S L/R rear surrounds
Mini Monitor v5 L/R surrounds (left over from the original 5.1 setup)

All of these are driven by my new Anthem MRX-740. This new setup sounds way better than what I had, and honestly it is like sitting in the mixing booth/room where the audio is made. I hear artifacts that a lesser system just cannot reproduce. Could I expend more? Yes. But what I have works with my hearing what it is, and everyone who hears my setup is impressed. Could I have better? Yes, but what I have works well for me. The MRX-740 is just the ticket and allows me to administer it way easier. Trying to set up the old Yamaha was a nightmare in comparison to the MRX-740.

In my experience most young people have less money and different priorities. They can appreciate good sound, but would not know it because other things are emphasized and they don't understand why someone like me buys what I do.
 
rebulx

rebulx

Junior Audioholic
We've changed from a society of buyer beware to buyer be informed. With the amount of knowledge at everyone's finger tips it's just killed the 100K speaker wire and boasted how room acoustics play a true role in how all speakers sound. The audiophile is not dying out, this hobby is growing, it's simply great fun understanding how to make INCREDible sound.
 

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