Key to Finding New Generation of Audio Enthusiasts



Audioholic Slumlord
With Baby Boomers now in their 70s and most Millennials firmly entrenched in low quality streaming services with lo-fi speaker systems, how do we entice a new generation of AV enthusiasts to delve into the world of Hi-Fi audio? Show them positive life experiences.

In this article by Jerry Del Colliano, he explores how lifestyle hobbies like high-end Golf resorts often promote luxury cars and watches to entice their members to enjoy these perks while also building a positive association with them. Can the same thing be done with hi-fi systems?

View attachment 56493

Read: The Key to Finding a New Generation of AV Enthusiasts is Positive Life Experiences
Boomers are in their '70s? The boom ended in 1964!

I guess I'm late to the party again.


Audioholic Slumlord
Personally can't think of a bigger waste of money and time than golf and exclusive country clubs, and I'm a boomer (but not quite 70 yet). LOL hippie hotel and ebike sounds a lot more fun. Let alone collecting watches. My grandfather (mom's side) was a big golf/country club guy and I had my shot but didn't care for it at all.

High end audio stores and their often silly marketing and pricing won't get as many interested as it will drive away IMO. Tell someone you're an audiophile these days and they're more likely to think of silly things than anything particularly useful. High end audio has been shooting itself in the foot for a long time now. You can get excellent audio without the high end purchasing/marketing. Hopefully the younger folk are realizing that. A broader appeal with good basic affordable products would be a better way to go IMO to increase interest. Like rebuilding a middle class, which drove the whole thing to begin with IMO, rather than selling to people with more money than sense.
Is it golf, by itself, or the country club lifestyle that you don't like? Anyone with enough money to go to Goodwill and buy a set of clubs can golf, or they may be able to rent clubs. That assumes they would be able to play without doing pro bono excavation work. Golf is the most democratic game out there, aside from Disc Golf, which seems to be the domain of people who can't get a job.

You might be happy to know that many old country clubs are having a hard time gaining members and have come to the point of forming associations with other clubs with reciprocity agreements just so they can collect enough green fees to make it look like they're doing OK. The hope is that the golfers would also eat and buy things from the pro shops.

I worked at a very exclusive CC when I was in high school- as much as the wealthy like to put on the haughty "we're very classy, you know" persona, some of those guys were absolute pigs. Once the free booze is passed out, they are, too. Sometimes saw them sleeping on benches in the locker room, stumbling around after staying up far too late and I would have thought they might have some dignity at the tender ages of 50-75, but I would be wrong.

I think one reason younger people aren't into audio is the lack of portability of great sounding equipment. I also think their parents weren't into it because they grew up with boom boxes, not a fine audio system. This wasn't just the poor kids, the rich kids who were among our customers at the first store where I worked bought boom boxes, too. Also, the last two generations before the most recent had a car stereo, often one that kicked ass- they wouldn't necessarily spend a lot of time at home, so they might as well be able to annoy people with that, right?


Audioholic Overlord
Audiophile shows are important to the future of our hobby and the audiophile community can help just as much as the promoters of the shows themselves. What can audio companies do at trade shows to start bringing in a new generation of enthusiasts who likely will enjoy decades of good audio? Read on to find out how to create a better demo experience.

View attachment 60397

Read: Nine Ideas To Make All-Important Consumer Shows More Appealing To New Audiophiles
Wow. I’m really glad I get to say this once… hopefully more:
Nice article, Jerry.
Having the last California Audio Show (2019) been my only experience, it was nice having a smaller show close to home… it was accessible and easy to visit. They had enough vendors show up to make it a full experience yet not so many that you couldn’t visit every room to at least see what was up.
You hit some key points, and I agree with most of what you suggested.
The biggest turn off for non-dorks is the dork-fest. Being exposed to the hardcore audiophool scene is a hard one for those who I aren’t in that thought-space. Avoiding the trap of a 20 minute conversation about the depth of soundstage without playing music and moving the show along is important.
I also really like the idea of moving away from the standards you always hear, but at the same time, they should be on hand for the request. But getting to walk into a room and ask if they can play something on request can be helpful for numerous reasons, too…
Which feeds into a scripted room perhaps being a little too limited in scope: hard to say. *shrugs

Anyway, thank you Jerry for not falling back into a golf-hole with luxury cars and McMansions like we all don’t have! This may have been your best piece I’ve read here.


Audioholics Contributing Writer
I just went to my first "audiophile" show in years last week in Tampa, FL (Florida International Audio Expo); even ran into Gene there! I second most of the suggestions in this article, but my biggest gripe was: the type of music played (in nearly every room/demo). The biggest difference between source audio now and 20 years (or so) ago is: digital source audio. While the turntable is making a comeback (and I saw more LP collections than I have in years), most of the source material came from hard drives/music servers, so it wasn't always apparent what the specs were (bit rates, etc.). Not only that, you would think that with the storage capacity/potential of these digital servers I would have been able to hear more of what I know/like (for example, I didn't hear 1 Steely Dan track the whole time)! Unfortunately, these types of shows are about the only way to hear/experience high-end audio anymore with the "death" of brick and mortar stores; you can barely even find a used CD/LP/DVD store these days!


Audioholic Samurai
Most young people will get their start into high performing audiophilia these days via car audio. Otherwise, I had to fight them to keep them from blasting rap music at work, which did nothing to make them work faster, better, or much at all, for that matter.

Personally, I'd rather teach my own kids about audiophilia, so that they don't get hoodwinked into thinking that they have to keep buying the next, not-so-incredible, technological gains every two years. Or how when you buy a pair of supposedly perfect $10k speakers, that they don't (shouldn't) need a $6k DAC to make them shine.

Or better yet, teach them how to build their own, instead of supporting all of the parasites that has their hands in a technology that has by now, obviously eaten itself out of house and home. Way too many people needing to extract a healthy living from audio, that create little of value towards it otherwise. At least if they learn to build it themselves, they will have learned some skills and appreciation and how to create legacies of their own, that their own children won't be rushing to off it on FB marketplace so they can go buy a bag of weed with the few dollars they get for it. My sons watched me build all of these things. It will likely be what keeps us connected, long after I am gone.


Senior Audioholic
I'm 80, and my interest in HT began in the early 90's, when Starz had one channel with Dolby Sound. I already had a Yamaha AVR w Dolby, a Beta VCR, and a tape deck with 2 large front family room speakers. When DD arrived, I added the back speakers. Man, I thought I was in 7th heaven with TV and movies, plus taped music for the car tape deck. Starz would e-mail me the months movies that would be in Dolby. This is where I got my start in HT. The speakers came from Circuit City along with a Yamaha sub.

Prior to the 90's, it was volunteer coaching baseball and basketball plus attending the 3 kids games in between, up through HS. Something like that. It was always sports and some golf and cutting the lawn.

To this day, the adult kids and older grandkids, are into Work, Computers, and Cell Phones. There is no HT in their homes and have no desire. The 3 kids are in their 50's and could care less about HT, even music. The younger grand kids are not into music or HT. Work, TV, movies, for them too. O, we do have a 21 year old granddaughter and her man friend, that are into older type Country Music. lol But no real equipment.

Yes, there is NO Middle Class in today's world and I don't hear about it, either.

  • SVS Sound Subwoofers
  • Experience the Martin Logan Montis