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Stereophile article about the demise of high end audio

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Shame there is no way to use normal (FB, Disqus, etc) way to comment there. Would love to suggest the following:

Two things to re-invigorate audio:

1. Digital file format (NOT MEDIUM!) for surround recordings.

2. Make every new audio engineer learn to record surround sound using only 4 microphones direct to disc with NO MIXER.

On "2," I do NOT mean that mixed productions are bad or show go away, but until one knows how to capture an acoustic space/time event as it happens, one cannot be expected to create one artificially.

Dave

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I've said this earlier........... music has become far too accessible. Too much of any good thing - makes it commonplace. Music has become 'tunes' 100% playable anywhere and anytime. The hypothesis being purported here is that this should make better sounding systems more desirable. The problem there is simple. The lower cost systems are good enough for most people. They're not crackly ancient transistor radio's limited to a few AM or FM stations. They're not cassette players or even CD players. They are autonomous musical libraries that can be sourced on their own speakers, to headphones or to base devices. If we had these when we were younger we too may have found ourselves satisfied with their limited quality of the reproduction. Too much music, too easily accessed on systems that do not suck enough. Maybe when someone gets $$$$$$ to burn they'll seriously upgrade their audio - after the cars, the houses, the smart systems, et cetera.

My idea? Higher end manufacturers are going to need to seed some field marketing fronts. These level of systems need to be heard to gain any level of appreciation and potential sales. Plug someones Ipod into a pair of Wilson Watt Puppies and I suspect they'll notice a difference. That's how most of us got started. We heard equipment at some outlet, or somewhere and set our goals. These kids need to get audio goals. I think Klipsch should field market their product in every theater outlet that uses Klipsch product. That venue should be a marketing no-brainer.

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Until we have a real high fidelity format, people will stay away in droves. Stereo is 60 years old, obsolete, and keeps the public away from audio in droves. If that's all the movies offered the theaters would all go dark. People want realism, high fidelity, immersion.

It may have been good enough for grandpa, but it ain't good enough no mo...

Dave

PS - I don't need to be reminded about BR, SACD, whatever. Those are media. Media is obsolete.

Edited by Mallette
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The danger of course is that the nonchalant attitude about the quality of music reproduction filters all the way up the chain to the recording engineers/ artists/producers and then the only thing made are bad recordings. If the recording you are reproducing only has 6 dB of dynamic range, I don't care how good your system is it will sound like doo-doo.

Only my $0.02

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Until we have a real high fidelity format, people will stay away in droves. Stereo is 60 years old, obsolete, and keeps the public away from audio in droves. If that's all the movies offered the theaters would all go dark. People want realism, high fidelity, immersion.

It may have been good enough for grandpa, but it ain't good enough no mo...

Dave

PS - I don't need to be reminded about BR, SACD, whatever. Those are media. Media is obsolete.

You may be correct in your assertions Dave, although I personally enjoy the "old" ways. There's an interesting parallel to ham radio in the US (and possibly in other countries as well) as stated in this excellent article:

http://www.amateurradio.com/ham-radios-lost-future/

If I'm not mistaken, the median age of ham operators in the US is now the late 60s. Occasionally, when I tune around the ham bands listening to conversations, I hear guys who are in their 80s and have been licensed since they were kids. I can't recall the last time I heard a young person on the bands although they presumably are there in small numbers (thanks to school teachers who convinced their administrators to allow the teaching of after school classes.) The ham organizations ask the same questions that we do in regard to how to get young folks interested.

Does anyone have any stats or info about interest in high end audio in the EU or Asia?

Maynard

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....how to get young folks interested.
Kids are interested. They're always interested.

Just not in the same things you are perhaps. :emotion-55:

Don't think kids are interested in long-distance communication and building networks of friends??

Just because they don't have access to a highly esoteric, expensive TX/RX assemblies that require an antenna three times the size of a typical television aerial?

Yeah, I think it's safe to say Facebook has got that covered in spades.

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Lee & Jackson (my twin 7 year olds) prefer playing games on the computer to anything else; only watch TV when not allowed on comp.

Jackson has shown some interest in music. Lee plays on the comp hooked up to my second AVR, where most the speakers are Klipsch.

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Lee & Jackson (my twin 7 year olds) prefer playing games on the computer to anything else; only watch TV when not allowed on comp.

Jackson has shown some interest in music. Lee plays on the comp hooked up to my second AVR, where most the speakers are Klipsch.

My 2 year old daughter goes to the CD rack, grabs a CD and says, "can I listen to music with you, daddy?" Of course, I ablige. We listen, I tell her the name of the person or group and the name of the song. Sometimes she just sits, sometimes she dances. So far Cash is her favorite, which is fine by me. Lol. Just like everything else with kids, it starts at home.

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High end audio is obsolete. not just media. High end photography too I'm affraid.

Hey, pass me my smartphone.

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....how to get young folks interested.
Kids are interested. They're always interested.

Just not in the same things you are perhaps. :emotion-55:

Don't think kids are interested in long-distance communication and building networks of friends??

Just because they don't have access to a highly esoteric, expensive TX/RX assemblies that require an antenna three times the size of a typical television aerial?

Yeah, I think it's safe to say Facebook has got that covered in spades.

I don't think ham is comparable. It was exciting when I was a kid, as long distance phone was spotty and very expensive around the world and there was no other way to communicate. When I was in the Viet war zone, there were only two phone lines out of the entire country. Goldwater's MARS station kept us going and I'll be forever grateful to those folks, and I am sure they got a lot of satisfaction from their work. hile it still has many fine uses, it is really rather obsolete as a communications technology.

But MUSIC? The stuff some linguists suggest may predate speech?

I don't think so. However, the formats and engineering are obsolete to the average person. I maintain it's about failure to stay up with people and provide what technology can do. A large percentage of American homes have HT audio systems ready to accept discrete multichannel recordings, but the recordings are expensive and on obsolete media. Further, the engineering remains barely acceptable to godawful.

That's my story and I'm stickn' to it. So much so I wrote a way too long, profusely illustrated (Thanks, SETI!) piece about it in my blog link in my sig line. Gotten quite a lot of traffic on it from Audioholics and the Stereophile site.

Dave

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There's really no demise of "high end audio". It's simply transforming into a marketing vision called "Luxury Audio". The sad truth is that neither "high end audio" or "Luxury Audio" have much of anything to do with high fidelity, or as Paul Klipsch put it ~ "There is no such thing as high fidelity. Either it has fidelity or it doesn't".

What many of us veterans knew as "high end audio" has simply become the market place for exhorbitantly and excessively priced products which only very financially privilaged individuals can afford. It's a showcase for the kind of person who doesn't know nor cares much about fidelity because they don't have a point of reference as to whta that really is. It's a showcase for their pocket book. It's become like so many other things in recent years where there's an increasingly concentrated "group of wealth", currently sustained because of the increase in globalization. High end audio has become like the financial markets where some people are paying 220 times revenue (translation: that's an estimated 220 years out folks!) on an IPO for company that has been in business for 7 years, that doesn't make anything except noise and never earned a penny while creating 40 billionaires overnight at the same time. These are the buyers of Luxury (high end) Audio. It has nothing to do with music or fidelity. That objective was achieved a long time ago.

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2. Make every new audio engineer learn to record surround sound using only 4 microphones direct to disc with NO MIXER. On "2," I do NOT mean that mixed productions are bad or show go away, but until one knows how to capture an acoustic space/time event as it happens, one cannot be expected to create one artificially.

You would have to convince people as to how that would increase profits....

Music is rarely art in America - it's usually a utility.

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2. Make every new audio engineer learn to record surround sound using only 4 microphones direct to disc with NO MIXER. On "2," I do NOT mean that mixed productions are bad or show go away, but until one knows how to capture an acoustic space/time event as it happens, one cannot be expected to create one artificially.

You would have to convince people as to how that would increase profits....

Music is rarely art in America - it's usually a utility.

Interesting thought, Mike. I know of hardly anyone I've ever been exposed to in the business that gave much thought to profits. That's what the music biz does. It doesn't cost anymore...in fact IMHO a lot LESS...to make a high fidelity recording than a mess of sound coming from all directions. Basic HF surround is just 2 more mikes and two more channels than a stereo recording. Not really significant cost.

Dave

Edited by Mallette

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Until we have a real high fidelity format, people will stay away in droves. Stereo is 60 years old, obsolete, and keeps the public away from audio in droves. If that's all the movies offered the theaters would all go dark. People want realism, high fidelity, immersion.

It may have been good enough for grandpa, but it ain't good enough no mo...

Dave

PS - I don't need to be reminded about BR, SACD, whatever. Those are media. Media is obsolete.

You may be correct in your assertions Dave, although I personally enjoy the "old" ways. There's an interesting parallel to ham radio in the US (and possibly in other countries as well) as stated in this excellent article:

http://www.amateurradio.com/ham-radios-lost-future/

If I'm not mistaken, the median age of ham operators in the US is now the late 60s. Occasionally, when I tune around the ham bands listening to conversations, I hear guys who are in their 80s and have been licensed since they were kids. I can't recall the last time I heard a young person on the bands although they presumably are there in small numbers (thanks to school teachers who convinced their administrators to allow the teaching of after school classes.) The ham organizations ask the same questions that we do in regard to how to get young folks interested.

Does anyone have any stats or info about interest in high end audio in the EU or Asia?

Maynard

You guys are right this is a dying art that should be preserved IMO. I got my lic to help in the event of an emergency including the loss of normal communication avenues.

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You guys are right this is a dying art that should be preserved IMO. I got my lic to help in the event of an emergency including the loss of normal communication avenues.

My son just completed his Radio merit badge in scouts. He went on a camp out for the 60somethingth Scout "Jamboree of the Air."

Not sure if he'll get the bug, but I'd certainly support it if he did. So many nights I spent scanning the frequencies with my Hallicrafter's Sky Buddy (5.00 from a friend who was moving) radio and wanting to be able to join the conversation.

Dave

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Being an old hat to the world of Ham and the likes, second wife with 10 year old stepson, figured id set him up with what I started playing with when young.

His first CB radio, in LA Calif.

Taught him everything I thought of over a few weeks, he had contacts all over, I stopped by his room every night, kinda just checkin up to make sure things are running right. went well for a few months, till on day I stopped out side his bedroom door and just listened, from what I heard some old guy was grooming him for a meet up! holy chit! WTF has the world come to? this was maybe 20+ years ago and I still freak out when thinking about what I was hearing.

When the stepson came home from school the next day he ask me to take a look at his rig, somehow it fried.

I think that is when I bought him an Atari .........

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