People just aren't interested in proper HiFi anymore...

norliss

Well-known Member
Today I caught up on the March AVF podcast (which is superb as usual) in the latter half of which, Phil, Steve & Ed got onto the topic of the plight of the retailer in the UK today.

This got me thinking about something I've believed for a while. Rather than double-posting, here's a link to my reply Why HiFi retail is struggling although perhaps we could discuss any follow-on in this thread?
 
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Vipers

Well-known Member
I'll have to have a listen, it will be especially interesting for me considering I only set up HiFi Lounge a few months ago. I must admit if I had read all the press and watched the news I probably would have been scared off but to be honest early signs are extremely promising, although I do have to admit I don't get many under 40's through my doors which could be a problem one day.

I do like to think though that at least with the iPod generation it still keeps music relevant, my nieces live with their iPods constantly on and hopefully when they have some disposable income they will seek a better hifi solution, I guess only time will tell.
 

norliss

Well-known Member
I hope that the current iPod/download-generation do progress onto proper HiFi and certainly wish you all the best with your business, Vipers. :)
 

Broosta

Active Member
Well I think there's room for both parties to move towards each other on this point. Kids need to learn about quality and hifi enthusiasts need to stop spouting off about imaginary things they can or can't hear.
It's all very well for us to say the kids need to stop listening to mp3s and listen to flac instead but when you try and demonstrate the difference it's not actually there to be heard most of the time under most circumstances.

But ignoring that point, technology needs to catch up a bit. iPods can't play flac nativley nor can iTunes. Flac is the future not alac(did I read that iTunes doesn't even sell alac, only mp3?!), but apple want to try to control it all and that's the problem. The future is all about compatibility but Apple is completely opposed to it.
For me to carry all my music about would mean having 600GB of storage on a device. I think I've got quite a lot but even so how many 250GB portable music players are there, that can play flac? Because only then, with flac, does it make sense to me to go home and plug it into the hifi to listen.

And then there's the traditional perfect music appreciation home set up - our listening rooms. Well I haven't got one, I've got an area in my house where my hifi is set up. And TBH when I think about it a 2.0 system is not the best, I'd prefer a multi room set up. And here we get to the paradox - 2.0 systems are the best sound quality(if you stay in the sweet spot), but I want to listen to music mostly when I'm cooking or when people visit or sat at the dining table and a few other times but most of the listening won't be with me sitting in the sweet spot.
My perfect system would need technology that hasn't been invented yet - ignoring headphones as I'm not a big fan. I need a system with a sweet spot that follows me about the house(or anywhere ideally!).
I've a got 2 squeezboxes but that's only two rooms covered and then that's only really 2 perfect sitting positions rather than actually two whole rooms, so I suppose music quality is less important with a multi room set up. Hello Sonos and Apple!
 

lazarus

Active Member
Just kind of thinking out loud here - is part of the problem that the hifi industry never advertises on tv?

Granted I cant imagine seeing an advert for a naim power amp during eastenders or whatever but what about streaming components, all in ones, multi-room stuff, home cinema?

theres got to be a market thats not being expoited and an audience thats not being exposed to it. maybe theres a percentage of the population is simply arnt aware that this stuff even exists because theyve never been exposed to the advertising.

do hifi companies advertise in newspapers?? I dont read them so i dont know.
 

Broosta

Active Member
Bose stuff is advertised everywhere. I presume that's why the layman deems it as the ultimate in audio excellence.
Apple stuff also is advertised pretty well.
 
For me it's like any other hobby....if you have an interest you'll find sources...me it started with What Hi-Fi.....and a day many years back I stumbled past a hotel in Glasgow that had a hi-fi show on....so I went in...and had very silly grins on my face in a lot of the dem rooms...and that was it for me....well and truly hooked on audio......

I know people into hi-fi separates....but I'd say the vast majority won't a. be interested in spending a lot or b. able to afford it in these economic times.

Over and above that, similar to photography....some people get enough from an ipod and a docking station...from a small pocket digital camera rather than a full blown SLR with bag of lenses.....
 

AlanSmithe

Standard Member
I guess the big issue is that people have lots of other ways to entertain themselves - once they have paid for sky, the HP on their car, their monthly paid for their mobile, being out a couple of times - how much disposable income is going to left for Hifi gear? I'm about to spend £400 on some hifi stuff but that really is the maximum I want to spend and I don't want to have to spend it again until the thing breaks - and I'm someone who doesn't have sky, a car or a monthly spend on a expensive mobile contract.

The other thing is - most people simply don't care and will never care about sound quality, they simply want access as quickly as possible where-ever they are.
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
Someone once said (Stereophile Mag) -

"Bass, like sex, is something most young men desire to excess:..."

The point being, that you start with quantity and gradually evolve to quality.

Next it depends on your relationship to music. If you are consumed by Pop music simply to fit in with your friends, then likely your love of music will endure no longer than the transient Pop music. However, if you have a broader and deeper interest, then likely at some point you will be interest in a system that does not fit into your shirt pocket.

Extending that, I think part of the problem is that music has become a consumer commodity rather than an art form. It is bend and manipulated and molded to fit the most common denominator, which make tons of money but does not make the best music. I think when people, young and old, move beyond top 40 music, they do start to have an appreciation for the quality of the music, and therefore the quality of the system.

Sadly though for too many seeming music lovers, they never make that move beyond the music all their friends like. It is not about the music, it is about fitting in. It is true that today, people/kids have access to more music in more places than ever before, but listening has become an isolating experience rather than the collective shared experience that listening to a good stereo creates.

Unfortunately, the easy and cheap access to personal music everywhere you go, has hurt the HiFi equipment industry, and the High Street retailers who sell equipment. In the bad old days when Stereo and Vinyl were King, people has few choices but to gather together in cramped room and listen to music. Today, obviously, not so. We carry 1000's of song in your shirt pocket. Tremendously convenient, but having that easy access has compromise both the sound quality of the playback and the sound quality of the music itself.

The Music Revolution was built on AM radio (pure crap) but it built the revolution none the less. However, what we heard on the radio, our only exposure to new music, influenced our buying decision for both music and equipment. Today, AM and FM radio, content wise, are pure crap, dead in the water, they play safe Pop music. Internet Radio has massive potential to expose us to a much wider variety of music. But doesn't necessarily entice us to hear it on better equipment.

So, yes, equipment sales are lagging. For most extremely rich people, good HiFi didn't even make the top 10 list of things they wanted to buy with their money. But, as others have said, I think it is a matter of education and exposure to both quality equipment and quality music. Dave Brubeck's "Time Out" album might not be to the taste of most young people, but it was recorded and released in 1959 and remains as fresh and vital today as it was back then. It has become a Jazz Classic. Meanwhile Pop stars have come and gone, faded into obscurity.

Myself because of exposure to a complex range of people in my life, I have gained an appreciation for a wide cross section of music from country to bluegrass to Cajun to jazz to Soul to blues to guitar rock. It is the musicianship and artistry that appeal to me, not the popularity of the music among my friends. Though I have to admit, I've been there and done that as well.

The point being, in summary, you can't miss what you never had. If people are exposed to both quality sound and quality music, likely they can be swayed to quality equipment. But in today's world, those are not easy things to find.

Steve/bluewizard
 
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reevesy

Distinguished Member
think the soon as someone hears a favorite song through a half decent system instead of their phone they'd be hooked.....even music you dont like can be appreciated through a good system.

i remember years ago a relative giving me his old seperates system......which replaced my all in one stereo/turntable thingy...the first record i put on was a difference between light and day

trouble is.... most people when they're looking for a new bit of av gear its off to pc world/dixons etc


if the hi fi industry has suffered in the past i cant see it improving in the present climate.......but i think a lot of dealers have their regulars along with friends and family of so hopefully will keep going
 

diablo

Active Member
When I were a lad (as us old farts of 60 have a tendency of saying a lot :laugh:) there weren't as many things around for entertainment. when living with our parents we didn't have centrally heated bedrooms to entertain our friends in with computers and games consoles. Watching the rubbish your parents watched on TV wasn't very 'cool' either. :laugh:

Though maybe there was a record player or even a stereo system in the back room. So playing an LP was the natural thing to do - especially if we'd just bought the latest Pink Floyd, Stones or even Family album. :) So the idea of listening to music in its own right as entertainment was firmly established in the mind. And when we got our own homes then a sound system was high on the list.

Times changed when personal players became really popular amongst the young - from the mid-90s ? Then there was MTV etc. Music became very commonplace. If you've been listening all day to various pop stuff then the idea of putting on a new CD and listening attentively to it with friends becomes less attractive.

There are lots of other factors as well, though one which springs to mind is women. :laugh: Although there are occasional female hi-fi nuts they ain't common and they usually won't put up with big music kit - I have lost count of the times I've read 'I can't have big speakers or a big amp as the other half won't have it in the house!' and not everyone can afford MA Apex speakers. :)
 

steveledzep

Active Member
I've been into hifi since my teens. Rarely watch tv but there's usually music playing. My daughter who is 24 left home 18 months ago and can't do without her hifi. She has a Michell TT, Yamaha amp, Marantz cdp and AR floorstanding speakers. There is hope !!
 

Just Old

Banned
We can blame many factors on why this is, but the introduction of the i pod which insulated people with listening ear plugs has a lot to answer for.
You can blame it on the internet.
How many times have new people asked on the forum a simple start up question, and how many times has the loving community answered by saying that the question has been asked umpteen times, go and do a search?
Very inviting for someone who is new and interested in the subject.
Would a child learning a new subject face to face and asking the same question time and time again get the same response?
Hi fi is just one area of progressive decline.
For many years every school boys dream was to catch a fish, with days spent sat on the bank waiting for that elusive 'bite'.
Then being elevated into the world of trout and salmon fishing where you learned how the river fly life evolves, wildlife, fish spawning etc...alas these hobbies have also been neglected as numbers who participate dwindle, and the youth of today want little to do with it.
Maybe I have got off the subject, but many things are connected when change occurs.
We like to remember how good it was rummaging through the local LP shop's racks on a Saturday, after saving up to buy it first. Rushing home and playing the LP for the very first time......todays generation will have different memories.
But will they be of the happy kind, or of a generation that perhaps lost out?
And have we turned into grumpy old men, with little time for newbees.
Or do we know so much about the topic that trivial newcomers are cast to one side because trivial questions are below our community standing to answer?
and did we somewhere along the way forget to make this a cheerful hobby, that has become depicted by youth as some kind of out of date geekie stuff indulged by grumpy old men?
Whatever the reason, I'm just off out to buy my first 'Anorak;, of the season and get a new pencil and note book to go train spotting!
 

reevesy

Distinguished Member
aahh...saturdays in the local record shop...used to love the listening booths...they used to be 2 or 3 in our one....pick an lp out and sit in the booth listening to ...watching people in the shop...

which is another thing...as mentioned listening to music used to be the event on its own.....listening to a record...maybe reading the sleeve notes...

i suggested putting some music on last night and my daughter was'nt ken as it gave her time 'to think'!?...the mind boggles

think a lot of people now use music as a background to what they're doing


....got round it last night by suggesting we play cards...then put some music on
 

coruja

Active Member
Forgive me for saying this but when I was young - and this seems still to hold true for the young - music was tribal and tastes are somewhat fascist. Yes we loved music, but only certain bands and if you didn't pass that taste you were not in our gang. Yes we loved music and it could on a C60 taped off the radio and played on a 'ghetto blaster' or a friend's parents' precious HiFi kit but the lyrics meant the world to us and sound quality really didn't.

And it is still the same! The technology is different but the passion for tribal identity and the music itself is just as vital and they don't really care about the quality of the sound. Instead of taping off the radio you get mp3s passed around mobile phones, played on mobile phones on the back of the bus, and yes the lyrics mean everything to this generation too.

As people get older, they experience more of life and their tastes start widening. I still love music, drink and women with the same intensity, but my tastes have a wider base! I still drink but not shandy bass, snakebite and god knows what else we did!

I had a conversation with a late teen daughter of a family friend - she mainly listens to music on her phone through dodgy ear plugs. She couldn't understand why I would want to listen to music that was older than me!!
I assume it implied for her also.
But we persevered and found some common ground - Nikki Minaj (whom I think is rap cabaret really, she's surreal and wonderful) - which gave me the chance to introduce her to Missy Elliot, Lil Kim, Charlie Baltimore and various other dubious (for some) female rap acts that I love. Ah, the chance to 'corrupt' the narrow minds of youth!

The trick that the main HiFi brands are missing, and which I think Cambridge Audio is experimenting with, is to catch them young, make affordable HiFi kit for younger people, get them hooked early, build loyalty!

High fashion brands do this without diluting the prestige of the main brand.

That way you don't have to wait until they are 40 turn up at your shop!
 
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reevesy

Distinguished Member
just got to look at the dr dre headphone thingys....they cost a fair bit but i see loads of kids wearing them.

if you think about whats in the average teenagers bedroom these days
...computer...games consol...games at 30 quid a pop....ipods....phones etc etc.....imagine it adds up to pretty hefty sum..
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
Imagine how much better their video game play would be with a decent sound system though. Though, I'm sure parents and neighbors would not be pleased.

Steve/bluewizard
 

sergiup

Distinguished Member
I think "people" are still interested, however it's partly an age thing and also an information issue - I think both points have already been covered quite well in this discussion.

Dr Dre / Ludacris / etc have a lot more clout with the "yoof", so their products will be seen as superior regardless of the actual truth; same as with BOSE and iThings, although these latter two hold more clout with the older generations too.

House space is often a poor excuse - a decent HiFi system can take little space if you want it to, and you definitely don't need great big floorstanders. A lot of people nowadays don't actually really care about sound quality, hence the rubbish iHeadsets etc (to their credit, they've recently released slightly better ones, but they're still overpriced for what they are), the success of BOSE, youth happily listening to songs from an incredibly badly sounding phone speaker, etc - it's also much more convenient to not bother and just make do with whatever's there when the path of least resistance is SO easy to follow.

Honestly, outside of these AVF circles and any other audio nuts you may know, how many people can you count who will sit down and actually listen to an album as (reasonably) critically as they could? I can't think of anyone... Or how many would actually sit down in a shop for a good few hours in order to choose the best TV for them or to listen to a few amps and speakers to see what they'd want to buy? Again, I can maybe think of one, maybe two at a push. I don't think I need to explain how most people will choose, you lot on here are well aware of how it works with most people :p

I believe music has become more of a slight distraction, a "filler", something to keep our senses somewhat occupied in this age where we have to ALWAYS BE DOING SOMETHING (I'm looking at you, Blackberry... thanks for starting that); as such, the quality aspect has become a lot less relevant unless you specifically care about it and/or know better and care enough. The Beatles might've not been the epitome of meaningful lyrics even compared to Nicki Minaj and all those others, but in a way they all provide(d) somewhat light entertainment yet The Beatles were considerably more interesting, so to say.

But hey, I'm 29 and somewhat afflicted with this whole Upgrade-itis brouhaha, so I'm doing my part as much as I reasonably can. :smashin:
 
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robertseymour

Active Member
Back in the '60s/'70s if you wanted to listen to music you had either a radio or some sort of hifi system, if you wanted to own music you HAD to have a hifi system.
Your hifi was large and the LP's took up a lot of space.
This came down in the late '80s/'90s with CD's but most people still had some sort of hifi.
Now since computer based audio you don't even need to have any physical media to own music. You can have all the music you ever want or need streamed to one of the many devices that young people tend to own.

Of course this is consumption of music rather than 'hifi' but the fact that these days you don't need to own a hifi to listen to music anymore.

Most younger people (including most of my mates in the 25-30 bracket) don't own any sort of 2-channel hifi, they use their computer/iPod/Dock or HT system to listen to music. None of them just listen to music, its something thats on in the background.

Just about all of my mates think I am odd that I have an interest in hifi, forever changing stuff and actually spending many nights a week JUST listening to music.
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
"these days you don't need to own a hifi to listen to music anymore."

Agreed, but to experience it, to share it as an experience, you do need a HiFi. As I mentioned earlier, iPod/MP3 are immensely convenient, but also isolating. You are alone in a crowd having a isolated experience.

I do understand music and equipment in the modern world. I do see the appeal of 'personal' devices. I even have one. But given that I use that personal device outside with wind and traffic noise, the sound quality is not that important. As you said, it is merely background music. But when I come home, my 'personal' devise sits literally gathering dust. My stereo creates an experience akin to being with angles (OK, a bit over the top, but you know what I mean.).

As a side note, I have an album of Poetry as well as music on my MP3 player. John Lithgow - "Poets' Corner" which comes with at CD with all the poetry read by some of the finest actors - Gay Sinise, Billy Connelly, Sam Waterston, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, etc.... Well worth checking out if you like spoke word.

Though, it is not all 'kids' who have no interest in music equipment. We get many here in the forum, typically Students about to move off to university, and they want to party, and to party you need more than a 'personal' device. Plus there are those with delusions of being a DJ, and they need real equipment. I've watch YouTube videos of very young kids with tiny album collections, yet they hold those albums like they are precious and fragile treasures. They are almost in awe of them.

So, there is some hope. I think the HiFi industry could do more to reach out to people to make them aware or re-aware of how good a good stereo, or if they must AV systems, can sound.

Spinning stack of hot wax - Led Zeppelin - "House of the Holy" - on deck right now.

Sweet dreams are made of this - Eurythmics

Steve/bluewizard
 
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Boomy

Active Member
Stuff all that ipod rubbish.Tuners the size of small cars is where it's at ;p

I have more modern 'things', but I had a real urge a while ago to go back to my youth when most houses had ten foot wooden cabinets with built in record decks and dim yellowy lights sat behind dancing needles.

So far I have what you see below (smaller cassette deck is going to be removed) and have a couple of cheap record decks to choose from.Nothing cost me a fortune, but in it's day I would imagine it cost a bit.I also have several sets of Celestion Ditton speakers and some early B&O ones from the late 60's.It's mostly Pioneer (Including the cabinet which I won for a quid) so it's hardly audiophile territory, but I still love it.

I still haven't used it as you see it now, but I did have a test of the amp and CD player and it sounded really nice.I will get round to setting it all up at some point!

537274_599360843407510_446635818_n.jpg
 

Vipers

Well-known Member
Bose stuff is advertised everywhere. I presume that's why the layman deems it as the ultimate in audio excellence.
Apple stuff also is advertised pretty well.

You wouldn't believe the amount of people that I talk to and now say that I'm running a HiFi Shop, the majority of reply's are 'Cool, do you sell Bose' :facepalm::suicide:

My reply is no, I run a HiFi shop :)
 

Just Old

Banned
Hey Boomy...

That's what it's all about mate.....**** hot if you ask me....

I wouldn't even place it against a wall.
That stack should sit in the middle of the lounge, blocking all light from the outside world....

It just doesn't matter if it works or not.....

and we think kids today are missing out......you bet they are with kit like that!!!

IT LOOKS FANTASTIC!!!!!!
 

Tom Tom

Well-known Member
I never had the cash flow for serious HiFi, and bought friends kit as they upgraded.

The next problem was moving out of my parents house when I had the hifi set up to one point in the room, to moving into a small house with my G/F and not having the space for the kit to be set up properly, (so wall mounted out of the way) and then not being able to have an optimal spot.

To moving to a bigger house with the wife (was the g/f) but now we have a kid, so we trying to get everything off the floor so there is nothing to be knocked over or pushed down.

I am now trying to get the TV higher on the wall as my nephew has left a few lovely prints on the front, and before my daughter can try to play toast in the PS3 I am after a cabinet with doors.

I consume very little music now, and it's mainly for films, but would love to find music I want to listen to.

I am not very impressed with pop music and frankly listen to music more in the car, or on the bus to work than at home.

I appreciate hifi, but as I age, I am not sure I could hear the difference any more in the kit I own, so upgrading is a waste of money.

And now I would like a few more speakers for family cinema but this is a major luxury not a need.
 

Broosta

Active Member
You wouldn't believe the amount of people that I talk to and now say that I'm running a HiFi Shop, the majority of reply's are 'Cool, do you sell Bose' :facepalm::suicide:

My reply is no, I run a HiFi shop :)

:laugh:
I've got mate who should be into hifi really but isn't for some reason - he used to be in a few local bands as a drummer and dabbled in DJing and MCing for a bit and then got stuck into setting up and running his own business. Now he's pretty successful, about to pick up his brand new Range Rover when they come out, lives in a nice big newly built house to his own spec that has a tiny mortgage on and he has Bose everywhere!
He's all about the aesthetics and functionality of his audio and visual toys. He likes Bose stuff because it sounds good enough to him but mainly because they are small black boxes that don't draw much attention.

I think maybe one of the factors with people seeing Bose as 'top of the range stuff' is their connection with car audio. This same mate of mine had a few nice Audis before and the top spec that he always went for meant a Bose sound system was included, so to him Bose will always mean top quality.
Bose = really clever marketing.
 

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