- Jul 22, 2021
- West-Central Wisconsin
Al else is never equal though. Those tests would be interesting ( but probably impossible to run) if costs were added in. And I don’t just mean the cost of the equipment, but cost in time to make an informed decision to buying that equipment And all other opportunity costs. I think that would bring the “good enough” down to what we actually see in the market.Correct. But experience and Harman testing both show that people do enjoy better sound, all else held equal.
It would be straightforward, if not easy, to do a test where "increase in willingness to pay, in dollars, per point of preference score" could be derived, but there wouldn't be much point to it. Some people are willing to pay $10K+ for imaginary sound quality benefits, others are not willing to pay $100 for extremely obvious, massive improvements in sound quality.Those tests would be interesting ( but probably impossible to run) if costs were added in.
I don't really agree with this. "Music appreciation" in a narrow sense is a niche hobby. But almost everyone listens to music for enjoyment to some extent. Do they pay enough attention to the music to qualify as "music appreciators" in your eyes? I would argue that's irrelevant.
And, in surveys I've conducted, almost everyone identifies "sound quality" as their most important criterion for speakers or headphones. Nominally, everyone cares about sound quality - almost everyone is "an audiophile" in a certain sense.
The real question is why people stop seeking out better sound quality at a relatively poor level.
And therein lies the problem. The HiFi stores have disappeared due to lack of custom and the entire pursuit of high fidelity music reproduction has become marginalized. People can read all the reviews they like, study as much as they want, but at the end of the day, they need to hear the differences demonstated to them.
Classical music is what drove high fidelity in the first place and it is less popular than it ever was.
Correct. But experience and Harman testing both show that people do enjoy better sound, all else held equal. The reason they stop seeking it out is not ONLY because it's good enough at a relatively low level. That much is true, but people also buy nice TVs even though they can enjoy movies perfectly well on an iPad. Buying a nice TV is more common than buying nice speakers, but it's not obvious that it should be so.
When I was a kid, I had "speakers" that were powered by a headphone output, I really enjoyed listening to them and seriously didn't understand why my dad made a face at them. They were horribly distorted with FR that would make us weep, I am sure.This is a good point about TV's and audio. As a species, we're very much visually attuned, so I'd wager that it's much easier for the average person to discern and understand the difference between TVs and media formats (e.g., 480p DVD vs. 4k) than "normal" audio vs. higher-end audio. In that vein, many of my friends own OLED displays but very few have significant investments in audio.
Correct. But experience and Harman testing both show that people do enjoy better sound, all else held equal.
Or is there perhaps a "pepsi challenge" effect, where on first blush and in quick direct comparisons the more hyped response IS preferred...enough to perhaps get many speakers out of the store in people's car...but over time the neutral response would be preferred?
That's kind of my assumption, at least for most cases. Similar to "torch mode" for TVs, where the default brightness/contrast/saturation values are all boosted to make things "pop" upon first viewing, but look extremely artificial when viewed for any decent length of time.
But I would also say that with audio, people are easily influenced by marketing because most don't know any better -- they don't have any good reference points. Which is the only thing that can explain the popularity of things like Bose and their Wave radios and little cube 5.1 systems . "No highs, no lows, it must be Bose"
I think you've hit the nail on the head, but maybe sideways. In-store, are there really usually fast-switching "pepsi challenge" type listening comparisons? I would argue that true level-matched fast-switching side-by-side listening tests of loudspeakers in stores are super rare. Hell, often you'll get demos of speakers that don't even involve the same song.Or is there perhaps a "pepsi challenge" effect, where on first blush and in quick direct comparisons the more hyped response IS preferred...enough to perhaps get many speakers out of the store in people's car...but over time the neutral response would be preferred?
And how will that wear in time, with extended listening? That's the accusation I've read about the "store sound': that it's sonic candy that gets old fast.If you're just walking down a store aisle and notice "hey, this one has more bass", well, maybe so, but can you really judge anything else properly?
I'm a little late to your thread but I can only say your lucky having 2.I've always wondered -- how rare are genuine audiophiles? Out of all of my close friends and acquaintances, I know of only 2 besides myself, one of which is my dad who got me started on the hobby.
It's pretty similar to the "showroom color setting" with TVs. Jacked up saturation and contrast looks great in the store, later you start to realize everything you're watching looks like it has an Instagram filter on it.And how will that wear in time, with extended listening? That's the accusation I've read about the "store sound': that it's sonic candy that gets old fast.
This reminds me of one of my first employers years ago was an Audio shop in a town with two universities. The owner knew many of the faculty members and he would frequently tell us how amazed he was that such highly educated people could know so little about so many things.You might be surprised how little the average person knows. Just consider how many noobs arrive here and have to be introduced to measurement.