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Industry Insiders And Their Nonsense

Mart68

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I'm not entirely sure when it was that I bought my first Hi-fi magazine but I think it must have been about 1989

I already had a system bought from Richer Sounds and was looking to upgrade so I got a copy of What Hi-Fi (AKA 'WTF?') in the hope of getting some guidance.

(I didn't and in the end I randomly bought some giant speakers from the 8 page 'Hyper-Fi' advert in the middle of the magazine, but that's a different story).

I carried on buying magazines, mostly Hi-Fi Review, Choice, Hi-Fi World up until about 2014 when I realised it was an expensive way to just read one speaker review and skip past all the cable reviews and adverts.

Now in 1989 I was a youth of twenty and knew nothing about pretty much everything. I'm not sure when I had the realisation that the magazines were not intended to serve the potential customer with useful consumer advice, but to serve the hi-fi industry by ensuring a constant supply of punters, but I suspect to my chagrin that I was in my late thirties when the penny dropped.

Now of course it is all on-line but the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Take, for example, this fairly brief article from Enjoy The Music (dot com) - https://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazi...The_Future.htm

It's a great example of just why these sites are not a good source of impartial advice

The topic is essentially the age-old editorial about how 'The Industry Is Dying.' Well they used to do articles about this back in the 1980s. Like Hyman Roth in 'Godfather II' the hi-fi industry has been dying from the same heart-attack for the last forty years.

The writer is concerned that the rise in interest rates will mean young people won't have the money to move out of their parents house and into their own house, and so will never graduate from using smartphones and headphones as their source for listening to music. No more customers for the 'High-end'.

Oh dear, how sad. So what?

Well he tackles that question and it's quite revealing:

''Simple: Audiophiles and members of the industry that serves us (count me on both sides here) have long been concerned about the fate of our hobby.''

Okay so back up a minute. The hi-fi 'industry' exists to serve us? That's funny, I thought that, like any company, a hi-fi company's purpose is to make money for their shareholders.

Of course he knows that, he just doesn't want us to think that.

We (or at least a good many of us) therefore thought "Aha! Every kid has a cellphone; every kid loves music; every kid will get "get into" good sound through his cell phone; and at least a majority of those kids will go on to wanting good sound at home. Voila! A new "us" and an ongoing market for our industry.

Again 'Our industry'. Whose industry now? I make a living in the motor trade, mate, hi-fi isn't 'my' industry nor is it likely to be the industry of 99.999 percent of the people reading your article, given it's an industry that employs comparatively few people. You've got problems finding punters for expensive tat, talk to your marketing department, it's nothing to do with us.

So yes, he's worried that in 10 years or whatever there'll be no-one interested in spending big money on hi-fi. The usual story we've been hearing for half a century. Why is it this time?

''not only do younger people tend to have less money than older ones, but they also tend to live in different places: Depending on their age, they may still be living "at home", with their parents. Or they may be in school, grad school, or working at whatever kind of job. Whatever their circumstances, though, it's likely that they're not going to be living in their own house, but in a room or an apartment, not only limited in space to set up a system or a listening room, but also subject to restrictions on how loud and when they can play their music.''

But wait a minute! I had the box room at my parent's house, tiny room, still had a hi-fi system in there. Then went to University and lived in a little breeze-block cell for three years - still had a hifi system in there. Then to a box room in a shared house - still had a hi-fi system there too, with big speakers. Err.. the trick is just not to play it so loud.

And as for money - I was as poor as a church mouse but you could always get discounted bin-end kit and second hand kit if you wanted a change or an upgrade on a tight budget. And I still managed to get a mortgage somehow anyway.

Really I'm fed up with reading about things being difficult financially for young people. It was always that way unless your parents were loaded.

What he's really worried about is that these youngsters are never going to be in a position to buy expensive hi-fi. Because that's where the big margins are.

Well you can't blame them for trying I suppose. But how about making some good affordable products and writing about them? Or writing about second-hand bargains instead of reviews of ten grand streamers, cables and other expensive, magic-powered nonsense that surely has the effect of putting off impecunious youngsters looking at getting into the hobby?

Industry Insiders Bollocks. Self-serving and - ultimately - counter-productive.
 
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Bridges

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It's not all that bad realy; some companies like Schiit Audio seem to fit and cater to the sector or tranche of the market. But you are right, they don't get any coverage in the established Hi Fi magazine.
These magazines are in show business realy, they show off outrageously expensive products and in return , they get advertisement. That is the business model that works.
 
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Mart68

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It's not all that bad realy; some companies like Schiit Audio seem to fit and cater to the sector or tranche of the market. But you are right, they don't get any coverage in the established Hi Fi magazine.
These magazines are in show business realy, they show off outrageously expensive products and in return , they get advertisement. That is the business model that works.
Your right of course, that is their business model and I would not deny them it. But does the editorial content have to be so hypocritical? You can't exclusively push pointlessly expensive product (and sometimes expensive pointless product) and at the same time wring your hands about young people not being able to afford it.

And then go on to claim that this is a problem for all of us and not just the shareholders of these companies.
 

Galliardist

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Well, there's a good chance that today's young people mostly won't end up in big homes with dedicated home theatre/listening rooms and such. At best we will have the same number of such dwellings, with many more people required to live in urban centres meaning small apartments. I think he's got that bit right. Space will mitigate against physical media. We have to get used to new ways of doing things.

Virtual product is after all far easier to scale to large populations, will mean less emissions and all that stuff (in time): that bit's essentially in place for music.

We will do way more virtually than we do now. How does a conventional stereo fit into that future? Quite honestly, it doesn't. The big homes will have better tech than that, the small apartments will centre on personal tech, which we will use some of the time while (I'm fairly certain) we will see a rebirth of social gathering and activity in the rest of free time.

The changes of the last 30 years are nothing compared to what's coming next. Worrying about who's going to buy the next generation of Wilson speakers is a complete waste of time!
 
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Mart68

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Well, there's a good chance that today's young people mostly won't end up in big homes with dedicated home theatre/listening rooms and such. At best we will have the same number of such dwellings, with many more people required to live in urban centres meaning small apartments. I think he's got that bit right. Space will mitigate against physical media. We have to get used to new ways of doing things.

Virtual product is after all far easier to scale to large populations, will mean less emissions and all that stuff (in time): that bit's essentially in place for music.

We will do way more virtually than we do now. How does a conventional stereo fit into that future? Quite honestly, it doesn't. The big homes will have better tech than that, the small apartments will centre on personal tech, which we will use some of the time while (I'm fairly certain) we will see a rebirth of social gathering and activity in the rest of free time.

The changes of the last 30 years are nothing compared to what's coming next. Worrying about who's going to buy the next generation of Wilson speakers is a complete waste of time!
I agree re the changes to come, but as I said in the o/p why is 'space' an issue? I had 'proper' systems in plenty of small rooms from teenage years until I was almost thirty and bought a house with a large room (although it's still a small house, overall).

Something I see a lot is people asking about half-width components or all in one units as they 'Don't have the space.' I mean, seriously? It's just weird.

Likewise with physical media, you can get five thousand or so LP records in a single alcove with floor to ceiling shelving, probably four times that many CDs.

It's just a non-issue.
 

Bridges

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Well, there's a good chance that today's young people mostly won't end up in big homes with dedicated home theatre/listening rooms and such. At best we will have the same number of such dwellings, with many more people required to live in urban centres meaning small apartments. I think he's got that bit right. Space will mitigate against physical media. We have to get used to new ways of doing things.

Virtual product is after all far easier to scale to large populations, will mean less emissions and all that stuff (in time): that bit's essentially in place for music.

We will do way more virtually than we do now. How does a conventional stereo fit into that future? Quite honestly, it doesn't. The big homes will have better tech than that, the small apartments will centre on personal tech, which we will use some of the time while (I'm fairly certain) we will see a rebirth of social gathering and activity in the rest of free time.

The changes of the last 30 years are nothing compared to what's coming next. Worrying about who's going to buy the next generation of Wilson speakers is a complete waste of time!
Space is a big problem in Europe. I tried to give away 700 CD's none of the young audiophiles or music enthusiasts wanted them, they were only willing to pick and choose. I ended up giving the whole lot to a charity shop.
 

Galliardist

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I agree re the changes to come, but as I said in the o/p why is 'space' an issue? I had 'proper' systems in plenty of small rooms from teenage years until I was almost thirty and bought a house with a large room (although it's still a small house, overall).

Something I see a lot is people asking about half-width components or all in one units as they 'Don't have the space.' I mean, seriously? It's just weird.

Likewise with physical media, you can get five thousand or so LP records in a single alcove with floor to ceiling shelving, probably four times that many CDs.

It's just a non-issue.
I see the space thing differently. It's a question of limited space combined with other priorities. You can only fill space once. If I lived on my own, sure, I could house a few thousand albums. I don't, and my partner because of her work and other activities has a large book collection. with no online source for most of what she has. She has a bicycle in the living room. There are her sewing projects as well. Now imagine we were a family with children, toys, more beds.

I also have a couple of guitars, my own books, some additional equipment to my stereo system. With the essentials for living as well, I don't have space for more than a couple of hundred CDs which live in a box (most of them are ripped and available via streaming). If you need to use the space for a stereo or collection, you will (I do have full size components and large speakers), but space not used for one thing is free for another.
 

Mnyb

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Physical media is not essential for hifi , that’s a simplification I like .
I only have 1500 CD’s in the living room , my server hosts 4700 albums , I started buying downloads as soon as it where feasible and also have a streaming service .

Headphones is also hifi if done right , in fact my humble HD650 has some qualities my big hifi rig does not have, the headphone setup DAC amp and phones cost a fraction of the big hifi.

Also good desktop system is a thing if your in a tight space and if already are in front of your computer screen a lot , you migth as well put up some small monitors like Genelec as speaker and a sub , this is also hifi .
 

TonyJZX

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i think you can extrapolate the above scenario to just about every industry

"Millenials are killing '...........' " seems to be very common.

And yes I agree... these writers are in their own microcosm and for most of us, it isnt "our industry"... its just a hobby... we buy products based on our perceived need and our budget. That's it.

For me I've worked in a few industries... from military to construction to education to mass production... none of these were "my industries"... they were just temporary situations.

And my own hobbies are just things I'm interested in. We are more 'passionate' than many, some are lifelong passions but most of us realise this is a industry propelled by profit and along the way we hope that there are talented designers engineers who make our 'stuff'.

Companies should be adapting to new customers however saying that there's a viable industry around 'traditiional' customers... you can see it here... we still love large speakers, power amps, preamps, dacs, integrated amps...

People dont own the own living space in many countries but many countries have life long renters and they are fine like that.

A good example is some people live their lives in apartments. This has certain restrictions on audio equipment. We cannot all afford to live in large detached houses on a huge block.
 

Bridges

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Physical media is not essential for hifi , that’s a simplification I like .
I only have 1500 CD’s in the living room , my server hosts 4700 albums , I started buying downloads as soon as it where feasible and also have a streaming service .

Headphones is also hifi if done right , in fact my humble HD650 has some qualities my big hifi rig does not have, the headphone setup DAC amp and phones cost a fraction of the big hifi.

Also good desktop system is a thing if your in a tight space and if already are in front of your computer screen a lot , you migth as well put up some small monitors like Genelec as speaker and a sub , this is also hifi .
To summerise , where there is a will, there is a way.
 

Cbdb2

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The magazines are killing themselves. The stupidity they spout is reaching a tipping point. The amount of people stupid enough to believe there lies is dropping every year. And not because people are getting smarter, there not.
For example.
 

Cbdb2

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I don't read those mags but am curious. Do Genelec or Nuemann advertise in them or do they find these magazines embarrassing?
 

TonyJZX

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i mean there's a heap of industries on the downward slide

i dont read magazines nor do i watch tv nor do i listen to the radio... i used to buy magazines... car mags, hifi, gaming etc. you name it

we also kind of realise that printed hifi media has not switched to web and yt and its the same nonsense

we also see consolidation of companies and ones left over getting out or at least, in trouble
 

Timcognito

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I think that there are more companies and products than there ever were and printed media is dying everywhere. Look at this page and go all the way to the bottom.
And more places to discuss and get information.
 

Daverich4

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It's not all that bad realy; some companies like Schiit Audio seem to fit and cater to the sector or tranche of the market. But you are right, they don't get any coverage in the established Hi Fi magazine.
I’m not sure where you got that idea. Both Stereophile and TAS have covered Schiit products extensively.
 

bodhi

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Space is a big problem in Europe. I tried to give away 700 CD's none of the young audiophiles or music enthusiasts wanted them, they were only willing to pick and choose. I ended up giving the whole lot to a charity shop.

It's not that big of a problem if you really need the space. Usually moving away from big cities you can get a big house for the price of a small apartment if you are willing to commute for example an hour. With all the remote work available today you don't even have to do that every day.

It's more like big houses don't fit peoples' lifestyles. People have fewer children if any, don't invite others to parties, don't have hobbies that require storing a lot of stuff, don't have time or interest for maintenance, want to get downtown in a few minutes and of course especially twenty somethings have barely enough money to scrape by anyways.

With all these restrictions one tends to look very closely at what they are missing and after, for example, a short exploration in ASR they might notice they are actually missing not that much. 50€ IEM, a few hundred euro over ear setup or 2k€ stereo setup and that's about it, unless you want to start fussing about equipment for it's own sake.
 

Bridges

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I’m not sure where you got that idea. Both Stereophile and TAS have covered Schiit products extensively.
I was refering to the major print media here in Europe, like HIFi news and record review, and What HI Fi.
 

Palladium

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I have more interest in the next Minirig 4 portable speaker than any audiophile stuff.
 

JeffS7444

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Could it be that the high-end audio message falls flat on younger "Woke, broke and complicated" consumers who may see the purchase of say, a U-Turn Orbit turntable as a nice, customizable way to play records, and not as merely a stepping stone into their dad's world of endless "upgrades"?
 
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