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What about the HiFi-market

sarumbear

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Well, overall, it's definitely a good thing to have more data. Casual participants know more about this shared interest, collectively, than was ever expected in the history of audio.
Very true. We have threads about DAC reviews that gained 300,000 reviews within a month if publish. The word is getting around.
 

Frgirard

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Some people buy cars based on specs, many don't.

Still, I believe having independent reviewers who measure and compare cars to inform the buyer is a good thing.

If nobody verified horsepower and performance numbers, the world would be full of 1000HP cars that gets 100 miles per gallon.
And the diesel gate, do you remember?
Indépendant reviewers in car fantasy, I search.

I never understand the link between car and hifi for living room.
A macho thing?

The hifi is a business and the audio companies are not in the market to educate the folks but to make profits.
The margin is the gold number, not the directivity index.
Some companies dress their marketing with "objectives" datas like Genelneuman.
Other use the verbe and the poetry like Atc47lab.
All on the target: make dollars.

Indépendant reviewers do not live long without materials to test
Rip the Audio critic.
Long life to ASR.
 

Koeitje

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The enthusiast niche is a tiny fraction of the actual market.
Yes, but I do think higher quality audio has been making a comeback....just not at home. At school or public transport in the late 1990's and early 2000's I barely saw any full size headphones. Everybody was using little earbuds. These days almost everybody has a pair of actual headphones. Sure, some might not be as good as others but they are surely better than those cheap earbuds everyone was using.
 

Doodski

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It was quite a learning curve for me when I started retailing audio products and realized what a tight grip the audio-press had on consumers. People happily paid more for worse sounding products if some old geezer had written an emotional prose about the product and given it five stars on the basis of it having immeasurable properties, right next to a full page advert from said company. So as a retailer, your job is selling products, and if you have to sell worse products for more, that's what you do.
I retailed for 9 years and have had my fair share of technO wizards and subjectivist customers too. I found the most successful route for all parties involved is to find a happy ground between subjectivism and objectivism so that discussions can be had and a good relationship can be formed with the customer. It helps majorly having good inventory levels because not showing anything often means either a special order for the customer or a customer walking out the door because they want to see the gear and hear it too. When I saw a customer coming in the door with magazines and reviews I embellished the customer until I could get to the point in a relationship where I had the footing to say yes or no to product and to ask the customer to start auditioning gear. I also don't hard close ever and that means sometimes the salesperson lets the customer walk with the expectation they will return when they have more gear they are looking at and so I can review their choices and possibly offer something equivalent, better or the same. I took a consultative approach while being friendly and accommodating. It must have been successful because I hold the all time record for gross margins in a company of ~750 people. Many sales people stress about people with reviews and magazines but in fact they are usually buyers and have a intention to buy sometime in the future and they are simply searching for the proper place to lay down some cash and so I welcomed them with open arms.
 

escksu

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Yes and No! Maybe. To take a compelling example I think many photo enthusiasts read photo magazines and camera tests and are influenced by this. In much the same way that some HiFi enthusiasts love HiFi magazines. For this group of people, the internet and alternative channels have become more important. The problem is that both HiFi enthusiasts and photo enthusiasts have become fewer. But perhaps those who remain are more interested in exploring more deeply and informing themselves about technical performance. Just a tought.

Yes, I do agree with your point. Think of it as a pyramid. At the bottom, the biggest segment will be those casual users. These people are unlikely to perform much of a research. They are those whom I mention, based on hear say or salesman. They usually buy once and use it for a long period of time before changing.

Then above them will be the group you mentioned. REad up magazines but may not be really IT savvy. ABove them will be those who go internet to read up as well.

So, not that many go to forums to read up and discuss about their hobby. Although ASR has over 25,000 registered members, you can see that only around 150-200 are online.

The fewest will be the who keep changing (hobbyists), and DIYers.
 

pozz

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carewser

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Some interesting questions/observations, Mulder.

Fwiw, I think the push/quest or whatever you want to call it for some greater objectivity and education on the fundamentals of both good sound and video has been going for some time. At least on the home video side. And the "subjective vs. objective" thing is still somewhat new to me, because things don't really work like that in video.

So I was a bit surprised by just how uninterested many of the folks on home audio websites like Head-Fi seemed to be in talking seriously about some of the more objective aspects of their audio gear. And how much emphasis that many (though certainly not all) there would place on the more experiential aspects of audio (ie actually listening to the gear).

Like Drengur, I think it's great that accurate, high quality audio gear is also finally finding its way to the masses, so people can enjoy much better sound and picture on the content they like to watch and listen to. And I credit folks like Floyd Toole and Sean Olive of Harman, and Tyll Hertsens of Inner Fidelity for a good bit of that on the audio side.

I think there can be potential pitfalls though in going to either extreme of the subjectivist or objectivist sides of the equation. Because I don't think science has all the answers on all of this yet. And we are only just beginning to understand many of the more complex aspects of how things like loudness, distortion, frequency response, and so forth really effect our perception, enjoyment and appreciation of audio content. And how you really should measure and interpret all of those kinds of things.

So I think there are still many things that can be learned from both the good listeners, and also the good measurers on this subject. (Just as there were things that could be learned from knowledgeable viewers on the video side.) And that you really need both of these things to move the science and the technology forward.

Alot of folks probably think that good video is a totally objective thing... But that's not really the case either. We know that people like higher contrast ratios, deeper blacks, and more colors, generally speaking. But there isn't necessarily total agreement even on that. And there is certainly plenty of disagreement on the best ways of achieving those things! This is because human perceptions and senses are complex, and are effected by a wide variety of factors. And because there are often other factors that can (and should) effect people's buying/consuming decisions than just the purely perceptual ones, like the cost, convenience, flexibility, reliability, ergonomics, aesthetics, and so forth of a product.

Overall, I think there has been a much healthier interplay between the more subjective/experiential, and the more objective/scientific sides of the equation in the video marketplace, which has resulted in some truly extraordinary improvements in video technology in recent years. (Though it took us quite awhile to get there.) And I hope the same kind of thing can eventually happen in audio as well.

If there is one area where I still think things could be improved though on the video side, it would be in terms of the ease of use or user-friendliness of the technology. Because achieving an accurate picture (with the correct aspect ratio!) on a new HD or UHD TV can still be quite a challenge in some cases, even with all of the new advancements in things like size, thickness, resolution, contrast, color gamut, and so forth.
I quoted this post having not even read it but what I did notice is that 3 out of the first 4 posts in this thread are fucking enormous which is the problem I think we have with people (it's certainly been a problem for me). Objectivists are an analytical bunch and we really try to see things from every angle but in doing so many tune us out as we tend to take long-winded, nuanced positions but it's also clear to me that we're a tiny minority of the population. Just as I was too lazy/apathetic to read the first few posts in this thread, I really think most people are too lazy/apathetic to be objectivists like us because thinking takes effort
 
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ADU

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I quoted this post having not even read it but what I did notice is that 3 out of the first 4 posts in this thread are fucking enormous which is the problem I think we have with people (it's certainly been a problem for me). Objectivists are an analytical bunch and we really try to see things from every angle but in doing so many tune us out as we tend to take long-winded, nuanced positions but it's also clear to me that we're a tiny minority of the population. Just as I was too lazy/apathetic to read the first few posts in this thread, I really think most people are too lazy/apathetic to be objectivists like us because thinking takes effort

Well, thank you for pointing out my post as an example of long-winded, objectivistic puffery, carewser. It's a fair cop! (As Monty Python would say.) :) I think it makes a few fairly good points though... Some of which I even still agree with (though I'm afraid I've now forgotten the general thrust of this topic).

I don't really consider myself to be either a dyed in the wool objectivist, or subjectivist though. Because I think there are things that can potentially be learned or gained from looking at all points of view.
 

MakeMineVinyl

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Personally, I'd be thrilled if ATI sent products to ASR for test - If there is something untoward, speaking for myself, I'd like to hear about it. But I'm not in charge of product sent for reviews, alas.

I think that in some ways the 'ancient' technologies of vinyl and tape are necessary in order to garner the interest of people in the mass market. After all, a black box with a gazillion watts of perfect power that runs on a phone app just isn't sexy enough to cause a blip on my interest meter or that of anybody else. But a reel to reel tape machine, yes. Vinyl, yes! Cassette, Yes! It might be ancient and deficient technology (yes it is), but if it piques the interest of somebody, that is one more convert than we had. I like to compare today's HiFi boxes to lawn sprinkler timers on the sexiness scale - They're right down there in interest for me. Set and Forget. :facepalm:
 

BostonJack

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Personally, I'd be thrilled if ATI sent products to ASR for test - If there is something untoward, speaking for myself, I'd like to hear about it. But I'm not in charge of product sent for reviews, alas.

I think that in some ways the 'ancient' technologies of vinyl and tape are necessary in order to garner the interest of people in the mass market. After all, a black box with a gazillion watts of perfect power that runs on a phone app just isn't sexy enough to cause a blip on my interest meter or that of anybody else. But a reel to reel tape machine, yes. Vinyl, yes! Cassette, Yes! It might be ancient and deficient technology (yes it is), but if it piques the interest of somebody, that is one more convert than we had. I like to compare today's HiFi boxes to lawn sprinkler timers on the sexiness scale - They're right down there in interest for me. Set and Forget. :facepalm:
I agree that interest is a very key ingredient for the industry and, while I don't want to own vinyl, I do get the appeal of such a physical, hands-on media.

My analogy is to film cameras. I've just recently starting using a 120mm 6x6 format camera, a Penticon 6 TL. The Penticon is a Soviet era camera produced into the 1980's with Leica lens in East Germany. It's a quirky thing. The film advance has some quirks to prevent framing errors, the mirror lockup is way different from a 35mm SLR, it mirror shakes like crazy, has no exposure metering, uses a waist level viewfinder that inverts and is difficult to focus properly except in bright daylight. The film isn't too expensive, but processing can be. (I'm going to start doing my own film processing soon). Oh yeah, the shutter is less than ideal.

So the owner of a fancy XYZ latest digital camera with a collection of lenses is asking: "Why?". For me, the appeal is: its Soviet vintage in a great format, good for developing composition skills, great for portraits, street photography, and ok for still life.

Its not a LOMO camera, but I like adapting to the quirks and learning the skills and shooting Ilford Delta 100 in available light appeals to me. I might even turn into a decent photographer.

Don't get me going on my Holga wide angle pinhole camera which has its own bag of quirks, unknowns, and the possibility of interesting results.

So, that's a long way from an objective analysis of cameras and lens and totally undermines any cred I have to critique any user of vinyl, reel to reel, tube amps, vintage horn speakers, or whatever. God bless them all.
 

carewser

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Because I think there are things that can potentially be learned or gained from looking at all points of view.
Except that's pretty much the definition of an objectivist

By the way, i've never heard, "it's a fair cop!" before so which Monty Python skit or movie is it from?
 
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Miker 1102

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Hey all. After participating in some other HiFi forums on Facebook, I have thought a bit about how the HiFi market actually works and what role ASR actually plays in this market. Here are my thoughts.

I believe that ASR has become an important voice in the HiFi community, insofar as it is at all relevant to talk about such a community. ASR has achieved a position where it cannot be ignored and it has given strength to the argument that there is an objective and measurable aspect of all HiFi, and that good measurement results often have a weak connection between price and the status of a HiFi brand. In connection with this, a group of HiFi consumers has emerged who reject subjective non-factual claims about HiFi, when these are in conflict with measurable results - so-called objectivists vs subjectivists (I think this is a somewhat misleading dichotomy because objectivism in some respects can be another form of subjectivism, on another level)

There are now also manufacturers, mainly from China, who are completely focused on producing products that are objectively as good as possible, ie that strive to achieve as good measurement values as possible . For those consumers who base their purchasing decisions on objectively measured values and want that type of product, ASR has also become a platform where these producers can showcase their new products. Regardless of ASR's intentions, ASR becomes a form of marketing platform. This in itself is not a negative thing, but it does lead to the question of other producers.

Many of the traditional companies in HiFi never seem to send any products to ASR to have them measured. Is it because they think that the "objectivists" are too small a market? Is it because they do not think that “objectively correct sound is desirable at all? Do they think that objective measurements are not at all desirable because everything will then sound the same? Is it because they know that design and subjective experiences are more important decision criteria for the majority of consumers rather than objective facts? Is it because they make products that they know do not measure up? Are they simply incompetent? Or is it about money, ie that it costs more to develop products that measure well without giving any real advantage in the market? Or is it that some HiFi brands simply charge for something other than the performance of the products, ie is a market based on objective measurement data pure death for the high-end market in HiFi? Much of the HiFi press indicates that this may be the case. (There is almost always a high price the same as good reviews) If they hand over their products to ASR then they know that the discussion will only be about one thing, about a single aspect, and that discussion they do not want?

My thought is, is this good or bad? Does this ultimately lead to a division of HiFi consumers into two camps and into two different markets? Is it an illusion that products based on objective data will penetrate the HiFi world as a whole, or will it be a limited niche market within HiFi.
I think what you can buy in audio today is extremely good for a home user. I believe, however, a lot of what we discuss is essentially consumerism in the end. Most of the stuff we buy is from a handful of companies who are then over seen by just a few conglomerates. I love ASR becaue it is based in fact and I have been learning a lot of things I wished I knew when I was younger. I think a lot of the younger generation would love to learn about love the basic education in how audio works. I think that Gao needs to be filled. My kids, for example, love my statement but find it overly complicated. It's sad to me becaue this is a wonderful hobby. I mean is there anything better than listening to music in quality. Hifi is definitely an art form
 

Tangband

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Hey all. After participating in some other HiFi forums on Facebook, I have thought a bit about how the HiFi market actually works and what role ASR actually plays in this market. Here are my thoughts.

I believe that ASR has become an important voice in the HiFi community, insofar as it is at all relevant to talk about such a community. ASR has achieved a position where it cannot be ignored and it has given strength to the argument that there is an objective and measurable aspect of all HiFi, and that good measurement results often have a weak connection between price and the status of a HiFi brand. In connection with this, a group of HiFi consumers has emerged who reject subjective non-factual claims about HiFi, when these are in conflict with measurable results - so-called objectivists vs subjectivists (I think this is a somewhat misleading dichotomy because objectivism in some respects can be another form of subjectivism, on another level)

There are now also manufacturers, mainly from China, who are completely focused on producing products that are objectively as good as possible, ie that strive to achieve as good measurement values as possible . For those consumers who base their purchasing decisions on objectively measured values and want that type of product, ASR has also become a platform where these producers can showcase their new products. Regardless of ASR's intentions, ASR becomes a form of marketing platform. This in itself is not a negative thing, but it does lead to the question of other producers.

Many of the traditional companies in HiFi never seem to send any products to ASR to have them measured. Is it because they think that the "objectivists" are too small a market? Is it because they do not think that “objectively correct sound is desirable at all? Do they think that objective measurements are not at all desirable because everything will then sound the same? Is it because they know that design and subjective experiences are more important decision criteria for the majority of consumers rather than objective facts? Is it because they make products that they know do not measure up? Are they simply incompetent? Or is it about money, ie that it costs more to develop products that measure well without giving any real advantage in the market? Or is it that some HiFi brands simply charge for something other than the performance of the products, ie is a market based on objective measurement data pure death for the high-end market in HiFi? Much of the HiFi press indicates that this may be the case. (There is almost always a high price the same as good reviews) If they hand over their products to ASR then they know that the discussion will only be about one thing, about a single aspect, and that discussion they do not want?

My thought is, is this good or bad? Does this ultimately lead to a division of HiFi consumers into two camps and into two different markets? Is it an illusion that products based on objective data will penetrate the HiFi world as a whole, or will it be a limited niche market within HiFi.
I think that this site is making big waves in the industry and for most part its a good thing .
From 1990 and forward some of the high end industry has been promoting bad products for redicilous money .
The customers are not stupid. In the end its the ears that counts .
 

Doodski

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I think that this site is making big waves in the industry and for most part its a good thing .
From 1990 and forward some of the high end industry has been promoting bad products for redicilous money .
The customers are not stupid. In the end its the ears that counts .
I've hung around the industry for ~24 years in varying working capacities and the ear is not the correct measure unless speakers are in question or one is looking for a specific gear/sound. Tests like @amirm performs for ASR are very important and are cutting out the chaff from the wheat.
 

Tangband

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I've hung around the industry for ~24 years in varying working capacities and the ear is not the correct measure unless speakers are in question or one is looking for a specific gear/sound. Tests like @amirm performs for ASR are very important and are cutting out the chaff from the wheat.
Yes I agree.
But no one should be worried about the customers inability or ability to hear . The listening in the end is what counts .
ASR is a good sheck point before buying after listening .
 

Doodski

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Yes I agree.
But no one should be worried about the customers inability or ability to hear . The listening in the end is what counts .
ASR is a good sheck point before buying after listening .
Ahhh... not so much I think sometimes. What about purchasing amps for very difficult speakers or a digital source? Or even crossovers and DSP stuff? The ear can't tell you what is the best.
 

Tangband

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Ahhh... not so much I think sometimes. What about purchasing amps for very difficult speakers or a digital source? Or even crossovers and DSP stuff? The ear can't tell you what is the best.
I would myself never rely on just measurements data . That road is a sure way of ending up with a hifi thats not fun to listen to . Both measurements and listening is very important for me .
 
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