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Will consumer audio take over the hifi scene?

eyedrop

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I've been really impressed with the strides that consumer audio industry has made the past 5-10 years to improve sound quality. I see good frequency response graphs and distortion figures, despite cheap drivers/housings. We now have lossless wireless connectivity, better DACs/amplifiers and big improvements in DSP, etc..

You could argue that many of these improvements can similarly be seen in the hi-fi world. However, I fear that the giant corporations like Apple, Samsung (Hardon), and Bose with their billions of dollars, rapid pace of development, size and convenience and a hifi audio performance are already getting close to making it pointless to have rooms full of big and expensive gear. And with their low priced drivers, plastic housings, walled garden eco systems and data collection i'm sure the profit margin is huge on consumer vs. hifi.

Are these massive corporations coming to threaten the hobby with the leaps they have made in audio fidelity? Will I be able to toss my Genelecs after 5 years in lieu of a pair of HomePods and get an upgrade in audio performance?

Please discuss
 
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unpluggged

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Isn't the so-called "Hi-Fi scene" (whatever the meaning) a part of consumer audio market?
 

Beave

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I've been really impressed with the strides that consumer audio industry has made the past 5-10 years to improve sound quality. I see good frequency response graphs and distortion figures, despite cheap drivers/housings. We now have lossless wireless connectivity, better DACs/amplifiers and big improvements in DSP, etc..

You could argue that many of these improvements can similarly be seen in the hi-fi world. However, I fear that the giant corporations like Apple, Samsung (Hardon), and Bose with their billions of dollars, rapid pace of development, size and convenience and a hifi audio performance are already getting close to making it pointless to have rooms full of big and expensive gear. And with their low priced drivers, plastic housings, walled garden eco systems and data collection i'm sure the profit margin is huge on consumer vs. hifi.

Are these massive corporations coming to threaten the hobby with the leaps they have made in audio fidelity? Will I be able to toss my Genelecs after 5 years in lieu of a pair of HomePods and get an upgrade in audio performance?

Please discuss

o_O That's a name that would make Schiit audio blush!
 
OP
eyedrop

eyedrop

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Gotta love auto correct! lol. And I guess by hi-fi, I mean the audio hobby scene as a whole. Stuff that might be discussed on this forum or sold at the struggling hi-fi shop down the street. Non mainstream, enthusiast grade gear, whether that be "pro" or "audiophile" grade... Some of those snake oil audio companies haven't improved much over the years and sound / measure worse than the mainstream wireless department store stuff from the big boys. I've even seen posts of discerning listeners switch over to the Sonos Play 5 and QuietComfort and they seem totally happy with the audio performance. I just feel like that might be a sign of the times.
 
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Palladium

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We have long hit the physical limits of dynamic transducers and the only thing we can still do is throw more DSP at them, and these products tend to be also highly integrated and made by MNCs with R&D expertise far beyond the means of a traditional Hi-Fi vendor.
 

FrantzM

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Hi


Indeed, Hi-Fi gears are becoming commodities: $9.95 audibly transparent DAC + Amp, e.g Apple dongle, $15.oo truly hi-fi IEM such as Moondrop Chu, Quarks, etc... and so many other examples. We are at that point and interestingly enough , innovation doesn't automatically come from "big" outfits. Of course they have their role to play but I could argue that in the Home Audio space, at this point in time, SONOS, yes, is more relevant than Apple in Hi-Fi. They may even be challenging Bose on Soundbar sales; come of think of it, Bose is a small outfit compared to Apple or Samsung.
The commoditization of Hi-Fi gears, is happening and should be welcomed. It is not waiting for our (the Hi-fi nerds) approval , anyway ;)

Peace.
 

JSmith

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hifi scene
67trmy.jpg
:cool:


JSmith
 

fpitas

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Will I be able to toss my Genelecs after 5 years in lieu of a pair of HomePods and get an upgrade in audio performance?
Most likely not, unless you're willing to take a large penalty in SPL, FR and distortion. . Speakers remain the toughest part to get right. They are not amenable to low cost fabrication, or integration etc.
 
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bodhi

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Most likely not, unless you're willing to take a large penalty in SPL, FR and distortion. . Speakers remain the toughest part to get right. They are not amenable to low cost fabrication, or integration etc.

I'm sure you could get Genelecs for fraction of the current price if the company would see the need to ramp up production. They are manufacturing the speakers in Finland in a small factory with a few dozen employees which is probably one of the most expensive way imaginable to produce anything. :)
 

fpitas

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I'm sure you could get Genelecs for fraction of the current price if the company would see the need to ramp up production. They are manufacturing the speakers in Finland in a small factory with a few dozen employees which is probably one of the most expensive way imaginable to produce anything. :)
True. But I doubt the general public will suddenly demand great speakers. The trend seems to be the other way.
 

muslhead

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I'm sure you could get Genelecs for fraction of the current price if the company would see the need to ramp up production. They are manufacturing the speakers in Finland in a small factory with a few dozen employees which is probably one of the most expensive way imaginable to produce anything. :)
And what would you propose they do with all the excess inventory? Their factory size fits their demand
 

bodhi

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And what would you propose they do with all the excess inventory? Their factory size fits their demand

As I said, if they would see the need to ramp up production. I just commented on how the speakers are expensive because they are difficult to make.
 

mhardy6647

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egellings

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Hi


Indeed, Hi-Fi gears are becoming commodities: $9.95 audibly transparent DAC + Amp, e.g Apple dongle, $15.oo truly hi-fi IEM such as Moondrop Chu, Quarks, etc... and so many other examples. We are at that point and interestingly enough , innovation doesn't automatically come from "big" outfits. Of course they have their role to play but I could argue that in the Home Audio space, at this point in time, SONOS, yes, is more relevant than Apple in Hi-Fi. They may even be challenging Bose on Soundbar sales; come of think of it, Bose is a small outfit compared to Apple or Samsung.
The commoditization of Hi-Fi gears, is happening and should be welcomed. It is not waiting for our (the Hi-fi nerds) approval , anyway ;)

Peace.
Apple and Samsung as a whole are huge compared to Bose, but how big are their speaker-only divisions compared to Bose?
 

Cote Dazur

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I've been really impressed with the strides that consumer audio industry has made the past 5-10 years to improve sound quality

Impress with how much cheaper and how much more practical over the past 15 years for the same quality. Yes.
Improved sound quality over the last 15 years. I have no idea what you are referring to.
 

Pretorious

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Truly hi-fi sound is in the reach of nearly everybody now. Traits like tonality, frequency response, distortion, etc. are becoming so well engineered into the cheapest and smallest of equipment that even the most stubborn of “audiophiles” have to take notice. No longer is it necessary to spend obscene amounts of money on the largest and most expensive equipment. Now, commonplace speakers and other equipment can be found that measure exceptionally well and cost but a fraction of traditional setups. This is nothing but a benefit for us all.

We should appreciate that excellence in engineering that has got us to this point and given us the equipment that we have today. That’s not to deny a place for the highest of Fi, but it’s to accept that good quality sound is now in the range of anybody who desires it. There’s a use-case for both types of enthusiast.

Now someone can come into a forum such as this and discuss the qualities of a speaker like a Sonos without being ridiculed. It possesses its own merits in many different ways, just as a KEF or Revel does their own. But now the important thing is that someone can achieve accurate sound no matter their budget. That is what we are here to discuss and discern.

People just want to buy something that works and sounds good in order to enjoy their music. The difference today as opposed to yesterday is that people doing so have a much better chance on inherently buying a speaker, or other piece of gear, that has a correct tonality, rather than the crapshoot it was likely to be before. As audiophiles (in the truest sense) we can now welcome many others into the hobby because of this.
 

egellings

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There are two types of "massive corporations". One type is built on consumerism, the others are not. The ones that are built on consumerism don't threaten, they respond. In other words, no matter what your opinion happens to be of Samsung, Apple and Bose, they make money by manufacturing and selling what people want to buy. If they don't do that, they don't make money, and they don't remain "massive corporations".

When large corporations make more money, it indicates that the market is fertile, and smaller businesses crop up here and there to share in the largess.

All the improvements you have seen are a response to what people want to buy. It's that simple.

So we're not threatened by corporations, we're threatened by people. If people (buyers) don't share our enthusiasm or interests, our market automatically constricts. OTOH, if they do share our enthusiasm and interests, we can ride the wave of their economic power.

Money talks, and if the tail has enough money, it wags the dog. ;)

Jim
Money doesn't talk; it swears.
 

TimF

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The modern 4 cylinder gasoline automobile engine is just about a standard commodity. A few engine manufacturing companies could make them in a half-dozen varieties and sell them to the major auto manufacturers, yet most auto manufacturers continue to make their own 4 cyl. engines. We are though seeing a shift whereby auto manufacturers buy engines from a company that specializes in engines. This is exactly what is happening with class D amps by ICE, Hypex, Purifi, and etc. High-end audio like high end cars and high end wrist watches and high-end appliances will continue and the brands will thrive on legend and hype....which we all love. My dishwasher is better than yours!
 
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