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I often feel like quality audio is a dying hobby. I see young people plugging a free to $20 set of ear buds into their Idiot Phones and gradually going deaf as they listen to highly compressed music at high volumes.
Are we the last generation that will see this as a negative?
Q. I label myself well over 30. How would you label yourself and what do you see as your role?
A. I label myself well under 30. (Laughter) My role is to try and stay here as long as I can.
that fits. The old Bob undoubtably has ADHD. I do, and once you get the hang of it its easy to spot. A frequent characteristic of ADHD is having a "young" brain
I think you can spin it both ways. For example, look at the turntable renaissance, it wasn't seniors who caused it. It was younger folk who discovered how cool it was to have something tangible and that the LP sounds better than an iPod.
The music industry does have a lot to do with it. The U.S. treats music as a comodity opposed to an art. Take the music from the 70's and imagine if most of it would try to get recorded today. I could be wrong but my impression of Japan is music is treated as an art where recording is to a high standard. The industry has taken a wrong turn along the way. Now music companies own everything from the artist to the venue which greatly reduces what we experience and what gets experienced. Bash the internet etc. if you will but it's freedom to find that music outside the cookie cutter.
I also think, and hope, the increase in audio shows and the interest in them will help with those who would be interested in quality audio. Notice tickets to Axpona for students are only $10.00. They may be too poor to buy today but they will have that experience to draw on and be exposed to some of the items they may be able to use now like quality headphones or the powered speakers, bluetooth gear etc.
I also see the audio companies waking up and offering products to those who stream, look at all the great powered speakers with DAC's, from the KEF LS50 to the Dynaudio offerings. Bluetooth equipment has APTX to enable better sound if both sending and receiving devices are equipped.
And, let's face it, individuals will find different things of interest, it just isn't exposure. My kids have always grown up with me having a system, always trying to improve, eventually adding HT. Unfortunately, none of them are audiophiles as of yet. My son is into motorcycles, my daughter is married and the closest thing to audio they have is that Amazon speaker you talk to.
Hobby: noun - an activity done regularly in one's leisure time for
pleasure. I think we can agree audiophilia is a hobby. Even if you are like me and just sit between the speakers and get lost in music.
"my impression of Japan is music is treated as an art where recording is to a high standard"
Ditto that. My good friend Eric Miyashiro (ericmiyashiro.com), the trumpet master who lives in Tokyo, managed the entire chain of recording and producing his excellent "Pleiades" CD. The music, the recording, the packaging are all an 11 on a scale of 1 to 10.
My youngest daughter bought her first TT at the age of 17.
A Goodwill Dual for $15.
Watch out now!
"Once this was all Black Plasma and Imagination" -Michael McClure
Music appreciation will live on. How do I know?
I've watched Captain Picard ask the computer to play opera from his massless holohall projection!
"If at first you don't succeed, keep on sucking till you do suck seed" - Curly Howard 1936
Pessimism abounds, but reality fights back.
My son got started in his thirties and has put together a respectable mid-fi system. Now his son, who graduates from high school next month, has a the beginnings of the same in his room. Both listen to music on their home's server, CD's. LP's and, on my son's system, cassette and R2R. Both have decent systems in their vehicles. One of my son's first actions after purchasing a 5th wheel was upgrading its sound system.
The wife and I showed our children what music is, they are showing our grandchildren.
While appreciation of music and desire for what we on this site consider good sound may decrease as a percent of the whole population I remain optimistic that there will always be those who want the best. And enough that the best will be produced to meet the demand.
IMO,In about five to ten years HiFi gear will be as obsolete as the covered wagon. Sad but true!
these days there's a ton of competition to keep millennials preoccupied including drones, video games, virtual reality, skype, facetime, just to name a few.
Our TV was black and white and only carried VHF stations, CBS and NBC. It wasn't until maybe '71 my mom was able to afford a (a'hem) 'color' TV with UHF! Of course TV channels today number in the hundreds (millions if you include youtube, facebook, etc.,).
At the rate we're heading with prices dropping on large digital TVs, I predict within the next 50 yrs all four walls, ceilings, and even floors in a room will be single HD video screens capable of taking you anywhere in the world (land or underwater). Good sound will still be needed of course.
In the early 90s home computers were on the rise. In the same space a two channel $400 stereo occupied, $1500 computer system were flying off the shelves. Department and electronic stores had a choice to make- room for them or get left behind. That's plain economics. Consequently, stereo systems fell into the "out of sight, out of mind" category.
I'm sure many of the up and coming generation view two channel stereo systems today as many view ham radio operators of the past (no offense ham guys!).
you wouldn't see many more hands.
See my prior posts if you need an explaination.
If audio is a "hobby", then Homo Sapiens Sapiens are just monkeys. Screeching, leaping, genitalia-grabbing chimpazoid apes.
Otherwise, the rest of your post is 100% correct.
Severius! Supremus Invictus
...can you post without stepping on your d...?
...8 track tapes on our Muntz car players in the late 1960s.
Yet we became audiophiles.
Younger people are listening to more music than ever.
And they are getting in to high end headphones.
But I've got a 23 year old that can navigate the big system and enjoys all the stuff on the music server as well as adding to it.
"I often feel like quality audio is a dying hobby."
It's a dying hobby because quality music is a dying entity.....
If I were only exposed to the popular music of the past 15 years, I'm not sure if I personally would have become interested in quality audio.
This is the biggest reason why I slam Auto-Tune, by the way. It kills the emotion of the singing voice..... Which in turn, kills the interest in capturing it on a quality audio system. I personally believe Auto-Tune is *less* tolerable on a resolving audio system.
"I see young people plugging a free to $20 set of ear buds into their Idiot Phones and gradually going deaf as they listen to highly compressed music at high volumes."
It's not their fault..... I would be one of these people if I were born after 1990..... They've not lived in an environment that would have enabled them to appreciate quality music and quality sound reproduction.
I would blame several entities..... The audio industry, for one, for failing to develop a decent-sounding digital medium for the masses..... (Quality digital audio is possible, but one must work really hard to attain it. The only silver lining to this is it has enabled vinyl to make a comeback.) I also blame the pro audio industry which has developed "tools" that "enhance" the performance from an analytical standpoint, but in reality kills the music. (Aside from Auto-Tune, the single biggest killer of quality recordings is asynchronous sample-rate conversion.) I would like to blame the music industry too, but I think it in essence adapted to these compromised environments. And finally, I blame the mainstream media for glorifying what I call prefabricated music. (I've actually met younger people who do not even know who the Beatles were. I've also met a lot of people who are totally disinterested in music.) There is so much garbage out there, it isn't even funny.
"Are we the last generation that will see this as a negative?"
Not me. but its true that vinyl is very in with the youngsters now. Tubes are still getting a look in , helped in some part by tube guitar amps and mics
On the other hand there are a wealth of other material distractions now compared to 30 years ago
Why are most of the comments so negative?
It is my opinion that young people can learn, too. But they don't care so much for a dedicated stereo if you will, but rather have the headphone in phone or ipod, then when they want to hear music, spend on live (if you are in a city that has that, i.e., classical or shows).
I found, as I have shared here, my teen, now in college, still listens to LA Phil live and KUSC FM HD, sometimes anyway.
So my doctor said "Then don't do that!"
Oh and to answer your question:
Nope, nearly double that, (as I sob quietly).
Under 30? So, there's an age limit?
How old were YOU when you could afford a nice stereo system and room acoustics? I was 26 when I COULD, and was 29 when I DID.
Y'all are a misguided "stick in the mud".
"Audio", as a "hobby" isn't, and never was, a hobby among most music lovers. It's just you 1 percent who have money to burn and buy/sell/flip equipment every few months or a year who think it's a "hobby".
Of all the musicians, both amateur and pro, and all the audio engineers and acousticians I've known, I never once heard any of them refer to their system or endeavor as a "hobby", only by some folks here.
Building plastic models is a hobby. Collecting rocks, stamps or coins is a hobby. But, apparently, reading magazines and trying some piece of equipment, and then selling it, is a hobby for some tiny minority of people - just as it was back in the days of Allied Radio and Popular Electronics. ("Breaker, breaker, come in, good buddy".)
I am not worried about the "under 30" demographic. The record-destroying gawd-awful sound of the "close and play" record player of 1960 has been replaced by something less damaging to the content, and, sharable among friends around the world.
Hobby: an activity done regularly in one's leisure time for pleasure.
Listening to music, high-end audio is a hobby.
""Audio", as a "hobby" isn't, and never was, a hobby among most music lovers."
Absolutely correct. And, until sometime in the late 1990's, it was never referred as such.
"It's just you 1 percent who have money to burn and buy/sell/flip equipment every few months or a year who think it's a "hobby"."
Good point. From that point of view, it actually is rich folk "hobby". Like horse racing, or figurine collecting.
"Building plastic models is a hobby. Collecting rocks, stamps or coins is a hobby. "
"The record-destroying gawd-awful sound of the "close and play" record player of 1960..."
It sure was. It just burns me and confirms that we're now living in alternate earth bizzaro world when I see them flipping out over some piece of crap, low-fi record player from 1955 [as was right here on this general board a few days ago].
Severius! Supremus Invictus
... has to do with how much DIY talent and enthusiasm you bring to it. I grant that if you simply use bone-stock gear and bring nothing more to it than your skill in connecting the pieces, you're probably much more of a music lover than a hobbyist (or maybe neither).
If you are a muso or music tech then you would see it as part of your career/livelihood.
I think your definition of hobby is a bit narrow. I think hobby alpplies to any thing we do regularly thats not for profit but for enjoyment. Eg there are professional artists and art hobbyist. I suppose it comes down to passion as well- you might not make any money from model building or abstract painting, but it comes down to how you approach it- is is your passion that is central to your life or it a leisure activity done for relaxation/enjoyment? Or is it both.....??
In that regard for a lot of us it is a hobby. However it, or more likely the music it carries, may be an essential need we have, or a personal salve
I get your point, and agree. My reply was to the OP, where he wrote:
"I often feel like quality audio is a dying hobby." Etc.
I don't think it ever was a hobby, except to a very tiny percentage of the population. Rather, quality audio continues to evolve from the console stereos of the 1960s, to the component stereos of the 1970s and 80s to the home theater and mega-buck components of the 90s through today.
In fact, I've read more about high end, and even mid end, stereo as a "hobby" in the past 10 years than I ever did before. Sure, the proliferation of hi-fi magazines was huge in the 70s and into the 80s, but that was more because of the fact that it was the "new thing" and everybody and their dog was buying a component stereo system, rather than it being a hobby. Think back 15-20 years (That's 1997-2002 for folks in Rio Linda): How many people had cell phones? Today, the advertising is everywhere, and every big box store has a cell phone DEPARTMENT. That doesn't make the buyers "hobbyists", although some of them are app-addicts.
The component stereo market is saturated, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a store which has more than about a dozen integrated amps and receivers on display, whereas, in the 70s, when I was selling stereo, it was easy to find multiple stores that had 20-40 such products on the shelf! But that's a new product category/sales/demand thingy, not a "hobby" thingy.
I don't believe that "high quality audio hobbyists" are any fewer or more than 30 years ago. I believe that the vast majority of people bought a component stereo system because it was the flat screen/cellphone/tablet/earbud/Netflix of the day - not because they were stereo/audio/hifi hobbyists.
Are we the last generation that will see this as a negative?
Why do you think we see this as a negative? Unless you're in the business and need to plan for the future, who cares?
I don't care if we have a fresh generation of audiophiles down the road. I'm enjoying my systems. Let them enjoy theirs, compression, cheap earbuds, whatever. Do I care? I already answered that. ;-)
I've rubbed off enough to have him appreciate quality reproduction.
Here is his system:
Amplifier Section of Original NAD 3020
Adcom 565 Preamp
Dennis Murphy modded Pioneer BS-22 and Dayton 10 in. powered sub - the monitors are wired through a simple high pass filter via series capacitor
Schiit Magna 2 DAC from MacBook Pro
I've also given a HK integrated amp and a Yamaha CR220 to music lovers and budding vinylophiles at work.
Same boat as you, but as I see it the whole system is composed of your leftovers. I have begged my son to take my leftovers and in our world is a killer system. They missed the Golden Age we came up in during the 70's that charted our course. Glad your kid is using your stuff.
Only the NAD and Adcom were mine. A nice integrated will replace them eventually, but the NAD amp rocks and the Adcom still works flawlessly and is dead quiet. For now.
I have a PSE Studio One preamp sitting in the closet as a backup that still works fine. I bought it along with a Studio Two power amp well over 20 years ago. The Denon DCD-1560 I used as a transport just recently quit after nearly 20 years of service, and that was used when I bought it.
My first decent preamp - an Apt Holman - still resides in my son's closet. To the best of my knowledge it works fine, although he doesn't use it. I was never able to get him interested in audio in the slightest.
I didn't get into high end audio until I was 35.
While the "hobby" is greying, it's also expensive and no longer considered as indispensable as it once was for home entertainment which will limit appeal on those with young kids.
"We have met the enemy and he is us" - Pogo
I thought the "I" in I-Phone stood for Imbecile. Thanks for the clarification.
A new generation of 'music lovers' IS out there..
Mostly using their computer and a USB DAC with headphones..
Those guy might someday.. when they stop being destitute.. Buy a system as we (audiophiles) know it.
So give it 20 years..
All us old farts will be dead. and the younger generation may still like to listen to music... in some form.
The end is near.
typed while listening to Metronomy.
I have three teens and listen to new music constantly. There is some new music that is awesome, but there is a growing majority that is just laptop loops. There has to be an advantage to large format sound reproduction versus just cranking the subwoofer.
Like it or not, I have not seen a proper "stereo" in a normals house in 25 years.
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