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"The hifi industry is dying"

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steve_1979's picture
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It's not really dying and it never will do for as long as people have money and are passionate about music. But over the past couple of years I've read several times on various forums that HiFi sales are down and that the HiFi industry is slowly dying. I totally disagree with both of these statements and think that the HiFi industry is better than it ever has been before. Traditional HiFi isn't dying, it's just changing and evolving into something new and IMO something much better than it used to be.

 

People are still listening to lots of music and the explosion in sales of upgraded portable headphones and iPod docks confirm this. Digital sources have improved so much now that there's no audible difference between most of them and a genuine HiFi quality source can be bought for very little money nowadays. Using digital rather than analogue formats also means that high sound quality is much easier to keep intact.

 

Many people have also started using their computer/tablet/phone as a hifi source too and with high quality streaming options such as Spotify we all have an almost infinity large music library available to us at the touch of a button.  Most people even have a palm sized hifi system built into their phone which they carry with them everywhere they go.

 

Hifi and speaker technology is improving all the time too and has reached a point where you no longer need to spend several thousands of pounds on multiple hifi boxes to get a good quality sound. And while I doubt that passive speakers will ever die out due to their convenience, active speakers are gradually becoming more common in both stereo HiFi systems and lifestyle iPod dock/streaming systems which is helping to bring about better sound quality and value for the masses.

 

It's also become more common for people to use their speakers at home for other media such as movies and computer games as well as just music now. There are many exciting new technologies finding their way into peoples homes which are replacing the traditional two speaker multi-box HiFi systems for many people. These include things such as soundbars for TV's or the 'all in one' DVD/bluray/internet streamers which include full 5.1 speaker systems and amplifiers in one neat and good value package. These new technologies also offer surprisingly good sound quality for very little money and are within the reach of many more people than the traditional multiple box stereo HiFi systems used to be.

 

The internet is also playing it's part by allowing everyone access to information which is making it harder for conmen to sell snake oil and foo HiFi products. This means that more people are getting better value for money because they're buying products that actually make a difference to the sound quality.

 

Traditional HiFi is far from dead. It's just evolving into something new and much better. Viva la revolución!

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the record spot's picture
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RE: The hifi industry is dying.

Spotify, which I have the Premium version of, is yet to make a profit and pays a pittance in return for its artists tracks.  There are increasing reliability issues with sudden crashes up since the last software upgrade which I personally find irritating.  Deezer is a similar option and I might give that a run, but the reality is they are very similar.  

Personally, I think the industry is in rude health; probably never been a better time to buy equipment given the breadth of choice out there.

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spiny norman's picture
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RE: The hifi industry is dying.

Doesn't time fly? It seems to be Ash Wednesday again.  doh!

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steve_1979's picture
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RE: The hifi industry is dying.

spiny norman wrote:

Doesn't time fly? It seems to be Ash Wednesday again.  doh!

This thread has absolutely nothing to do with AVI. Could we please not ruin it by turning it into something it's not. Thank you. Smile

 

I don't expect everybody to agree with my opinions but I was hoping that my opening statement would stimulate some interesting discussion about the current state of evolution of the hifi industry.

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BigH's picture
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RE: The hifi industry is dying.

steve_1979 wrote:

Traditional HiFi is far from dead. It's just evolving into something new and much better. Viva la revolución!

 

So when does traditional hi-fi end and become something else. Is playing from a tablet or server or streamed via sonos or AEX or ATV still count as traditional hi-fi. Judging by my local hifi shop they seem to sell more non-traditional hifi stuff than anything. Hifi is not dead, tradional hifi maybe dying.  

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RE: The hifi industry is dying.

This must be the best time EVER for HiFi, dying? you must be kidding me, I'm flabergasted at all the new products out there, we've got the best choice ever, we've never had so much choice, at the moment we are spoilt for choice, there is something for every body at the moment, I would go as far as saying we are having a BOOM.

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RE: The hifi industry is dying.

While the industry is in slow decline, it has been for decades. Having said that, with AV on a downturn over the past few years, hi-fi is coming back in a big way. For us it has never really slowed as we stuck by it through the AV years, but you can see the trend with the likes of certain retail chains (who years ago kitted out their stores with TVs galore) shifting back to more hi-fi products.

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byakuya83's picture
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RE: The hifi industry is dying.

The internet provides access to information not normally found in hi-fi related print.
In light of that I think for the industry to thrive it must make efforts to be more honest.

Access to music has increased and is easier than ever - that's a great thing.
Hopefully piracy becomes less of an issue as time goes by.

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RE: The hifi industry is dying.

BigH wrote:

steve_1979 wrote:

Traditional HiFi is far from dead. It's just evolving into something new and much better. Viva la revolución!

 

So when does traditional hi-fi end and become something else. Is playing from a tablet or server or streamed via sonos or AEX or ATV still count as traditional hi-fi. Judging by my local hifi shop they seem to sell more non-traditional hifi stuff than anything. Hifi is not dead, tradional hifi maybe dying.  

 

 HiFi today encompasses so many area of listening to music, the old traditional way of a plain stereo amplifier, a source and a pair of speakers maybe be in decline, but even still people are buying valve amps, streamers, dacs, headphones, earphones, tablets, and on and on it goes, happy days for music lovers.

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RE: The hifi industry is dying.

byakuya83 wrote:
The internet provides access to information not normally found in hi-fi related print. In light of that I think for the industry to thrive it must make efforts to be more honest..

Certainly agree with that. I'm shocked my some of the misinformation if not lies speaker manufacturers spout on their sites and in their forums.

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RE: The hifi industry is dying.

There is a parallel with the world of photography where traditional cameras are under threat because everything electronic you buy has a camera in it and their quality is improving all the time and it is good enough for most people most of the time.  In music the raw material is now available anywhere at relatively cheap prices and because it is digital it has a certain level of quality which is also good enough for most of the people most of the time.  Therefore I suspect that hifi will become increasingly specialist. 

There is also a reaction against the mainstream.  We see in this forum more people talking about vinyl (not knocking just saying) and in photography many are talking about going back to film.  This I find fascinating.

Chris

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RE: The hifi industry is dying.

Covenanter wrote:
There is a parallel with the world of photography where traditional cameras are under threat because everything electronic you buy has a camera in it and their quality is improving all the time and it is good enough for most people most of the time

Something else that will never disappear, even if it does decline...

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shadders's picture
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RE: The hifi industry is dying.

Hi,

I think that Hifi is in decline - since Hifi magazines were sold off recently to other publishers willing to accept the low distribution numbers - except for What Hifi.

The surge in MP3 players has had its effect, and the pirate sites offering music without paying has compounded the issue.

Music for many is a source of background music due to the availability of such a wide catalogue sound.

Many people have not heard a Hifi system - and never will, since they are content with MP3 players and the systems used to playback the devices. So they will never hear what they are missing.

People have other distractions - mobile phone, gaming console, tablets etc.

Education has a part to play - i have built my own speakers, designed and built my own DAC, but science and engineering is not promoted, and almost all people don't understand how the technology they are using works.

Then there is the mickey take by Not The Nine O'Clock News - this was a classic - and in part accurate also.

Until people appreciate the music rather than it being a background source, they will not invest in Hifi, and never hearing it means that they don't know it exists.

Regards,

Shadders.

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byakuya83's picture
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RE: The hifi industry is dying.

I think all the new methods of consuming music are positive and hopefully push the industry in the right direction. Things like iTunes and Spotify make it very easy to access music. It really is better than ever before.

AL, I agree, there is a lot of misinformation online and in print. My sister was duped into buying an expensive HDMI cable based on lies dressed as opinion.

andybeau's picture
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RE: The hifi industry is dying.

shadders wrote:

Hi,

I think that Hifi is in decline - since Hifi magazines were sold off recently to other publishers willing to accept the low distribution numbers - except for What Hifi.

The surge in MP3 players has had its effect, and the pirate sites offering music without paying has compounded the issue.

Music for many is a source of background music due to the availability of such a wide catalogue sound.

Many people have not heard a Hifi system - and never will, since they are content with MP3 players and the systems used to playback the devices. So they will never hear what they are missing.

People have other distractions - mobile phone, gaming console, tablets etc.

Education has a part to play - i have built my own speakers, designed and built my own DAC, but science and engineering is not promoted, and almost all people don't understand how the technology they are using works.

Then there is the mickey take by Not The Nine O'Clock News - this was a classic - and in part accurate also.

Until people appreciate the music rather than it being a background source, they will not invest in Hifi, and never hearing it means that they don't know it exists.

Regards,

Shadders.

Thank you forgot all about that

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxQqWSnsHoA

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RE: The hifi industry is dying.

byakuya , oh, I didn't mean that. Don't know much about HDMI, but I'd think there's various standards and build quality that goes into the price equation. I was thinking more of irresponsible mds that attack other companies and members of the industry with not an ounce of truth in their comments. Read some things on a couple of forums recently that would make your toes curl.