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Is High End dying?

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musicdude View Drop Down
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    Posted: 09 Feb 2013 at 9:24pm
I don't think so because technology gets better and more affordable ...? Ermm

http://www.stereophile.com/content/rip-high-end-audio
Andy

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mitch65 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mitch65 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Feb 2013 at 11:07pm
I've not heard Linn and Naim complaining recently. Most so called high-end manufacturers are just embracing new technologies faster than they used to to tap into the mass consumer market. I remember when Linn said they would never make a CD player because it couldn't compete, sound wise, with the LP12. Of course they ended up making very good CD players but fast forward a few years and they have taken the bold step of mothballing their CD range in favour of streamers because, pound for pound, they outperform their CD players (quote).
High-end, IMO, had a Eureka moment, why would you buy a NaimUniti or a Linn Klimax when I could just get a Squeezebox - simple! make it a premium product.
Hey, it's just my 'wine induced' opinion but that's how I look at it. Beer
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ICL1P Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Feb 2013 at 11:19pm
Originally posted by mitch65 mitch65 wrote:

why would you buy a NaimUniti or a Linn Klimax when I could just get a Squeezebox - simple! make it a premium product.
I still don't really understand what different streamers do. How do the three systems mentioned here differ in terms of functionality; what they actually do. Maybe they don't. And how is it different from streaming from iTunes via Airport Express or Apple TV, which is what I do. Is it just a question of pulling from the HDD as opposed to pushing from the HDD?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mitch65 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Feb 2013 at 11:33pm
that's the 64,000 dollar question, I demoed 3 streamers before buying and, really , it's no different to buying CD players. A Naim Streamer sounds very similar to a Naim CD player. I've owned a streamer from another manufacturer and it really was not as good as the Naim but it was a lot cheaper. The functionality was similar but not as seamless and, like with any product, it is built to a price point.
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11rushgarrick11 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 11rushgarrick11 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Feb 2013 at 3:10am
Hmm... That is a good question and one that has crossed my own mind whilst daydreaming on these early morns.

One thing for sure is that the face of audio has changed.

This happened quite some time back in my honest opinion. If you take a look for example at hifi magazines, the ultimate pursuit for high fidelity seemed to get pushed to one side as the audio visual boom took its place. Flicking through the pages of popular high street magazines you would see more and more column inches given over to flat screen tvs and multi channel amps. It also, at least to me seemed that certain smaller high end companies were falling by the wayside.

For sure there was a blip whilst all this was happening. Certain companies began to push DVD audio or SACD but neither really took hold. Point here being there were still a faithful few who were still interested in the reproduction of audio.

Then comes phase two but now with more gusto. The compressed file, mp3, flac aac etc... It almost at least for this listener looking out into the audio world seemed for a while that the faithful reproduction of music had been tossed out of the window. Everything had a prefix of the letter I and people were happy to listen to 128kbs files but still look fashionable whilst doing it.

If your wondering to my point in relation to high end however, it is that the above two movements/events changed the face of the audio world and that high end never died it just became squeezed. On thinking right here and now, did it actually allow this new now smaller market to become more high end. We were now somehow a minority which can definitely be exploited if we were not too careful. High end had just become more specialist.

Having said all of the above perhaps I myself have my blinkers on as its not just the reproduction of stereo that has a high end. If I can come back to the hifi mags and as much as we like them or hate them, they adapt to their customer base, I for one am seeing less £11,000+ amplifiers been mentioned. (Removed names just incase) etc.. even my own faves if i may mention them, Sugden seemed to be cropping up less and less on the pages of the nations monthly reads.

As mentioned above many companies have adapted and diversified and there still is a market for them, they themselves are creating new ones.

Is it coming full circle? More and more folk are, or at least seem to be interested in audio quality again. Look at the sudden surge in dac purchases... On reflection, I was in a large department store and a young chap was buying a heavily discounted pair of skull candy headphones. It made me think perhaps nothing's changing at all.

Is high end dying? It's been through the mill, there are times where it's been on life support but its still fighting fit... It's just had to move a little, shall we say down size (in terms of market share I may add not quality).

That's my two pass labs worth ;)

Take care all




Edited by 11rushgarrick11 - 10 Feb 2013 at 11:45am
the real art of conducting consists in transistors :p
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Task1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Feb 2013 at 3:37am
Hi,
I'm new here but feel i have to through in my tuppence worth! High End isn't dying its becoming more accessible. Computer audio, finally, has reversed the trend of quantity versus quality- lossless files are easy to make from the purchased CD and easy to replay from computers.
Mr Slee helps us to convert these digital bits into HQ audio which is then played on our systems which range from cheap and cheerful to ___Ludicrous!

So high end isn't dying- but perhaps elitism is.

Sandy 
Does it really matter?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 11rushgarrick11 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Feb 2013 at 6:27am





Interesting thoughts, varied path but same conclusion.

 
I don't think high end depending on definition is becoming  more accessible from a view point. I see it heading further away at least from a monetary sense. I do agree you get a better return for your money in some but not all cases
 
I do agree the trend of quality vs quantity has or is been reversed finally and about time.
 
 Its here we part though as I don't see having just a lossless file sat on a pc fed, dac'd then amped as high end. I agree it may be high quality but to me high end is the dream worthy dacs or the amplifiers you aspire (through kidney harvest, joke) to own. I think that the cost of these are ever increasing if in no part due to time and research more than exotic materials or components. And possibly a smaller market/audience
High end though I agree is still alive even in an economic slump. High end will always have its place. In companies with tiers it allows over time for the tech to be filtered down. It also sells lesser models I do believe in some part. Lets say you are buying erh.. go on we will pick audionote you still feel you are buying into that family and also lets face it your machine might be within 90% the quality of their top model. Don't forget diminishing returns at a certain point.
 
...I hope and believe high end will always be around. Its what researchers get out of bed for and the audiophile few to drool over.
 







Edited by 11rushgarrick11 - 10 Feb 2013 at 11:33am
the real art of conducting consists in transistors :p
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