High-End Hi-Fi: Luxury or Necessity - AVS | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 21 Old 01-23-2013, 10:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Today’s advancements in technologies has changed the way we listen to music. Back in the day, when Vinyl was the means of communication between the artist and their audience, it brought the listener or listeners to sit down, gently place the needle on the vinyl and listen away. This type of listening (Active) has changed for the most part of the population. With Mp3 players and Car audio systems including Mp3, Bluetooth and even Smart phone integration, music is mostly listen to on the go (Passive). Listening to vinyl means actually spending time with the music – it’s not just the background music to you cleaning or reading a book.



Is High-End Hi-Fi Necessary or a luxury? Check out what an expert has to say…

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After hearing the difference, correspondent Gary Krakow believes everyone should take the time to hear what properly reproduced music in your home sounds like. You too will probably never want to listen to MP3 files played on an iPod ever again.
http://www.thestreet.com/video/11796048/high-end-hi-fi-luxury-or-necessity.html



So is High-End Hi-Fi necessary or a luxury to you?



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post #2 of 21 Old 01-23-2013, 10:52 AM - Thread Starter
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I personally think both are viable answers. Here's what I think...

Luxury: Not everyone can afford a High-End system that reproduces music exactly it was recorded. Many lower cost system also sound great though and that can easily be acceptable as well. Another luxury that some may also not think of is Time. Even if you do decide to invest money into a nice Audio System, you need to find time to just sit and listen. Again, finding the time dedicated for that can be a luxury for some.

Necessity: In this fast paced world we live in where we are on a constant go, the body and mind need to take a break. Some meditate, some Yoga and people like me, listen to Audio. I listen to both movies and audio, but mainly audio to get into a deeper relax state of mind. I mentioned this as being a luxury but everyone much try and find the time to un-wind in this crazy world. Music is in my opinion a great way to start.
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post #3 of 21 Old 01-23-2013, 11:05 AM
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People are willing to spend more on headphones than I would have ever thought possible a decade ago, thanks to the iPod, iPhone etc. Of course it's a shame that $400 sometimes buys glorified junk, but for the most part I think pricey headphones are more than just a fashion statement, they are an acknowledgement that HiFi still has a place in many people's lives. I think anyone who spends that much on cans likely spends some time appreciating the music, and if that person lacks the skills or means to set up a proper stereo rig, headphones are going to have the 'next best' presentation of the music. As technology advances, smaller speakers and sound bars will bring HiFi level experiences to more and more homes as well.

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post #4 of 21 Old 01-23-2013, 11:23 AM
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post #5 of 21 Old 01-23-2013, 11:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PobjoySpecial View Post

Hmm...

Didn't Maslow's hierarchy of needs go something like:

Shelter --> HiFi Audio --> Water --> Food --> ...

Lol...Nice...I like:D

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post #6 of 21 Old 01-23-2013, 12:00 PM
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I like it either and that reminds me of something related to audio somehow... wink.gif

" To Do is to Be " - Nietzsche
" To Be is to Do " - Kant
" Do Be Do Be Do " - Sinatra

Regards, Chuck
Hold on tight to your dreams - ELO
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post #7 of 21 Old 01-24-2013, 05:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post

People are willing to spend more on headphones than I would have ever thought possible a decade ago, thanks to the iPod, iPhone etc. Of course it's a shame that $400 sometimes buys glorified junk, but for the most part I think pricey headphones are more than just a fashion statement, they are an acknowledgement that HiFi still has a place in many people's lives. I think anyone who spends that much on cans likely spends some time appreciating the music, and if that person lacks the skills or means to set up a proper stereo rig, headphones are going to have the 'next best' presentation of the music. As technology advances, smaller speakers and sound bars will bring HiFi level experiences to more and more homes as well.


I think your absolutely right on that. Headphones are on the rise and many manufacturers are trying to get a piece of that pie. That being said though, who are the majority of people buying headphones and when do they listen to music the most? I don't have any stats to support my theory but I do believe it's on the way to work or to school. They aren't purchasing headphones to wear at home. I don't believe many people are reserving 20 mins of there time to strictly music listening.

You don't really see either anyone inviting you over to listen to a new album they just bought. What happened to that? Why has it come to that?

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post #8 of 21 Old 01-24-2013, 12:11 PM
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I think the real question isn't "high end" v. "low end," but what qualifies as active v. passive listening. If I'm sitting on the subway for 20 minutes with a nice set of over-ear cans and an ipod full of lossless music, is that a high end or a low end listening session? Is the session active or passive? How about commuting in a newer car with an upgraded sound system? The key is making sure that your active listening is high quality wherever you are, and that's happening more and more, even for your average music listener who doesn't realize it.

Used to be that unless you spent a fortune on gear, you had to choose between listening to quality music and listening to portable music. That's not the case anymore. Good headphones are everywhere, and even the overpriced stuff like Beats is still worlds better than the average headphones that the average listener would use five years ago. Same with portable music formats: DAPs are big enough that carrying around lossless music files are realistic, and even 256kbps AAC is much harder to tell apart from CD than the good old 128 kbps MP3 or, god help us, a dubbed tape played on a walkman.
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post #9 of 21 Old 01-24-2013, 03:10 PM
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To answer the question objectively: any hobby is NOT a necessity. It may or not be a luxury, but definitely not a necessity.

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post #10 of 21 Old 01-24-2013, 04:44 PM
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I figure if you can afford it? Then who's to tell anyone else what they should do with their money.

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post #11 of 21 Old 01-24-2013, 04:55 PM
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post #12 of 21 Old 01-24-2013, 07:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidK442 View Post

In a time when hi-end sound can be had on a service industry wage you would think that every young male out there would have a solid little receiver and a great sounding pair of bookshelves. Sadly that doesn't seem to be the case. My three teenage sons listen to as much music as I ever did. They have heard what good sound is but really don't care. My 17 year old is completely content booming away on his Logitech computer speakers, the 15 year old has a portable Sony I-pod dock that screaches throughout the house and the 13 year old mostly just uses his tv speakers. They have jobs, they have money, they love music but just don't need 20hz to 20khz at 0.001% THD to enjoy it. Though it bugs the Hell out of me in a way I have to respect that. There was a time when the audio equipment seemed to be more important to me than the audio itself...that's when I knew it was time to get into home theater. smile.gif

I totally agree with you. smile.gif

I don't have many other hobbies, and with the ones I do don't quite satisfy as much as listening to music or even movies. I can't afford some of the bigger names, but with some time researching on this forum and some help from some fellow AVS'ers, you can find some good quality products for a good price that may help rekindle that enjoyment of simply listening music.

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post #13 of 21 Old 01-24-2013, 10:58 PM
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the loudness war has ruined the experience for me at least in some genres.. so many cd's sound better in my car than in my home thanks to the over-compression.
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post #14 of 21 Old 01-25-2013, 08:42 AM
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Definately luxury. At this stage of my life, I finally can afford a lot of the electronics I wanted (within reason). Yet, I use my setup mostly for movies. I was once a lad never to been seen without earphones in my ears. Over the last decade or two, I have never been able to seat down and listen to one CD in it's entirety.
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post #15 of 21 Old 01-25-2013, 10:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CalgaryJames View Post

Definately luxury. At this stage of my life, I finally can afford a lot of the electronics I wanted (within reason). Yet, I use my setup mostly for movies. I was once a lad never to been seen without earphones in my ears. Over the last decade or two, I have never been able to seat down and listen to one CD in it's entirety.

Man, I hear you there, brother. When I was younger, I had all the time in the world to spend listening to music and watching movies (and I did). But I couldn't afford any really nice gear.

Now that I can afford some of the good stuff (within reason, like you said), I've got so very little time to enjoy it, that I wonder if I'm crazy for buying the gear in the first place!
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post #16 of 21 Old 01-25-2013, 10:37 AM
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There's sound and then there's...music. One is what we all hear from womb to tomb. The other, a form of art that commands attention, or at least should. I'm guessing that most entertainment systems focus more attention and money on video than audio. Yet, as in the enjoyment of wine, where the nose gets short shrift, sound plays an enormous role in the overall experience, yet is undervalued. Spending oodles on earphones where the source is compressed is akin to trying to get a nice photo image on paper from a poor negative. There's no detail to recover or re-create. And there are few artists today that have both the interest and clout to ensure that what is recorded is properly handled from capture, let alone playback. Unless, and until, this is re-instilled in artists of the world (thinking here of those who are so concerned, like Neil Young) the industry and consumers will not be afforded the "luxury" of great music reproduction, no matter our pocket books.

At least there are still venues to listen to the real, live thing -- be it in the concert hall or the back porch.

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post #17 of 21 Old 01-25-2013, 10:47 AM
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Luxury, to the audio enthusiast its a necessity but I believe they are a small niche.

Same with wine for example, most people drink wine casually and prefer to buy cheap bottles. Only a small niche spend money on good bottles and truly enjoy wine. To this small group, good wine becomes a necessity.
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post #18 of 21 Old 01-27-2013, 03:36 PM
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Is music important to you or isn't it? Do you need it like you need air and water? Do you appreciate music on a visceral, emotional level while understanding it as an intellectual pursuit? Does your appreciation of music exist entirely apart from your social life, your personal history, or your "use" of music to help create context for the other things you do?

If music is one of the things that makes your life worth living, you will be an "active listener" whatever sort of equipment you own.

It's illuminating that many professional musicians don't own audiophile equipment for home listening. They listen to the music, not the sound quality; they listen through the reproduction quality, as long as it's good enough. You don't need perfect fidelity to get inside the head of the composer or the performer, you just need to be able to hear all the parts.

I have a pretty good home audio system, but I've been playing and listening to music my whole life, and I don't know that I appreciate music any more when I use a $2000 system than I do when using headphones on the train or my car stereo... or that I appreciate it any more or less now than I did in the Sixties when I was using whatever portable record player I could get my hands on.

It was learning to listen that made the difference.
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post #19 of 21 Old 01-29-2013, 05:33 PM
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Isn't the goal to have the music in our home sound just like it was being performed live? Dialed in room acoustics is the real necessity. Top notch gear completes the goal.
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post #20 of 21 Old 01-29-2013, 05:35 PM
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To me the goal of home audio is to reproduce the recording the way it sounds in the recording studio, warts and all.

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post #21 of 21 Old 01-31-2013, 06:55 AM
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With the nuckleheads of today's world, I personally NEVER walk around in public with earphones plugged into my ears. I want to hear my surroundings and pay close attention to those who may harm me. Whether it be a bus while crossing a street or a pick-pocket in a subway station, I refuse to be distracted by itunes or iphones. Want to listen to music---make time! Want to play golf---make time!! Want to read a book---make time!!! Taking music on a portable device everywhere you go and using it while doing whatever you do is like texting and driving.....Really??? It can't wait??? You you absolutely have to listen to low-resolution music every minute of the day, then high-end high fidelity music reproduction most likely is not an issue in your life.
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