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What has happened to real HiFi?

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Posted (edited)
52 minutes ago, twoblacklines said:

Go to a hifi dealer and things sound awesome because the room is accoustically treated and everything is place properly, something you aren't going to get a home.

I think you're massively overestimating most hifi shops/dealers there!

52 minutes ago, twoblacklines said:

So what's the point of buying 50k of shit when you can just buy £700 of shit and it sounds as good as you are going to get?

I think you're missing out a huge degree of variability in performance between those two price points there :)

52 minutes ago, twoblacklines said:

It tends to be as the poster 2 above me states; more about showing off what you have (ironically 99% of these people have it on credit ie a bank owns it not them LOL) than the actual sound.

If I wanted to show off I'd buy a fancy car or watch. I hate showing off though, so I have an unremarkable 14 year old car and prefer to spend more on semi-decent AV equipment which gives me pleasure. Most people who visit my house would have no idea what any of my hifi may have cost (which isn't a huge amount by the standards of many here) so I certainly don't have it to 'impress' anyone in that way. 

Edited by MartinC
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Super Wammer
2 hours ago, DomT said:

The prevalence of so many quality cars is due to cheap financing. Ten years ago in Portugal hardly anyone had a good car and there were huge numbers of 20 and 30 year old cars on the road. Then cam low interest rates and 8 year financing. Now most cars are new. High end hifi companies need to come up with an equivalent financing model to give these products more accessibility.

I completely agree and was pondering just this quite recently.  For £325 a month I drive a £40,000 car, so I’d consider, say, £150 a month for a £20,000 HiFi.  

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1 hour ago, Nopiano said:

I completely agree and was pondering just this quite recently.  For £325 a month I drive a £40,000 car, so I’d consider, say, £150 a month for a £20,000 HiFi.  

Hmmm.🤔 I'm being totally subjective; would there be the risk to Brands and Manufacturers reputation? And the risk of "Cheapening" products? Much like Mercedes Benz did in the late 'nineties and early 2000's? What are your thoughts? 👍 

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Super Wammer
27 minutes ago, Monitor Gold Ten said:

Hmmm.🤔 I'm being totally subjective; would there be the risk to Brands and Manufacturers reputation? And the risk of "Cheapening" products? Much like Mercedes Benz did in the late 'nineties and early 2000's? What are your thoughts? 👍 

Not to my mind, just by making the products more accessible.  Some dealers already do 0% finance, but typically over only twelve months.  And if the profit margins are what I believe them to be on HiFi then there’s a lot more wiggle room than on cars - where there’s more money to be made on servicing, unnecessary insurances, paint treatment, part exchanged vehicles, and so on.  

I think Mercedes let themselves slip on construction quality and longevity in the 2000’s, which they’ve now restored for the most part. 

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Posted (edited)

Without dragging this too far off topic, the prevalence of premium cars is due to personal contract leasing, which is as common for private users as it is for company cars (around 80% of new cars are ‘purchased’ in this way). You pay a monthly cost over a 3 year period that is directly linked to the amount of depreciation in the value of that car over the period. Premium cars depreciate relatively less than many of the traditional mainstream brands, so the monthly cost is similar. Why have a Mondeo when you can have a BMW or Range Rover for similar cost? After 3 years you change the car for a new one on another 3 year contract.

Buying a new car, or even taking out a loan, is old school. Indeed, the actual list price of the car is largely irrelevant.

Edited by lostwin
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3 hours ago, MartinC said:

I think you're massively overestimating most hifi shops/dealers there!

I think you're missing out a huge degree of variability in performance between those two price points there :)

If I wanted to show off I'd buy a fancy car or watch. I hate showing off though, so I have an unremarkable 14 year old car and prefer to spend more on semi-decent AV equipment which gives me pleasure. Most people who visit my house would have no idea what any of my hifi may have cost (which isn't a huge amount by the standards of many here) so I certainly don't have it to 'impress' anyone in that way. 

And yet you list lots of expensive kit in your wigwam info.

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1 hour ago, lostwin said:

Without dragging this too far off topic, the prevalence of premium cars is due to personal contract leasing, which is as common for private users as it is for company cars (around 80% of new cars are ‘purchased’ in this way). You pay a monthly cost over a 3 year period that is directly linked to the amount of depreciation in the value of that car over the period. Premium cars depreciate relatively less than many of the traditional mainstream brands, so the monthly cost is similar. Why have a Mondeo when you can have a BMW or Range Rover for similar cost? After 3 years you change the car for a new one on another 3 year contract.

Buying a new car, or even taking out a loan, is old school. Indeed, the actual list price of the car is largely irrelevant.

Not really accurate.

Even if it is (and it isn't) more efficient, you still don't own it. If a recession hits tomorrow and the bank reclaims it (which is what happens in recessions) you are car-less.

If you get fired you have a months leeway then how do you pay the rest of the contract?

The point is, like a mortgage, if you borrow money for something, you don't own it until the loan is paid off. On top of that you are borrowing based on it's new, unused value, 2 years later you still owe based on it's new, unused value, only it's 2 years old and used.

I could buy an R8 V10+ based on my credit rating, but I don't because I understand basic economics, which has served me well through the last economic downfall and recessions. When my neighbour lost his job and lost his financed GOLF R which only a few months previous he was bragging about compared to my 10 year old a3, he was nowhere to be seen.

Unless you own something outright you don't own it. And unless you make more than you borrow, it's a stupid idea.

Situations like billionaires using a 2.5% mortgage for a property when they have money in a 3.5% SWR index tracker make financial sense. Buying a £50k car on finance that is worth £20k after two years DOES NOT.

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2 hours ago, MartinC said:

If I wanted to show off I'd buy a fancy car or watch. I hate showing off though, so I have an unremarkable 14 year old car and prefer to spend more on semi-decent AV equipment which gives me pleasure. Most people who visit my house would have no idea what any of my hifi may have cost (which isn't a huge amount by the standards of many here) so I certainly don't have it to 'impress' anyone in that way. 

Well said.
Leave the showing off to the materialistic.

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An interesting thread, I think also that if you go back to let’s say the 70s when people invested in hifi, there were 3 channels to choose from on the tv, and all of them stoped transmitting at 2300. Trying to find something worth watching was hard, hence you listened to music. 

Fast forward 40 years and there are hundreds of channels to watch. People spend their evenings watching their favourites, you can watch sport 24/7, or films etc. Sitting down for 40 mins to listen to an LP is unusual. 

Just my observation. 

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That and the Internet with hifi forums on them.:hug:

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7 hours ago, twoblacklines said:

And yet you list lots of expensive kit in your wigwam info.

As an honest statement of fact which may be of small interest to others here but certainly not to show off. I own them for the reason I explained: personal enjoyment.

Not that it matters but the notionally most expensive items I own were bought second hand about 15 years ago and so the financial outlay was rather less than you may be assuming. Which is not to say I'm averse to spending more in the future, as I'll likely do at some point on new speakers. If I do though it will purely for musical enjoyment not as any sort of status symbol. The whole concept of the latter genuinely is totally alien to me.

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Super Wammer

I suspect it has a lot to do with availability of alternatives.

When I was a student (1968-71) anybody who wanted a gadget basically had only a hifi as a choice to engage their hobby.

Yes, if you were a music lover you needed one to listen to your LPs but in my college digs almost everybody had a hifi of some sort though it was very eveident that by no means all liked listening to music more than fiddling with the kit. The guy in the room next door had a wealthy family in Iran and he bought pretty well everything that was well reviewed in the mags but owned only a tiny handfull of LPs and at least half of them were test or demo ones.

Nowadays this sort of person may be able to buy something to fiddle with that does something they actually like as a side effect, computers, video games and so forth can all be indulged from a gadget pov as well as doing their purported main function.

I think a lot of people are still in this hobby  because they enjoy playing around with and evaluating kit at least as much as listening to music, even if they don't admit it to themselves.

Nowadays with modern technology the SQ possible from relatively small boxes using DSP is astonishing and, I am sure, more than satisfactory for "mere" music lovers, if somewhat scorned by long term enthusiasts, particularly those who don't like digital.

At the WAM show one exhibitor was playing 3 pairs of small modern speakers and pretty well everybody who listened when I was there was astonished how good they were and probably would never have even listened to anything like that if they weren't at the WAM show - I probably wouldn't.

I have largely abandoned streaming and having plenty of stuff I enjoy music on, so old fashioned hifi is fine for me, if I were young but with the same interest in listening to music I would probably be listening to the newish Apple powered speakers, which are a technological marvel but need an Apple music subscription, which won't be happening for me.

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9 hours ago, twoblacklines said:

Not really accurate.

Even if it is (and it isn't) more efficient, you still don't own it. If a recession hits tomorrow and the bank reclaims it (which is what happens in recessions) you are car-less.

If you get fired you have a months leeway then how do you pay the rest of the contract?

The point is, like a mortgage, if you borrow money for something, you don't own it until the loan is paid off. On top of that you are borrowing based on it's new, unused value, 2 years later you still owe based on it's new, unused value, only it's 2 years old and used.

I could buy an R8 V10+ based on my credit rating, but I don't because I understand basic economics, which has served me well through the last economic downfall and recessions. When my neighbour lost his job and lost his financed GOLF R which only a few months previous he was bragging about compared to my 10 year old a3, he was nowhere to be seen.

Unless you own something outright you don't own it. And unless you make more than you borrow, it's a stupid idea.

Situations like billionaires using a 2.5% mortgage for a property when they have money in a 3.5% SWR index tracker make financial sense. Buying a £50k car on finance that is worth £20k after two years DOES NOT.

Fair points and as with all financial decisions you have to weigh up the risks. I posted to clarify why you see so many ‘flash’ cars on the road these days and the fact that it doesn’t necessarily mean that an individual has stretched beyond their means just to impress. They are actually making quite a calculated decision as the cars’ desirability results in lower rate of depreciation over the 3 year period.

Leasing in this way I think could become far more prevalent across many other types of purchases. Maybe it will happen with hifi. You could certainly see a company like Naim, considering their relatively widespread popularity resulting in solid second hand values, being able to offer leasing deals on even quite expensive models at an attractive monthly cost.

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Maybe even ‘ownership’ is now a out dated concept. In a fast moving technological world , ownership can be a liability - do you want to be stuck with a 3+ year old piece of equipment that is palpably outmoded compared to the latest model? Considering the development in streaming music devices over the past 10 years, how many users out there in retrospect would have been better off leasing than owning?

Edited by lostwin
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2 minutes ago, lostwin said:

Maybe even ‘ownership’ is now a out dated concept. In a fast moving technological world , ownership can be a liability - do you want to be stuck with a 3+ year old piece of equipment that is palpably outmoded compared to the latest model?

Yes, as it turns out. 'Palpably outmoded' is completely meaningless with regard to most hifi products. Even with DACs and streamers it's largely bollocks, chasing ever higher numbers and features which in the great majority of cases are irrelevant because the music library simply isn't there for the vast majority of the recorded catalogue, and even when it is, it frequently sounds shite anyway. 'Hi-res audio' my arse.

2 minutes ago, lostwin said:

Considering the development in streaming music devices over the past 10 years, how many users out there in retrospect would have been better off leasing than owning?

Spiritually or financially?

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