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What's gone wrong with Hifi shows ?

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Lifestyle...it's all about how it's going to look in the front room.Sound reproduction is 2nd place for the majority.

Been doing up 5 student houses over the summer,they have just come back and not one out of 40 students has a hifi.

They all have ipods or 2.1 thingies off there mac.

I'am not sure if the industry will last more than a decade.

It will just be old farts like us like buying 2nd hand gear off forums and ebay.

I do believe scalford and similar shows will be the only ones left in years to come.

I'am guessing bristol brings in so many because of location and lots of av(bit like richer sounds).

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I read the feedback on the Wittlebury thread from the punters side and i've also had a long chat with someone in the trade . It seems there was disappointment from both sides. So this is an open question to all members of the wam to put their two penneth in . That includes industry proffessional and journo's.

What do we do wrong that other international shows seem to do right. Lets try and be constructive here. One point made to me by an industry person is that hifi shows when they were really popular used to be the domain of the distributor and not the dealer . Food for thought.

Really? What disappointment were people voicing to you? Can you be more specific?

Me and my mate had a great day on Saturday!

Guy

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The whole trade show and exhibition business has been under threat from the internet for a long time.

There was a time where the only way to find out what kit was on the market (in any market, from white goods to cars) was to attend a trade fair / exhibition.

now, no one does this, now one does research on line before travelling to investigate a short list of products. The whole reason for having an exhibition has been eroded.

Some products actually still benefit from a show, HiFi is actually one of them - for me at least - i find it useful to hear lot of systems in one day, but clearly i am in a dwindling minority.

This coupled with the sheer expense of exhibiting (from £10k up to £100k) in a tight market means that of course the shows will suffer. Hopefully good shows like Whittlebury and Scalford will be fine. The former becuase when the depression eases it's grip Hi-Fi is actually a market in which a show is still relevant (if there is a market left once the foo merchants have stopped making a laughing stock of the industry), and Scalford becuase it's as much a social event as a show and it brings like minded (for the most part) people together.,

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Agree most of my friends and family who generally all love listening to music dont see any value for money in hifi and regard it generally as a geekish type hobby , i also had a similar experience to serge last week while shopping in Newcastle with the wife , had to have my habitual visit to hmv , wtf it looks more like curry ! Cd section is tiny no range or back catalogue most of the space taken up with iPods , docking stations , mini systems and getto blasters , though they did have a large range of headphones from cheap in ears right up to 300 pound denon s , sign of the times !

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i need an intro :^ 400 every couple of years :doh:

well, I agree there kindof - tho, dealers have to make a living...my lady works in an opticians and got me a pair of specs...cheap pair of fames 54 quid - to me, 15 quid plus vat... nikon lenses - looking at nigh on 500 quid to the punters, cost me almost 100 quid...

and the classifieds do well on here with it seemingly beng a niche market - we're happy to buy second hand and accept the risks that go with that.. :)

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and current musical trends , i mean thumpy thumpy thumpy does not need a hifi rig to reproduce it , and i doubt it will make any improvement over its reproduction , the only reason i like ipods etc , they get to keep all that crap to theirselves , i guess we have not put enough effort into encouraging musical taste / reproduction to our younger generation .

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Pop music is utter crap these days, and throwaway convenience rules the day. So a good-sounding, well-built hi-fi is irrelevant to the general population. So the shows can only attract the minority ageing anoraks, hence the shows will gradually fade away.

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Another interlinked problem is that with fewer customers and fewer sales, the retail prices have become extremely high. At Whittlebury, a music shop were demoing some Yamaha keyboards and pianos. They were brilliant machines and the low prices make hi-fi look very poor value. I cOmmented to the bloke running the room that there are mains leads at the show that cost more than his keyboards. At that moment, hi-fi equipment looked very silly to me. I'll still buy high end, high priced hi-fi, but I have to admit that it is really not good value for money relative to most other things in life.

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Actually, I think that valves are one of the major reasons why there's no new blood into the sector....

Most people of rational mind can't understand why they'd ever have to entertain another valve in their house, and why using them is so 'special'... It spawns a view that the majority of hifi enthusiasts are geeky blokes with beards and anoraks, (and funnily enough that's what they are! :P)

Even the great B&O doesn't make any money out of hifi in this country, their profits are down massively, and they seem to be mainly interested in sticking crap hifi's in cars (like Bose)....

So most people looking to enhance their 'lifestyle', look elsewhere... :geek:

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Actually, I think that valves are one of the major reasons why there's no new blood into the sector....

Most people of rational mind can't understand why they'd ever have to entertain another valve in their house, and why using them is so 'special'... It spawns a view that the majority of hifi enthusiasts are geeky blokes with beards and anoraks, (and funnily enough that's what they are! :P)

Even the great B&O doesn't make any money out of hifi in this country, their profits are down massively, and they seem to be mainly interested in sticking crap hifi's in cars (like Bose)....

So most people looking to enhance their 'lifestyle', look elsewhere... :geek:

I completely agree. Valves were superceded for a reason back in the late 1950s. Also, to valves can be added Vinyl. That too was superceded for a reason. Both these reasons are to do with reliability, ease of use and cost. Joe and Josephine Public want an easy life, and they are not prepared to put up with the bother of using "proper" HiFi equipment when an iPod and dock does the job just as well for their needs.

If J&JP pick up a HiFi magazine or should think about going to a show, what do they see? Lots of valves, turntables, large loudspeakers, stuff they can't see fitting in their home, or would want to have. That's even before they see the prices, or see all us bearded Anoraks at the show. If they buy anything at all that resembles HiFi, it'll be a Denon all-in-one system, perhaps seperates from the Argos catalogue. "Real" HiFi won't get a look-in.

It's as if the car world suddenly all took to making replicas of 1929 blown Bentleys and 1936 MGTCs and were charging today's prices.

S.

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Even the great B&O doesn't make any money out of hifi in this country, their profits are down massively, and they seem to be mainly interested in sticking crap hifi's in cars (like Bose)....

I'm assuming you've not heard a B&O in-car system then?

The thing is, though, whilst we moan about Joe Public buying iPod docks and the like - wasn't this ever the case? It's just that in the old days they were Dansettes, radiograms, music centres, tower systems, midi and then mini systems! The iPod dock is merely the latest version of the cheap everyday audio equipment that has always been popular and might occasionally sound half decent.

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This is a good thread with some good points made!

I suspect HiFi is just having a slow & lingering death.

Well, IMO, to be honest HiFi finished in the 70's when we had reached Serge's transparent measurements & then Hi-End Audio took over flavouring their products to suit their target markets. The question now is what is the target market?

The world has changed so much over the last couple of decades! Technology has moved at a huge pace & the human race has sucked it up. It's normal to have big flat screen TV's, desctop PC's, laptop's & now smart phones not forgeting games systems. The www has made huge changes to the way we live our lives, everything is so much more accessible & everything is interactive! Music today is so easy to listen to via the web with the likes of youtube, spotify, legal & not so legal file swapping sites all having a big impact.

The younger generation which is the future of HiFi, Audio, what ever you want to call it, now have different needs & expectations. How many youngsters now buy CD's? The answer is not many, they have no need to! The price of one recording buys a month of Spotify giving them access to millions of recordings or Youtube is free. Then when they have there recordings do they sit & listen in a critical manner? No I don't think they do, they're busy surfing the web playing games, chatting to friends on Facebook where they've got their playlist from Spotify linked to so they can share what they're listening to. The world is interactive for the younger generations they're far to busy to sit & listen to music with no other distractions! My son will ask if he can play a certain tune to his friends on my system because they do recognise the quality of sound reproduction, but then they talk all the way through or get the laptops out & smart phones & text or facebook each other.

It seems most HiFi buffs are 35 - 40+ & we didn't have this sort of interaction. We had radio to hear new music & the few LP's CD's in our collections. Listening to music was a bigger thing to us as there was far less other things for us to do!

For any sort of mass market appeal on the younger generation HiFi needs to look at PC's as the source, perhaps Naim/Focal might be on to something if their plans do include the 'Apple' generation. I think the industry needs to be looking at bridge products that will improve the sound quality of PC audio that the younger generation can afford & will appeal to them & their needs. If sound quality becomes important to them then perhaps our anorak HiFi might to.

HiFi shows just seem to cater for the anoraks, the well healed anoraks at that! I don't see how this approach will entice new young blood into HiFi infact they just aid the slow lingering death.

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I'm assuming you've not heard a B&O in-car system then?

I've always been confused about high quality systems in cars. Firstly, as one sits on one side of the car, not the middle, proper stereo, as in creating phantom images is impossible. Secondly, even in a very quiet car, the dynamic range possible when the background SPL is 70dB, is very small, and listening to music requires either very loud peaks, or not hearing what's going on for a lot of the time.

So, how is a high quality audio system in a car high quality? Personally, I only listen to speech in the car, as music only irritates, not entertains. Never found an in-car "HiFi" system that made sense.

S.

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I've always been confused about high quality systems in cars. Firstly, as one sits on one side of the car, not the middle, proper stereo, as in creating phantom images is impossible. Secondly, even in a very quiet car, the dynamic range possible when the background SPL is 70dB, is very small, and listening to music requires either very loud peaks, or not hearing what's going on for a lot of the time.

So, how is a high quality audio system in a car high quality? Personally, I only listen to speech in the car, as music only irritates, not entertains. Never found an in-car "HiFi" system that made sense.

S.

It's just massive bass that can vibrate everything in the car, and ear splitting treble from tweeters that are about a foot away...

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