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Old 16th January 2011, 04:06 AM   #11
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therefore it's up to the consumer to do their homework just as when you'd buy anything.

I agree!. it is not easy task for many people. some people "think" they are getting what they are paying for... but they are not!!! one good example is this brand "B--e" That people get crazy and swear that is the best audio gear. But in reality it is just cheap garbage. open your eyes your eyes!
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Old 16th January 2011, 04:12 AM   #12
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High end home audio has as long as I can remember been much more about fancy cases and fancy marketing than about better audio fidelity.

But I think the situation for people who want to fidelity without paying for fanciness is getting better. It used to be that there was a very wide fidelity divide between the mass market and the high end. This was sad because as has been mentioned, the high end is structured around being unaffordable to the vast majority of people. It's essentially only affordable by people for who have more money than they can spend.

What was sad about that is that it meant most enthusiasts (who are not megawealthy) were priced out of the high end market. That certainly includes myself... I have a net worth an order of magnitude larger than most working in that industry, but because I'm not good at dressing fancy and talking hoity toity, I never get any attention when I go into a high end stereo store. So I've had to get my audio gear from mass market rather than high end sources because I just don't fit into that price-no-object culture that surrounds high end audio.

I hate Bose (for a long time the top of the mass market range), but whenever average people would ask me what they should buy instead of Bose I couldn't give a good answer; the only brands that I knew sounded better were high-end brands that cost multiples of Bose's price. There was a wide gap between the low end mass market and the high end, not being filled.

Today however things are much better in that it's not necessary to go to the high end market for quality, with mass market products at very high quality levels (as well as all other quality levels :-). My $1500 Denon 3808ci receiver is in the same fidelity circle as the highest end brands. My $150 Sony BX57 blu-ray player plays SACD and other discs just as well as players that would have cost ten or more times as much in the past.

Even speakers have been improved by mass market technology; active drive technologies that used to only be available in several thousand dollar bang and olufsen speakers are now routinely used in ipod speaker systems costing just a few hundred. Computers have drastically improved the design process even for simple products like speakers, so there's simply fewer bad-sounding products on the market than in the past. The more mass-market a product is, the more money they can spend on design.

The high end market will continue humming along for those who have the price of admission, but the good news is that the rest of us don't have to try to crash that party to get our fidelity fix.
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Old 16th January 2011, 04:23 AM   #13
Pano is offline Pano  United States
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Originally Posted by jcx View Post
an interesting question might be wether there is an obvious time that the current "high end" was invented<snip>
possibly the 1970's - with Mark Levinson Audio starting up in 1972?
I certainly remember it from the 1970s. So it must have been around before that.

There were luxury audio devices even in the 1920s. The Edison Diamond Disc, for example. Very expensive and actually very good.
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Old 16th January 2011, 04:26 AM   #14
Nanook is offline Nanook  Canada
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Default What is "high end" audio anyway?

To me it's the attitude of the designer/company. The most for the least.

Kinda like Old Yeller vs. Ferrari, Maserati, Cobra, et al. Nothing wrong with a Buick nailhead running in the same circles as blue-bloods (of course
the Cobra really isn't a blue-blood)..

One thing that can differentiate many of the same sort of products is fit and finnish. And of course higher spec'd goodies to help rationalize the costs.

Having listened to a fair share of dots n' things, and shoe-string devices, I can say without a doubt the designer and implementation of the design are crucial. The rest can be considered eye candy. Given my 'druthers, I'd prefer something that does the job as promised and looks good doing it (even if no one else ever see "it"). But the "looking good while doing it" is where a lot of the money does seem to go.
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Old 16th January 2011, 05:12 AM   #15
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Tweeter dispersion with real diamond |

I can't find any words to comment on this.
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Old 16th January 2011, 05:22 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by perfknee View Post
Tweeter dispersion with real diamond |

I can't find any words to comment on this.
Now I have seen everything !! This show is now becoming the audio equivalent of a circus freak show

The Trenner & Friedl Duke's diamond-diaphragm supertweeter fires upward at a Golden-Ratio–proportioned Swarovsky crystal that acts to widen its dispersion.
Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 16th January 2011, 05:51 AM   #17
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Just to be clear, It's actually a Swarovsky crystal, not a real diamond as I wrote. A real diamond would of course be overkill for this application :-)
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Old 16th January 2011, 07:04 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by perfknee View Post
bang and olufsen
B&O = high -end B%$#

(Speaking from the experience of working at a shop that sold B&O)

community sites,, ........ commercial site planet10-HiFi
p10-hifi forum here at diyA
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Old 16th January 2011, 07:21 AM   #19
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High End audio ... I'm not sure I have a definition that spans our era as well as back to the beginnings of sound reproduction, but it's not really critical ... has always been expensive.

In the 60's the average salary started out around $3,000 a year and by the end of the decade was around $6,000. You could buy a HiFi that cost more than that then, just as you can buy HiFi that costs more than today's average annual salary. I have the payment book for my dad's new '55 chevy somewhere ... the car was $1800 new. My mom bought her new construction house in 1952 for $3,200.00, with mortgage payments of $25 a month, and that was a huge chunk of the average salary then. The mortgage at that time was a fixed 25-year term, so when I was a kid in the 70's they were still paying $25 a month for the mortgage ... but the actual payment was over twice that ... the taxes per year had risen that much by that time.

At the end of the 1970's~early 1980's inflation was such that prices doubled every 4 years for a time. You have to get rid of the idea of what a dollar is worth to you now because it's always relative. At one time ground beef was more expensive than steak. In the early 70's $2.50 an hour was a very good wage, roughly equivalent to $20 or more an hour now. Minimum wage today is 10 times what it was in 1970. So was a $25 radio expensive in the early 1950's? You bet it was ... and that was no High End unit, believe me.

Before the 60's, virtually all electronics were expensive, relative to income for most people.

So I don't think it's really that much different. You could check out the cost of a built Dynaco Stereo 70 in the 60's and run it through an inflation calculator ... most countries have one at the website for the central bank ... it wasn't a cheap unit.
" ... Go back to the beginning of a technology before the priesthood was established; that was the time when people were communicating information, not proving why there needs to be Priests. This is why the old texts tend to be so good. ..."

Last edited by Johnny2Bad; 16th January 2011 at 07:49 AM.
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Old 16th January 2011, 07:51 AM   #20
Orit is offline Orit  Italy
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Zenith Stratosphere : $ 750 and this was in 1933 ... and just for radio listening !
Also check pre-war McMurdo Silver and Scott models.
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