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Ugly black boxes
Ugly black boxes
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Old 22nd January 2019, 05:15 AM   #1
avtech23 is offline avtech23  Australia
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Ugly black boxes
Default Ugly black boxes

I was having a wander around the local retail 'hifi' shop today and couldn't help but notice that every amp of every kind on the shelf (HT, Power etc) comprised a bulky black box with maybe a black plastic display for the top half.

Is there no value in having an aesthetically pleasing design?

Assuming that the large retail sector / manufacturers have carried out market research ad nauseum, does that imply that the general population doesn't care for anything but the ubiquitous black box?
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Old 22nd January 2019, 09:39 AM   #2
scottjoplin is offline scottjoplin  Wales
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Not being particularly interested in cars, they all look the same to me
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Old 22nd January 2019, 10:18 AM   #3
avtech23 is offline avtech23  Australia
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Ugly black boxes
I was referring to the endless variations of this:
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Old 22nd January 2019, 10:22 AM   #4
billshurv is offline billshurv  United Kingdom
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Ugly black boxes
Dunno. Having discussed the 'look' for the stereo SWMBO has decreed that I can build whatever I want as long as it's in black boxes.
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Old 22nd January 2019, 10:34 AM   #5
Puggie is offline Puggie  United Kingdom
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Sugden Bijou:

Click the image to open in full size.

Teac have always done 'better' microsystems with a nod to looking nice.
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Old 22nd January 2019, 10:37 AM   #6
Johnny2Bad is offline Johnny2Bad  Canada
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The "Ugly Black Box" is designed to look businesslike while disappearing in the room while listening so as not to be a distraction.

There are good looking audio gear, maybe if your local HiFi store doesn't have any, then you should be looking for a new reseller.

The prejudice to overcome is consumers who believe that "dressing up" audio is done to cover up poor internals, or that given a pretty version and an ugly version, you can buy the ugly one for a few dollars or a few hundred dollars less, and HiFi dollars are precious.

Some manufacturers have earned a reputation for quality in and out. They tend to be a bit more in comparison to other manufacturers similar gear, and I believe a good store should offer both and let the customer choose. I'm thinking of Japanese brands like Luxman, Accuphase, etc (for example) or offerings from elsewhere.

The truth is most Audiophiles want the money spent inside while most wives want something you can't see at all. There is a compromise in there somewhere, but it's up to the individual to find where it is.

A store that offers only one side of the options isn't really a HiFi store in my opinion as there are many attractive audio brands out there, so a lack of lines to bring in can't be the reason it's not on the showroom floor.


The Sugden example earlier in this thread is not unattractive to my eye, but is definitely leaning towards the businesslike design language that some Audiophiles might like more than their partners who rule the home's asthetic. There is much more attractive gear available that would satisfy someone who is not into Audio.
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Last edited by Johnny2Bad; 22nd January 2019 at 10:44 AM.
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Old 22nd January 2019, 10:41 AM   #7
scottjoplin is offline scottjoplin  Wales
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It's probably to do with coordination, if they're all black and the same width your average consumer will be able to identify them as hi-fi products and group them all together. In a similar way, I'm able to recognise cars because they have a wheel on each corner and tend to follow each other on roads.
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Old 22nd January 2019, 12:07 PM   #8
DF96 is offline DF96  England
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Amplifiers should be heard and not seen.

However, there is also the problem that 'creative' people show their 'creativity' by simply copying what every other 'creative' person is doing that year. The outside of amplifiers is 'designed' by 'creative' people, so they will tend to all look the same. The inside, of course, should be designed by real engineers and so should show more genuine creativity but this is not guaranteed.
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Old 22nd January 2019, 02:25 PM   #9
tapestryofsound is offline tapestryofsound  Scotland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DF96 View Post
However, there is also the problem that 'creative' people show their 'creativity' by simply copying what every other 'creative' person is doing that year. The outside of amplifiers is 'designed' by 'creative' people, so they will tend to all look the same. The inside, of course, should be designed by real engineers and so should show more genuine creativity but this is not guaranteed.
Do you know anything about creative people? Have you met any? Just curious ...... ToS
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Old 22nd January 2019, 02:35 PM   #10
nezbleu is offline nezbleu  Canada
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Ugly black boxes
It used to be that HiFi manufacturers had a consistent "house" design that was recognizable. In the 1970's you could spot a Marantz or H/K or Pioneer or Yamaha or Sansui amp/receiver from across the room, they were distinctive. Many of them were also silver rather than black, but they had design cues that made one brand visually distinguishable from the others. These days there seems to be less of that.
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