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June 19, 2013

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4nradio

Nathan, from the sound of your first paragraph I suspect you are a member of Head-fi.org. This forum has over 10,000 members and growing. Discussions there abound on topics like all varieties of headphones and IEMs, small tube amps, digital vs. analog, DACs, etc.

I think part of the future of audiophilia will be in the area three dimensional, life-like sound reproduction (aka that "live concert" or "you are there" feeling). Current products like the SPL Phonitor are getting closer, but the price of this technology needs to drop dramatically before there can be widespread acceptance: http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/canjam-rmaf-outstanding-product-spl-phonitor

The much more affordable iFi iCan headphones amplifier has a unique "3DHS" mode that is an improvement in headphones "soundstage": http://www.head-fi.org/products/ifi-ican-headphone-amplifier/reviews/9065

I've always valued sound quality when SW & MW DXing (6790GM, AR7030+, E1XM, and HF-150 are among my favorite receivers for clean audio); I think a receiver with audio clarity helps you pick out weak IDs better. For music enjoyment without the static, though, you can spend considerably less $$$ than a communications receiver to have a good setup for music via headphones.

nathanjr

I'm kind of a budget audiophile. I started a family early and have limited earning potential with my English degree. I won't spend over $100 on a set of headphones. That's why I love a good radio.
My step dad is an old school audiophile who used to drop a lot of $$ on audio equipment, build his own speakers and the like. But now he's happy with a Peachtree headphone amp/DAC, a nice set of headphones, and an iPod touch.
I'm excited to see if Neil Young's audio format can get off the ground, he claims it will revolutionize digital media.

Drive-In-Freak

I don't think that audio is as important to people as it used to be, and it shows. Run of the mill stuff from thirty years ago blows most of what's available today into the weeds. Why?
We didn't have so many choices for entertainment back then. Indoors it was either watch one of a handful of channels on TV (if you were lucky), read something, or put something on the stereo. That's it.
In this day age we have so many choices for entertainment that music has taken a back seat, and convenience has become more important to most people than sound quality.
Also just about everyone has gotten used to less than great sounding material. We are reaching a point in time when a lot of (especially younger) people have never heard anything that sounds good. All of their lives they've heard nothing but compressed digital audio thought lackluster sounding gadgets such as iPods, and junk shelf systems.

To answer your question; It's not going anywhere at all. It's almost gone.

Above 4nradio wrote:
"I think part of the future of audiophilia will be in the area three dimensional, life-like sound reproduction (aka that "live concert" or "you are there" feeling). Current products like the SPL Phonitor are getting closer, but the price of this technology needs to drop dramatically before there can be widespread acceptance"

That's been done, and people were not interested. It was called "quad".

4nradio

Definitely, "people" (the general public) will never be interested in improving their music listening experience beyond iPods and iTunes, etc. I'm speaking of the audio enthusiasts out there. Regular folks aren't interested in specialty radios (MW & SW communications receivers) like we are, either.

Audio has come a long way since Quad. You should give the new technology a chance if you're interested in top notch audio with the benefits of today's gear (and you don't have to spend a fortune).

Drive-In-Freak

Believe it or not some of that old quad gear was really good stuff. Even now it's hard to beat a decent quad reel deck, amp, and speakers. The problem was (and still is) that more than two channels simply don't make enough of a difference to make the extra cost worthwhile.
It's also quite true that the matrix quad (FM and LPs) formats were both confusing, and didn't have a great amount of front to back separation. Discreet quad (open reel and Q8) on the other hand was four completely separate channels.

A far as today's gear goes; When was the last time you saw a decent pair of speakers? A sub and some tiny little boxes than I can hold in my hand simply don't cut it. Same with those wimpy tower things. Yes, they can do some amazing things now,and it's true that something the size of a Klipch Horn ( though there's a reason why they are still available today...they're just that good), but to my ears nothing beats a pair of real speakers and they are few and far between now.

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