FUTURE OF HI-FI

StevenKay

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What does the future of Hi-Fi look like compared to the state it is in today. Do you see any major changes in the format - of the hardware, the medium and overall, say in the next 20 years to come? Under constant challeng from Computer based digital music, will it be a struggle for survival. Can we expect it to survive - in the form of a combination of the eternal three components - the Source (CD Player etc), an AMP and a Pair of Speakers for very long. Or are we in for a major change into an altogether new avatar - something quite different in form and looks? Views welcome. Thanks.
 
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the record spot

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Separates are in decline I think. Two channel integrateds are reforming to now include DACs, companies like Onkyo and Harman are showing the way. Music and movies (or other entertainment - photos, games, etc) come from so many sources today that one trick ponies are on the way out; a dying breed. The technology can give us more functionality and better connectivity and the established names seem to be struggling to catch up.
 

daveloc

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"Now, 'hi-fi' refers simply to the design and engineering that makes any product sound and look great" — Editor, WHF S&V, this month.

On this definition, I'd say HiFi has no future at all, but Dominic Dawes has a great future as a management consultant.
 

chebby

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daveloc said:
"Now, 'hi-fi' refers simply to the design and engineering that makes any product sound and look great" — Editor, WHF S&V, this month.

On this definition, I'd say HiFi has no future at all...

Apart from the "look great" bit*, I would say it's a good working definition.

*A lot of excellent hifi equipment looks dreadful but sounds great nonetheless.
 

manicm

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The future of hifi is open-ended, who knows where it will lead? But a lot of it depends on the music industry as well. Home recording and teenagers should have made CDs extinct by now but they still survive. Everyone jumps on the streaming bandwagon but continue to make CD players.

There's only one pattern emerging - there's no one size fits all. Thank God.
 

basshead

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i think the future of hi-fi may be directed by advances in technology in other areas, wireless electricity for exaple.

in 20+ years time i see hi-fi being mainly wi-fi enabled active speakers powered by wireless electricity (used to charge on-board batteries? i dunno) . no cables needed at all. any device will automaticaly connect to the speakers by just hitting one button, no set up, no knowledge of the technology needed at all.
 

StevenKay

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basshead said:
i think the future of hi-fi may be directed by advances in technology in other areas, wireless electricity for exaple.

in 20+ years time i see hi-fi being mainly wi-fi enabled active speakers powered by wireless electricity (used to charge on-board batteries? i dunno) . no cables needed at all. any device will automaticaly connect to the speakers by just hitting one button, no set up, no knowledge of the technology needed at all.

The 'wireless electricity' concept and the overall picture of Hi-fi turning into Wi-fi does not seem too far fetched. That's the direction technology is moving in. Thanks.
 

StevenKay

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the record spot said:
Separates are in decline I think.

Do you also think - the 3 piece Hi-fi separates format as we have known it so far - is heading towards extincition just like the dinosaurs or there are chances of it's survival against all odds?
 

manicm

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basshead said:
i think the future of hi-fi may be directed by advances in technology in other areas, wireless electricity for exaple.

in 20+ years time i see hi-fi being mainly wi-fi enabled active speakers powered by wireless electricity (used to charge on-board batteries? i dunno) . no cables needed at all. any device will automaticaly connect to the speakers by just hitting one button, no set up, no knowledge of the technology needed at all.

This will take at least 5-10 years to take off. As I say, streaming is an experiment on the consumer, and makers like Linn, Naim, Cyrus et al use the lowest common denominator i.e. ethernet to base their technology and products on to make this experiment work.

There needs to be a good, fast, reliable alternative to ethernet and currently wifi is not this alternative to handle hires audio/video.

So it's all academic until wifi gets a thorough replacement.
 

basshead

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manicm said:
basshead said:
i think the future of hi-fi may be directed by advances in technology in other areas, wireless electricity for exaple.

in 20+ years time i see hi-fi being mainly wi-fi enabled active speakers powered by wireless electricity (used to charge on-board batteries? i dunno) . no cables needed at all. any device will automaticaly connect to the speakers by just hitting one button, no set up, no knowledge of the technology needed at all.

This will take at least 5-10 years to take off. As I say, streaming is an experiment on the consumer, and makers like Linn, Naim, Cyrus et al use the lowest common denominator i.e. ethernet to base their technology and products on to make this experiment work.

There needs to be a good, fast, reliable alternative to ethernet and currently wifi is not this alternative to handle hires audio/video.

So it's all academic until wifi gets a thorough replacement.

very true, wi fi may not be the wireless method used, but whatever method is, it is will not come from the hi-fi world i dont think, it will be developed elsewhere but then implemented by the hi fi companies. the same goes for wireless electricity.
 
A

Anonymous

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The future of Hi-Fi is in convenience.

Everything will be sacrificed to the altar of the convenience, of the affordable... SQ among all.

People want something easy, convenient, like modern all-in-ones.

True hi-fi will survive in a little niche of hardcore music lovers which will be considered crazy by most of the people.

Even today, all my friends think that I'm crazy spending all those money on my system.

IMHO the problem at the root is ignorance, a lack of culture.

My parents got me used to listen to all kind of music since I was a child, and used me to tell the difference between a good hi-fi system and a crappy couple of computer speakers.

Great part of my friends don't even know who Genesis are, Eric Clapton, Mike Oldfield, Alan Parson, and so on.

I tried to educate them but it's completely useless: they can't appreciate it.

To be honest, they can't appreciate music at all, apart from today's or 90's top chart hits.

That's so sad.

I often find myself going to Rome's auditorium with my mother to listen to some classical music live because I don't have anyone to share it with.

The problem is that music is dying.

When there'll be no more music, there'll be no more hi-fi.

P.S.: I'm talking about good music. Trash top hits blockbuster music always existed and will continue to exist of course.
 
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the record spot

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StevenKay said:
the record spot said:
Separates are in decline I think.

Do you also think - the 3 piece Hi-fi separates format as we have known it so far - is heading towards extincition just like the dinosaurs or there are chances of it's survival against all odds?

I think it's been gone for a while Steven; the hobby's a niche market thing. Up till a couple of years ago I'd have dropped the money on a new bog-standard integrated no question. Now? Not a chance. Not a new one anyway. Used always has its appeal but that's a different set of buying criteria for me anyway. Now, I want internet connectivity, an onboard DAC, iPod connectivity, DLNA compliant, at least two Optical inputs (so my TV can go into it as well as my laptop) and ideally the means to offer two channel HD audio (though Onkyo tell me that's seen as a multichannel thing hence I doubt you'll see stereo HD audio for many music titles). And I want it to be good quality.

Of that lot, the traditional hifi manufacturers are struggling to keep pace and the lkes of Naim sticking miserly 30w amps into it's all-in-one boxes are a joke, albeit I'm not laughing at the price it costs. Onkyo, Yamaha and the AV market is taking the lead and the high ticket firms have a lot of work to do to justify their prices.

In short, yes, I think the traditional 3-piece hifi is long gone. There are so many sources, yet so many means in which to configure your listening set-up, three bits of hardware is just one of many.
 
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Anonymous

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chebby said:
donluca said:
IMHO the problem at the root is ignorance, a lack of culture.

I can't agree at all. I'll bet you could find many highly intelligent and cultured people, with a love of music from all genres (including many trained classical musicians), who are happy to listen to music on equipment you would scorn.

I agree
 

chebby

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donluca said:
IMHO the problem at the root is ignorance, a lack of culture.

I can't agree at all. I'll bet you could find many highly intelligent and cultured people, with a love of music from all genres (including many trained classical musicians), who are happy to listen to music on equipment you would scorn.
 

CnoEvil

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It is also my belief that convenience will determin the future path of HiFi.

Music will mostly be stored on "The Cloud" or its equivilent, giving access to a vast catalogue - wherever/whenever on various devices ie. Ownership of music should decline.

If we're lucky, it will be available at decent bit rates.

Decent amps and speakers will be needed, though I can see Class A being outlawed. :(
I think it already has been, for all intensive purpose, in either Oz or NZ.
 

Lee H

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Donluca, (cool avatar by the way)

has this not always been the case? There are those for whom convenience is the most important factor. We all fall in to that camp to a greater lesser degree. I stream all my music using Sonos because it's more convenient than a CD. CD users often find their discs more convenient than vinyl and so it goes on.

It doesn't matter what you listen to, whether it's pop or classical, different people will have different needs for their system.
 
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Anonymous

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chebby said:
donluca said:
IMHO the problem at the root is ignorance, a lack of culture.

I can't agree at all. I'll bet you could find many highly intelligent and cultured people, with a love of music from all genres (including many trained classical musicians), who are happy to listen to music on equipment you would scorn.

Care there, I'm not insulting people at all. There are many culture lacking people who are extremely brillant in their own way.

I know that there are (few) people who enjoy all kind of music, just like me, but it's not the trend, they are more like exceptions and there are fewer and fewer.

All the people I know who enjoy good music also have a proper equipment to listen them. Some of them can't afford a real hi-fi system and they are always looking for ways to improve their listening experience (through used market for example, head-fi or DIY).

IMHO who really enjoys music is always after a way to listen to it properly (and tend to learn to play an instrument because it makes you appreciate others' work better).

Lee H said:
Donluca, (cool avatar by the way)

has this not always been the case? There are those for whom convenience is the most important factor. We all fall in to that camp to a greater lesser degree. I stream all my music using Sonos because it's more convenient than a CD. CD users often find their discs more convenient than vinyl and so it goes on.

It doesn't matter what you listen to, whether it's pop or classical, different people will have different needs for their system.

thank you sir :)

If I recall correctly my avatar is from a cute flash game named "Castlemania" where you control a little Dracula and you go around chewing the pesky villagers that are disturbing your slumber :p

I've been using it for... 10 years? :D

Anyway, you've got a strong point there, I totally agree with you.

But I want to stress that "to a greater lesser degree".

We know how to handle convenience, we know when it starts affecting SQ or other important points that would compromise our listening experience.

Again, I'm not saying that this is true for everyone, I'm just sharing my experience and my thoughts.
 

manicm

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The Limey said:
chebby said:
donluca said:
IMHO the problem at the root is ignorance, a lack of culture.

I can't agree at all. I'll bet you could find many highly intelligent and cultured people, with a love of music from all genres (including many trained classical musicians), who are happy to listen to music on equipment you would scorn.

I agree

I think DonLuca was referring to the music itself and not the equipment. While it's true you can enjoy music on AM and I have, a good system will be a revelation, as when I first spinned Long Distance Voyager (I was only 11 at the time ok???) on our newish hifi and turntable.

And once you've tasted said hi-fidelity there's no going back.
 
A

Anonymous

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I agree with Lee H. I did not get into hifi until I had a htpc that allowed me to access all of my music at the touch of a button (I'm glad the industry is finally following my lead ;)). For the long term, I'm hoping wireless powered speakers will become a reality, especially for 7.1+ setups.

For me, saying that hifi will die is like saying 5-star restaurants will go out of business because of the rise of microwave dinners -- there will always be a place for snobbishness. I do see a definite market shift though: consumers want more network features, largely due to Apple's success with their iDevices. But in my view, all such connectedness should not have any bearing on a traditional hifi setup: you can add new source material to your existing setup quite easily without changing a single thing. Get a separate network player, iDock or just a PC with a good DAC and you're done.

What I do worry about is planned obsolescence: will Spotify still work the same way ten years from now? Will Apple's next iPlug still fit on the connector I bought for yesteryear's receiver? When will HDMI finally stop introducing new features that obsolete 4k+ receivers? Quite frankly, longevity is a must for a substantial investment like good hifi equipment is. I will not spend my money on fleeting features like Spotify, iToys or even HDMI until the dust settles and the standard becomes universal (i.e. multiple suppliers and no more added features).

My humble warning: choosing features over quality is not a good hifi investment. Now get off my lawn :)
 

Andrew Everard

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manicm said:
And once you've tasted said hi-fidelity there's no going back.

I thought that was infidelity
smiley-wink.gif
 

chebby

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manicm said:
While it's true you can enjoy music on AM and I have, a good system will be a revelation, as when I first spinned Long Distance Voyager (I was only 11 at the time ok???) on our newish hifi and turntable.

And once you've tasted said hi-fidelity there's no going back.

Thanks. I'll try it one day.
 

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