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Has hi-fi become boring?

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Apr 28, 2008
1,623
72
19,770
Not alluding to sound quality, but pure aesthetics.

Yesterday saw a picture of the Roksan Blak, and along with Hegel and numerous other brands... they call it 'minimalist' - I call it drab.

Before long you'll just get a box and a plug... if I wanted a 'minimalist' set-up I'd go the active route.

Where has the knob twiddling fun gone/going? I know there are a few brands that give you VU meters, but the majority are beyond the pockets of most people (thinking here of Accuphase, Luxman etc etc), including yours truly.

Is this what people want in the real world, or is it cost cutting by the major brands?

What's your view?
 

Gazzip

New member
Jan 15, 2011
88
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0
plastic penguin said:
Not alluding to sound quality, but pure aesthetics.

Yesterday saw a picture of the Roksan Blak, and along with Hegel and numerous other brands... they call it 'minimalist' - I call it drab.

Before long you'll just get a box and a plug... if I wanted a 'minimalist' set-up I'd go the active route.

Where has the knob twiddling fun gone/going? I know there are a few brands that give you VU meters, but the majority are beyond the pockets of most people (thinking here of Accuphase, Luxman etc etc), including yours truly.

Is this what people want in the real world, or is it cost cutting by the major brands?

What's your view?
There is still loads of high end bling out there, but not so much mainstream bling. I guess bling done well is expensive? Also bling is divisive and who wants to try and sell marmite where high product turnover is required to generate profit...
 

NSA_watch_my_toilet

New member
Aug 24, 2013
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The problem is that some consumers don't want buttons, because in the internet, they said that buttons are bad for the sound, so it must be true if it's written on the internet.

And a lot of peoples care more about the design of their hifi gear than the sound. We all know about this partner at home, "that wants it pretty, and small, and not that expensive..."

We don't even have mentionned that some consumer will be tricked by the classical audio trap "the better it looks, the better it sound". It's the reason why peoples believe than a new Yamaha AS-3000 will sound better than some older good yams. Even if you can clearly mesure the older one to have better specs all around.




But I'm drifting away from the central theme :

"Has hifi becomes boring ? Not alluding to sound quality, but pure aesthetics."
Because there is always a mix between brands on the market, that goes completely the design way,


Others that go back to old-fashion looking and insert more knobs on their front.


Other brands, that go technologic all the way

other that go voodoo...


Depending where you are and what you see, your opinion may be different on this theme.

For me, a hifi amplifier is more a piece of decoration, or, "technological art" if you allow me this term. Good amplifiers don't need fancy casings and polished plates...

... so when I choose an amplifier (or pre) with polished front plates and golden color, I clearly make a visual statement in direction of my passion.
 

gel

Moderator
B&W aren't producing as many stylish speakers as they were. I noticed on the Yamaha amp 3050 the top of the amp was covered by an ugly white cover as against the black it came in. Amps seem to get cheaper and nastier. Speakers there is less choice. Blu Ray players the best are the cheap ones the expensive ones you are lucky to find one that works! Don't get me started on the new Pioneer amp remote.
 

Blacksabbath25

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2015
266
60
10,970
Just buy a Yamaha amp .

well engineered , sounds fantastic , looks good , well built ...... What more do you want

it's a work of art the best sounding and realistic sounding amp I've ever owned .

And that the gods honest truth .
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2009
174
53
18,670
I actually think there is much more diversity these days. Back in the 70s heyday there were the Japanese amps and turntables which were all much of a muchness in terms of styling, most had tone controls and meters. Then NAD started the plain trend followed ever since by Naim. Then everything British had to have no tone controls.

Now there are more turntables than ever, and most look amazing. Rega buck the trend with plain looks.

Back then almost all speakers were rectangular. Only Quads and Sonab looked differentNow we have all manner of sloping, curved and crafted looking devices.

The big change is that spending has switched to room streaming a la Sonos, computing, TV and mobile phones - so traditional hifi is even more of a minority following.
 

Gazzip

New member
Jan 15, 2011
88
0
0
NSA_watch_my_toilet said:
The problem is that some consumers don't want buttons, because in the internet, they said that buttons are bad for the sound, so it must be true if it's written on the internet.

And a lot of peoples care more about the design of their hifi gear than the sound. We all know about this partner at home, "that wants it pretty, and small, and not that expensive..."

We don't even have mentionned that some consumer will be tricked by the classical audio trap "the better it looks, the better it sound". It's the reason why peoples believe than a new Yamaha AS-3000 will sound better than some older good yams. Even if you can clearly mesure the older one to have better specs all around.

But I'm drifting away from the central theme :

"Has hifi becomes boring ? Not alluding to sound quality, but pure aesthetics."Because there is always a mix between brands on the market, that goes completely the design way,

Others that go back to old-fashion looking and insert more knobs on their front.

Other brands, that go technologic all the wayother that go voodoo...

Depending where you are and what you see, your opinion may be different on this theme.

For me, a hifi amplifier is more a piece of decoration, or, "technological art" if you allow me this term. Good amplifiers don't need fancy casings and polished plates...... so when I choose an amplifier (or pre) with polished front plates and golden color, I clearly make a visual statement in direction of my passion.
Voodoo? Separate power supplies, DC supply to the output stage and a volume pot that doesn't attenuate in the traditional, distorting way? Behave yourself.
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
232
17
18,795
Yes, PP, I think it has, particularly at the more affordable end of the market. It strikes me there is less choice too and some products have very little appeal. Even the Marantz design, which is a bit more unique, has been around for so long it has lost its power. I think the Denon look is classy, but again it has been around for so long that it is no longer as striking as it was. Rega electronics have an identifiable look, particularly the half-width stuff, but their standard of finish isn't what it should be. Those glossy front panels look cheap and don't wear well, and every one I've seen has glue seepage around the edges.

I think the market is losing its fire again, although I'm sure I will see plenty of interesting designs at the National Audio Show a week on Saturday. Problem is, they'll mostly be interesting prices too.

I'm getting to the stage, however, where I'm quite happy to have boring boxes if they give me the musical involvement I crave. The system I mentioned in another thread yesterday of Consonance CD120 Linear, Exposure 1010, and Audio Note speakers is as un-spectacular looking as they come, but incredibly involving and persuasive. It's just a shame I didn't get my act together at the time when all three items were still available.
 

Frank Harvey

Well-known member
Jun 27, 2008
567
0
18,890
"Bling", or detail I suppose you could call it, costs. Most people want things as cheap as possible, so adding to the cost unnecessarily can make or break a product's success. You'll end up with either, "it's too expensive", or, "it looks great, but sounds a bit mediocre".
 

chebby

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2008
1,232
4
19,195
My speakers look like 'wood effect' veneered chipboard boxes from the 1970s but (hand-made in Denmark with Vifa drivers) sound gorgeous!

My only wish would be a real wood veneer. Having said that, AN did once make a plywood built 'limited edition' version of the AX-Two (with real wood finish) and it wasn't thought to sound as good as the standard item.

My Quad Vena is stone ugly in it's basic metal jacket and dark Lancaster Grey paint. They do 'prettier' versions with veneered mdf jackets but that costs another £100 and removes the Faraday cage of the basic metal version.

Despite all that i'm so happy with the system.

A nicer looking alternative might have been the Marantz HD-Amp1 with shiny chrome and display and wooden bits.
 

ID.

New member
Feb 22, 2010
207
0
0
chebby said:
My speakers look like 'wood effect' veneered chipboard boxes from the 1970s but (hand-made in Denmark with Vifa drivers) sound gorgeous!

My only wish would be a real wood veneer. Having said that, AN did once make a plywood built 'limited edition' version of the AX-Two (with real wood finish) and it wasn't thought to sound as good as the standard item.

My Quad Vena is stone ugly in it's basic metal jacket and dark Lancaster Grey paint. They do 'prettier' versions with veneered mdf jackets but that costs another £100 and removes the Faraday cage of the basic metal version.

Despite all that i'm so happy with the system.

A nicer looking alternative might have been the Marantz HD-Amp1 with shiny chrome and display and wooden bits.
The wooden bits are plastic, unfortunately. I'd have preferred real wood, but don't mind the plastic. Then again I've never tried living with it.

On the other hand, I'm happy living with my Adam A7X speakers (I have contemplated trying to add a wood veneer or at least a wood patterned vinyl covering), which may completely disqualify me from talking about aesthetics in hifi.
 

chebby

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2008
1,232
4
19,195
matthewpiano said:
The system I mentioned in another thread yesterday of Consonance CD120 Linear, Exposure 1010, and Audio Note speakers is as un-spectacular looking as they come, but incredibly involving and persuasive.
I checked that post you made yesterday and you mentioned the Audio Note AX-Twos.

Good aren't they?
 

Andrewjvt

New member
Jun 18, 2014
99
1
0
Look like that. In the flesh they do look quality build.

But its whats under the hood with hegel first and foremost
Sq top priority over bling.

Btw i think the new roksans look good too.
 

TrevC

Well-known member
Jun 12, 2013
244
83
18,870
Gazzip said:
NSA_watch_my_toilet said:
The problem is that some consumers don't want buttons, because in the internet, they said that buttons are bad for the sound, so it must be true if it's written on the internet.

And a lot of peoples care more about the design of their hifi gear than the sound. We all know about this partner at home, "that wants it pretty, and small, and not that expensive..."

We don't even have mentionned that some consumer will be tricked by the classical audio trap "the better it looks, the better it sound". It's the reason why peoples believe than a new Yamaha AS-3000 will sound better than some older good yams. Even if you can clearly mesure the older one to have better specs all around.

But I'm drifting away from the central theme :

"Has hifi becomes boring ? Not alluding to sound quality, but pure aesthetics."Because there is always a mix between brands on the market, that goes completely the design way,

Others that go back to old-fashion looking and insert more knobs on their front.

Other brands, that go technologic all the wayother that go voodoo...

Depending where you are and what you see, your opinion may be different on this theme.

For me, a hifi amplifier is more a piece of decoration, or, "technological art" if you allow me this term. Good amplifiers don't need fancy casings and polished plates...... so when I choose an amplifier (or pre) with polished front plates and golden color, I clearly make a visual statement in direction of my passion.
Voodoo? Separate power supplies, DC supply to the output stage and a volume pot that doesn't attenuate in the traditional, distorting way? Behave yourself.
I've never heard of a conventional volume pot that causes distortion or an amplifier that hasn't had a DC supply to the output stage.
 

Barbapapa

New member
Feb 13, 2016
0
0
0
As far as I can tell there is still substantial diversity in what's available. Personally I do like the trend to a fairly sober front, but I don't like a too minimalist appearance. Most amps (if we focus on that) nowadays have one or two large knobs and several pretty teeny lights, sometimes a display for showing the source and/or resolution. To me that works well, it provides a clean and quiet impression. Dancing VU-meters are indeed very pretty (the TEAC AX-501 for example), but I am glad that there are options with and without such 'bling'.

Some of the high-end amps I frankly find ugly: McIntosh, Burmester, D'Agostino. Similarly I don't like the appearance of Chord DACs, which is why I'm not considering these. But they exist for those who are attracted to that kind of thing.

Admittedly I'm on the fence when it comes to amps with lots of knobs (such as older Yamaha amps).
 

Gazzip

New member
Jan 15, 2011
88
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0
TrevC said:
Gazzip said:
NSA_watch_my_toilet said:
The problem is that some consumers don't want buttons, because in the internet, they said that buttons are bad for the sound, so it must be true if it's written on the internet.

And a lot of peoples care more about the design of their hifi gear than the sound. We all know about this partner at home, "that wants it pretty, and small, and not that expensive..."

We don't even have mentionned that some consumer will be tricked by the classical audio trap "the better it looks, the better it sound". It's the reason why peoples believe than a new Yamaha AS-3000 will sound better than some older good yams. Even if you can clearly mesure the older one to have better specs all around.

But I'm drifting away from the central theme :

"Has hifi becomes boring ? Not alluding to sound quality, but pure aesthetics."Because there is always a mix between brands on the market, that goes completely the design way,

Others that go back to old-fashion looking and insert more knobs on their front.

Other brands, that go technologic all the wayother that go voodoo...

Depending where you are and what you see, your opinion may be different on this theme.

For me, a hifi amplifier is more a piece of decoration, or, "technological art" if you allow me this term. Good amplifiers don't need fancy casings and polished plates...... so when I choose an amplifier (or pre) with polished front plates and golden color, I clearly make a visual statement in direction of my passion.
Voodoo? Separate power supplies, DC supply to the output stage and a volume pot that doesn't attenuate in the traditional, distorting way? Behave yourself.
I've never heard of a conventional volume pot that causes distortion or an amplifier that hasn't had a DC supply to the output stage.
Sorry TrevC, I meant a DC "battery" supply. The volume control is step relay so there is actually no real pre-amp circuitry to speak of at all.

A little trigger happy with my typing due to a flush of anger at my amp being singled out by NSA_watch_my_toilet. Must not feed the troll...
 

TrevC

Well-known member
Jun 12, 2013
244
83
18,870
Gazzip said:
TrevC said:
Gazzip said:
NSA_watch_my_toilet said:
The problem is that some consumers don't want buttons, because in the internet, they said that buttons are bad for the sound, so it must be true if it's written on the internet.

And a lot of peoples care more about the design of their hifi gear than the sound. We all know about this partner at home, "that wants it pretty, and small, and not that expensive..."

We don't even have mentionned that some consumer will be tricked by the classical audio trap "the better it looks, the better it sound". It's the reason why peoples believe than a new Yamaha AS-3000 will sound better than some older good yams. Even if you can clearly mesure the older one to have better specs all around.

But I'm drifting away from the central theme :

"Has hifi becomes boring ? Not alluding to sound quality, but pure aesthetics."Because there is always a mix between brands on the market, that goes completely the design way,

Others that go back to old-fashion looking and insert more knobs on their front.

Other brands, that go technologic all the wayother that go voodoo...

Depending where you are and what you see, your opinion may be different on this theme.

For me, a hifi amplifier is more a piece of decoration, or, "technological art" if you allow me this term. Good amplifiers don't need fancy casings and polished plates...... so when I choose an amplifier (or pre) with polished front plates and golden color, I clearly make a visual statement in direction of my passion.
Voodoo? Separate power supplies, DC supply to the output stage and a volume pot that doesn't attenuate in the traditional, distorting way? Behave yourself.
I've never heard of a conventional volume pot that causes distortion or an amplifier that hasn't had a DC supply to the output stage.
Sorry TrevC, I meant a DC "battery" supply. The volume control is step relay so there is actually no real pre-amp circuitry to speak of at all.

A little trigger happy with my typing due to a flush of anger at my amp being singled out by NSA_watch_my_toilet. Must not feed the troll...
If you live somewhere without mains electricity I suppose battery power is the only way to go.
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
232
17
18,795
chebby said:
matthewpiano said:
The system I mentioned in another thread yesterday of Consonance CD120 Linear, Exposure 1010, and Audio Note speakers is as un-spectacular looking as they come, but incredibly involving and persuasive.
I checked that post you made yesterday and you mentioned the Audio Note AX-Twos.

Good aren't they?
They are wonderful. It must be about 3 years since I auditioned them but I remember it so well. You quickly forget about the equipment and focus on the music, and that's what I want. The challenge is finding them now, and affording them!
 

manicm

Well-known member
May 1, 2008
557
42
18,920
gel said:
B&W aren't producing as many stylish speakers as they were. I noticed on the Yamaha amp 3050 the top of the amp was covered by an ugly white cover as against the black it came in. Amps seem to get cheaper and nastier. Speakers there is less choice. Blu Ray players the best are the cheap ones the expensive ones you are lucky to find one that works! Don't get me started on the new Pioneer amp remote.
B&W's new 800 series is stunning, but yes on the upper price end.
 
May 28, 2013
33
0
0
Hi PP,

Priorities have changed over the years.

Buying my first hifi in '73 I went for style. B&O Beogram/BeoMaster - blown away SQ wise by my dad's butt-ugly Quad valve monoblocks.

In the 80's I went tecky with a Technics CD, cassette and Amp with VUs. Probably sounded brittle. Followed by grey shoe box Cyrus 2 CD/Amp/PSX thankfully housed in a cabinet.

90s went posh with Meridian & beautifully veneered MAs - 20 years of happy listening.

My current and possibly final HiFi lives upstairs where no one else sees it. Looks OK in Black Atacama Equinox rack and walnut vinyl wrap, but I wouldn't care too much if was painted pink. It allows optimum speaker placement in free space and ugly but effective bass traps in the rear corners. The SQ is superb for the money, so I can ignore it and just enjoy the music. I never touch a button on the amp, switch between disc and coax on the SA8005 with the remote and control the SBT with an iPad. Minimalist/boring is fine with me.
 

Andrew17321

Well-known member
Nov 12, 2008
22
0
18,520
Has HiFi become boring? The visual aesthetics of audio equipment has always been boring and ugly to my eyes. I have always shut it away in cupboards where possible. For me the ideal HiFi system would be invisible: heard but not seen. So for me, the smaller the better, the fewer boxes and wires the better. I am nearly there with Devialet Phantoms: they may look a bit strange but they are small and uncluttered, and they give out louder, fuller and finer sound than my previous floorstanders (Spendors) – and the amps, dac and streamer are all included in the Phantoms and the little Dialog.

Interpreting the question in another way, I do find that there is not much excitement in the field of HiFi: no new exciting paradigms. All firms seem to be just refining or making variants of what has been on the market for some time; no real innovation (Devialet Phantoms and Qualcast excepted).

HiFi, in particular for me, is boring because I don't see anything new that I want, or need. I am happy with what I have and just enjoy listening to the music. There is nothing to entice me. (This has only been the case in the last year.)

Finally, I think this forum has generally become a bit boring. That is probably because there is less to talk about: no new really exciting products (in my opinion) and no new ways of setting up music systems. The poor quality of the website does not help!

To be fair, the quality for price of most HiFi products today is pretty outstanding.
 

MUSICRAFT

Well-known member
plastic penguin said:
Not alluding to sound quality, but pure aesthetics.

Yesterday saw a picture of the Hegel and numerous other brands... they call it 'minimalist' - I call it drab.
Hi plastic penguin

As i've said before Hegel Music Systems products look simple and elegant. I'd rather have their products styled like this and have Hegel carry on spending more time and effort on their performance. In this respect they do so extremely well. Just to add from the many Hegel products we have demoed/sold over the last couple of years to clients from the UK and abroad i don't recall any client that has made a negative remark about Hegel's design.

Btw, their new ROST (voice) amp/DAC/streamer looks the business in white. A top name and with a colour to match.

All the best

Rick @ Musicraft
 

gel

Moderator
manicm said:
gel said:
B&W aren't producing as many stylish speakers as they were. I noticed on the Yamaha amp 3050 the top of the amp was covered by an ugly white cover as against the black it came in. Amps seem to get cheaper and nastier. Speakers there is less choice. Blu Ray players the best are the cheap ones the expensive ones you are lucky to find one that works! Don't get me started on the new Pioneer amp remote.
B&W's new 800 series is stunning, but yes on the upper price end.
Yep, agreed. Too expensive tho. And that leaves you with what the B&W cm series (I think). They used to have the XT series and the FPM series too. From what I've read the cm series isn't a great speaker package either or yeah and you have the 683 speakers, not good either.
 

manix

New member
May 31, 2016
7
0
0
Blacksabbath25 said:
Just buy a Yamaha amp .

well engineered , sounds fantastic , looks good , well built ...... What more do you want

it's a work of art the best sounding and realistic sounding amp I've ever owned .

And that the gods honest truth .
Your particular amp model may well be good but on the other hand I think plenty of people have had experienece of Yamaha amps which would be best described as 'it's OK not great'. The only time I can remember Yamaha was the go to people was for cassette decks if you couldn't afford a nakamichi back in the 80's and early 90's.
 

Frank Harvey

Well-known member
Jun 27, 2008
567
0
18,890
gel said:
B&W aren't producing as many stylish speakers as they were.
Not enough people wanted the PM1. Looks and build like that cost - if the PM1s had cheap drivers and cost half the price, it'd be a dead product because they'd get bad reviews as far as sound quality is concerned.

I noticed on the Yamaha amp 3050 the top of the amp was covered by an ugly white cover as against the black it came in. Amps seem to get cheaper and nastier.
They're clear plastic on the AV receivers. If they're some oddball EU law, who knows, maybe they'll disappear soon!

As for cheaper and nastier, that's the result of a cut throat market - the cheaper buyers want things, the cheaper they have to be made for all involved to stay in business!

Speakers there is less choice.
Theres more!!

Blu Ray players the best are the cheap ones the expensive ones you are lucky to find one that works!
Oppo.
 

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