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Old man's game?


I mentioned in my last weekly blog that it was actually my Dad who had got me into Hi-Fi and that I think that's probably true of many of us. The Baby Boomers generation embraced audio reproduction in a big way and it was quite common to find a decent audio system in people's home. They cared about the sound quality, the build quality of the equipment and there was a great sense of pride of ownership of their Hi-Fi systems.


So what happened?

I completely understand that most of us consume our music in different ways nowadays. Formats, hardware and the music itself has evolved enormously and that's always going to be the way of things (I hope), but why didn't sound quality go along with it? Do younger people not care about sound quality any more? Picture quality sure seems to matter to them, with manufacturers still striving to produce ever increasing high definition TV screens, HD isn't good enough any more, it's got to be 4k, then 8k and all the time people seem to lap it up. So why not the quality of their music too?


What it's not

Music is still as popular as ever, with artists making mind-boggling fortunes and tickets selling out in but moments let alone minutes, tailbacks back across the Severn River crossing for the big gigs here in my home city of Cardiff. So it's not that they're falling out of love with music.

Headphone sales have soared in the last decade or two as people seem to be happy enough to drop hundreds of pounds on earbuds or those ridiculously massive over-the-head Bluetooth headphones I see people wearing all the time, so it's not that they're adverse to spending on luxury items, just look at the price of mobile phones these days if you disagree. So what is it about the music system that they have at home? Maybe they just don't know or haven't experienced what a good system can really do. There could be a million reasons, but whatever they are, 'good enough' seems to be the order of the day.


What does that mean for the Hi-Fi industry?

Is this the beginning of the end for full-sized separates? Are we all doomed to have to listen to music through smart speakers and soundbars? I sincerely hope not. I'd love to see a continuation in the resurgence of vinyl to spearhead the introduction of the Millennial, Zoomer and Alpha generations to proper Hi-Fi equipment that really enhances the enjoyment of music in the home. I am doing my best to ensure that my children really appreciate how amazing the wonderful and varied world of music can make you feel, plus with regular 'hook-up' sessions, they're learning how a real Hi-Fi system works and what it can really do. Well...you gotta start somewhere right!

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