The audiophile world of cashed up, middle-aged white dudes


The audiophile world has an image problem. To outsiders it looks like a private spa occupied dominated by well-off, white, middle-aged dudes (of which I am one). How’s a young/minority/poor guy/gal to relate?

And not all cashed up, middle-aged white audio dudes are the same. I’m 43 years old but still find it impossible to identify with: those would who refer to electronic music as ‘doof doof’; who are appalled by hip-hop; who reckon modern music is crap and that they don’t make songs like they used to; who insist that high-end audio is the sole pursuit of recreating a live event in one’s listening room; that such a pursuit is the preserve of the wealthy; who claim MP3/Spotify/Bluetooth to be unlistenable. Shorn of pragmatism all that we often see is the size of their snobbery. And salary.

Would it not behove all audiophiles to step outside of their niche to take in the view once in a while: that we are the 1%-ers of the sound world; that 99% of people don’t see better sound as a priority; that the 99% can’t (or won’t) afford most of the equipment involved; or that they haven’t been exposed to such hardware? Also that 99% of the world have never heard of Diana Krall or Chris Jones, let alone listen to them. Click here for the 20 best selling vinyl albums (in the UK) throughout the last two decades. Here’s a top 10 list for vinyl sold in the USA in 2015:

1. Taylor Swift, 1989 (34,000)
2. Sufjan Stevens, Carrie & Lowell (32,000)
3. Arctic Monkeys, AM (27,000)
4. Alabama Shakes, Sound & Color (26,000)
5. Miles Davis, Kind of Blue (23,000)
6. Sam Smith, In the Lonely Hour (23,000)
7. Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon (23,000)
8. Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack (22,000)
9. Father John Misty, I Love You Honeybear (22,000)
10. Hozier, Hozier (21,000)

These were mainly purchased by millennials. It’s the under 30s that are driving the vinyl revival so often paraded by audiophiles as irrefutable evidence that young people care about sound quality. I’d ask you to look deeper than the format and consider the turntables they’re using to spin those records.


Put your hand up if your know someone who listens to music at home through their smartphone’s tiny speakers? Or through a Bluetooth speaker like the UE Boom? Or through a soundbar? As much as some might be lost causes, not everyone should be treated as such. Some people just need the right kind of engagement – a hand down from a more experienced listener willing to share his/her passion and wisdom.

And like all powerful brands, that engagement need not always be intellectual. Every advertising executive worth his salt knows that consumers make decisions more on emotion than logic. Case in point: Beats headphones sold because of the potency of their brand ambassador, Dr. Dre, and less on sound quality alone. Showing equal skill with broader market engagement but on a different emotional plane we find Bose, Sonos and B&O.

Should high end audio consider something similar? Should it not put the snobbery to one side and wise up to a little populism as a more successful hook? Populism that transcends income bracket, gender and race.

As many audiophiles know, the gulf that sits between high street electronics retailers and high-end audio shows and retail spaces reflects each manufacturer’s promotional ability and public image grooming as much as it does engineering skills and ultimate sound quality. How about some Kendrick Lamar vinyl in that shop window? N.W.A. too. Is Taylor Swift a tay too far?


If the pursuit of better sound can be likened to movement up and down a ladder, the question is: is the ladder that of a New York loft fire escape complete with a pull-down lower section or is it an old-school window-cleaning lean-to finding security on terra firma? Show regulars like AudioQuest and Audioengine already challenge the notion that the high end scene doesn’t jive with high-turnover/low-margin goods that promise more mainstream appeal.

In an attempt to complete the lower end of the ladder at Denver’s Rocky Mountain Audio Fest this year, show organiser Marjorie Baumert sectioned off three rooms to feature three exhibitor agnostic systems that met the budget brief of less than US$500, US$1000 and US$1500. The specifics can be found here.

The concept hatched by myself and Steve Guttenberg in late 2014 turned out to be better in theory than execution. Two of the three rooms were staffed by Baumert’s show helpers whose remit turned out to be more caretaker than host. With gear plonked on tables and a million miles from proper setup, these spaces felt a little unloved. Something for Baumert’s consideration next year?

Abhorring a demo vacuum, the fellas from U-Turn went full cuckoo — they appropriated the $1000 system room as their own. Audioengine’s active monitors were positioned on speakers stands and fed by U-Turn’s own super-affordable turntable and phono stage. By the time I stopped by on the Saturday the room had taken on an energised, youthful vibe. Not one of the U-Turn turntabling trio is over 30 years old, presumably similar to the demographic at which their product line is aimed.

Tying the affordable audio angle together was a Friday afternoon seminar hosted by yours truly. Joining me on the panel were four industry audiophiles whose musical tastes span indie rock, hiphop, IDM, techno, progressive rock, AOR and chill wave. Not one of ‘em refers to anything as ‘doof doof’: the Audiophilliac Steve Guttenberg, AudioQuest’s Kathleen Thomas, David Solomon (ex-Tidal, ex-AudioQuest, now with Audioengine) and Tidal’s Pal Bratelund.

A video of this seminar has since made its way onto the RMAF YouTube Channel:

I opened proceedings by showing how big dollar boxes and their listening room intrusion tend to render the audiophile conversation top heavy, particularly at shows, and that engaging the young and the curious is fundamental to the audiophile niche’s expansion survival. The entry level not only fosters new connections but it keeps the high-end honest.

Now ask yourself: what’s wrong with the UE Boom, the Beats Pill or even the Sonos Play:1 so often favoured by those who have yet to experience better sound? Zero points for calling out “Bluetooth rubbish” or “MP3 nonsense”. Lossy transmission protocols are of secondary concern here. What’s missing is good old-fashioned stereophony. Separation of left and right channels that exposes the listener to music that appears to float between the speakers.

Thankfully a second UE Boom or Sonos Play:1 returns our casual listener to the magic of stereo. For a superior result with the same cash one might the Dayton Audio B-652 Air (US$59.80/pair) with a suitably affordable integrated amplifier like Emotiva’s Mini-X A100 (<US$219). Such a system’s audio holography would run rings around any monobox, Bluetooth or not. To criticise the Dayton Audio standmounts for a frequency range peak here or a dip there is to miss the point: that a newcomer’s return to stereo imaging must take place before the discussion can move to source quality.


Only when our entry-leveller has speaker positioning dialled in should s/he look to upgrading the system’s digital front end with a USB DAC like the AudioQuest Dragonfly v1.2 (US$149) or Audioengine’s Bluetooth-streaming B1 (US$199). Alternatively, vinyl spinners can get up and running with a turntable from U-Turn Audio for upwards of US$179. The most excellent Schiit Mani phono stage lands at one’s door for US$129. Music Hall’s USB-1 has an in-built phono stage.

Hats off to Marjorie Baumert for recognising that for the uninitiated diving head first into the deep end is both unnerving and fraught with financial risk. Every public pool needs a shallow end so that young’uns and newcomers can learn to swim in a depth that’s suited to their comfort zone. Only then are incoming audiophiles likely to move into deeper waters. Or up the ladder.

I am extremely fortunate that this job has me travelling the world to cover audio shows and chair seminars on more affordable gear. The unfortunate side effect is a ringing between the ears – the sound of white, male, middle-class privilege.

We shouldn’t have to apologise for who we are but we do need to recognise ourselves clearly if we are to expand our reach. If the audiophile club wishes to grow its membership, it would do well to move its public image – and therefore market appeal ($$$) – beyond that of a private members club for middle-aged white dudes with pre-retirement wallets primed for one last major hardware spend.

Time to check your privilege.

Further information: Rocky Mountain Audio Fest




Written by John H. Darko

John lives in the NOW + HERE = NOWHERE. He derives an income from the ad revenues of DAR. John is also an occasional staff writer for Stereophile, 6moons and TONEAudio.

Twitter: DarkoAudio
Instagram: DarkoAudio
Facebook: DAR


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  1. I have an inexpensive sound bar under the television, a $99 Sony BT speaker floating around the house and the factory stereo that came with my vehicle. I am perfectly happy enjoying music on any of the three in the environment in which they are meant to be used. Granted I’m not going to engage in “critical listening” with any one of these three as I would with my hi-fi rig, but the lower fidelity doesn’t really dampen my enjoyment of the music in these environments. I grew up with 8-tracks and cassette mix tapes and it could be worse, MUCH worse.

  2. I have a pair of Scandyna Micro-pods in the kitchen fed by a tiny Rose Voix amp and a feed straight out of a Squeezebox Duet fed across the wireless network.
    It sounds bloody nice and people regularly ask where the sound is coming from or what’s the little black box.

    Nice to see Sufjan Stevens on the best selling list. His 2011 (?) tour of Australia was simply sensational and as an aside perhaps the very best sound I have ever heard and that comes form someone who spent best part of a decade touring with bands (albeit I stopped 30 years ago).

  3. John, the one thing you are not addressing is the audiophile press itself, which needs to take ownership of a lot of the issues you wrote about in this post.

    The fact is sites like Stereophile and others of that ilk are also to blame. Look at their recently released 2015 best of list. Look at the price tags next to 99% of their nominees. It’s very disheartening.

    Look, I’m OK with high-priced gear in general and I’m certainly OK with folks over at Stereophile or whoever preaching their wonderful sound (someone has to review Ferraris too). But where are the nominees for best sound for the price? Best system for the price? Where are the articles on “how to get started” in the world of high-fidelity? Where are the articles about what’s trending on Spotify? Why aren’t they talking about popular music like pop, rock, EDM, and metal?

    Again, if you want to attract the younger crowd, you do it through affordability and through…I know this will sound shocking…the music!

    • Stephen Mejias did a great job at Stereophile writing about budget gear. After he left Sam Tellig took over but it wasn’t the same. I am no longer subscribed to Stereophile as I’m never going to buy a $5000 amp, nor do I care that much about it. Cars are in my dreams, I just happen to like quality sound!

  4. Since joining Headfi, it’s opened up a new world of sound via Tylls innerfidelity. I found DAR via Google cards by looking at Scott’s Parttimeaudiophile. To the marking guys worst nightmare Changstar/superaudio friends. I almost dismissed DAR seeing you sat with the great and good of hi end. The way headphones have gone, is it too many manufacturers popping in to hear systems costing more than king Midas’s summer home?
    You fighting, like the Audio lone ranger, Headfiers scared of the ban stick for decent. Changstar friends like the SCHITT- SENN-HIFI-MAN-GOL hordes. Tyll like a Headfi. BUDDHA .
    I am the same age John and hi end to me was spaces between a CD Player and tuner from Japan from my mums catalogue she payed weekly for tupperware.
    The trend of Oligarch Diminishing returns is starting to buckle. Chord A&K down fi-ing for the cellphone market. Audioengine/ Quest/ Schitt/ treading a fine line.
    I have to back IDGG Seiun Players to give me a shot at ATIPODES esq home server/transport/Dap. With a Mortgage and wife to support.
    Bad jokes aside as you say, you point out the best and best value.
    Audiophile mafia preach to the converted and become a closeted community not an open one. How can the message be spread when the Juggernauts of advertising drown out the voices of reason. Enough mixed metaphor’s, I’ll leave the answers to wiser more knowledgeable minds. .
    Headphones were my lesser of 2 evils but now I can hardly see the difference..

  5. I’m surprised the stereotype references such a going age. I’ve attended local gatherings and I feel like a kid at 53. Also, the level of hygiene seems somewhat circumspect.

  6. Great, honest post.
    The evidence lies in one of your previous articles where you mentioned that PS Audio had to slash the price of their Sprout to 499 from 749 to move more volume, if that is indeed what the “high-end” is after. But is it really? What is their real intention?
    I am going by what you or Srajan or the like write about. But your target is to spread the word but maybe, just maybe, therein lies a disconnect between you and the audio manufacturers. Maybe the manufacturers are just as happy taking their 800% profits from the wealthy, white (and loony) guy.
    If that’s the case, sadly, all your posts will ever amount to are warning signs. And they deserve a whole lot more.

    • Not all are. Many that I speak to worry about their financial future: who will be buying their gear in 20 years’ time? But we must also ask ourselves why audiophiles are so often maligned by mainstream listeners and the tech press. Is it because we present as elitist and (therefore) exclusionary?

      • Why don’t they think carefully and slash the prices then? Sometimes you have to take the risk of trying to push volumes in exchange for smaller profit margins. I can see their predicament….how to maintain validity in the eyes of the audiophile press but still be able to push volumes of product to the common man. The audiophile press may ridicule them by saying something like “for the price, it sounds absolutely wonderful….blah blah blah!”. I say fuck them. They are taking you nowhere anyway. Take a risk.
        I am not singling out any company here but I had to use a case study so apologies in advance. Wyred4sound is a great company with some awesome and, dare I say, affordable products, which also appears to be their goal according to their website. Affordable except when you think of something like the Remedy re-clocker….$399…really!!!…when you can buy a DAC and amp for a headphone for the same amount? I’m sure its a great product and something I’ve been eyeing longingly for a couple years now. BUT…BUT…its more expensive than the device its meant to improve, i.e., the Sonos. I would imagine something like this would be great for selling in volumes… but not at 399. However, if the intention is to make money of off white, middle-aged dudes then that price looks to be supremely affordable.

        On a separate note, I frequent several pro-audio forums and subscribe to a fair few pro-audio magazines and the consensus among them is that audiophiles are loony paying such prices. Having said that, they don’t mind paying $800 for software to use with a $200 device 🙂 so i guess similarities do exist regardless of hobbies/professions.

        • That’s a good point. The pro audio world seems to have its head screwed on right with pricing *and* pragmatism.

          • That’s mainly because the pro audio world doesn’t suffer fools. That, and it’s far harder to charge megabucks for a black box that promises neutrality than it is for a shiny dimpled slab that promises [insert preferred audiophile weasel word]. Why do you think Mytek even released the Manhattan?

        • Yeah, but software like ProTunes, and similarly Photochop, have a real ROI attached to them for the pros that use them. It’s just not the same when comparing high-end audio.

          There ARE a bunch of audiophile manufacturers that are doing what you are saying (Schiit, iFi, etc.), but sadly they don’t get nearly the amount of copy as they should.

      • As audio companies continue to price themselves into oblivion, only the ones making products based on reality, will survive. McIntosh, is now just jewelry, like so many other brands….like Audio research..BLOSE created this Lifestyle nonsense, selling glorified garbage at absurd prices. Buy pro audio porducts, that are meant to do audio, not glitzy boxes of generic circuits.

  7. If more of the white, middle-aged men who dominate the current audiophile demographic would remember what it was like when they were in their teens or twenties before they were affluent it might inject a little empathy into the narrative. Sadly that seems to be lacking right now. The future looks dim if this doesn’t change. It starts with a love of music. Better kit is an incremental process but it seems many forget that in the end it’s still about the music.

    • One byproduct of getting older is self-improvement. Hopefully we change for the better. The downside is that we often forget who we once were. Spending time with young people often serves as a reminder – that’s healthy!

  8. As was covered in that RMAF seminar you chaired, it’s fundamentally *attitude* which so often acts as barrier well before one gets to price and hardware. And I can’t help but see reverse attitude in your header of cashed-up middle age white dudes. I recognize it was supposed to be counter ‘tude, tongue in cheek and self-deprecating and all that but… in the end, all attitude is attitude, innit?

    Should older white men with means apologize for their whiteness, age or bank account? Surely not. Any us-versus-them perspective is exclusionist by definition, hence the antithesis of welcoming. I think this is a perfect example for just how difficult it is to write, speak or think free of attitude (where attitude is just a stand-in wuss word for being judgmental).

    We all are judgmental, even when we’re trying very hard not to be. The very fact that we have to make an effort proves it. It sucks to be human. Still, a very nice effort -:)

    • I’m not asking anyone to apologise for who they are. That’s often a knee-jerk reaction to pointing out certain forms of privilege. I’m simply suggesting we step (leap?) out of the goldfish bowl and look back through the glass to recognise the narrowness of the demographic swimming around inside. How does it appear to those not yet involved? What’s the longevity of this demographic? Could it be broader, deeper? Making a BIG NOISE about affordability is one way to cast a wider net. Ditto embracing lossy streaming services.

      As Alex points out here in the comments section too, the press has to shoulder some responsibility in reporting on – and by association promoting – a world in the which middle-aged white dudes are the dominant force. And as underscored in the first sentence I am part of the problem. That’s fine until we acknowledge how many manufacturers, show organisers and even publications like this are keen to reach younger folk, women and ethnic minorities.

      Self-deprecation was very much indeed on my mind in the header and image. I also wanted to see which words readers honed in on. Income and race thus far seem to be the winners in the game of attention. And yet the biggest issue of them all, male dominance, has yet to draw much fire.

      But the in the light of the morning after, I don’t think my tongue-in-cheekiness comes across as well as I’d hope. Sometimes you swing and you miss.

      • Nothing wrong with wanting the best.
        Nothing wrong with making the best.
        Sennheiser have set the bar again £50000 euros…. I’d love some speakers that look like they are an accident with a Tuba player in a ‘The fly’ type teleporter misshap.
        It feels like the hi end engineers don’t want flow down products. I can sell a few and that’s enough. 3 engineers taking 2 years to design and perfect a product costs. To some they are almost bespoke items of hand made beauty. Advertising, travel, events cost… But flow down entry level, mass market appeal, economy of scale.
        Do the big boys stop any lesser beutiques becoming names spoken in our homes? Or stick with the customers, fans you know. A guy I know listens more to the change of an upgrade than the piece playing on his kit. Nothing wrong with that if that’s what you like. . Headfi sneer at Beats, but when do apple make stupid mistakes when it comes to profit…
        The ‘HI’ in high fidelity has a different meaning it seems. I can see why answers on a postcard.. not because there isn’t an answer but personal accountability from all side with out finger pointing… Ad infinitum..from all sides but we all can benefit…
        I know nothing btw just my silly opinion… Dinosaurs and Dodos Remembered but no longer around…
        That was a shame…
        Have fun
        Cheers DAR

      • “That’s fine until we acknowledge how many manufacturers, show organisers and even publications like this are keen to reach younger folk, women and ethnic minorities.”

        It really comes down to messaging. The right message and they will come.

        I don’t want to pick on Stereophile too much here because despite my tone, I don’t think the folks over there are bad people. BUT really, REALLY look at that 2015 best of list. I mean walk through it. What does that say about the hobby in general? What message does it send to average Joe audiophile?

        The term “audiophile” really needs a rebranding. I could write a whole manifesto right here and now. But I won’t, because I don’t have my Nordost Odin 2 Supreme Reference cable. I refuse to write any kind of manifesto without it. Refuse.

        You should be laughing right about…now.

      • “pointing out certain forms of privilege”
        Phrases to run away from. Congrats on avoiding “problematic” though: that’s always a giveaway.

  9. Opini0n pieces are supposed to be opinionated, aren’t they? So you were spot on. How much they accomplish – now that’s anyone’s guess. “We ought to be doing this, we shouldn’t be doing that…” Those are always fair subjects and the backbone of many such a piece. But at the end of the day, those who are motivated to doing something are already doing it. They don’t need someone else telling them to. And those who don’t see the point are unlikely to be prompted by an opinion piece.

    In the end, some of it can seem like so much hand wringing and belly aching. Not that that has ever prevented me from penning an Editorial, mind you!

    Purely personally, and when factoring how to spend my time, I tend to think that well-done non-judgmental reviews of interesting products, presented to promote the fun and life-quality effects of hifi, might do more (by example as it were) than “should do” calls to action via Editorials.

    I have no idea whether that’s in fact true or not. It might just reflect personal preference and nothing more. Again from a purely personal perspective, I can say that I’m far more turned on to trying something new through an enthusiast but fact-based exposé/review, or video on food, travel or whatever; than a think/opinion piece. I guess that’s why I extrapolate from that, on the usefulness of one versus the other, when it comes to “spreading the joy and virus” of a hobby I’m into and would like others to get into as well -:)

    In the end, I come down on writing hopefully entertaining reviews as the friendly handshake and hello to prompt readers to try or consider something, more so than a think piece. So no post card alternative I’m afraid…

    • DAR is my guilty pleasure. The style and pitch is spot on. 10 minutes before the wife starts tapping her feet in a hifi shop is about all I get to have a listen to KEF or B+Ws
      I have never been an envying type of guy, I am more than happy to live surreptitiously, through experienced DAR writers.
      No matter what age they are…

      They should do public set ups in malls and have HI FI day. Hifriday. . Bring a CD or ipod and show people what sound can be.
      The Temples too sound only attract the converted…

      Keep up the good work, as always.

  10. John,

    I like that you’re prepared to stick your neck out with such articles. Starting the conversation is more important than nailing the perfect argument before going to press.

    I think that young people are putting their money into good sound, it is just that most of it goes into head-fi because their lives revolve around sharing via smartphones rather than being in the same room. Head-fi is also a good intro because you can build slowly.
    Basic headphones replace white buds. Add a DAC/amp combo. Upgrade the phones. Try high-rez. Etc. A nice upgrade path.

    When considering what to recommend to friends, I always try to make the first step rewarding but affordable. Powered speakers are helpful there. Add a DAC later. Then a sub. And so it goes.

    • Yes, I’ll confess to the train of though in this piece not being as straight as I’d like. I guess my intention was to call out how we as audiophiles might appear to (the greater percentage of) outsiders and then consider how that affects new member sign-up.

  11. I don’t read audio sites for music reviews. The music to gear reviewed ratio is far too high. And while I have noticed changes with better cables in my system, there seems to be an overemphasis on this.

    • That’s because either a) the music reviews are not reflecting your taste or b) somehow the “audio” in audiophile got lost on you.

      At the end of the day, this hobby is about the music. Let’s not forget that. Everything DAR reviews is a means to an end – the music.

      Audiophiles I would think are the first ones to jump up and down and share their excitement when they discover new music. It is the LACK of discussion of popular music in the audiophile crowd that is extremely off putting from those outside looking in. And John seems one of the few people who recognize that fact.

      • “It is the LACK of discussion of popular music in the audiophile crowd that is extremely off putting from those outside looking in.” <--- nailed it.

  12. Nice article by Darko. The good; thank god for rich white men. Without their surplus income, the high end audio industry would cease to exists. The bad; there has been a tendency for this industry to start catering to only very expensive, small volume, high margin equipment. High end audio has always had this, but it seems to have become very pronounced since the GFC.

  13. Hi John,

    One of the few dedicated hi-fi shops left where I live, is making an effort to broaden the appeal of good sound in service to music. And they’re aiming for a younger demographic by carrying as many LPs as possible along with demo gear covering all the essentials (analog, digital, amplification, speakers, headphones, cables, etc). Brands are an eclectic range from entry-level to not quite nose-bleed-level, with plenty to offer in between, mini systems to full-on separates. What’s more, the employees are in their late 20s to mid 40s, and the manager is a young woman who knows quite a lot and is still learning.

    With demographics in much of the developed world on a trajectory toward older populations – i.e., all those, middle to upper middle-class white males – whose hearing may or may not justify continued investment in the high end, it’s nice to see that some Gen Ys and millennials seem to be interested in quality playback to better(?) enjoy their tunes.

    I’m just a few years older than you, John, and I got onto this roller-coaster hobby in earnest a dozen or so years ago, after sticking with my modest (in light of my current affliction) university days system for more than 15 years. But, hey, life’s priorities aren’t always arrayed the way we’d like. Let’s face it, most can’t afford decent stereo equipment at the beginning of their post-school life. They typically start on the bottom rung of the corporate ladder, the lowest step of the pay-scale, shacking up with a significant other, paying rent, buying a car, maybe a house, getting a dog, having kids, you name it. Unless and until corporate heavyweights with capacity for economies of scale and mass-marketing hop on the high(er) fidelity bandwagon, this pursuit of ours will remain a niche.

    Nevertheless, there are encouraging signs. Whether it’s a shop like the one mentioned above, younger people taking a keen interest in a format that was thought to be effectively if not totally extinct 25 years ago, writers, sites and magazines putting the spotlight on realistically attainable kit from time to time, I don’t think there’s reason for distress. Just keep up the good work, and the tongue-in-cheekiness (we need to be reminded of the earth beneath our feet).



  14. As a middle class white guy with a modest hi-fi rig, I have no vested interest in or any desire to convert a relaxing hobby into a crusade proselytizing “better sound” to the unwashed masses. That’s not to say I’m not willing to discuss and offer my thoughts to people regarding “better sound” when the opportunity presents itself.

    I’m also not particularly concerned with what the “main-stream” says about multi-thousand dollar Ethernet cables or paying $8 to cryo-treat a vacuum tube… If it works for you and your ears in your system then good on ya, but yeah, the “audiophile” hobby can be rather peculiar and eccentric, an aspect that fascinates me, but not one that I can always defend beyond saying “to each, his/her own”.

  15. How many ‘audiophiles’ actually care about music?
    Form where I’m sitting, it looks like…er…just you, Darko.

    • Not entirely true: Michael Lavorgna at Stereophile, Steve Guttenberg at CNet/Audiophilliac and especially Jeff Dorgay at TONE each dig much of the modern stuff.

  16. Jebus!! How tall are you, JD? If I ever get those PMC BB5 (active, of course) loudspeakers, I know who to call to help with the moving.

  17. I read a piece on C-Net where a certain gentleman rather patronisingly suggested that people with multi-room, wireless systems didn’t actually ‘listen’ to music.
    The gist of it was that we ‘multi-roomers’ are somehow culturally and intellectually inferior to ‘audiophiles’ as we have surrendered to Sonos the Great Satan or such-like and so are incapable of truly appreciating great art.
    Indignation? I nearly had a stroke!
    Oh, and I cranked up the Miley Cyrus for good measure in protest.

  18. “Audio enthusiasts don’t have to be your audience”

    Oh, look at this. Now the audio enthusiast world gets to have their own version of GamerGate. Welcome to the land of being misogynist sexist racist homobphobic transphobic violent pieces of crap just for enjoying your past time!

    Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Before you, it was video games. Before video games, it was science fiction and fantasy literature, the world of science and research, the technology industry, heavy metal music, and even atheism (ie, atheism-plus).

    Don’t try to fight back. You’ll just be labeled as the worst pieces of crap on the planet and while other people are given the platforms to spin narratives against you while promoting their “I’m a victim” Patreons everywhere they go. Your best play is probably to find a new hobby and hope that they don’t invade that and attack you there, too.

  19. I really enjoyed the video from the RMAF on affordable audio. Thanks for being part of it and spreading the word about it here. I think you all made some excellent points about the role of affordable products as being key to getting new people into audio. I must admit that the negative attitudes some are quick to express (e.g., any speakers cheaper than $1,000 are crap) has been a deterrent for me as I consider how best to move my entry-level setup to the next level.

  20. There is no image quality. I’m 21 with a great system with a center piece of a pair of senn hd 800’s .

    • Ugh.

      And what of ‘middle-aged’ and ‘dudes’?

      The endless hand-wringing of ‘why don’t young people care about good sound?’ might – just might – be down to the general absence cultural diversity in the audiophile world.

  21. I’m not middle aged, I am white, certainly not wealthy but I do have a good gig running a high end audio shop in Vancouver, Canada. It’s 8:30pm on a Saturday night as I browse through some amusing, some ridiculous and some right on the money comments in this article. I’m listening to a mix show streaming 80’s and 90’s alternative music on Sirius Radio through the headphone output of a NAD D3020 and a pair of Audioquest Nighthawks. Am I paying attention to the air around the instruments in The Bangels “Walk Like an Egyptian?” Does it matter if Dead or Alive’s “You Spin Me Round” is creating a 3D holographic image? Nah… but you know what? I’m having a great time and that’s all that matters!
    I think the point that many have missed is it doesn’t matter who you are, how much money you have or what kind of music you listen to. If you enjoy music, that’s super cool! Even if you’re a snobby audiophile who listens to Patricia Barber on repeat all day, bless your heart for being part of the community. Our community is extremely diverse, from millennials with headphone rigs to rich dudes with padded rooms and cable lifters. The one thing we all share is, on some level, an appreciation for music and that should be celebrated at every opportunity. Yes the industry needs to do a better job of addressing the needs of the younger generation but hey let’s not ostracize the rich white dudes, they’re great for business! (Now I wonder if the high frequencies will become more palpable if I put my D3020 on Stillpoints… Hhhhmmm…)

  22. What I’m not hearing anything about is the placement of the system, and the kind of room and acoustics the music is to be enjoyed in.

    There are simple practices that are inexpensive or even free in positioning music systems for optimum fidelity.

    I see all too often, even fairly high-end systems with dreadful placement and positioning. And even some very basic acoustic guidelines overlooked. I think if you’re making a priority list, that system placement and acoustics rival or exceed even the hardware.

    1. System Placement/room acoustic practices
    2. Hardware
    3. File resolution

    It was great to hear a few props for good 320 kbps files.