On Saturday night my wife and I held an open house for our mountain neighbors. Most are hardy independent entrepreneurial types who don't mind some "snow days" and have little trouble coping with fires and floods. But home theaters and stereos, that's another thing entirely.
During the course of our four-hour party I conducted several tours of my two room-based systems. In almost every case I could see a point in my demo where my audience's eyes began to glaze over - as the "too much information" warning light flashed on their eyeballs. And I thought to myself, "Maybe our hobby is too complicated?"
But just as descriptions of power amplifiers, costs-per-channel, and signal chain options brought blank stares and vague mutterings, when I mentioned wireless sound and the Sonos and Logitech devices my guests got A LOT more interested. While we audiophiles have no trouble with concepts like "signal chains" and "formats" regular people do. But it seems that even non-audiophiles get the idea and even WANT to understand wireless audio. Everyone wants music in his or her life.
So what are audiophiles to do if we want to swell our ranks and facilitate as many "conversion experiences" as possible? I think we have to keep it simple. We enthusiasts live to luxuriate in minutiae, but a beginner isn't ready for that level of complexity. The way to turn music-lovers into audiophiles is through systems and gear that is simple enough that a beginner can set-up and use it, like the Sonos or Apple TV.
While none of my neighbors seemed too interested in having me duplicate my large room home theater in their abodes, several people's eyes did light up when I demoed my Sonos controlled by my iPod. THAT they could understand.
What's the "gateway drug" to drag boomers back into the world of audio? It's called wireless audio...