Written by 4:29 am Audiophile

Why Is It All So Complicated?

Audiophilia is definitely a niche market. But why is that? Is it because the hobby can be a very expensive endeavor? Or maybe it is because the technology can be overly complicated? But does it have to be?


confuse5.jpegOn
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…

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