The kids are all-right; HiFi not so doomed?

HepcatWilly

Junior Member
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Hi Fi isn't doomed, us old audiophiles are.

Respectfully, I find that everyone who hears my modest system remarks how beautiful the music sounds. They recognize good sound when they hear it. They simply may not have the interest, resources, or inclination to pursue the hobby.

And that's just what it is, a hobby. I love making beer and sourdough bread. I kind of just wing it at this point. Both are said to be a science, but I don't have the patience for that. I actually pour flour into a bowl until I have the right hydration. Too dry? Put it under the faucet and add tap water. Loaf size? Consistency? What? I make a damned fine bread this way. Sometimes.

My wife, meanwhile, would like me to put the grilles on my speakers. She is very kind; 'don't you think they could be less unsightly?'. No, dearest, adding speaker fabric ruins the sound...
 

MWalt

Active Member
I have listened to these $50,000 systems and have come away quite impressed. My best system represents about a fifth of that and I enjoy it as well. Conversely, I just returned from a trip where I rented a cabin with my family for a week in Gatlinburg for the Christmas experience there. The place had an Amazon Echo Dot. My 12-year-old son loved it. I actually liked it too and may buy one just for when we travel. "Alexa, play jazz music"!!
 

fiddlefye

Senior Member
Site Supporter
I have listened to these $50,000 systems and have come away quite impressed. My best system represents about a fifth of that and I enjoy it as well. Conversely, I just returned from a trip where I rented a cabin with my family for a week in Gatlinburg for the Christmas experience there. The place had an Amazon Echo Dot. My 12-year-old son loved it. I actually liked it too and may buy one just for when we travel. "Alexa, play jazz music"!!
I spent Christmas of '91 in a cabin near Gatlinburg and it was quite lovely.

My best system represents (good way of putting it) less than half of what yours does (let alone $50k) and yet it totally enchants me, just draws me right in completely. There is magic to be found at many price points with a little thought, experience, luck and experimentation.
 
The best system I have heard personally I’m told was about a million bucks total cost- this included things like the $200k+ Magico Q7 speakers, the $17,500 Clearaudio Goldfinger cartridge, numerous “garden hose” sized custom for the application MIT cables, numerous Boulder amplifiers, dedicated wiring with conditioned power, and “floating” side room walls that could actually be tuned. It was something else!

But that said, while it showed me the possibilities of what a state of the art system is capable of, it never diminished the experience of listening to any good system done on a much more common budget, either mine or those of friends. Anything set up with love, dedication and a good ear has returned a very pleasurable listening experience. There’s always the possibility for improvement and of course a room custom built with tunable floating walls, dedicated wiring and six figure speakers plus a cartridge alone valued at many of our members’ humble systems (probably mine included) is going to illustrate this but that shouldn’t diminish what we’ve achieved at a fraction of the cost. I know my system has left friends who aren’t as deep into audio slack jawed at the sound.

Regarding the original topic of “kids are alright”, the most satisfying experience this past year was watching my niece’s growing interest in vinyl- and not just contemporary music and bands, but the classics. She’s not one to go for trends, so her appreciation is authentic- the draw of interacting with the physical media is big. Tangible, tactile elements. And the interest in music like classical, jazz, blues and soul, pioneering rock bands of various genres- that’s thrilling to me considering how restrictive the modern music industry can be.

I busted my wallet buying her records and for a pretty worldly and intelligent kid I believe she was pretty jazzed and impressed with the new editions to her collection- and I’ve opened another door to interesting conversations with her.

Her system is pretty simple and not even approaching any level of hifi quality, but that will come, I’m sure, with time. She has another year of initial college then additional time in school to get through first. This means years ahead for me to share with her and help her experience improved sound quality in steps, over time.

We’ll start slowly with coffee and conversation and my system playing in the background.
 

fiddlefye

Senior Member
Site Supporter
The best system I have heard personally I’m told was about a million bucks total cost- this included things like the $200k+ Magico Q7 speakers, the $17,500 Clearaudio Goldfinger cartridge, numerous “garden hose” sized custom for the application MIT cables, numerous Boulder amplifiers, dedicated wiring with conditioned power, and “floating” side room walls that could actually be tuned. It was something else!

But that said, while it showed me the possibilities of what a state of the art system is capable of, it never diminished the experience of listening to any good system done on a much more common budget, either mine or those of friends. Anything set up with love, dedication and a good ear has returned a very pleasurable listening experience. There’s always the possibility for improvement and of course a room custom built with tunable floating walls, dedicated wiring and six figure speakers plus a cartridge alone valued at many of our members’ humble systems (probably mine included) is going to illustrate this but that shouldn’t diminish what we’ve achieved at a fraction of the cost. I know my system has left friends who aren’t as deep into audio slack jawed at the sound.

Regarding the original topic of “kids are alright”, the most satisfying experience this past year was watching my niece’s growing interest in vinyl- and not just contemporary music and bands, but the classics. She’s not one to go for trends, so her appreciation is authentic- the draw of interacting with the physical media is big. Tangible, tactile elements. And the interest in music like classical, jazz, blues and soul, pioneering rock bands of various genres- that’s thrilling to me considering how restrictive the modern music industry can be.

I busted my wallet buying her records and for a pretty worldly and intelligent kid I believe she was pretty jazzed and impressed with the new editions to her collection- and I’ve opened another door to interesting conversations with her.

Her system is pretty simple and not even approaching any level of hifi quality, but that will come, I’m sure, with time. She has another year of initial college then additional time in school to get through first. This means years ahead for me to share with her and help her experience improved sound quality in steps, over time.

We’ll start slowly with coffee and conversation and my system playing in the background.
My daughter (now going on 30) grew up with my systems, LPs and music of many generations. She seemed to be drawn to the same music I was when I was her age - Zeppelin, Chicago, Floyd, Cream etc. I gave her a really very good (as in vastly better than the first "good" system I bought for myself as a student in uni) system for her 16th birthday. The crying shame is that her mother (my ex) sold the system on Kijiji not so long after I got it set up and pocketed the money. She did the same with the first digital camera present so I gave up on nice, saleable presents.
 
My 17 year old daughter says I’m obsessed with my sound. She happily listens to Spotify on her earbuds. And I’m not one to get into any minutiae or tweaks. I’m just trying to get her to appreciate how you can here the different instruments and the vocals placed convincingly as if there’s a band playing on a stage.
I never pushed my niece on the topic. There was the start of a music epiphany probably at 14 or 16, and a lull. At 20, there was phase two, and now she spins vinyl and listens to Billie Holiday.
 
My daughter (now going on 30) grew up with my systems, LPs and music of many generations. She seemed to be drawn to the same music I was when I was her age - Zeppelin, Chicago, Floyd, Cream etc. I gave her a really very good (as in vastly better than the first "good" system I bought for myself as a student in uni) system for her 16th birthday. The crying shame is that her mother (my ex) sold the system on Kijiji not so long after I got it set up and pocketed the money. She did the same with the first digital camera present so I gave up on nice, saleable presents.
My niece isn’t yet interested in most of the hifi accoutrements and the added complexity that comes with them but this latest interest- the embracing of vinyl- is a step in the right direction. I imagine this will progress into a simple setup- maybe that quite capable and all-around do-it-all machine, the modern Outlaw Audio Receiver, might be a good fit, along with the possibility of a decent CD player, and definitely an adequate turntable, and likely a set of vintage restored speakers with both sound quality and visual appeal.

The system should fit the need and lifestyle.

The good thing about that Outlaw Audio unit is it really is a Jack of all trades, including internet radio, Bluetooth, streaming, a phono stage built in, provisions to add a powered subwoofer, and more.

Sorry to hear about the troubles with the prior wife- and sorry your daughter has to also be privy to her behaviors.
 
I’m thinking a big part of success here is knowing what level they want to be involved. Some are going to embrace things like DACs and tubes and moving coil cartridges, and systems that are going to require a hobbyist’s level of care and attention. Others are going to want an easy to use and operate system that caters to their needs by being convenient and not particularly demanding yet sounding better than a tabletop Bluetooth speaker.

Not knocking those tabletop Bluetooth speakers by any means. I house/pet sit frequently for a friend and when in the kitchen, enjoy the Alexa in the background. A true high-falutin’ stereo would be better sound, but the hands-off approach when I’m frying up bacon or playing with the dogs, well that Alexa is the right tool for the job.
 

fiddlefye

Senior Member
Site Supporter
I never pushed my niece on the topic. There was the start of a music epiphany probably at 14 or 16, and a lull. At 20, there was phase two, and now she spins vinyl and listens to Billie Holiday.
I never pushed my daughter, either. She just gravitated to the music, the spinning things and the tubes. The crying shame about that system I gave her is that I'd been collecting the bits for it since she was 14. It included a top of the range vintage Yamaha receiver (because she liked a bit of FM), a good CDP, good but simple auto-shut-off DD turntable and some very nice speakers. Easy to use, integrating her iPod was easy and fine sound no matter the rep involved.

My stepson (just a few months younger than my daughter, their time in the womb overlapped) is a different creature. He loves music as well (plays bass guitar), but has no interest in a system of the nature of mine being a computer/video game sorta guy. I gave him a nice, but very different system for Christmas 2020 - very good (recent) integrated amp with discrete circuitry and small speakers with a "subwoofer" module. It all integrates wirelessly with his phone, laptop and gaming computer and so fulfills multiple functions and still sounds very good.
 
I never pushed my daughter, either. She just gravitated to the music, the spinning things and the tubes. The crying shame about that system I gave her is that I'd been collecting the bits for it since she was 14. It included a top of the range vintage Yamaha receiver (because she liked a bit of FM), a good CDP, good but simple auto-shut-off DD turntable and some very nice speakers. Easy to use, integrating her iPod was easy and fine sound no matter the rep involved.

My stepson (just a few months younger than my daughter, their time in the womb overlapped) is a different creature. He loves music as well (plays bass guitar), but has no interest in a system of the nature of mine being a computer/video game sorta guy. I gave him a nice, but very different system for Christmas 2020 - very good (recent) integrated amp with discrete circuitry and small speakers with a "subwoofer" module. It all integrates wirelessly with his phone, laptop and gaming computer and so fulfills multiple functions and still sounds very good.
I think that’s a drag about your daughter’s system. What a sour experience to have to go through.

One thing a friend keeps saying to me- you have to love the kid you have, not the kid you wanted. Great advice as I sadly see people pushing their kids into things they enjoy but the kids aren’t always interested in themselves. I admire folk like you who don’t push things- better to put things out there and see if there’s interest. Let them gravitate to it and go from there. Like you did.

I have folk frequently ask me about helping them navigate the hobby. Some become enthusiastic and get neck deep into the whole enchilada while others listen to my advice then turn and run- usually right to Kohl’s to buy a Crosley. Occasionally they are satisfied with this decision. Other times, it sours them to the whole experience as they never really get that magic experience- but then maybe they aren’t interested in even a modicum of potential inconvenience or spending money to buy quality items to get the rewards and benefits of the efforts required for the better experience. Some want it to be cheap, easy and effortless even if it’s equivalent to a Big Mac vs a seared then oven finished tomahawk steak with risotto and sautéed wild trumpet mushrooms. Sometimes the Big Mac, although empty nutrition, suits the need and desired end result.
 
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fiddlefye

Senior Member
Site Supporter
I think that’s a drag about your daughter’s system. What a sour experience to have to go through.

One thing a friend keeps saying to me- you have to love the kid you have, not the kid you wanted. Great advice as I sadly see people pushing their kids into things they enjoy but the kids aren’t always interested in themselves. I admire folk like you who don’t push things- better to put things out there and see if there’s interest. Let them gravitate to it and go from there.

I have folk frequently ask me about helping them navigate the hobby. Some become enthusiastic and get neck deep into the whole enchilada while others listen to my advice then turn and run- usually right to Kohl’s to buy a Crosley- occasionally They are satisfied with this. Other times it sours them to the whole experience as they never really get that magic experience- but then maybe they aren’t interested in even a modicum of potential inconvenience or spending money to buy quality items. Some want it to be cheap, easy and effortless even if it’s equivalent to a Big Mac vs a seared then oven finished tomahawk steak with risotto and sautéed wild trumpet mushrooms. Sometimes the Big Mac, although empty nutrition, suits the need and desired end result.
The creation of the system for my daughter resulted directly from her being so drawn to my system over a period of so many years. My stepson shows virtually zero interest in any of my gear, probably just thinks of it as being one of my many eccentricities along with film cameras and such.

As the huge variety of systems running in this house constantly reminds me - audio at many levels and price-points can be deeply enjoyable and rewarding. Is my $6 kitchen system as good as the main system? No, but when I'm cooking or washing up it gives me no less pleasure and not just as background noise.
 

Thermionics

Post Whore In Training
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Nothing wrong with good hip-hop. Of course, there's a lot of dreck out there as well, but that's the case with pretty much every genre of music. :)
4+ years further on, and on a related note (since I saw the movie with my daughter last night) I was happy to see / hear that the end credits music for Spiderman: No Way Home is "The Magic Number" (albeit a remix of the original from 1989 due to sampling / licensing issues - for example it removed the guitar lick from James Brown's 'Funky Drummer'). Kids are definitely all right.
 
As the huge variety of systems running in this house constantly reminds me - audio at many levels and price-points can be deeply enjoyable and rewarding. Is my $6 kitchen system as good as the main system? No, but when I'm cooking or washing up it gives me no less pleasure and not just as background noise.
I agree fully. I have three great setups here and plenty of spares- backups in case anything acts up on me.

I have contemplated on reducing the systems to one or two “killer” setups and simplifying the rest. I easily could scale down the office/kitchen system to a vintage integrated or something like thay Outlaw Audio Swiss Army knife- and could possibly even live with a Tivoli radio in that spot if I had to without convulsions and despair.

The bedroom system could be simplified too- something along the lines of a quality integrated and some mid-80’s speakers and I (likely) wouldn’t suffer from depression, ennui and nihilism from doing so. We’ll see what goes on.

An interesting anecdote- sometimes my office system, with it’s excellent sonics, Is actually a bit of a problem. It’s so good- at least for an office system- as to be distracting. It sometimes takes me longer to achieve completion of my tasks because I stop and pause at times at the beauty of the music reproduction taking place. A dulled presentation of the same music, with the nuances and details glossed over, has less of a chance stopping me in my tracks to take notice. Does it need to sound so good when I’ve my nose in Photoshop, Word or Excel?
 

fiddlefye

Senior Member
Site Supporter
I agree fully. I have three great setups here and plenty of spares- backups in case anything acts up on me.

I have contemplated on reducing the systems to one or two “killer” setups and simplifying the rest. I easily could scale down the office/kitchen system to a vintage integrated or something like thay Outlaw Audio Swiss Army knife- and could possibly even live with a Tivoli radio in that spot if I had to without convulsions and despair.

The bedroom system could be simplified too- something along the lines of a quality integrated and some mid-80’s speakers and I (likely) wouldn’t suffer from depression, ennui and nihilism from doing so. We’ll see what goes on.

An interesting anecdote- sometimes my office system, with it’s excellent sonics, Is actually a bit of a problem. It’s so good- at least for an office system- as to be distracting. It sometimes takes me longer to achieve completion of my tasks because I stop and pause at times at the beauty of the music reproduction taking place. A dulled presentation of the same music, with the nuances and details glossed over, has less of a chance stopping me in my tracks to take notice. Does it need to sound so good when I’ve my nose in Photoshop, Word or Excel?
I have the same problem as both my main system (speakers are behind me when I'm at my desk) and the desktop system (Luxman 5L 15 and Infinitesimal speakers) are quite capable of drawing my attention entirely away from what I am supposed to be doing.
 

fiddlefye

Senior Member
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Really would like to hear those some day.

I’ll stop by for dinner some night. 😀
Always welcome! Pork chops and stuffing tonight...

The Infinitesimals are really enjoyable little gaffers. I use them very near-field and they just sound really full and detailed with a surprisingly palpable bass response. My tech runs a pair in his shop (1.5 car garage) and in the bigger space they sound very good as well, usually powered by some sort of staggeringly fine amplification...
 
Always welcome! Pork chops and stuffing tonight...

The Infinitesimals are really enjoyable little gaffers. I use them very near-field and they just sound really full and detailed with a surprisingly palpable bass response. My tech runs a pair in his shop (1.5 car garage) and in the bigger space they sound very good as well, usually powered by some sort of staggeringly fine amplification...
They seem to be one of the small offerings that really perform at an outstanding level.

Personally I wish I had grabbed some Rogers JR149s for the office- LS3/5a are a nice speaker but didn’t grab me like the JR149s did. An absolute joy to listen to.
 

fiddlefye

Senior Member
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They seem to be one of the small offerings that really perform at an outstanding level.

Personally I wish I had grabbed some Rogers JR149s for the office- LS3/5a are a nice speaker but didn’t grab me like the JR149s did. An absolute joy to listen to.
I'd forgotten those, but yes, they were really nice in the small-speaker vein. Another "vintage" small speaker that is rather good is the Koss 'DynaMite' M80. I switched a pair into my wife's art studio system as I was feeling that having a pair of Minimus 7Ws attached to a Yamaha CA-1000 was too much of a waste. I'd used them in the desktop system before I got the Infinitesimals and had found them to be very nice. Hooked up to the CA-1000 the leap in SQ was enormous. Even my wife (who was was really happy with having "little" speakers) came on board in about ten seconds of listening time. They're even remarkably efficient little things at 92 db.
 

FloriduhBoy

Site Supporter
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I’m thinking a big part of success here is knowing what level they want to be involved. Some are going to embrace things like DACs and tubes and moving coil cartridges, and systems that are going to require a hobbyist’s level of care and attention. Others are going to want an easy to use and operate system that caters to their needs by being convenient and not particularly demanding yet sounding better than a tabletop Bluetooth speaker.

Not knocking those tabletop Bluetooth speakers by any means. I house/pet sit frequently for a friend and when in the kitchen, enjoy the Alexa in the background. A true high-falutin’ stereo would be better sound, but the hands-off approach when I’m frying up bacon or playing with the dogs, well that Alexa is the right tool for the job.
I may be wrong but, as I understand, Alexa, is 'listening' to everything all the time.
 
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