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Re: Reports from LSAF '09 [message #60539 is a reply to message #60537 ] Fri, 07 August 2009 06:32 Go to previous messageGo to next message
AudioFred  is currently offline AudioFred
Messages: 344
Registered: May 2009
Location: Houston
Grand Master
I was disappointed in Phillip Holmes Dagogo summary of my room at the 2009 LSAF. Not disappointed with his summary of the sound he heard in the room. I vaguely remember the track he played sounded awful on that system. My disappointment isn't with his comments about the system, but with the fact that I completely and totally failed to communicate to Phillip the purpose of the room.

In the Dagogo summary he said "(My) mission was to show a $500 audiophile quality room". For most visitors whom I was able to greet as they entered the room, my pitch was "No experienced listener is going to confuse the sound of this system with high end audio, but for less than $500 most people can trade up from whatever they have today to a system that will be enjoyable and involving...". My mission wasn't to demonstrate an audiophile system, but to demonstrate that it's possible to assemble a $400 to $500 system that will sound much better than the computer speakers or iPod with earbuds that most people listen to today.

I believe this mission is important because most of my non-audiophile friends, even those who love music and could easily afford a high end system, have a mental block that prevents them from even considering a high end system. I find this hard to understand in a neighborhood where few would have a problem paying an extra $10K to get the Levinson sound system in their new Lexus, but for most a $1K home system doesn't feel like a rational purchase. Here's how this plays out in my experience: Somebody visits my house, sees my main system (Krell amp, Selah Audio line arrays, etc), and asks to hear it. Their reaciton usually is "WOW, I didn't know a stereo could sound like that! If you don't ask my asking, how much does a system like that cost?" My usual answer is "It's expensive, but I can show you a system upstairs that cost less than $500 and will knock your socks off".

I've sold about a dozen PE BR-1's using this pitch (including two pairs at the show), and many BR-1 buyers also bought the Insignia receiver and an $80 Sony DVD player, or the equivalent, to complete the system for less than $400 total. (I order the BR-1's in quantities of four to get free shipping, build them, and sell them at my cost). What this has accomplished is simple: It elevates a potential audiophile to the point where he can start the upgrade process to a real high end system. The next purchase I recommend is a Cambridge Audio or NAD integrated amp, which is a great improvement over the Insignia receiver.

I don't know if this will create any new audiophiles, but it does provide greater music enjoyment to friends who otherwise would continue to listen to a really bad sounding system. Hope this made some sense.
Re: Reports from LSAF '09 [message #60540 is a reply to message #60539 ] Fri, 07 August 2009 10:16 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Wayne Parham  is currently offline Wayne Parham
Messages: 16878
Registered: May 2009
Illuminati (33rd Degree)

I knew what you were doing, Fred. Your budget system sounded very good for the price. It is very possible that Phillip caught you on a bad moment, it surely happens at shows sometimes. You did have some stiff competition this year though, most rooms I visited were pretty impressive. (Not that it's a competition but you know what I mean.)

One thing I like about LSAF is we have a good representation of affordable high-end audio. (Is that an oxymoron? Laughing ) Yours was probably the only under $1K system but most were under $5K and all but one room had systems under $10K.

Re: Reports from LSAF '09 [message #60557 is a reply to message #60540 ] Sun, 09 August 2009 06:41 Go to previous messageGo to next message
AudioFred  is currently offline AudioFred
Messages: 344
Registered: May 2009
Location: Houston
Grand Master
Wayne Parham wrote on Fri, 07 August 2009 10:16

I knew what you were doing, Fred. Your budget system sounded very good for the price.



Phillip's description is accurate. The system lacks some critical qualities one would expect in a high end audiophile-quality system. If anything, his description of the BR-1 speakers was more forgiving than mine would have been. My concern isn't with his description of the sound, but that I failed to communicate the purpose of the room.

Virtually all of my non-audiophile friends, including many professional musicians, listen to their music on systems that can only be described a crap; typically an HT-in-a-box system with thin plastic speakers. The best I've heard at any musician's house is a Bose iPod adapter. And the best I've heard at any of my more prosperous neighbors' homes is a Bose Acoustimass system. At least one audio company is winning the battle for the hearts and minds of music lovers. Rolling Eyes

I haven't played this system for many audiophiles because their inveitable reaction is to focus on its obvious weaknesses. But when I play this same system for non-audiophiles their reaction is always that it sounds fantastic, because from their point of view it does. Keep in mind that 99% of non-audiophiles have no understanding of soundstage, resolution, the existence of a sweet spot, the importance of driver integration in a speaker, etc. They mostly believe that "high fidelity" is what you hear when the kid in the purple Honda with the subwoofer pulls up next to you at the stoplight.

The point of this system is that a non-audiophile, like my musician friends pictured in the link below, can buy it for less than $500 (or less than $400 with a mass market DVD player), and to him it will sound really good. Then as his experience and understanding increase, and he becomes more aware of its limitations, he can start the upgrade process that is revenue engine of the high end audio business.

It would be better if people were willing to buy a complete high end system from the start, but that isn't a realistic expectation. Few people have ever considered spending more than $200 on any audio component, and to them even a $2K entry level system would be out of the question. But I can convince almost any music lover to buy their first system if the price is less than $500, and once they have it they're hooked.

http://fredt300b.smugmug.com/gallery/4567816_cpB24#269255421_YNdA3

P.S. This topic about getting more people into high end audio is something I'm interested in, but it doesn't fit into this thread, so I'm starting a new one here.

http://audioroundtable.com/forum/index.php?t=msg&goto=60558&#msg_60558
Re: Reports from LSAF '09 [message #60563 is a reply to message #60557 ] Sun, 09 August 2009 10:30 Go to previous message
Wayne Parham  is currently offline Wayne Parham
Messages: 16878
Registered: May 2009
Illuminati (33rd Degree)

I agree with you, Fred. We'll talk more about it though on your other thread.

Say, if anyone notices the Positive Feedback coverage, please post a link here. I check from time to time, but missed the Dagogo coverage for a week. So if you see it before I do, please post.

Many thanks to Phillip and Albert for doing the show reports!

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