Hi-Rez is dead, long live Hi-Rez!

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Well-known member
Mar 12, 2005
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Apple Valley, CA
It kills me that certain Audiophiles think of the rest of humanity as somehow inferior because of the proliferation of mp3 and ipods. I fondly remember listening to the mp3 of my day (audio cassette) on my first "hi-fi" system (cheap second-hand walkman and some cheezzy headphones). AC/DC rocked (and changed) my world. Yeah I was a young punk then but because of that day I have learned to appreciate better sounding recordings and higher resolution formats. The point is that audiophiles have never determined (and probably never will determine) the next audio format that the general public will listen to. So get over the fact that the Backstreet Boys will never release a SACD and start enjoying what you do have!

So why did hi-rez not conquer the world? Well disregard the record company bumbling, DVD Forum infighting, and dual formats for a second and realize that the big hook for hi-rez sound was...SUROUND SOUND! Why? Because for the average consumer, higher fidelity alone did not make much of a difference. There was no WOW factor. For instance, I play a DVD-A for my friends and the reaction is, " Hmmm. Yes DVD-A sounds a little better than CD but I have to really be listening to it."
I myself found a much higher increase in resolution by going to Martin Logans. THAT got me the WOW factor. Even from my friends! "WOW, you can see through them! WOW, they sound awesome! WOW, they must be made in Germany! WOW, they sound so clear!"

So why did surround sound not hook the average consumer? Well the pre-teen/teen category could not afford a surround sound rig and the older demographic thought music in surround sound was just plain silly and everybody else didn't have the time or patience to adjust a home theater rig to sound good playing music in surround. Plus, SACD did not have a video specification and DVD-A was not backwards compatible to CD players. Lastly the average consumer is doing things while listening to music and not really LISTENING to music.

Just as in the past audiophiles will still rely on audiophile labels to provide content that makes the best of whatever format is available.

Rock is dead, long live rock!
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I agree with you socialxray,
Audiophiles were never really in the mainstream and never did dictate what the future of audio would be. Look at the current boom in Home Theater equipment sales though. It looks like the general public is spending more time at home with their families and friends especially with the events after 911.
MP3's have grown by leaps and bounds because of the general ease and freedom to transport the music between different platforms be it in a car audio deck, home computer or portable player. It doesn't hurt that the internet has supported the widespread use of the format.
Can we even predict what will be the format in 10 years.

I remember going to the 2001 CES and the manufacturers were just starting to show prototypes of their new MP3 players and I was still scratching my head at the thought....