Hi-end audio is a big zero

This is no knock on dealers, It's just how hi-end audio is.

I go listen to some speakers. He has them set up like crap - jammed between 3 other pair. Running on electronics I would never choose so I have to try and compensate for what I imagine they are contributing to the sound. Then after 30 minutes, I am expected to shell out the $4,500.00.

I narrowed it down to two transports from an online retailer. And who knows if those 2 are even a good choice?  Told point blank, I am not allowed to buy both and return the one I don''t want. Just pick one and buy it. Shell out $1,000-$3,500 based on what?

One e-tailer will allow purchase 3 speakers totally $12K and return the two I don't want. Sorry, i have a conscience and can't do it to him.

Read all you want. Talk all you want. Listen at dealers all you want. But unless you listen in your own room, it's all meaningless. I'm talking even just 5 to 30 minutes can be all it takes. But that is basically impossible.

Sure you can buy and sell on A-gon or Ebay if you find what you want have the time to go through the process.

If the prices weren't so high or I did not care about sound quality maybe it would not matter.


'High End' is a term that can only be useful to gauge price.

It has very little relationship to high performance.

We've seen time and time again that performance and price have a very tenuous relationship at best.

Go to a show and hear it for yourself.

It's only magazines and dealers that want to propagate the myth that performance and price are closely linked.

I suspect almost all of us would think our systems are high performance but would any of us want to claim that our systems were High End?

High-end is indeed a big zero.

@cd318 , that is a BIG claim when you group every "magazine and dealer" into a pile of myth propagators. If you are telling me that I can get champagne on a beer budget, I am happy to partake, please post a link to the oasis of sweet deals.

If it is just the term "high end" I suppose you could substitute "luxury" or "reference class". I think one component where it is easy to spot "high end" is home theater.

Its the total package, the experience, it isn’t a turntable or a dac or speakers. Luxury baby, all the way. I really enjoy going through the Virtual Systems here to see what other members are doing. I like and aspire to "high end", why else would we all have OCD about this hobby? Low end?


WHAT YOU NEED to get you-are-there sound is MONEY (start saving up) and TIME. Start with an inexpensive pair of speakers and an integrated amp, free wire, etc. and music that you like. The finest recordings can transform the final result more than any other single thing so start there. THEN spend most of your free time going to as many shops as possible. When you're ready to spend much more money than you swore at 1st you wouldn't do, you become an official audiophile. Does this sound crazy? Absolutely!  It's all a very irrational and supremely expensive endeavor. But (as in my case) once I got out of mid-fi and bought a Levinson amplifier, the difference was worth the extra money because my ears were better able to discern the subtle textures and details in the recordings that came from living breathing musicians. If this doesn't sound like fun, that's fine. Once upon a time I asked a college friend if he could at least move his bookshelf speakers off of the floor so they weren't pointed at my shoes, and he immediately resented my suggestion. But he had some good music in his collection, so I just never mentioned it again. Dorm-room music is a genre all its own...

Not a total zero but not always what it appears for sure.  Has as much to do with glitz and bling as it does the sound quality.   It does not cost much to get top notch sound these days in most folks rooms at home.  These are luxury items that appeal to people for various reasons like any luxury item.   If you pay well above and beyond it had better at least sound good.  After that what sounds better or best becomes pretty much a totally subjective determination.  There may be something quantifiable to justify high cost in some cases but often not.   So high end is pretty much anything a vendor can get someone to pay for that most would not.  

I apologize for not being able to get past the title and first sentence of this post without being critical. The title is "High End Audio is a Big Zero" when what you meant is "High End Audio Dealers are a Big Zero". High end audio by itself is just fine and every once in a while (but not often), worth the high prices that are paid for it.

And the first sentence is: "This is no knock on dealers." and then you go on to spend the rest of the post knocking on dealers. The dealers may very well deserve to be knocked on but don't try to obfuscate what you're doing by starting with a counterclaim. Be bold and knock away.