Nothing new under the sun?


Reading all the material available on audio, there seems to be fairly widely divergent opinions about how much progress we're making, about whether anything truly new is coming about, or whether it's all just marketing.

On the one hand, you read constant reviews, both professional and personal, detailing how the new speaker takes the listener places they've never been before. "Performance like this cost 10X the price just a few years ago", or was unavailable, etc. Not just speakers, any component. The implication is that major strides are being made and the result is much lower prices for much higher performance.

An alternative view is that there is nothing new under the sun, just slick marketing. With this view, you can buy some excellent equipment from the last 20 years, get great sound, and never look back because nothing being put out today performs signicantly better.

Which is it? Should we all just admit that what we have today isn't going to be bettered any time soon and find another hobby?

kthomas
The high resolution audio systems today are bettered only by possibilities of more precise measurements to setup the electronic components.

Far not all the 20 years vintage equipment was well engineered for the high resolution playback.

Most people still prefere to buy a new product since they have all possible warranties for malfunction and deffects.

If you posess electronic skills and can detect the problem with malfunctioned audio or video unit, I believe that it's OK to go for used and cheap equipment or even make one yourself.
I only recently have subscribed to an audio magazine & that's because my subscription to the Science Fiction rag I had ran out & I was looking for something else. I only have one subscription at a time. Period. Oh, my wife has some but it's stuff like British & Smithsonian & I can't pronounce those words so I don't read them.

As for new & improved, I think there's so much out there that it becomes new & improved to us because we've never been exposed to it. As for reading the reviews, well, it's sorta like buying a new car. A lot of hype from the manufacturer/dealer & ultimately end user. Sure it's a great product but ultimately you (we) have to make that decision based on our personal preferences. I'm not entirely stuck in the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" mindset as I became caught up in a furious upgrade/audition process (as compared to a rational & laidback process) that did lead me to a cable manufacturer I'm happy with but it took a lot of work to get there. I actually enjoyed the journey & learned a lot about different cables & how they affected my components & how that compared to other listeners perceptions.

It's nice to know the manufacturers are constantly experimenting/revising their gear but that doesn't mean it's better than what's currently on the market. New & improved doesn't mean better although it's worth a look.
Improved digital formats, digital upsampling, digital crossovers, digital amplifiers, digital room correction, digital equalization,digital broadcasts, digital recording and digital connections are all new ( in the big scope of things) and exciting developments. With true omni-directional speaker drivers perhaps we can overcome what was once theoreticaly imposible, acurate surround sound. It just might inspire more people to express their creative selves again ( Am I the only one who remembers when preamps had microphone inputs).If only the manufacturers weren't so greedy and actually provided a compatible and finished product that didn't discourage people from investing in the next obsolete product.
Sean, your post intrigues me. This is not a challenge in any way, I'm really curious. How do you feel passive components have improved over the last twenty years? It seems to me that a resistor is a resistor is a ...
Materials haven't changed a whole lot but I will grant you the testing has made some progress. Do you find measurable differences between today's caps, and those of a few years ago? Has leakage improved somehow? Do the caps somehow settle quicker? Being a semiconductor guy I've always taken passive components for granted, maybe I'm missing something? Appreciate you taking the time to enlighten us, Jeff
Good post Unsound. There is much happening in the world of digital-- guess I needed reminding. I just hope that some of it really is to the benefit of best quality music that us audiogeeks seek. Cheers. Craig