The audiophile hobby has come a long way since the days in the late 1960s when young men were sent to fight a senseless war in Vietnam but often learned about music and audio at the PX store which was in effect their audiophile retailer back then. Over the decades, the audiophile hobby has evolved just as the Baby Boomers aged. Hippies became Yuppies that bought even more audio gear especially in the early 1980s with the advent of the Compact Disc in 1983 by Sony and Philips. Today, OG’s (original audiophiles) are in the late 60s or well into their seventies. During COVID, the change-resistant audiophile business went back into the past in hopes of selling Oligarch audio (meaning crazy expensive electronics and speakers) to 70-something audiophiles. They also did a full embrace of retro format known as vinyl.
The future of audio is about something very different than what Baby Boomers like about the hobby.
Do Younger Audiophiles Need To Collect Music?
Today’s younger audiophiles don’t always collect music. And why should they? For the cost of one Compact Disc or reasonably priced LP record – they can have access to each and every recording ever made. And that access is in resolutions that start at Compact Disc level and go up to ultra-HD format. Some view this access as “free” (which isn’t really true but you can see their point) as services like Prime from Amazon allow access to music. Verizon can get you “free” access to Apple Music as part of what you pay them. It, of course isn’t free but it seems free because access to music is now bundled into other packages.
As compared to Baby Boomer and Generation X – the need to collect music isn’t as important as it used to be. Why spend $100 or more on non-collectable vinyl record when that money could be used on audiophile electronics, speakers, subwoofers and elsewhere.
Lifestyle Advantages To the Audiophile Hobby Versus Status & Culture
Do you remember the scene in Boogie Nights when Don Cheadle’s character is selling audio gear to Burt Reynold’s character? It was a pure time warp back to when stereos and muscle cars defined a guy’ manhood.
That is gone now.
Younger audiophiles look to listening to music as a way to bring experiences to them. Millennials will spend like mad on music festivals or Taylor Swift tickets as well as other live musical events. An audiophile system allows them to upgrade their experiences to be able to get into music, in their home, every night.
Generation Z suffers from fear, stress and anxiety. Before taking more ADHD drugs, could listening to say 15 minutes of Dark Side of the Moon or a bit of Miles Davis Kind of Blue, help? You bet it can. Try this trick… take your blood pressure at home. The put on some awesome music that isn’t too manic (no Prodigy or Squarepusher) and set a timer for 15 minutes. When you are listening, close your eyes and take five to 10 deep breaths. Then test again. Don’t be shocked if your numbers for your blood pressure drop by as much as 10 points. It is an amazing health benefit.
Affordable Audiophile Gear Thanks To Chi-Fi
While during COVID, many audiophile companies have moved to selling only $10,000 plus dollar parts – there has been a new revolution in the audiophile world called Chi-Fi or Chinese Hi-Fi. The companies that make much of the audiophile products in the marketplace today also are now making their own gear. Companies like Topping, S.M.S.L. and FiiO are only a start of these new brands. They offer very high performance, small form factor audiophile components that are very affordable. Chi-Fi is almost never sold at an audiophile brick and mortar dealer as it has very little profit margin paired with very low retail prices. Much is sold at Amazon.com or other online retailers.
Today’s younger audiophiles love collecting audio gear, especially headphones. These new affordable options allow people to actually collect audiophile components versus having to flip them for each and every audiophile upgrade.
There’s more to talk about in the audiophile hobby. We will post again soon to talk about audiophile tweaks that you can actually afford as well as dispelling audiophile bullshit like putting speaker cables off of the floor via little saw horses or painting the edges of your Compact Discs with green paint.