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WAM Census 2021 Results - Age & Gender

ziggy

Wammer
Wammer
Mar 11, 2017
534
459
68
Cardiff
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
At the moment, there is an enormous interest in expensive headphones and headphone amplifiers.

Yep - count me in
This is something I have noticed on the Chord users Facebook group.  Some very expensive systems which do not include amps and speakers.

 
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Klassik

Well-Known Wammer
Wammer
Sep 21, 2018
1,576
1,960
133
Houston
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
I wonder if forums in general are made up of 'older' people?
Klassik quite likes forums.  Klassik has been using BBSes and newsgroups before the advent of the WWW so it's a familiar format for ole' Klassik.  That said, forums like this are not as popular with younger people.  Younger people seem to like other social media formats such as Reddit (which itself is like a forum, but it's different enough), Facebook groups, Discord, and a number of other things which Klassik knows little about.  xD

Klassik visits and posts on other Hi-Fi forums.  Most of the other ones are North America-centric ones with a decent number of Australians thrown in for good measure.  ;)   There are younger people on those forums, but the average age even on those forums are certainly in the older middle-aged/elderly segments.  Younger people do have some interest in vintage Hi-Fi, but Klassik suspects a lot of this is due to younger people finding vintage equipment for sale in thrifts/garage sales for low prices and wanting to learn how they can fix it up or use the various features.  There are quite a few middle-aged people who are interested in spending money on Hi-Fi, but not really on 2-Channel Hi-Fi.  They want to built home theaters which can be used for music, TV, movies, and gaming.  Hi-Fi in this application can be used by everyone in the house.  Of course, even then, even some people who were interested in home theater a few years ago are moving towards soundbars in modern times. 

Klassik watched an NBA basketball game on television the other day and found it peculiar that JBL had sponsored so many sideline advertisements at the arena.  People of all ages watch the NBA, but it seems that companies who advertise during NBA games are looking to go after younger demographics as marketing often does.  After seeing that, Klassik went to the JBL website to see what products they were pushing.  Their homepage was full of links to headphones, mostly of the wireless earbud variety, and Bluetooth speakers.  JBL certainly makes a full-line of Hi-Fi speakers, but those are hidden away on a menu.  They weren't showcased at all on the homepage. 

What was said earlier about youths (and older people) buying headphones is true. 

Given the number of people in the 'stuck in the 1970s' paradigm of Hi-Fi even with people who use streamers or other modern sources, xD , and given how many people on Hi-Fi forums like rock music, Klassik wonders if the age demographics of rock concerts are finally starting to resemble the age demographics of classical music concerts and the concerts of whomever is a modern day Mantovani.  Klassik figured it was only a matter of time before that happened.  ;)

 

pmcuk

Wammer
Wammer
Sep 12, 2015
1,961
1
2,075
148
Kensington, London
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
As to a decline in hifi I am not sure that's the case.  Of course it depends on the definition of HiFi. Clearly trends in lifestyles, home decoration, house design and technology has changed. Many people hang out in a large kitchen/diner with seating rather than sitting in a lounge listening to music.  So a different type of hifi is needed for the kitchen. 
Yes, Dom, that's exactly it. The term "HiFi" is very 60s to 80s. That was the big vogue. The source was a CD player or a turntable going through a preamp. And Wammers still use that setup. Kids born from 1990 on (like my son) don't identify with "HiFi" at all either as separates or as a term. They do gaming on computers and mobiles instead of listening to music, and a lot of time is spent on Facebook and social media. All that has replaced sitting in a lounge chair between 2 speakers.

Like you say, younger generations listen on the move via headphones, sit together in kitchen diners with small bookshelf speakers or boom boxes or sit at their computers with headphones or small speakers. All this is exactly what my son does - he has some tiny computer speakers but uses headphones a lot. Source is both mobile and computer. A lot of streaming and quite a lot of internet radio stations. No CDs any more. There's just no space for bigger speakers or a collection of CDs as property gets expensive and hard to find.  

 

Jules_S

Are we there yet?
Wammer Plus
Jun 7, 2019
2,109
1
2,470
183
Southampton
AKA
Jules
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
I think there are a number of factors leading the young down the portable/headphone route. 

Living at home longer they don't have anywhere other than their bedrooms to listen, and with the other tech they now have (Xbox, TV) and the possible need for a workstation to work from home. They don't have the room to spread out and have a traditional system as we did. 

Also being at home headphone listening helps to drown out the noise from the rest of the household. 

2. The Internet and social media has led to a rise in visible conspicuous consumption, hence the rise in take-up of expensive players, phones and headphones, as many youngsters seem to want to be seen with the latest clothes and tech. 

Brand awareness and being the next influencer seems to be the thing these days. That's probably how those Dr Dre(adful) & Beats headphones came to prominence at the lower end of the market.

Atleast their appetite for 'vinyls' and Crosseley record wreckers to play them on, has funnelled a few to investigate kit higher up the replay tree. This hopefully will lead to a lifelong interest in quality replay and keep our hobby fed with victims. 
I agree with all that, and I'd probably add that even when (if?) they can afford to move out and get their own place, modern build houses are generally so shoddy that despite building regs, sound transmission is a major consideration. Especially for a sizeable chunk whom I should imagine will start off in a mid-terrace; they are unlikely to curry favour with their immediate neighbours if they indulged in a full-blown hi-fi!

I'm inclined to think that the heavy bias towards middle-age in the survey results is probably as much to do with circumstances as anything else. As one gets older and potentially has more disposable income and / or a larger property, the chance to own a hi-fi setup presents itself. It's not necessarily that there isn't an interest - as others have already mentioned there's a lot of activity around headphones and portable audio within younger age groups. Perhaps a bigger percentage than we might otherwise think would be saying "I'd love to have a proper hi-fi, if only I was living in a detached house / could afford it right now, but I have to pay for the kids after-school clubs, etc etc)....."

I consider myself very fortunate in this regard. From the very earliest age I can recall (4 or 5-ish?) I always had a little record player of my own to play my 7" singles. Naturally they were awful bits of plastic rubbish and trashed the records but at that age there was no concept at all of "quality". Just the ability to play them and sing and dance along to my favourite tunes was more than enough. As I got a little older my folks bought me my own music centre, then later a "stack" system (how very modern!). There was also the family stereo in the lounge - nothing special but whenever the neighbours decided to go out for the day (we were semi-detached) my folks made the most of it and turned up the volume, what a treat!

The day my parents came back from shopping one Saturday in 1981 with a brand new receiver, speakers and... gasp! a cassette deck(!) from Tandy (on the day they opened their shop in Andover) was a revelation. Not exactly the last word in hi-fi perhaps, but compared to the Boots own brand amp and speakers we had used until then it was absolutely astonishing. That's the moment when I realised that music could sound better when played on better equipment. Thanks to Andover Audio a JVC turntable and a Trio CD player eventually joined the setup and this was what saw me through my teens. I used it way more than my parents ever did.

As soon as I went out to work, I started saving up for a system of my own, and in the early 90's put together my own first proper hi-fi system. Since that moment I've always had some sort of audio system (except for a financially dry patch last decade) so I suppose I've been "into" hi-fi since that age, and fortunate enough to have been able to indulge myself. My first property, although a flat, was decently enough constructed to minimise sound transmission, and when I moved 18 years ago it was to a detached property, so I am lucky to have been able to enjoy what I have. Other friends have not always been in that luxurious position. I think I only have two friends who are "into" hi-fi, neither of whom would contemplate investing above a budget/mid level. One has an understanding and supportive wife who would probably be happy to indulge him if he ever did decide to move up the ladder a bit, the other would probably dig her heels in - unless it was completely out of sight and the speakers matched the furniture!

It's great to see these first results of the survey coming through, looking forward to the rest of the questions now.

 
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StingRay

Legend Wammer
Wammer
Apr 27, 2016
9,940
5,264
148
Suffolk, UK
AKA
Ray
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
I never got on with headphones but not tried any expensive ones. Had some Sennheisser Momentum’s overhear, for a short time, did not like at all, went back to my ATH 911s which I find better but only for occasional computer use. 

 

callen24returns

Newbie
Wammer
Oct 11, 2021
197
169
63
Leicester
AKA
Chris
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
In some ways this overlaps with a conversation my friend tried to get me to have with her 17 year old son. We both tried to explain why music means so much to us, but we couldn’t get him to understand. He is an accomplished musician, likely to study music as a degree.

My friend used to listen to the peel show, with her friend, and would occasionally try and put a record on the 6th form music centre.

Afterwards it got me thinking.

I am in my 50s.

When I was at schooled there were bigger collective experiences, common to a lot  of us. I believe TOTP and the Sunday chart show ( on radio) had audiences of many millions - at school on Monday, and friday these were discussed, even those  showing little interest would have watched/ listened.

 Much has changed since then, so that people do not experience things together, or at the same time.

A 17 year old can’t grasp the idea of one TV, and negotiation required with others to watch TOTP.

It was the start of gaming, but plugging in your spectrum would require negotiations too.

I think the only modern equivalents are the release of the latest game.

And I think the last few series of GOT saw millions wanting to watch each week, rather than watch it a week later. For the older generation the most recent series of Line of Duty was a bit like that.

There are many other things to do now, live sport was not 7 days a week.

Going to a film was expensive - we didn’t have a huge library on demand - new films were not on TV till more than 7 years later, were they?

Going back to the collective experience - music was not cheap , so my few friends would buy different records, and we would make a tape of it for a friend. This is the reason for gaps in my collection. My friend and I would go to the library to get out a record each week, we would go together, and get something different

MUSIC, the current charts was woven with our lives, it faced little competition .

Im labouring the point that the whole thing was experienced with others, today music is enjoyed more as an individual pursuit. People love it, but not quite in the same way,

 
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newlash09

newlash09
Wammer Plus
Aug 10, 2018
2,909
2,528
183
India
AKA
Y.Manohar
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
Coming to the age profile...I could have gone either ways. I was happy with my ipod and the supplied earphones in 2008. Didn't even know what hifi was. Though had seen a few typical Sony and aiwa stereo decks in my well healed friend's homes growing up. Loved them as a kid.

But as life got busy and challenging at a young age of 18, I forgot everything.  

Then come 2010, I was supposed to go on a long sail. And to keep me occupied, as I've been an avid reader all my childhood, I installed an app called zinio, which allowed me to download magazines when I had a network,  to read them later without network. To keep me busy I took subscriptions of car and  photography magazines, and just accidently saw whathifi site on zinio. Just out of curiosity took a subscription. So after reading whathifi magazine for 6 months, I found this whole repeated talk of RCA, XLR, coaxial and optical cables and configuration scary. I only knew usb then :D .

There was a steep learning curve,  so I joined the whathifi forum . And bombarded everyone  there with tons of stupid questions,  which lot of previous whathifi members might still remember. And they answered them with patience.( @CnoEvil, @Nopiano, @plasticpenguin, @Iceman 16@whitehart, @Blacksabbath25, @insider9, @lindsayt, @Shadders, @Nativebon, and there are a lot more I might have missed :(

I still remember doting over the Marantz 6004 cd player at 300 GBP, Marantz PM6004 at the same price , and then the budget  benchmarks and sonic Kings of that time, the monitor audio bronze also at 300 GBP . 

But for someone happy with mp3's over earphones, it was going to be a big leap of faith in the dark, to pull the trigger on the above 1000 GBP system. 

This was the time that qacoustics amd bluesound were in the news for the first time. And Sevenoaks were willing to give me a offer. So I bought the qacoustics 7000lri, with the bluesound power node gen 1 as my first system ever. 

It was easy, no faffing with complex cable configurations I had no idea about . Just 2 speaker cables to the q7000lri satellite speakers,  and I was blown :D

And there started the rabbit hole :D

In my opinion, summarising everything above :

1. To get more folks into this, the entry point has to be less complex and inexpensive, but better sound quality  than their headphones. 

2. They need a supportive community, to nurture them along the way. As the leaning curve is really steep.

 

plasticpenguin

Legend Wammer
Wammer
Aug 8, 2018
6,201
2,888
148
Bookham, Surrey
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
@lostwin

Please don't take offence, and I'm not trying to be argumentative. Realistically, what is this Census and results going to achieve on a public forum?

Half of the members we know are going to be in their 50s or early 60s. I've referenced MRS. P countless times over the years.

You know most peoples kit whether it's accurate on the Wigwam Info or not. Not sure how this can help the forum/members.

I had my first hi-fi at the age of 12 or 13 (purchased by my dad from Freemans Catalogue in circa 1976).

I have no issues with Census if it achieves something positive. 

 
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callen24returns

Newbie
Wammer
Oct 11, 2021
197
169
63
Leicester
AKA
Chris
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
Coming to the age profile...I could have gone either ways. I was happy with my ipod and the supplied earphones in 2008. Didn't even know what hifi was. Though had seen a few typical Sony and aiwa stereo decks in my well healed friend's homes growing up. Loved them as a kid.

But as life got busy and challenging at a young age of 18, I forgot everything.  

Then come 2010, I was supposed to go on a long sail. And to keep me occupied, as I've been an avid reader all my childhood, I installed an app called zinio, which allowed me to download magazines when I had a network,  to read them later without network. To keep me busy I took subscriptions of car and  photography magazines, and just accidently saw whathifi site on zinio. Just out of curiosity took a subscription. So after reading whathifi magazine for 6 months, I found this whole repeated talk of RCA, XLR, coaxial and optical cables and configuration scary. I only knew usb then :D .

There was a steep learning curve,  so I joined the whathifi forum . And bombarded everyone  there with tons of stupid questions,  which lot of previous whathifi members might still remember. And they answered them with patience.( @CnoEvil, @Nopiano, @plasticpenguin, @Iceman 16@whitehart, @Blacksabbath25, @insider9, @lindsayt, @Shadders, @Nativebon, and there are a lot more I might have missed :(

I still remember doting over the Marantz 6004 cd player at 300 GBP, Marantz PM6004 at the same price , and then the budget  benchmarks and sonic Kings of that time, the monitor audio bronze also at 300 GBP . 

But for someone happy with mp3's over earphones, it was going to be a big leap of faith in the dark, to pull the trigger on the above 1000 GBP system. 

This was the time that qacoustics amd bluesound were in the news for the first time. And Sevenoaks were willing to give me a offer. So I bought the qacoustics 7000lri, with the bluesound power node gen 1 as my first system ever. 

It was easy, no faffing with complex cable configurations I had no idea about . Just 2 speaker cables to the q7000lri satellite speakers,  and I was blown :D

And there started the rabbit hole :D

In my opinion, summarising everything above :

1. To get more folks into this, the entry point has to be less complex and inexpensive, but better sound quality  than their headphones. 

2. They need a supportive community, to nurture them along the way. As the leaning curve is really steep.
I think the few remaining dealers need to put effort into selling entry level systems, get people on the first ladder. For many people an AUDIOLAB 6000 play, or a Cyrus Cast - paired with compact speakers would enrich many lives. 

 
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Amormusic

Wammer Plus
Wammer Plus
Jul 27, 2018
2,526
1,726
168
UK
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
I wrote a long post to this earlier but it crashed when I posted it. Anyway, here goes...

I am in late 30's so the bottom end of demographic on here... I think death/decline of the hifi is inevitable and completely understandable and will continue. Music/Hifi nerds are a dying breed imo opinion for many reasons (some already mentioned):

Instant worldwide access and interconnectivity:

- Netflix/Amazon/Disney etc - the world of films/TV/shorts etc. to lose time or get engrossed in. Instantly available, replayed on huge vivid TV's with decent sound. What's a kid not to love?!

- Worldwide gaming - Xbox/playstation etc. with completely engrossing games with cinema quality visuals and blockbuster budgets to amaze and wow. Worldwide connectivity. Instantly play anyone, anywhere.

- social media - take your pick of options, but this influences everything. You can also consume music on YouTube etc. for free, with video. Video is king.

- cheap relatively decent instant acces music options - Bose etc. Bluetooths and Bluetooth headphones all fed by limitless options via smartphone. 

It's possible to buy a decent spec TV, top flight gaming console, decent smartphone, Bose or similar bluetooth and subscriptions to Netflix etc. all for less than many on here have spent on kit just for music replay. 

My long-winded point is I think music is peripheral now, much more than it was. There are so many options and ways to entertain yourself, some of which do not cost much.

 
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newlash09

newlash09
Wammer Plus
Aug 10, 2018
2,909
2,528
183
India
AKA
Y.Manohar
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
I wrote a long post to this earlier but it crashed when I posted it. Anyway, here goes...

I am in late 30's so the bottom end of demographic on here... I think death/decline of the hifi is inevitable and completely understandable and will continue. Music/Hifi nerds are a dying breed imo opinion for many reasons (some already mentioned):

Instant worldwide access and interconnectivity:

- Netflix/Amazon/Disney etc - the world of films/TV/shorts etc. to lose time or get engrossed in. Instantly available, replayed on huge vivid TV's with decent sound. What's a kid not to love?!

- Worldwide gaming - Xbox/playstation etc. with completely engrossing games with cinema quality visuals and blockbuster budgets to amaze and wow. Worldwide connectivity. Instantly play anyone, anywhere.

- social media - take your pick of options, but this influences everything. You can also consume music on YouTube etc. for free, with video. Video is king.

- cheap relatively decent instant acces music options - Bose etc. Bluetooths and Bluetooth headphones all fed by limitless options via smartphone. 

It's possible to buy a decent spec TV, top flight gaming console, decent smartphone, Bose or similar bluetooth and subscriptions to Netflix etc. all for less than many on here have spent on kit just for music replay. 

My long-winded point is I think music is peripheral now, much more than it was. There are so many options and ways to entertain yourself, some of which do not cost much.
I must grudgingly say yes :(

 
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Klassik

Well-Known Wammer
Wammer
Sep 21, 2018
1,576
1,960
133
Houston
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
My long-winded point is I think music is peripheral now, much more than it was. There are so many options and ways to entertain yourself, some of which do not cost much.
Sí señor.  Sí at least as it relates to there being a lot more entertainment options.  With that in mind, people are spending less money on home audio equipment and more on other things such as video games and mobile devices.  All that said, even with all the entertainment options out there, music is still really important to a whole lot of people.

With technology, people are exploring music that otherwise would have been unknown to them before or at least hard to get.  People don't have to be reliant on what is played on the radio to explore new music.  People are still attending concerns...sometimes even too many people as we saw last week here in Houston where 9 people died due to the massive crowds.  :eek:   With the ease of recording and composing on modern technology, many people are composing, recording, and sharing their own music in ways which were just not possible before to amateurs with not much money.

Just because most middle class homes in the US had some sort of component-based audio system back in the 1970s-early 1990s does not mean everyone was an audiophile or that the owners of said systems even used their systems.  They were dust catchers for many people, but since audio was the primary form of home entertainment, people had them in their homes.  When people were able to get portable audio devices with good quality, audio systems that doubled as a video component, and soundbars, there was even less need for stereo component systems. 

Klassik has never thought that having Hi-Fi or not having it was any sign of whether people love music or not.  Klassik has known quite a few serious professional and amateur musicians over the years and most in modern times do not have Hi-Fi or even what most people here would consider Mid-Fi.  Conversely, there are people with very nice equipment who either have no clue how to use it (for example, Klassik knows more than a few people who thought the input level should be set to max when recording a cassette :doh: ) or who didn't really like music and they just liked the flashiness or whatever of the electronics. 

 
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DomT

Food and coffee and rock n roll
Wammer Plus
Jul 23, 2019
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183
Nottingham
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Dom
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
There is still a strong interest in music and a newer, livelier interest in headphones that fits the lifestyle of 20-30 year old. But they do not come here because of their perception of what happens here.  
Not sure what you mean by that. I had thought that headphone people don’t come here because headphones are rarely discussed and there are dedicated headphone forums. 

 
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DomT

Food and coffee and rock n roll
Wammer Plus
Jul 23, 2019
7,539
5,263
183
Nottingham
AKA
Dom
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
My long-winded point is I think music is peripheral now, much more than it was. There are so many options and ways to entertain yourself, some of which do not cost much.
This.

 

DomT

Food and coffee and rock n roll
Wammer Plus
Jul 23, 2019
7,539
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183
Nottingham
AKA
Dom
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
There’s been some good points raised that discuss why this predominantly 50/60 age group are lovers of HiFi but I am not sure that it’s clear why this age profile dominates this forum. I only joined to learn about streaming and I could well have been 25. 

 

simon g

Senior Wammer
Wammer Plus
Sep 11, 2006
2,495
1,281
193
Lincolnshire Coast
AKA
Simon
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
There’s been some good points raised that discuss why this predominantly 50/60 age group are lovers of HiFi but I am not sure that it’s clear why this age profile dominates this forum. I only joined to learn about streaming and I could well have been 25. 
It's definitely a generational thing. Young people don't need to join a forum to "learn about streaming'. It's easy. Use the app of choice on your 'phone, tablet, etc and listen via the device itself or via Bluetooth/Airplay to an external device. This is instinctive behaviour. My 7 year old nephew streams music with no problems at all! You only join a forum to "find out about streaming" if you want to incorporate that functionality in to a high quality sound system, comprised of separete boxes. The vast najority of younger generations have no interest in this at all, for the reasons outlined by many in tnis thread.

 
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StingRay

Legend Wammer
Wammer
Apr 27, 2016
9,940
5,264
148
Suffolk, UK
AKA
Ray
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
There’s been some good points raised that discuss why this predominantly 50/60 age group are lovers of HiFi but I am not sure that it’s clear why this age profile dominates this forum. I only joined to learn about streaming and I could well have been 25. 
Yes but how long would they stick around with a load of old fogeys, sometimes having cable wars?

Some will come looking for an answer and then when they have it disappear.

 

DomT

Food and coffee and rock n roll
Wammer Plus
Jul 23, 2019
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Nottingham
AKA
Dom
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
Yes but how long would they stick around with a load of old fogeys, sometimes having cable wars?

Some will come looking for an answer and then when they have it disappear.
And maybe this is something for the forum to think about. Do we want more younger people on here? If so what are the factors to attract and retain them?

 

StingRay

Legend Wammer
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Apr 27, 2016
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Suffolk, UK
AKA
Ray
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
And maybe this is something for the forum to think about. Do we want more younger people on here? If so what are the factors to attract and retain them?
Yes good point. Some other forums seem to get more younger members, often just starting out, but you don’t want too many, need to have a good balance. I have noticed a few younger ones on here also recently. Also some of the older ones have left for various reasons. I have been on 4 HiFi forums, WHF, WAM, PFM and AOS. I have found WAM to suit me best. WHF was ok until it closed down then I came here, a lot more experience and knowledge here I felt. WHF has restarted but lost a lot experienced members. AOS is too quiet. 

I do feel the forum has improved this year, after a certain member was banned, it was getting extremely boring. I was getting a bit fed up with it in the summer, so I had a 3 month break. 

Im more interested in music than HiFi.

 
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lazycat

Wammer Plus
Wammer Plus
Dec 20, 2007
2,413
3,057
193
Gloucestershire
AKA
simon
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
1. To get more folks into this, the entry point has to be less complex and inexpensive, but better sound quality  than their headphones. 

2. They need a supportive community, to nurture them along the way. As the leaning curve is really steep.
There are cheaper options available from lots of manufacturers, it's just they dont get discussed much here.

Probably because we're all obscenely rich.

And. I dont think the learning curve is that steep. We just make it appear so. lol

As for age, I noticed that that I joined at the age of 43. For some God forsaken reason I've stuck around.

 
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