WAM Census 2021 Results - Sources

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lostwin

Tinker Bod
Wammer Plus
Nov 26, 2018
1,817
1,455
183
Folkestone, Kent
AKA
Richard
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
Busy weekend ahead for me with the highlight being Lurch's Bake Off, so this one is a big one for you to chew over before I get a chance to release further results on Monday.

The Census posed a series of questions around which sources you use and how you use them.  As a reminder the questions were;

 - Which sources do you use fairly regularly?

 - Which source do you listen to most?

 - Sources - In what direction is your predominant listening heading?

 - In your system, what do you consider is is your best sound quality source?

There were very few blanks in the responses, so results largely reflect all 215 respondents. 

Which sources.png

Turntables, CD Players and Streamers make up the big 3, with streamers now the most common source in peoples systems.  Hard drives are on more than 1/3 of systems and radio - presumably including internet radio - is also a popular source.

Using this multi selection data we can also get a view on the number of different sources by system;

Number of sources.PNG

2/3 of respondents use 2 or 3 sources fairly regularly. Of the 13% using a single source, this is broken down as follows;

Single source.PNG

Taking a look at the most used source we see the following;

  Most used.PNG

Again, streaming is the post popular and remembering that more than 50% of respondents have access to CD Players and/or Turntables, the gap on popularity of streamers is quite significant.

Now take a look at the results for what we consider to be our best quality source.  Remember that the question is specific to the respondent's system, so will reflect that individuals approach to improving a particular source. Two graphs are shown, one with all results and a second filtering out those just with a single source (who naturally wouldn't have a choice in their response);

Best quality 1.PNG

Best quality 2.PNG    

Whilst streaming has a clear lead on frequency of use, turntables are by a significant margin considered to be the respondents best quality source. In fact, crunching the data further shows that 63% of those that have a turntable in their system as well as at least one other source, consider their turntable to be their best quality source. 

Finally, looking at the general direction that users source listening is taking;

Listening direction.PNG

More than half of respondents are settled with their current mix of listening from their sources. Perhaps notable trends are that streaming is on the rise compared to both digital stored media / software and away from analogue sources. Only 5% are moving away from digital to listening more to analogue. 

 

Camverton

Wammer
Wammer
Jul 20, 2009
4,426
1,694
158
Herefordshire
AKA
Malcolm
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
Turntables are considered the best sounding source. What an astute lot Wammers are, I can only agree.
I think that depends on what genre of music one listens to. Non-classical very likely if recordings are compressed in their digital medial, but far less likely for classical listeners, who are likely in the minority - another poll needed!

 
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Three sheds

Wammer
Wammer
Jun 30, 2019
252
230
48
Cardiff
AKA
Jonathan
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
Interesting about turntables being the best sounding source.
I wonder how the results would look if we could add something that reflects the value of the systems - eg do the best sounding turntable system equate to higher expenditure to achieve that? 

 

callen24returns

Newbie
Wammer
Oct 11, 2021
165
158
58
Leicester
AKA
Chris
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
I see vinyl as my favourite, but I’d be surprised to find a turntable/cart/phonopre amp combo that can get near to a streamer/DAC combo at a similar price, for example £1k. Can people suggest one?

that is without discussing the stupid cost of vinyl, if you do not already own loads.

In another thread someone mentioned headphones being popular with under 25s. Is that because they can get a mojo and headphones which gives them so much? My fiio x3 with ie8 headphones, or hd565 has given me some amazing experiences as I look out over the balcony in far off places 

 

lazycat

Wammer Plus
Wammer Plus
Dec 20, 2007
1,655
1,509
193
Gloucestershire
AKA
simon
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
I’d be surprised to find a turntable/cart/phonopre amp combo that can get near to a streamer/DAC combo at a similar price, for example £1k. Can people suggest one?
Rega 3 with a fono?

Technics 1500?

2nd hand would perhaps find something more special, probably require some fettling tho'. But this is a hobby..

 
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Camverton

Wammer
Wammer
Jul 20, 2009
4,426
1,694
158
Herefordshire
AKA
Malcolm
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
Just noticed that for “best quality all responses” if you group together the digital sources they have more votes than analogue vinyl. Interesting thing data and how one interprets it!

Fascinating stuff though and many thanks to lostwin for all the work he has put into this.

 

DomT

It’s all about the music
Wammer Plus
Jul 23, 2019
6,284
3,757
183
Nottingham
AKA
Dom
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
Interesting to see that Streaming is the most used source. This was my answer. Obviously there are a variety of reasons eg a) convenience b) being lazy c) exploring new music d) listening to music that you know but don’t own etc.

For me streaming is primarily about listening to music that I don’t own and discovering new music.

 

Tarzan

Wammer
Wammer
Aug 13, 2007
8,415
1,373
143
Hornchurch, England
AKA
Andy
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
I see vinyl as my favourite, but I’d be surprised to find a turntable/cart/phonopre amp combo that can get near to a streamer/DAC combo at a similar price, for example £1k. Can people suggest one?

that is without discussing the stupid cost of vinyl, if you do not already own loads.

In another thread someone mentioned headphones being popular with under 25s. Is that because they can get a mojo and headphones which gives them so much? My fiio x3 with ie8 headphones, or hd565 has given me some amazing experiences as I look out over the balcony in far off places 
 How long have you got? 😜

Welcome to the forum any road.

Everyone hears things differently, there is no wrong or right, there is no right or wrong in this game, trust your own ears.🤓

 

StingRay

Legend Wammer
Wammer
Apr 27, 2016
8,814
4,362
148
Suffolk, UK
AKA
Ray
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
Interesting to see that Streaming is the most used source. This was my answer. Obviously there are a variety of reasons eg a) convenience b) being lazy c) exploring new music d) listening to music that you know but don’t own etc.

For me streaming is primarily about listening to music that I don’t own and discovering new music.
I stream all the time, even if .I own the cd. Convenience but also often the streamed version is better sound quality. Many of my cds are not good masters or remasters, some are awful. Some hires remasters I think are better than my cd. Some recent remasters are far better such as Steven Wilson Jethro Tull.  You can also compare different recordings as with classical. I play a lot of new music and I agree great way to discover new music. 

 
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rdale

Wammer
Wammer Plus
May 21, 2009
2,124
980
178
Gran Canaria, Spain
AKA
Richard Dale
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
I answered that the best quality source depends on the recording, and I personally don’t think the question makes much sense. Certainly in my system my CD player was never as good as vinyl, but that was a long time ago and I don’t even listen to CDs any more.

 

ziggy

Wammer
Wammer
Mar 11, 2017
387
240
48
Cardiff
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
I stream all the time and don't think it can be beaten for SQ.  However, my streaming source is far from  cheap.  That said, it is not costly compared to a top quality TT, arm, cartridge, phono stage, not to mention the cost of vinyl, unlimited choice of music and convenience of controlling everything from my phone. High res streaming is an emerging science and there have been a lot of developments in recent years which I believe I have kept pace with while achieving VFM.  As has been said the master is all important and some of the recent ones are very good.  Qobuz is usually superior to my ripped CDs.

The result of this census reflects that of the age profile one.  I suspect most invested heavily in vinyl in the 80s and have kept on the same path, while finding streaming more convenient.

 
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StingRay

Legend Wammer
Wammer
Apr 27, 2016
8,814
4,362
148
Suffolk, UK
AKA
Ray
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
I stream all the time and don't think it can be beaten for SQ.  However, my streaming source is far from  cheap.  That said, it is not costly compared to a top quality TT, arm, cartridge, phono stage, not to mention the cost of vinyl, unlimited choice of music and convenience of controlling everything from my phone. High res streaming is an emerging science and there have been a lot of developments in recent years which I believe I have kept pace with while achieving VFM.  As has been said the master is all important and some of the recent ones are very good.  Qobuz is usually superior to my ripped CDs.

The result of this census reflects that of the age profile one.  I suspect most invested heavily in vinyl in the 80s and have kept on the same path, while finding streaming more convenient.
Probably more in the 70s for buying LPs. 

 

tuga

. . .
Wammer
Aug 17, 2007
11,673
4,417
173
Oxfordshire, UK
AKA
Ric
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
Busy weekend ahead for me with the highlight being Lurch's Bake Off, so this one is a big one for you to chew over before I get a chance to release further results on Monday.

The Census posed a series of questions around which sources you use and how you use them.  As a reminder the questions were;

 - Which sources do you use fairly regularly?

 - Which source do you listen to most?

 - Sources - In what direction is your predominant listening heading?

 - In your system, what do you consider is is your best sound quality source?

There were very few blanks in the responses, so results largely reflect all 215 respondents. 

View attachment 101390

Turntables, CD Players and Streamers make up the big 3, with streamers now the most common source in peoples systems.  Hard drives are on more than 1/3 of systems and radio - presumably including internet radio - is also a popular source.

Using this multi selection data we can also get a view on the number of different sources by system;

View attachment 101385

2/3 of respondents use 2 or 3 sources fairly regularly. Of the 13% using a single source, this is broken down as follows;

View attachment 101386

Taking a look at the most used source we see the following;

  View attachment 101384

Again, streaming is the post popular and remembering that more than 50% of respondents have access to CD Players and/or Turntables, the gap on popularity of streamers is quite significant.

Now take a look at the results for what we consider to be our best quality source.  Remember that the question is specific to the respondent's system, so will reflect that individuals approach to improving a particular source. Two graphs are shown, one with all results and a second filtering out those just with a single source (who naturally wouldn't have a choice in their response);

View attachment 101381

View attachment 101382    

Whilst streaming has a clear lead on frequency of use, turntables are by a significant margin considered to be the respondents best quality source. In fact, crunching the data further shows that 63% of those that have a turntable in their system as well as at least one other source, consider their turntable to be their best quality source. 

Finally, looking at the general direction that users source listening is taking;

View attachment 101383

More than half of respondents are settled with their current mix of listening from their sources. Perhaps notable trends are that streaming is on the rise compared to both digital stored media / software and away from analogue sources. Only 5% are moving away from digital to listening more to analogue. 
Could you compare analogue vs. digital (Best quality all responses)?

 
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Klassik

Well-Known Wammer
Wammer
Sep 21, 2018
1,225
1,425
133
Houston
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
Interesting to see that Streaming is the most used source. This was my answer. Obviously there are a variety of reasons eg a) convenience b) being lazy c) exploring new music d) listening to music that you know but don’t own etc.
Streaming is popular for all the reasons listed above, but also merely being on a forum such as this leads to the use of streaming.  People are always posting recommendations either in name or in YouTube video form.  There is a certain social aspect to streaming that is not too dissimilar from mixtape social clubs some might remember from the rather distant past.  xD

Obviously, streaming makes it easy for people to explore music.  For pop music, people may own an album with the album version of a song, but it's possible there may be radio edits and alternative versions of songs which perhaps were not available easily on physical media.  Streaming makes it easy to hear those versions.  For classical music, streaming makes it very easy to hear different recordings of the same music to evaluate different performances in addition to the aforementioned ability to explore new music.  To do something like that in the past, one either had to be very wealthy to buy all kinds of recordings or one had to have access to a good public/university library which had access to multiple recordings. 

Various people, people with nice equipment and otherwise, have confessed to Klassik that they stream things they own on physical media simply so they don't have to hunt down where they've put their physical media.  xD   Also, depending on how one interacts with their streaming platform, it might be much easier to 'rewind' and 'fast forward' to certain parts in a piece of music for close evaluation.  Of course, this can be an advantage of file-based listening as well.  With physical media, this can be a bit more of a hassle especially since CD index marks never really took off and most players from the 1990s onward do not have provisions for even using index marks. 

Even with all these advantages, Klassik still listens to physical media at least as much as streaming.  In fact, streaming is often used as a way to determine what to buy on physical media or in digital download form.  Even then, the digital downloads will often go onto a CD-R or tape.  Part of Klassik's enjoyment of music is being able to disconnect from computers for a while.  Klassik is on the computer enough for work and for non-work purposes and it is nice to not have to interface with one even if one could argue that a CD player and even a full-logic cassette deck are examples of primitive computers.  ;)  

 
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rdale

Wammer
Wammer Plus
May 21, 2009
2,124
980
178
Gran Canaria, Spain
AKA
Richard Dale
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
I think the survey is assuming we only have one system, whereas I personally have several.

But I only have one system that I can play LPs on, because the physical media can only be in one place. It isn't that vinyl sounds good or bad, but my digital collection is on multiple hard drives and SD cards in multiple locations and is vastly more versatile. Additionally, I can also listen to Qobuz Hi Res music anywhere on any sort of system - headphone or speaker based.

 
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