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WAM Census 2021 Results - Age & Gender


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Being a consumer is different to being a hobbyist. I suspect that numbers of the latter have stayed fairly constant, possibly even increased slightly thanks to the internet.

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1 hour ago, Three sheds said:

I think a major factor is the nature of this forum.

What are the characteristics of individuals who are attracted to reading and contributing to this forum?

Would the survey give a different result for other hifi forums which have maybe a different focus? 

Interesting question. I came to this forum a couple of years ago in my early 50s because I wanted to get into streaming and didn’t understand it. I found this place friendly and useful. I decided to also respond to others as a way of paying back. I stuck around for a while because my digital journey was changing. If I hadn’t considered streaming I would never have joined. I am not a member of any other forum of any type. 

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Super Wammer

Growing up in the 60s as a young teenager I recall that the staple means of listening to music was the radiogram with the main listening being via the radio which boomed when radio stations like Radio Caroline/ Radio One arrived. It was those radio stations that drew many youngsters into music. The TT was for when you were entertaining mainly.

I played my small but growing collection of lp's on my Mum & Dads radiogram in the sitting room to the point of driving them insane so they they bought me a TT with built in amplifier & stereo speakers for a birthday so I would bugger off and listen in my bedroom instead. 

From that moment I was hooked on having the best 'Stereo' I could afford and quite a few friends were the same at this time this of course declined rapidly when girls suddenly became interesting oh yeah & beer too. As I recall only two of us continued after that & He has a 60k Linn system now with a 10,000 + record collection.

All three of my Sons love music two have a hifi & one is happy to listen by whatever means it's availabe. My eldest Grandson also has a hifi after seeing/hearing mine when visting. So I think we influence our offspring in their choices so Our hobby will continue into the future much the same as it is now.

I'm not suprised our hobby is male dominated and considered a bit 'nerdy' 


 

Edited by Madvinyljunkie II
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Super Wammer
50 minutes ago, Madvinyljunkie II said:

Growing up in the 60s as a young teenager I recall that the staple means of listening to music was the radiogram with the main listening being via the radio which boomed when radio stations like Radio Caroline/ Radio One arrived. It was those radio stations that drew many youngsters into music.

I played my small but growing collection of lp's on my Mum & Dads radiogram in the sitting room to the point of driving them insane so they they bought me a TT with built in amplifier & stereo speakers for a birthday so I would bugger off and listen in my bedroom instead. 

Hehe. Pretty much the same here, except the 'Music Centre' was in the dining room. Little did they realise that a Nad 3020 and a pair of Videoton Minimax went a lot louder...

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Super Wammer

I had no other people male or female at school who seemed interested in better HiFi though many were enthused by music and went to concerts . When I left to go to work I only met one other colleague who was enthusiastic about hifi and it was very much like me at that time entry level .

Sadly while both my boys loved listening to music on Dads system over the years and while I gave one a system and offered one to the other neither now have one in use . In both cases it was only to be able to listen to music and neither has shown any inclination to read about or be interested in the actual gear.

One thing is for sure when I die there will be no one interested in all the strange boxes that litter our house and I suspect many will just get tipped .

Edited by bencat
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Good comments and discussion here.

I went to CanJam 2019 in London and there were a large number of young people there. Whilst I was playing with expensive headphones, a young guy (25?) came up and asked to buy the Woo Audio valve amplifier and electrostatic headphones. They were about £5K. The demonstrator said they were not selling, but just showing, and offered him contact details of his distributor in France.  Rob Watts gave a great talk, with a full audience, and there were a large number of questions afterwards.

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.  At the moment, there is an enormous interest in expensive headphones and headphone amplifiers.

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At the moment, there is an enormous interest in expensive headphones and headphone amplifiers.

Yep - count me in

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Super Wammer

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. 

Edited by Lurch
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27 minutes ago, monya said:

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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9 hours ago, DomT said:

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.  ;)

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10 hours ago, DomT said:

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.  

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Super Wammer
35 minutes ago, Lurch said:

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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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. 

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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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