Societal perceptions dictate what people view as reasonable expenditures on various retail merchandise. My goal is to help frame an understanding about why purchasing HiFi audio products deserves more acceptance in society. As I have conversations with friends and clients I find that using an automotive analogy resonates with people and helps them understand the HiFi industry better.
Before getting into the automotive analogy it is important to understand that HiFi audio is about producing music with less distortion, increased clarity, and more dynamics/scale, all of which make hearing songs more enjoyable. This can be in your living spaces, throughout your home, or in dedicated rooms. Music brings people together and can give you a mental break from all the common daily distractions, such as texts, emails, and social media. Even listening to a few songs several times per week can make a significant impact on your life. This is the reasoning behind one of my favorite sayings... “Music is my meditation.” Taking even a few minutes per day to clear your mind from your daily stressors and immersing yourself in the songs you love is very rewarding.
When a consumer is shopping for cars it is very easy to understand the concept of good, better, and best. This can be directly compared to audio systems. In the audio world there are systems of various quality, all at different price points. Putting together these systems requires an understanding of how all the components come together at price points that make sense relative to the type of system an individual is trying to achieve. You wouldn’t buy a sports car with a weak engine and be satisfied. You wouldn’t put cheap tires on a luxury vehicle and expect it to drive smoothly. It is generally not recommended to put regular gas in a performance vehicle because it benefits from better fuel. These are basic examples in the automotive industry that people can easily understand.
In the audio world every component in the system makes a difference. This includes the speakers, electronics, power/signal cables, Isolation devices/audio furniture, and the listening space. Any music system will play music. Just like any functional car will get you from point A to point B. But just like better cars provide a better driving experience, better audio systems provide a better listening experience. Whether or not you need or want a better listening system or a nicer car is up to you. What can be frustrating though is that many people with the means to purchase a nice HiFi system have a preconceived notion that it is a waste of money because of their lack of knowledge and experience. HiFi audio just doesn’t carry the same level of awareness as other retail merchandise that people are accustomed to paying for. It is not cheap or easy to mass produce high quality audio gear. What is often advertised on television and at local big box retailers is called HiFi and High End but will pale in comparison to the brands that HiFi dealers carry. Those willing to put in a little extra effort to seek out something special will reap the very real rewards of having a better sounding and more unique system.
Everyone that has never taken the time to visit a HiFi dealer should do so. You need to engage with someone that is passionate about music and equally passionate about the products they carry. After you experience a high quality listening system, you can then be the judge of whether or not this is for you. Also, “HiFi and High End” envelopes many different price points. It is not just for the ultra wealthy. Different dealers carry different products at different price points. But you have to go in with realistic expectations. In the car world people know the brands so they have some idea regarding price points before they walk into a dealership. In audio it takes more effort to learn about brands and price points. Hence working with a dealer takes the guess work out of it and helps ensure that your systems integrate well and sound great!
We live in a digital era and getting high quality music into HiFi systems has never been easier. People need to understand the benefits of quality audio and how it can enhance their personal lives and provide them with a form of healthy entertainment. The first step is to get in front of a great system. If you find yourself tapping your foot, smiling, and getting up with a sense of amazement then you will have experienced first hand what this industry is all about.