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Why have music systems become less popular?


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Old 19-08-2013, 00:30
Soundbox
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I have always had a music system, from a hand me down in the 1980's to a set of seperates now. My Dad also has one of the nice compact ones that Tandy used to sell with the metal speakers.

But the HiFi shop has closed, Currys have no stock and there is no longer any HiFi shops like there used to be.

I know that people have the MP3 player docks but this is nothing like even a basic music centre. For one thing having a pair of speakers far enough apart to 'reassemble' the sound that was recorded in the studio and no CD player.

So why do people no longer want even a compact HiFi any longer? Being selfish for a moment I do love my music and do miss having new things to try to give me more music enjoyment and new technology (my current seperates are over 10 years old now). The really good gang at the HiFi shop closed because the shop was being ignored. That was Watford - Aylesbury and St Albans shops shut too. Sad really.
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Old 19-08-2013, 01:17
boksbox
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I have always had a music system, from a hand me down in the 1980's to a set of seperates now. My Dad also has one of the nice compact ones that Tandy used to sell with the metal speakers.

But the HiFi shop has closed, Currys have no stock and there is no longer any HiFi shops like there used to be.

I know that people have the MP3 player docks but this is nothing like even a basic music centre. For one thing having a pair of speakers far enough apart to 'reassemble' the sound that was recorded in the studio and no CD player.

So why do people no longer want even a compact HiFi any longer? Being selfish for a moment I do love my music and do miss having new things to try to give me more music enjoyment and new technology (my current seperates are over 10 years old now). The really good gang at the HiFi shop closed because the shop was being ignored. That was Watford - Aylesbury and St Albans shops shut too. Sad really.
You'll find that a lot of people feed their CD players or streamer, e.g. Sonos through an AV amplifier, that's what I do.
Richer sounds is in Watford have a look at their separates or Sevenoaks
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Old 19-08-2013, 02:40
evil c
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Bit of a shock to see the words 'nice' and 'Tandy' together in the same sentence. Not sure I'm going to recover from that any time soon! I know what you mean though. There used to be a very good separates Hi-Fi shop in my home town, where the owner had converted upstairs into a listening room.

He had the knack of getting hold of the latest kit and in some cases pre-production too. I used to go there every Saturday to see what was new and must've spent a fortune over the years. I was very sad when he closed but all the other specialist Hi-Fi shops in Liverpool were closing as well. Doug Brady's still going strong in Warrington, but I was never really a fan anyway.

'Fraid I've got one over you on the age of your separates system as I've had mine since 1976, well the pre-production Quad amps anyway. Then I bought new speakers in 82, replaced the CD player shortly after 2000, and I have 2 Leak tuners on the go, of which at present I'm using the Stereofetic FM.

As to the decline of Hi-Fi and compact systems, well the former was a craze for a decade or so and as with all crazes it's been replaced. I still see a lot of compact systems though, and where this has changed I think, is that they are all now mass market Japanese style rather than an entry level introduction to the world of Hi-Fi. Actual records have seen a resurgence in popularity recently though, so perhaps the interest in Hi-Fi will be rekindled as well.
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Old 19-08-2013, 06:44
David Waine
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Richer Sounds still sell plenty of hi-fi and not all of the specialist shops have closed. Gateshead is a long way from being England's most glamorous town, but it is home to Lintone Audio, which sells some of the most esoteric audio gear you can buy.
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Old 19-08-2013, 10:09
late8
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I worry about the gradual decline in quality.
Back in the day of CD (even vinal depending on your stance)- Music was more quality.

Now kids listen to crappy mp3'd over crappy headphones. Music systems have become crappy docks that lets face it will never beat a Hi Fi wacking out 200W+ of CD/Vinal.
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Old 19-08-2013, 10:23
eugenespeed
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Richer Sounds still sell plenty of hi-fi and not all of the specialist shops have closed. Gateshead is a long way from being England's most glamorous town, but it is home to Lintone Audio, which sells some of the most esoteric audio gear you can buy.
I know that shop well.

I still have a music system, got a 14 year old Aiwa, record player, twin tapes and three disc changer (lost the aerial sadly) and I occasionally sit back and listen to music on it, but I mostly use MP3 these days just for convenience.

If I'm already at the computer, it's easier just to double click a file.
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Old 19-08-2013, 10:25
chrisjr
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I worry about the gradual decline in quality.
Back in the day of CD (even vinal depending on your stance)- Music was more quality.

Now kids listen to crappy mp3'd over crappy headphones. Music systems have become crappy docks that lets face it will never beat a Hi Fi wacking out 200W+ of CD/Vinal.
It has ever been thus.

I had my first hi-fi system back in the very early seventies. Most of my contemporaries were listening on cheap and nasty record players with 20% distortion and thought I was mad paying 25 quid or whatever it was just for the turntable when they spent under a tenner on their entire system!
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Old 19-08-2013, 10:26
gomezz
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I still use my hi-fi amp and speakers for playing music rather than my AV amp as to upgrade the AV amp to one which matches the quality on music would be several thousand pounds.
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Old 19-08-2013, 10:27
Chris Frost
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So why do people no longer want even a compact HiFi any longer?
More competition for disposable income from other things: Sky with Sports & Movies @ >100/month for a start. Driving fancy cars: The expectation to be driving an Audi/BM/Mini etc instead of more modest Fiesta. Insurance costs, especially among the young. There's all your wages gone, right there. Students not getting a grant but having to take out a loan; it's harder to part with a grand for a Hi-Fi if you know you have to pay it back. Foreign holidays: the messy week in Ibiza/Aya Napa etc.

Hi-Fi/music sharing the limelight with other devices or activities: Mobile phones is a big one. Folk are obsessed with them. Tablets. The internet. Laptops.... "music" is on all of them so why buy a Hi-Fi if music is already accessible from so many other sources.

The rise of "crap but free" sources. YouTube, P2P etc.

Ultimately people will go for the easiest solution. It's human nature.
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Old 19-08-2013, 10:40
fmradiotuner1
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I have a NAD C370 but since getting a used Denon AVR-1910 I have been using it less

http://forums.digitalspy.co.uk/showthread.php?t=1876889

And most music is played from PC and have in FLAC or at least 320K so it sounds really decent to me.
Though radio seems to be dying and most young people use things like youtube and spotify these days.
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Old 19-08-2013, 10:50
ixHellstormx
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We (the wife and I) still have a small hi fi/cd/dab radio in our bedroom. It's the convenience of portable players such as iPod and digital downloads that have all but killed off the market IMO. Yeah you can still get a few small hi fi's from the likes of Denon but there's certainly not as many in the electrical shops as there used to be although there's still a few specialist hi fi shops around. We have a few here in Edinburgh although we have lost a few in the past 2 or 3 years.
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Old 19-08-2013, 11:01
Nigel Goodwin
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Go to any Sony dealer, there's still a range of small audio units available from Sony - and most other manufacturers as well.

But the range is certainly reduced from what it was.
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Old 19-08-2013, 12:06
Glawster2002
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More competition for disposable income from other things: Sky with Sports & Movies @ >100/month for a start. Driving fancy cars: The expectation to be driving an Audi/BM/Mini etc instead of more modest Fiesta. Insurance costs, especially among the young. There's all your wages gone, right there. Students not getting a grant but having to take out a loan; it's harder to part with a grand for a Hi-Fi if you know you have to pay it back. Foreign holidays: the messy week in Ibiza/Aya Napa etc.

Hi-Fi/music sharing the limelight with other devices or activities: Mobile phones is a big one. Folk are obsessed with them. Tablets. The internet. Laptops.... "music" is on all of them so why buy a Hi-Fi if music is already accessible from so many other sources.

The rise of "crap but free" sources. YouTube, P2P etc.

Ultimately people will go for the easiest solution. It's human nature.
I agree. Most people will go with cheap and convenient rather than pay for something better.

As for Hi-fi shops, the three main ones these days seem to be Severnoaks, Audio Excellence or Audio T, and Richer Sounds.

I've still got a pretty good Hi-fi and get my stuff mostly from Severnoaks in Cheltenham. Without wanting to sound like a snob, how "affluent" an area appears to be probably has a baring on if there is a Hi-fi shop. Cheltenham, for example, is considered reasonably "posh" and has a Severnoaks, Audio T, and a Richer Sounds.
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Old 19-08-2013, 13:10
call100
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Frank Harvey Hi-Fi Excellence in Coventry is worth a visit if you are in the area. Very knowledgeable and helpful.
They have an online business as well http://www.hifix.co.uk/ The helpline on the site is actually to the shop. If you require any info before buying they are always obliging....
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Old 19-08-2013, 13:44
Soundbox
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Thanks for the input. I forgot about Richer Sounds - I think the lack of parking put me off calling in there. I also realized that with the closing of HMV will reduce people's interaction with new music and there are far less music spots on talk shows than there used to be. Going to a friend's house and listening to their (and their parents) music on the HiFi was good and if I bought a cassette along I could take a few select tracks home. Can't bring back the yesterday's but a shame what is popular now isn't as good.
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Old 19-08-2013, 16:45
56up
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Things move on. I bought my first "HiFi", it was basic entry level back then (married - young kids, could afford no better) but still sounded good with my Kef floor speakers. Has plenty of compliments on it back then.
It's not all doom and gloom. Modern AV receivers, if you buy one a little way up the scale, usually have a stereo or "pure audio" setting which passes the sound without processing straight to the front speakers.
Maybe you do not like CDs and prefer the smoother, less clinical sound from vinyl? Whilst nothing compares to watching a high quality cartridge tracking a record I really can do without the clicks, pops and rumble that were pre-eminent. The rumble was rarely your turntable, it was recorded along with the music.

It's a bit like cooking from scratch rather than buying a ready meal. 40 years ago, every family cooked. Not now.

If you came straight to modern reproduction technology you'd probably be extremely content.
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Old 19-08-2013, 21:27
Doghouse Riley
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Listening to music on your hifi, was very popular forty years ago and lasted for a few decades..
You could listen to it in a car but it'd have to be on the radio or cassette tape. Same with a cumbersome Walkman, either on store bought cassettes or on ones you taped from your records or those of friends.
The reproduction quality was always considered inferior to vinyl.

Now with all the advances in technology, it's a bit of an effort for some to get different CDs or vinyl out and play it at home, when there's the opportunity to listen to practically everything on the move.
People's habits evolve.
Hifis just ain't popular anymore. Good ones a few decades old that are in perfect working order are "cheap as chips" on e-Bay.

We've a variety of ways to listen to music at home from any era, on a thirty year-old tuner/amp I bought for thirty quid on e-Bay to replace one of a similar age that gave up the ghost a few years ago, with a combination of vinyl, cassettes, CDs and this facility, our favourite way, which given our advancing years, also provides a bit of nostalgia.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIjaHH-qbPU
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Old 19-08-2013, 21:54
barbeler
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Is it possible to wire a couple of old speakers directly to either the TV or a YouView box? I have a couple of Wharfedale Diamonds, but I have a feeling that there might be a problem with impedance and that it might damage the television. I'm also puzzles about wiring them up, because I used to use some twin core wiring (or mains cable, which was trendy at the time) and simply twist the ends of the wire around contacts on the amp and speakers.
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Old 19-08-2013, 22:32
Deacon1972
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Is it possible to wire a couple of old speakers directly to either the TV or a YouView box? I have a couple of Wharfedale Diamonds, but I have a feeling that there might be a problem with impedance and that it might damage the television. I'm also puzzles about wiring them up, because I used to use some twin core wiring (or mains cable, which was trendy at the time) and simply twist the ends of the wire around contacts on the amp and speakers.
Yes, if the TV has speaker terminals, otherwise no, unless you want to take the back of the TV off and make a physical connection to the internal wiring.

Other options are to get a cheap stereo amp or a 2.0/2.1 speaker system, ones that are normally associated with PC's.
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Old 20-08-2013, 01:34
evil c
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Is it possible to wire a couple of old speakers directly to either the TV or a YouView box? I have a couple of Wharfedale Diamonds, but I have a feeling that there might be a problem with impedance and that it might damage the television. I'm also puzzles about wiring them up, because I used to use some twin core wiring (or mains cable, which was trendy at the time) and simply twist the ends of the wire around contacts on the amp and speakers.
I didn't know anything about the Diamonds so have had a quick look on the net. Seems they have been in production for over 30 years. Before you connect them to the TV you will need to check their minimum power requirements. If say they are rated at 20W RMS minimum and the TV amp is only 10W RMS maximum, then the amp won't have the power to drive the speakers.

As you say you will need to check the impedance as well, as this will affect their efficiency.
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Old 20-08-2013, 08:37
gomezz
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Some versions of the Diamonds were/are active with built in amps that can be connected to line level audio out on the TV (eg RCA or VCR SCART/SCART 2) or to the headphone out socket.

If you can't or don't want to get a full blown separate surround system then, as already suggested, any half-way decent stereo system will do a good job of improving on what you get from the built in TV sound. Or failing that a set of active computer speakers designed to be plugged into a headphone socket.
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Old 20-08-2013, 09:02
Nigel Goodwin
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If say they are rated at 20W RMS minimum and the TV amp is only 10W RMS maximum, then the amp won't have the power to drive the speakers.
Sorry, but that's complete nonsense.

Speakers don't have minimum power requirements, only maximum limitations.

A 10W (or 5W for that matter) amplifier can perfectly happily feed 20W (or 100W) speakers - it just won't be quite as loud.

As sound is logarithmic, then the difference isn't that great - for example 100W is only twice as loud as 10W.

I've wired many pairs of speakers to LCD TV's - there's no problems in doing so, and they sound absolutely amazing.

Most HiFi speakers are 8 ohm, and work fine on TV's, although many TV's will happily feed 4 ohm as well.
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Old 20-08-2013, 09:35
njp
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Sorry, but that's complete nonsense.

Speakers don't have minimum power requirements, only maximum limitations.

A 10W (or 5W for that matter) amplifier can perfectly happily feed 20W (or 100W) speakers - it just won't be quite as loud.
But you will also know, presumably, that is is possible to wreck a decent high-power speaker by driving an under-powered amplifier into distortion, because the high-frequency harmonics from the resulting clipping will be fed via the crossover network through the speaker's tweeter, possibly exceeding its power rating.

As sound is logarithmic, then the difference isn't that great - for example 100W is only twice as loud as 10W.
It's true that most listening is done at much lower power levels than most people expect. But a more powerful amplifier gives headroom for transients, which is what makes the difference when listening to material at a fairly high ambient level.
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Old 20-08-2013, 09:49
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My old HiFi is at my parents and my wife's is in the loft, mainly due to it takes up too much space and having big chunky speakers these days hanging from the walls is not a good look.
If we listen to a CD we just put it in the Blu Ray player and turn on our Sony AV amp or connect an iPhone/iPod direct to the amp instead.
Same goes for the radio too, most of what we listen to you can get on a freesat box, so listen to those through the amp too.
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Old 20-08-2013, 10:04
Glawster2002
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As sound is logarithmic, then the difference isn't that great - for example 100W is only twice as loud as 10W.
Sound is logarithmic to our ears, however power is linear so 100W is ten times greater than 10W.

Sound is usually measured in decibels, dB, which is a logarithmic scale. Therefore 3dB would sound twice as "loud" as 0db, which would sound twice as "loud" as -3dB, etc.
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