I always quite laugh when the Audio Morons ™, overwhelmed with zillion-dollars-worth audio installations and with primitive sound in their room, answer my questions: What you guys doing? Those people are under mistaking impression that they do High End Audio. In fact what they do is not what they believe they do and what they do it something that I call “Inverted High End” ™. The “Inverted High End” ™ is very common and very domination pattern in audio, not just dominating but practically the pattern that leaves no room for the real High End. The nature, the inner mechanisms, the harm of the IHE and how it should be different is something that I will be addressing in this thread.
The currently existing High End Audio consists of consumers and solution providers. The consumers are the consumers and the solution providers are manufactures, distributors, retailers and marketing people. The mechanism roughly works according to the rules that a manufacturer has an ability to offer a product that could be sold. From there, if the manufacturer embraces the little ballet that the distributors, retailers and marketing folks dance, then the manufacturer’s product become available for consumers consumption. Some manufacturers sell their products “direct”, bypassing the industry distribution chains, but it makes no difference as the consumers still harvest the results of the manufacturers efforts instead of addressing via audio methods the state of own audio frustrations. Some might think that consumers have “choice” among the hundreds of the manufactures and hundreds of manufacture’s different views on sound. Well, it is not so simple.
Let vive aside who most of the manufactures, what objectives they have and what justification and reasons they have to do what they do. The deeper problem is that manufactures, as the providers of the solutions, address not the actual sonic nuisances but only generic and very limited objectives. They juts by nature of their operation could not afford to dive into the details. Pretend that you looking for a suite and your tailor just talk to you over a phone caring only about your height and asking you only about the color of your suite. Sounds ridicules? No more ridicule then audio people do in audio when they are “shopping for audio”. In realty the audio people go to a big market with hundreds of the common tailors and try to find a suite that would fit their body. Nothing wrong with it but it is not High End Audio but juts Audio, the regular consumer audio. I am been telling for years that using the regular consumer audio from regular very inexpensive consumer products it is possible to accomplish very-very high audio results, way higher then 99% of the results then Audio people are accomplishing today in this listening rooms. How can I explain to a person who paid $36.000 for his Mark Levinson, $25.000 for Krell, $15,000 for Burmester or $23.000 for his ASR Emitter that a proper model of $400 Denon or Techniques or Sony are able to perform the levels of magnitude more capable. It is not necessary that those Denons or Suzukis are better audio but because the Krells and Burmesters more made-up problems with Sound. So the generic demands lead to the generic solutions. It is not High End and there is not needs to apply the principles of the healthy High End snobbism to the very ordinary generic implementations. To do it is similar to trip to Woolworth’s and feeling that you look at the best tailor work possible for you custom body style. In fact this situation, when a consumer explicitly inherents the outcome of the industry audio defecation I call “Inverted High End” ™.
The “Inverted High End” ™ is dependency of consumer’s demands upon the availability of solutions. As the result the primitivism of the manufactures desire drive the consumers scope. Since most of the audio manufactures are drop offs from other industries, culturally handicapped or juts people who failed in other fields then we understand the depth of the swamp when the audiophiles are sinking. A solution how to become not subjected to the “Inverted High End”? Welcome to the club of the Real High End…
The Real High End is a situation when the desires of consumers drive manufacturers. I mean the level of the consumer’s audio development, the evolvement of the consumers reference points and the consumers views about the sound become the ONLY guiding principle in the consumer’s navigation within the market of availabilities. The mechanism is simple and almost absurd in the scale of the today audio world. A consumer use the proper pre-purchase assessment techniques:
http://www.goodsoundclub.com/TreeItem.aspx?postID=2909 (and DO follow the link within the post)
After this, when the requirements for the “next step” are formed and literally documented, then a consumer approaches a manufactures of his chose and imposes his requirements to the manufacture. Here is where a few phenomenally interesting moments takes place:
1) 95% of all manufactures go to dark and never show up anymore because they are disabled to make audio with predicable sonic characteristic.
2) The marketing superstructure of audio automatically get eliminated or very substantially suppressed, as there is no application market for their services.
3) Consumers get own responsibilities for sound in their listening rooms that serve a phenomenal educational tool.
4) Audio industry begins to develop for a first time the REAL methods of sound manufacturing and sound assessments.
5) Manufactures, also for a first time, begin to respect and to value the interest of consumers.
The ridiculeness of the Anti Inverted High End approach is that there is nothing in Real High End that violates the manufactures interest, menace money. Sure the manufactures do not do the cookie-curter products anymore but I am not talking about the completely custom products but about manufactures running this core topologies and tune the design for “Sound” that a consumes asks. Sure, the manufactures make less products but the also do not give up 50%-75% of their income to the “distribution nothingness”. I think by properly organizing the R&D techniques and production is it perfectly possible to make products “accommodative”. Definitely it will create a certain discomfort among the manufactures but “fuck” them if the consumers can get in return better audio, better sound and healthier relationship with “solution providers”. Also, do not forget that 95% of all manufactures return back to where then come from - change the power outlets in hotels – and whoever left among the Real High End manufactures are the people who can “handle it”…
Utopia? Hm, yeas and no. I can see here and there pop up individual manufactures who have courage to do what they believe and to stay behind what they do. Those manufactures are so capable that they are not afraid to take on the tasks to deliver to a consumer not the solutions but satisfaction. They might be even more expansive but the money with their products-projects actually relates to the result. If the mutual consumer and manufacture results are something that comes from the consumer’s objective then my hat off to this collaboration.
So, the Real High End vs. Inverted High End. The Realty of the Sound vs. the Surrogate of Sound. Who owns who? Manufactures own the consumer via their marketing pimps or we, the consumers, own this entire damn industry? The fraudulent and ignorant manufactures along with zombienised and damn Morons-consumers or fertile and wiling manufactures along with free and demanding consumers?
Well, you decide…Rgs,
Romy the Cat
"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche