Our Shared Audio Experience
It's strange how these things pan out. When I started writing about audio back in the early 1990s, every black cab ride, every casual conversation with someone outside my personal circle of friends was a bit like 'the doctor is in!' I would be asked questions about someone's audio system; often more to boost confidence and reduce buyer's remorse. It was surprising, however, just how many people would rattle off a list of extremely good equipment... this was coming toward the last days of the Linn/Naim 'flat earth' hegemony and many systems reflected that.
Over time, those questions faded; first morphing into "I've got Bang & Olufsen/Bose... is that still the best?" or "Yeah, my dad's still got a Quad amp. Is it worth anything?" and then simply dropping away, sometimes to a "do they still make that stuff? I thought it was all just on your phone?" but mostly just... gone.
However, I've been surprised at how many casual conversations recently have been not only more positive toward the notion of good audio but met by someone who is both a generation younger than the anticipated audio buyer and an enthusiastic music-loving audiophile in the making.
A recent example highlights this. I went for a pre-Stoptober 'cheeky half' or six with another member of the audio industry in my local pub. As is often the case, we started talking about audio, when I heard, "excuse me". Thinking we had got a little lairy, I was about to tone down the conversation when the guy began asking questions about audio and his (pretty good) system. We are now at 'nodding' levels of recognition, which by British terms – and especially in London – means he's practically family.
Were this (the random encountering of audio enthusiasts, not going to a pub) a one-off, I could pass it off as just luck, but I've met several people who are far more interested in audio as a concept that I have done in years. I suspect a lot of this comes down to spending 2020 and the first quarter of 2021 at home and listening to good music in place of climbing the walls (people I know of who are involved in equally home-based hobbies report similar upticks in interest), but if nothing else it's good to see people younger than me get interested in audio again. Let's hope it lasts.
Hi-Fi+ was saddened to learn of the passing of Lewis Lemire, President of MOON by Simaudio and UK distributor Peter Djordjevic of Epicurean Audio. Our thoughts are with their families, friends, and co-workers at this difficult time.