Poll: What's wrong with high-end audio?

High-end audio flat-out sounds better; it's a better investment than mass market audio, and it looks great. Most high-end audio bashers don't know what they're talking about.

Steve Guttenberg
Ex-movie theater projectionist Steve Guttenberg has also worked as a high-end audio salesman, and as a record producer. Steve currently reviews audio products for CNET and works as a freelance writer for Stereophile.
Steve Guttenberg
2 min read

The Audiophiliac with a high-end Klipsch speaker. Steve Guttenberg


Would you ever buy a high-end audio system?

Yes, if could afford it
Yes, high-end audio, like high-end cars, watches, or cameras is expensive, but it's worth it.
No, high-end gear is way too expensive
No, I don't have room for gigantic speakers or amplifiers

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I know what's wrong with high-end audio: it's a secret.

Unlike high-end cars, watches, clothing, etc., 99 percent of potential high-end audio buyers are completely unaware of its existence. It's interesting, car magazines regularly plaster shots of cars that only a miniscule number of readers could ever buy, apparently because guys who drive Dodge Caravans love to read about Ferraris. Even the New York Times runs fawning features about the glories of exotic cars and not a peep about high-end audio.

High-end audio magazines and Web sites are only read by folks already in the game; the Audiophiliac's primary mission is bringing awareness of the better stuff to the wider world.

Sure, a lot of high-end audio is silly expensive, but there's a lot of good stuff that's fairly affordable. And the price of entry plummets when you buy used gear on eBay or Audiogon. Chances are your five year old Sony receiver is nearly worthless, so it may actually cost more to own than a high-end amplifierthat you can use for decades.

When you factor in just how long a great set of speakers or electronics can last, it's easier to swallow the investment. A good friend is still using a Linn LP-12 turntable he bought more than 30 years ago. If you really love music, don't you want to hear it sound as good as it can?

Let us know by voting.