Challenges Vote – Industry Comments

Vote participants were asked to identify challenges to high-performance audio that were not listed in the vote.  Here are the responses.

“Often times, print magazines do not tell the truth about high performance audio, and instead slant their coverage towards the products of large advertisers.” – Marilyn Marchisotto, Accent Speakers (Nola Speakers)

“People and companies taking the easy route to sales not looking at how to build the business. What is trendy today brings in the money and that is where their mind is at.  They are not looking to develop a customer base and feed their passions.  There interest is in the ease of purchase, time bound velocity, and, most of all, controlling costs.” – Stuart Levine, former Marketing Manager, Harman

“The near impossibility of receiving a compelling demonstration of a good sounding system at the point of sale.” – Andy Wehmeyer, President, Audiofrog, Inc.

“Overall, an over expensive industry.” – Antonio Plasencia, Plasencia & Hijos Silver Cables

“Dealers not promoting locally.” – Albert Schippits, President, Metropolitan Music Distribution

“Price to value ratio.  Bandwagon trending has allowed certain headphone companies to double prices on certain products without any challenge or analysis.” – Marcus Downey, Founder of

“Expense.  Lack of knowledgeable and/or non commissioned demonstration facilities/dealers and/or seminars/shows.” – Rick, President/Designer, Simplyphysics

“I think the paucity of music education in schools any more is a major barrier to introducing young people to good music, especially Classical or Jazz, which best benefits from good reproduction audio systems.  In other words, good music appreciation leads into appreciation of good sound quality.” – Andrew Marshall, President, Audio Ides Ink Ltd.

“Simply exposing the next generation of listeners to better quality is a real challenge.” – Paul Quilter, CEO, PQ Imports

“Strive for a more distinctly defined position in consumer electronics marketing concepts.” – Tash Goka, Managing Director, Reference 3A Loudspeakers

“There are no central authoritative publications that exist to ‘teach’ new generations the reason for stereo in the first place.  So many e-zines now exist, it’s become impossible to embrace a magazine or reviewer of like mind to help identify equipment that a newcomer might like.  As a result, there are no references that, given the extinction of the high end audio dealerships, the wealth of e-zines serves only to confuse.  In addition, the value of equipment is now far more about the visual aesthetics than audio performance.  This also serves to increase the costs greatly which further isolates people who might have moved to high end and as a result, embrace compressed and low performance hardware, often portables to further exacerbate the isolation.” – Mark Porzilli, Melos Audio, Scaena, Pipedreams, Laufer TekNik, Nova Physics

“Poor marketing to everyone outside the Audiophile community.  Anyone picking up the average Hi-Fi magazine would find it incomprehensible.  This is fine but there is little to bridge the gap to the uninitiated.” – Mark Baker, Managing Director, Origin Live

“Folks should go see live music to understand what is really being re-produced.” – Chuck Hinton, Tech Support, McIntosh Labs

“Most next generation listeners are listening through advices and ear buds.” – Robert Stein, President, The Cable Company and Ultra Systems

“It’s a hobby dominated by 50+ year old males.  There are very few females or young folks.  It’s a stuffy and snooty culture that needs a kick in a the pants.” – Ryan Tew, President, Red Dragon Audio

“After 45 years in this business, I have come to believe high quality music reproduction in the home is simply not important to the vast majority of non-audiophiles.  Sure they say they’d like high quality (which they define as a Bose Wave Radio or a larger wireless streaming desktop speaker) but when you suggest they spend $1,000 on a pair of mini-monitors, they look at you like you have two heads.” – Joel Rosenblatt, Director, A/V Marketing Consultants

“Perceived value/distribution costs.” – Vincent Solbes, Owner, Voce Audio

“Lack of exposure and lack of awareness of the selection of very affordable high-performance gear other than just top shelf.” – Craig Allison, Operator, Lavish Hi-Fi, and founder of PAtH,  Pure Audio to Health

“Combining traditional analog with newer digital sources.  For example, incorporating analog phono pre-amp into an amp featuring high-end DAC, i.e. Peachtree Decco comes to mind.  I do have customers with only digital sources but they want to add a turntable.” – Jim L. Bowman, Manager, Glick Audio & Video

“The insistence of those demonstrating high performance audio on using “audiophile” music instead of what the listener wants to hear.” – Steve Lefkowicz, Senior Assistant Editor, Positive Feedback

“Grumpy old men with 1960 attitudes who refuse to adapt to a changing audio landscape.  If you take the experience to the kids, and share the experience, you can turn more of them onto the hobby.  Also, we need to stop acting like it’s a boys club.  Women can appreciate quality sound.  Many just don’t want to be spec’d to death or have their homes looking like the bridge of a space ship.  Remember music come first and the spec stuff will follow for those who are interested.” – Barry Portier, Sales Manager, The Analog Store

“Lossless audio is superior to the best mp3.” – Allen Carter, EE, Carter’s Sound & Sight
“We must be clear on the definition of “high-performance audio”.  We have assembled systems for $3K and systems for $200K.  Both are high-performance in their respective class.  DIYers often build high-performance systems for little money.  Small speakers and a receiver can classified as high-performance.  To me high-performance audio is mostly about a system that can create a vivid, convincing sound field with good definition and tonal balance.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love equipment.  We build it.  But it’s all about recreating (the best we can) and enjoying the musical event.” – Mike Kalellis, Arion Audio / Analysis Audio

“Time spent at home versus commuting, ferrying kids, working. Preference for portable players/headphones.” – Kenneth Ward, VP Electricity, Musicar Northwest

“It is a wonderful hobby, an adventure, not a problem.  It gives the speedy iPhone lifestyle an opportunity to slow down and smell the flowers, without having to drive out into the countryside.  The stereo experience is a holographic imaging experience unavailable through the earbud experience.  Earbuds plug up the ears.  Stereographic holographic imaging is only available to open unobstructed ears.  It is a whole head experience.  Home theater does not involve sonic hologram listening.” – Art Noxon, President, Acoustic Sciences Co.

“There is too much emphasis on bit depth and sampling frequency as it relates to high performance audio and not enough discussion on the acoustic performance of loudspeakers and headphones and the processing of the analog audio signals that drive them.” – Robert Schulein, President, RBS Consultants

“Questions over perceived value of high performance audio are very relevant.  There’s a challenge to increase the perceived value of high performance audio to that enjoyed by the likes of Ferrari, Swiss watches, or Mont Blanc fountain pens.  If Save the Stereo Project can increase this perceived value, people will find ways to afford high performance audio.  That’s human nature!” – Richard Chantry, CTO and Content manager for

“Reduced numbers of high end stores and “audiophile” parents or friends introducing high-performance music reduces the next generation experiencing the benefits.  To introduce to inexperienced individuals the benefits requires education and marketing which is the slowest and most expensive of any marketing endeavor.” – Michael Allen, Jolida, Inc.

“Most peoples’ best sound system is in their cars, and they get enough decent-quality music while commuting.” – John Marks, Columnist, Stereophile; Record Producer, JMR

“The next generation is broke and in debt.  The next generation has much smaller living spaces.  The next generation has less time.” – John Meyer, President, Newform Research Inc.

“Excessive costs in a stagnant economy.” – Mike Bettinger, Owner, GAS Audio

“This is not exclusive to younger generations; the need to slow down and focus on one thing. The distraction issued noted in questions 14 and 15 may be key.” – Odo Galli, Owner, Parallel Audio

“Next-generation “music lovers” (whatever it is that they actually love) have no idea what live acoustical music sounds like in a concert hall.” – Peter Aczel, Editor & Publisher, The Audio Critic

“Getting dealers to get more visible in their local market.  Offering audio education nights and clinics.  They could also sponsor music events like concerts or radio shows on student stations.” – Albert Schippits, President, Metropolitan Music Distribution, Synthesis of Italy

“The industry does not do enough outreach.  When they do, there is often a consensus of snobbery that is too opinionated.  These opinionated and vocal few intimidate and keep would be audiophiles from participating.” – Michael Garner, Owner and

“There’s not enough music education at schools or at home.” – Ernie Fisher, Editor/Reviewer, Inner Ear Magazine

“Death of component stereo is due to snob appeal of expensive “audio jewelry” rather than demonstrated performance.” – David Clark, DLC Design

“The best recorded audio has always been a specialty, but quality live music is always valued.  Methods of delivery are subject to variances and changes in both lifestyles and media technology.  A serious challenge is in the adaptation of how quality audio is delivered to meet the demands of the next generation.  They are distracted by changes in media technology dominated by the larger mass-market non-specialty companies, such as computer builders and software vendors.” – Steve Eberbach, Retired CEO, DCM Corporation


Additional Comments:

“The challenge for this generation of listeners is that retailers have been too focused on ease of sales, ease of use (to combat lack of customer support), and getting the costs down so the masses can participate.  There are very few that have taken the efforts to develop and execute showroom offerings that truly let consumers experience what is possible.  Store noise floor, lack of controlled environments, and lackluster staff all contribute to the situation we are in now.  The largest external influencer is that the “reference” that customers are comparing things to continues to represent a declining measure of performance, as such it is easy to say “This sounds better”.  The upside is that we should begin to see more emphasis placed on DSP to recover and improve the compressed files they love so much.” – Stuart Levine, Former Marketing Manager, Harman

“It’s way over due that the audio industry gets polarity right.  Please go to  It’s probably the main reason that some music-loving audiophiles still prefer analog that’s usually in the correct polarity over digital that’s not in the right polarity.” – George Louis, Digital Systems & Solutions

“I believe that high quality starter systems should be viewed by manufacturers as loss leaders to bring young people into an environment of better sound and music experiences.  I also believe that Bose-type musical mush systems should be called out for what they are; expensive musical pablum creators.  The industry needs more critical thinking, in both senses of the word!” – Andrew Marshall, President, Audio Ides Ink Ltd

“The lack of dealers and there for the available auditioning spaces makes reviewing components more imperative.  The new generation of reviewers should be encouraged and nurtured.” – Tash Goka, Managing Director, Reference 3A loudspeakers

“The real issue here is that, as high end audio stores close, most next generation music lovers have little opportunity or exposure to the incredible realism high end audio can bring to music listening. They simply have little or no access to it.  And because they essentially do not even know it exists, they do not search it out.  Perhaps one of the ways this can be addressed is through the formation of Hi-Fi listening clubs ( that get together at someone’s house every week to hear music on a really good system.  Invite as many nest generation music lovers as you can find and reveal the beauty and power of full range audio.  I’ve done this several times myself.  The results are jaw dropping — for the next generation.” – Loren Charles, President, Mark & Daniel Audio Labs

“Public awareness costs money and needs dealers with marketing skills that do not rely on adverts run in audiophile magazines.” – Mark Baker, Managing Director of Origin Live

“Many of the issues above would also apply to prior generations. High end audio has always been a fringe hobby.” – Robert Stein, President, The Cable Company and Ultra Systems

“I agree with your basic premise, though good sound does not have to be expensive or complicated to set up.  For example, the loss of high-end audio stores is probably a good thing in my opinion, because most of them sell overpriced nonsense.  Anyone interested in experiencing high quality sound can visit a friend with a good system.  I often invite people in audio forums to visit (if they live near me) so they can hear how good modestly priced equipment can sound.” – Ethan Winer, Co-Owner, RealTraps

“I am starting up a local listening group in my area that will require that you bring a next generation with you.” – Barry Portier, Sales Manager, The Analog Store

“With the size and reasonable cost of hard drives, there should be more lossless music down loads available.” – Allen Carter. EE, Carter’s Sound & Sight

“We here at Northern, are witnessing a growth in vinyl and stereo system upgrades.  It will come around again.  It has already started.” – Mike Sheppard, President Northern Television

“I like this project and I’ll participate all I can.  Thank you.” – Joan Rallo, JRaudio

“There are two perspectives, at least.  One is what we old timers think about the new timers and the other is the new timers, what they think and believe.  The survey is about what the old timers think, not about what the new timers think.” – Art Noxon, President, Acoustic Sciences Co.

“Next generation music lovers have no access or ways to compare a fine music system versus mainstream components.  Many of them think there is no perceived difference between systems.  The same applies to digital formats.  There is little knowledge of the attributes and differences between FLAC, APE, ALAC vs MP3.” – Julian Baquero, Sonus Entia AV SAS

“I don’t believe there’s any fundamental reason why high performance audio couldn’t once again become attractive to the populace.  I wouldn’t blame the advent of computers for its decline.  Instead these could become an enabler for a rekindling of interest as we’re perhaps seeing with the DAC resurgence.” – Richard Chantry, CTO and Content manager for

“It has been my experience that next generation introduced to high-performance audio responds positively.  However, when the price tag comes up, it can create issues.” – Michael Allen, Management Team, Jolida

“The industry has a huge educational task ahead of them.  Look at the funding success of Pono. It tells me that many people want better sounding music.” – Fred Bettridge, retired rep

“We need to promote good music to evoke the interest of potential consumers.  Play it again Sam, and again and again.” – Ernie Fisher, Editor/Reviewer, Inner Ear Magazine
What or who ever the “next generation of music lovers” is, face the main issue of sensory overload and the ability to sit still long enough to enjoy an entire piece of music.  That is the biggest challenge.” – Doug Small, Director of Marketing,

“I appreciate the spirit and effort evident here.  Keep encouraging the distribution and availability of equipment capable of rendering quality audio for those who really appreciate music.” – Steve Eberbach, Retired CEO, DCM Corporation


Feedback for Save The Stereo Project:

“I strongly support Save The Stereo Project and urge my fellow stereo industry friends to do the same.” - Gene Rubin, Gene Rubin Audio

“Finally, someone realized that we as an industry need to do something to prevent extinction.  Hope that influential industry members can/will pull together.” - Vade Forrester, Contributing Writer, The Absolute Sound

“I love the idea to promote, reach, and educate not just the audio lovers, but also to advance the appreciation of the music we try to reproduce.” - Ernie Fisher, Editor, The Inner Ear Magazine

"Bravo, Gordon. Your efforts to advocate for quality reproduction of music are sincerely appreciated." - Richard Schram, President, Parasound Products, Inc.

"We heartily agree with the Project. Young people are always surprised when they hear music through our Nola loudspeakers and associated electronics. "WOW!", they say, "I never thought it could be this good!" - Marilyn Marchisotto, VP/CFO, Accent/Nola Speakers

"I heartedly support Save The Stereo Project." - Bill Thalmann, President, Music Technology, Inc.

“This is just the thing needed to promote and encourage the next generation of high fidelity music listeners.” - Craig Sypnier, Owner, Audio Renaissance

“Great idea, I sincerely hope we all can get together spreading the word.  Listening to music is one of the greatest ways to decouple and relax, be it live or from a great music system.” - Peter B. Noerbaek, President, PBN Audio LLC - Montana Loudspeakers

“I wish Save The Stereo Project every success.” - Steve Daniels, President, The Sound Organisation

“High fidelity stereo enjoyment lives on through Save The Stereo Project!” - Adam Johnson, Madisound Speaker Components, Inc.

"Brilliant! The efforts of Save the Stereo Project are timely and much needed. We at Veloce Audio look forward to helping in any way we can." - Mark Conti, Managing Director, Veloce Audio

To read all of the industry and community feedback for Save The Stereo Project, check out the Feedback section.