On September 30th, 2013, Todd Leopold published, “The death of the home stereo system” on CNN.com. Over the years I’ve read dozens of “stereo is doomed” diatribes from the audio press, but somehow Todd’s blunt CNN.com article was a sign.
After thinking about it for a few days, I told my wife about the article while driving home from her parent’s house. Somewhere between fourth and fifth gear I said, “Maybe I should start SaveTheStereo.com and do something about it”.
When I glanced over, I expected to see a less than enthusiastic, “that’s an interesting idea” look, but she was actually on her iPhone, checking if the URL was available. It was. A few minutes later, Save The Stereo Project had begun.
The concept of Save The Stereo Project seemed so clear until I sat down to actually put the project together. It didn’t take long before I was stuck trying to answer a seemingly simple question:
Why should anyone, including myself, care if the next generation of music lovers doesn’t listen to music on high-performance audio systems?
The next generation of music lovers will listen to music in their cars, on computers, smart phones, and various mass-market audio products. They just won’t actively sit and listen to music on high-performance audio systems, but very few music lovers do that now anyway. So let high-performance audio die. What’s the big deal?
While that question ferments in your mind, allow me to back things up a bit. My day job is publishing Truck Camper Magazine, an online RV magazine I started in 2007. It’s a fantastic gig, and one that keeps me quite busy.
To fit Save The Stereo Project into my already full schedule, I started waking up an hour early to develop the project. For several weeks, I struggled each morning to answer why it mattered if high-performance audio went by way of the buggy whip. It’s seemed obvious, until I tried to articulate a well reasoned answer.
Finally, it hit me.
The reason it matters if the next generation of music lovers listens to music on high-performance audio systems is recorded music itself. Recorded music has profound and unique benefits for human life; our mental health, physical heath, and overall well being are nourished and enriched with music.
If high-performance audio fades into history, the next generation of music lovers will lose the deepest possible connection to this magical force, a force that cannot be replicated with any other technology, experience, or activity – outside of live music.
To make this point clear, let’s examine the specific benefits of listening to recorded music at home. Then we’ll ask a big question, a question I believe has been missing in the “stereo is doomed” debate.
1. Almost every home-based activity is better and more enjoyable with recorded music. Even daily leisure activities like reading, web-surfing, and family time are more fun and rewarding with music.
2. Music inspires our creativity and enhances home-based hobbies like baking, drawing, painting, writing, scrap booking, sewing, collecting, and craft making. For those who enjoy the hobby of entertaining, music makes a home more comfortable, social, and festive for visiting friends and family.
3. Music decreases our stress and helps us relax improving our overall health and mental well being. There’s extensive medical journal evidence that music helps with depression, anxiety, hypertension, physical pain, and heart disease. Recent research has discovered music benefits for autism and Alzheimer’s. In short, we are all mentally and physically healthier with music.
4. Most of us don’t like to work, exercise, or clean the house, but these activities are often easier and more productive with music. Music improves our focus and concentration making us more successful at school and work. Music increases our physical strength and endurance for exercise helping us become more healthy.
5. Children also significantly benefit from music in the home. Scientific data proves that music stimulates developing brains to boost brain power, memory, social abilities, confidence, discipline, patience, and creativity. Children also immediately respond to up-tempo music with energy burning dance and motion. Down-tempo music calms and relaxes children for naps and down time.
With these points fresh in your mind, here’s the big question:
If we understand how important music is to our (1) enjoyment of daily life and leisure, (2) creative inspiration and hobby enrichment, (3) mental well being and physical health, (4) productivity and success, and (5) the positive brain development of our children – why on Earth would we trust music to anything less than a high-performance audio system, the most direct and effective way available to connect to the extraordinary benefits of recorded music?
More to the point, why wouldn’t we do what we can to share these perspectives with the next generation of music lovers so they too can fully benefit from the incredible powers of recorded music?
I had parents who shared their passion for music with me. My great grandmother gave me my first stereo system for Christmas when I was eight. And a wonderful salesman named Barry taught me about high-performance audio when I was twenty, but not everyone is so lucky.
Somewhere out there are young music lovers starving for a deeper connection to recorded music. Right now they’re wearing celebrity-branded headphones or listening to mass-market Bluetooth objects that look more like toasters than anything resembling a real stereo system. They have no idea of the rewarding high-performance audio music experience we take for granted.
We need to do what we can to reach these young music lovers and share our incredible hobby with them. They are looking for us, even if they don’t know it yet. Let’s give them the opportunity to experience the magic of recorded music on a high-performance audio system. Some will take to the hobby, others will not, but component-based high-fidelity will live on with a new generation.
My mission is clear; to make this hobby better, pass it on to the next generation of music lovers, and promote the extraordinary benefits, incredible power, and life-affirming beauty and awe of recorded music on a high-performance audio system.
High-performance audio is important and worth fighting for.
Thank you for your interest in Save The Stereo Project.
Gordon White, Founder
Save The Stereo Project