Whirlwinds of change
We’ve moved from the holistic curated system approach, popular with dealers in the late 70′s and early 80′s, towards the DIY approach of today. But let’s not ignore the middle years of system building where we transitioned from the original to what we have today.
During the grand years of high end’s history, where dealers were revered kings (think Mike Kay of Lyric), we relied primarily on those dealers to curate our systems, as opposed to what we do today, building our own. But why the change? I think it’s important to remember the environment back then. No, not the Vietnam war, the Hippies, peace, love and dope, but the changes. Let’s remember what change was taking place and review the upheavals of the day.
Here’s a partial list:
• The rise of the two most popular high end magazines, Stereophile and TAS
• The decimation of the former magazine kings, Stereo Review and Audio magazines
• The introduction of solid state electronics attempting to dethrone vacuum tubes
• The compact disc attempting to dethrone vinyl
• The introduction of the separate D to A Converter
• The Japanese receiver invasion trying to eliminate the need for separates altogether
• Quadraphonic Sound
• The first stereo catalog sales channels (Warehouse Sound among others) threatening to dethrone the smaller retailers
• The rise of the mega stereo store (Pacific Stereo comes to mind) threatening to dethrone the smaller retailers
• The introduction of the personal computer (the PC)
• … and no, there still wasn’t an internet
Stuck in the middle of this melee of change were you and me just wanting to kick back and enjoy our tunes.
When we begin to look at today’s patterns of hand assembling our own high end music systems and how we got here, I think it’s instructive to remember where we came from.
It really helps with understanding where we’re going.