Are you someone who is fully satisfied listening to music on mobile devices and other handheld portable MP3 players alone? Are you someone who is not fussy about the type of music system that one is listening to? Who is not able to differentiate between the sounds emanating from the headphones of your mobile and the speakers of a good stereo system?
Or are you someone whose idea of a “dream machine” is that ultimate music system that you have been dreaming to own all these years – tower speakers, powerful amplifier, receiver with CD player and AM/FM tuner, turntable, the works? The old-fashioned component audio system?
Music sounds different on different systems
Forget about the charging tempo, the beatific and teasing cello of Bach’s Suites but just pick up a popular music album, say Queen’s “A Night at the Opera” and one will realise that the 1975 masterpiece sounds so profoundly different when listened to on a good stereo system. The majestic artistry of Queen hits you in all its glory and power in the wonderfully crafted tracks, each of which is a gem, and at once you wonder if Freddie Mercury and his gang had engineered their masterpiece way ahead of its times. But again, were we able to appreciate their intricately arranged music only because we happen to listen to it properly on a good system? Would the music have been lost out had we listened to it on an inferior system?
Every note comes alive
For some people, the listening goes beyond the tempo and the beat of a particular musical piece but extends to the finer nuances of the recording which come alive only on a good music system. On a good music system, you could hear every pluck of a string instrument, every note of the guitar, the various percussion instruments, and inflection of the singer’s vocals recreated in your living room. Whether you are listening to the raw power of The Who, the psychedelic Pink Floyd, the jazzy sax of Stan Getz, or the dreamy Norah Jones music, one can really appreciate their music only on a good audio system. Preferably through the speakers in one’s living room.
Are the days of the component stereo system over?
With new audio technology moving in, is the mid-market for audio system dead? Well, on the ground, it looks like it. The audio market could, at present, be broadly divided into the convenience market – the portable MP3 players, the Bluetooth devices, laptops and the high-end market, which is shrinking and rapidly losing its space to the burgeoning convenience market.
Did video kill the radio star?
Technology changed the audio market landscape but it is not as if there is no market for the home audio system. However, this technological change was more for the sake of convenience. MP3 has less range in its compressed format and is in no way a comparison to the superior sound of CDs and vinyl records but MP3 players are more portable. The decline of the audio system market is also attributed to the rise of the music video, bringing people’s penchant for visuals over the sonic experience of stereo systems. However, the fact remains that with a pure audio system, the surrealistic visual simulations created in the mind of the listener cannot be compared to the visuals created by television.
The market for home stereo system remains
Although convenience market rules the game, and even if all you need is a pair of good quality headphones and an MP3 player, and even if you could carry entire music collections in your pocket, there are music aficionados who still prefer pure music from a good music system. Even if minuscule, there is still the market for mid to high-end home stereo systems. There are still who swear by the pure sound of the component home stereo system.