Memories of Hi-Fi, Long Live Hi-Fi

Last night, we attended a KCRW recording of a set by Death Cab For Cutie for a future airing.  It was in a small recording studio with probably 75 to 100 guests.  We made our way to the sofas in front of the recording studio to wait for it to begin while people started filing in.  While we stood for the first half of the set, we both sat down for the second half and I had an unexpected nostalgic session back to the good old days of Hi-Fi.

The full wall of great music while relaxing comfortably is relatively non-existent with the advent of mp3 players and the like.  It is certainly not the days of long ago where people would invite friends over to just listen to an album while sitting in a living room in front of huge speakers.  I remember sitting with my father listening to albums like Pink Floyd’s THE WALL from start to finish while just sitting there and soaking it all in.

Along came Sony’s Walkman and the change had begun.  Now, with digital tunes, the experiences are usually directly into your ears while you are on the go and even entire albums don’t mean much.  It is really a shame to think about what has been lost.

Of course, we try to get back to that bygone era in the way many home entertainment marketers are trying to push Hi-Def/Hi-Fi as if it is truly still relevant for consumers.  To be honest, I was surprised to see some major sound systems shown at a remote location of CES because it had seemed that they were all but gone.  The big players now have made their systems ever smaller and more portable. 

The consumers definitely bought the big plasma screens, but it seems to have been less about that communal hi-fi experience and more about great looking TV while they needed it.  And, they still are migrating to usage on mobile phones and tablets.

As abnormal as it was for us to be sitting with no view of the performers at the session last night, it will continue to be the same for those who really relish absorbing the power of Hi-Fi the way it used to be the norm.  It truly is a shame because Hi-Fi was really something special – Long Live Hi-Fi…

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