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Is mid level home theater dead? (1 Viewer)

Edwin-S

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I am going to go on a bit of tangent here...

I recall many years ago when the main outlet for discretionary income as it pertains to electronics was audio. We are talking about the period before home computers, video games, home video recordings, larger televisions (anything over 25" on a 4:3 AR), internet, etc. Sure there were plenty of other outlets, especially automobiles, but in terms of electronics it was mostly audio/music. I recall some fairly impressive (by '70s standards) audio systems that graced the homes of many of my friends. Some fairly serious turntables, amps, and speakers. Lots of tube amps.

- Walter.

I remember one fellow, big into audio, that spent 1500 Canadian on used speaker cables. I think the original price f them was 4 grand. That was like 20+ years ago. He would sit them on these little pucks to supposedly reduce floor effects and they had some sort of boxes on them that were supposed to compensate for cable effects. :laugh:

Admittedly, his stereo system sounded phenomenal, but still..... 🤷
 

GeorgeHolland

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Aug 16, 1999
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Same. There was a Magnolia in Tacoma (where I'm from) that I thought was really good. Thanks for confirming the PNW connection too - I wasn't sure if I imagined that or not.

Magnolia is a Seattle neighborhood. Magnolia Hi Fi began as Magnolia Stationers and Camera Shop in 1954. It took its name from the Magnolia Village shopping district where it got its start.

From a Len Tweten Obituary: "Aware of the burgeoning music scene in the 60's, Len decided to add a newly developed compact stereo system to his inventory. The daily crowd of college students fixated on the new sounds was hard to ignore, and without hesitation, he re-christened the store Magnolia Hi-Fi. He sold all his greeting cards for a penny a piece, counting out the change himself to his customers. It was now Magnolia Hi Fi. As Len liked to say "I caught a wave."

 

Todd Erwin

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Keep in mind two things - there are still supply chain restraints on most electronic equipment, especially receivers. Also, the parent of Denon and Marantz was acquired by a medical device company, and so far has resulted in higher MSRP of their new models and possibly affecting their availability with existing retailers.
 

Dave>h

Second Unit
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May 1, 2004
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424
This thread created a lively discussion, so glad to see!

Reading through the comments it becomes quite clear that even mid level HT is a pretty niche market. I always figured there were lots and lots of people out there who had some semblance of a HT but that seems like wishful thinking at best.
My HT (which I love dearly) is a cobbled together mess of different brands and versions:

Yamaha RX-V1083
Bryston 4b
Bryston 3b
Adcom GFA 535
Paradigm Reference 100 v5
Paradigm Reference Center V2
Paradigm Reference Di Pole V5
M&K MX 90 sub
Xbox one
Sony 3d bluray
HD DVD player (mostly used as a CD player)
Benq W1070 Projector
projecting on a Home Made screen

It looks and sounds fantastic to my ears and eyes. But as with everything techno, things become obsolete or the tech moves on or you just need to upgrade. Personally, I am in the market to upgrade to 4k, which is why I was at Best Buy in the first place. Where I live, (Victoria BC) the AV options, even at the Boutique level are pretty sparse and usually really expensive. And the boutiques seem to be pretty audio focused rather than AV focused.

I guess I was suprised (not surprised) to see Best Buy pretty empty of anything Home Theater as I was hoping to Demo a projector.

I want to keep my HT alive as long as possible and don't want to go the sound bar route as honestly, I have wanted a Home Theater even before such a thing really existed. I remember being 13 (1981) and talking with a friend about how cool it would be to watch movies at home. It seemed like a dream back then. Then VCR's became popular and I have been on the road to having my own Home Theater ever since. Probably like a lot of you...

It seems a shame that this hobby is slowly becoming even more niche as the technology moves to streaming and people move to "smaller" living. Nice to see that there are still some enthusiast around keeping the dream alive!

My big concern is where does it go? Is the soundbar the wave of the future? Will the 5.1, 7.1, 9.1.2 HT become a thing of the past like DVD and HD DVD and pretty much all packaged media...? thoughts?
 

uncledougie

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Jun 17, 2022
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371
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Doug
This thread created a lively discussion, so glad to see!

…Reading through the comments it becomes quite clear that even mid level HT is a pretty niche market.
It seems a shame that this hobby is slowly becoming even more niche as the technology moves to streaming and people move to "smaller" living. Nice to see that there are still some enthusiast around keeping the dream alive!

My big concern is where does it go? Is the soundbar the wave of the future? Will the 5.1, 7.1, 9.1.2 HT become a thing of the past like DVD and HD DVD and pretty much all packaged media...? thoughts?
I’ll date myself, but after having an all in one LP changer (turntable folded up and speakers folded in to make it portable), my first real foray into home hi-fi was getting a Pioneer QX-747 quadraphonic receiver, heavy and made of real wood and I think only about 20 watts per channel. But it looked gorgeous lit up, and the sound was sweet and rich and it still drove the various speakers I went through as loud as I could reasonably want without clipping distortion. I hate that I sold it with furniture and other no longer used items and artwork when we moved almost 10 years ago, but it needed servicing (developed a hiss in one channel and I couldn’t find anyone locally who could repair it even though I still had the schematic of the circuits).
I’ve been a fairly early adopter with each medium upgrade (waited until VHS tapes could run for at least two hours, and determining Beta, which seemed superior to me, was going to lose the format war). I was enamored of laserdisc technology for a few years, and still have a large shelf full of them, and two working Pioneer players, though rarely access them anymore.
I’ve tried to research and get the best system possible for the budget du jour, but couldn’t justify the multiple thousands on things like phono cartridges and cabling strands (I do still have a mint Thorens TD-150 belt drive turntable, but again, sadly, don’t take the time to enjoy my remaining LP collection).
I have a vast selection of soundtrack and original cast CDs, and was collecting soundtrack LPs starting in the mid-60s.
Luckily, I found the Lexus RX 350 ‘22 model still had a CD player, and the Mark Levinson system sounds pretty awesome.
Incremental improvements from here on with audio and video likely will be marginal, if even measurable, but the hope is the price/quality ratio will make excellent results more affordable to aficionados without deep pockets. But I detect attention spans waning in many quarters and younger generations. I’ve done what I could to expose the four now twenty-something nephews to a wide variety of music and films. I would urge that when the opportunity arises, give a young person the gift of exposure to the arts so they might develop a taste for high quality films, music, theater, etc., they likely wouldn’t find on their own.
Frankly, the quality potential of home theater is beyond what I dared envision as a kid enraptured by roadshow films in the glorious theater environments of the 50s and 60s. I hope to pass along that appreciation through the nephews.
 

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