All too often the high-end hobby spend lots of time and resources preaching to the choir. In some respects it’s understandable. High end manufacturers have limited resources (most employ less than 50 people) and by targeting their message towards hobbyist they guarantee some return on their investment. However, this does nothing to bring new blood into the hobby. A greater number of people involved in high quality audio reproduction is a good thing not only for audio companies, but also for consumers. As production increases the prices that companies have charge per unit to remain profitable and innovate will drop.
Recently, there have been a number of steps in the right direction. According to Steve Guttenberg’s March 11 blog Thiel audio and Bryston have teamed up to set up a system at the headquarters of Rolling Stone magazine. The system will be in place for three months and consists of Thiel 3.7 loudspeakers and SS2 Subwoofer. As well as Bryston’s BCD-1 CD player, BP26 preamp, and 28BSST mono block amps. Hopefully the writers at Rolling Stone will be so impressed that one of them will write an article about perfectionist audio, thus helping raise it’s exposure.
Another category that is helping to raise the profile of high-quality sound reproduction is the partnerships between auto manufacturers and high-end audio stalwarts. This trend began in earnest when Mark Levinson teamed with Lexus and seems to only be gaining momentum. Other partnerships include Aston Martin/Linn, Jaguar/B&W, and Bentley/Naim, Volvo/Dynaudio, BMW/Lexicon, and Bugatti/Burmester. According to Wes Philips’ excellent blog Naim has taken things a step further by setting up a listening room at the 2008 International Auto Show.
Last, but certainly not least American Express has given the industry some unbelievable free publicity with their Plum card advertisement that features music direct, a highly regarded mail order audio retailer on their TV commercials. Jason Victor Serinus wrote a great post on Stereophile's webpage about how this commercial came about.