Millennials: Your Soundbars Are Killing Us

Millennials, also known as Generation Y, are defined as the demographic with birth years ranging from the early 80s to the early 00s. In other words, Millennials are about 15 to 35 years old. I am appealing to you. You account for almost half of all audio hardware sales. More than any other single group, you are the ones responsible for screwing it up for the rest of us.

Millennials, before I beat on you, let me offer a few words of congratulations. First, you are buying vinyl records. Physical media is on a downward slide, but thanks to your spending, at least we're not yet fully careening into streaming. You are buying more than half of the LPs sold today. I am disappointed that you are not buying more Compact Discs, with sound quality that far surpasses almost all other audio sources, but if you think vinyl is charming, that's cool. Who knows, maybe your interest in that retro format could even fuel a renewed appreciation for music collections on shelves, and that may stimulate a more serious appreciation for music playback. Good work!

Now for the beat down: You're not buying high-quality or even mid-quality audio gear. I frankly can't understand that. Sure—your monthly phone bill sucks up way too much of your disposable cash. But surely you've listened to some high-quality audio here and there and can recognize how genuinely enjoyable that is. Good sound is such a luxury, and an affordable one. I'm not asking you to buy a Ferrari—just a receiver and a couple of decent speakers. But, for some reason, you're choosing not to. As a group, you are in the driver's seat of the audio hardware market. And as a group, you are driving our car off the cliff. The problem is your insatiable love of soundbars.

When soundbars first appeared, I figured they were the perfect way to provide center-channel playback in a 5.1 system. Now, it appears that soundbars (aka wireless speakers) are becoming the de facto, general-purpose audio playback device. Soundbar sales keep increasing, while sales of other playback means decrease. And let's be clear about who is responsible for this: You are.

According to the NPD Group's, Soundbar Ownership and Usage Study, a year ago, Millennials bought 35% of all audio hardware; now they account for 44%. At the same time, sales of soundbars costing less than $200 saw double-digit growth, while sales of soundbars costing more than $500 fell 34%. Not only are you buying soundbars, you are buying junk soundbars.

And let's be clear here: you're not particularly buying soundbars for movie playback. Aside from TV use, two-thirds of Millennials use them for audio-only playback. And I'm guessing that most of the audio playback is from low-fi music sources. You're buying vinyl because it's cool but obviously, I am afraid to say, you don't know diddly about sound quality.

Millennials, I appeal to you. You already outnumber us Boomers and will eventually supplant us. In coming years, as your purchasing power increases (and it will, dramatically) your demographic will define the nature of consumer audio. The market will chase your dollars and it will gravitate toward whatever you want to buy. If you continue with current purchasing patterns, you will drive us off the cliff. Please reconsider the importance of audio. Spend a few bucks for something better than a cheap soundbar.

Seriously. I'm begging you.

KikassAssassin's picture

Maybe if the boomers hadn't wrecked the economy and left millenials to pick through their scraps, millenials would be buying more expensive audio equipment. You can't spend money you don't have, and between barely-existent low-paying jobs, astronomically high student loans, high costs of living, etc., millenials don't have money.

Sorry, but boomers don't get to complain about millenials screwing things up for everyone else. The boomer generation is responsible for leaving the millenial generation in an economic hole that most will probably never be able to climb out of.

Boomers, I appeal to you, stop writing awful articles complaining about millenials. You sound like a crotchety old person sitting on your porch yelling at those darn kids to get off your lawn. You don't need to worry about millenials driving us off a cliff. The boomers have been the ones with their hands at the sociopolitical wheel for decades, and they've already driven us to the bottom of that gorge.

Geoffrey Morrison's picture
Very, very well said.
CuriousG's picture

I call steaming BS on that one. You can buy decent speakers and a receiver for the cost of most sound bars if you make half an effort.

jjster6's picture

"You can't spend money you don't have"

That never stopped Congress.

CyberChrist's picture

What that guy said ^ I've got $10,000 worth of audio equipment on my wishlist. But I'm not going to install all of that in a home that I rent. Buy a home you say? I would if my income wasn't being outpaced by the ever increasing home prices. Not to mention being stifled by the student loans.

drewdlz's picture

I'm a millennial and I have a home audio setup that consists of an AVR and separate speakers and I love it and wish others my age did too. However, belittling and really mocking an entire generation will not help that. You do sound like the grumpy get off my lawn guy. Instead of explaining WHY separates are so much better all you site is price. Why not explain the benefits specifically and maybe give a few examples of attainable not too expensive quality equipment which you know exists. If you give people the examples and the reasons why maybe spending a couple hundred more to get such better sound they might do that. People rarely respond to being mocked and belittled.


CuriousG's picture

As a millennial, you obviously think you are "special" - and in this case you may be right; the numbers are there indicating the buying habits. You read that far I hope.

drewdlz's picture

I'm not special because I'm a millennial, I'm special because my mommy tells me so.

TimmyS's picture

If soundbars are it, what are they plugging those 'tables into?

Just saying!

drewdlz's picture

Andrew Jones said it beautifully right in your guys' own article below this one.

"When all of us old fogies in the industry gather together, we continually moan about the lack of young blood, yet we don’t seem to be doing much to fix that. We are not designing product that appeals either in price point or functionality to younger listeners."

chrisheinonen's picture

Another month, another article about how young people just don't care about audio enough. Nevermind that they probably listen to more audio now than any generation before thanks to streaming services, smartphones, and headphones. But because they don't want to have their 1-bedroom or studio apartment dominated by a pair of speakers and a lot of wires, they just don't care. So let's recycle this to something else, like clothing.

"According to the NPD Group's, Boot Ownership and Usage Study, a year ago, Millennials bought 35% of all boots; now they account for 44%. At the same time, sales of boots costing less than $200 saw double-digit growth, while sales of boots costing more than $500 fell 34%. Not only are you buying boots, you are buying junk boots."

"Millennials, I appeal to you. You already outnumber us Boomers and will eventually supplant us. In coming years, as your purchasing power increases (and it will, dramatically) your demographic will define the nature of fashion. The market will chase your dollars and it will gravitate toward whatever you want to buy. If you continue with current purchasing patterns, you will drive us off the cliff. Please reconsider the importance of good boots. Spend a few bucks for something better than cheap boots."

Sure, $500 boots are nice. They have awesome leather, they're Goodyear welted, and they'll last a lifetime. You can get them recrafted down the line so they are as good as new. You'll notice the benefits in construction and quality every time you wear them and walk somewhere. Well maintained, they'll probably last until you die. Not only that, unlike audio you probably need to have shoes to live your daily life.

So why do people keep buying $100 boots that are going to last far less time, not feel as good, and look worse? Because they have other things to spend their money on. Or they just don't care enough about boots to care. Or, you know, because they're saddled under $50,000 in college debt that they never have the hope of paying off anytime soon.

People that care about audio will buy audio stuff. People that care about closes will buy nice clothes. If you want nice furniture, you'll buy that. But seriously, enough with these think pieces about young people and audio. Just because people like listening to music doesn't mean they need to spend hundreds of dollars to appreciate it more.

CuriousG's picture

The problem is some $100 boots are better than others, and you continue buying the crappy $100 boots...

chrisheinonen's picture

The piece never said there are good $200 sound bars and bad $200 sound bars, just that "you are buying junk soundbars" because they cost less than $500. Oh, and "Spend a few bucks for something better than a cheap soundbar." Not on a sound bar for the same price that offers better performance, but spend more money.

These pieces are just old at this point, and out-of-touch with most people. I like high-quality audio more than 99% of people out there (it's my job) but I still run a sound bar in the living room. It's easy, it sounds far better than a TV, and its easy to get all my music sources to it (WiFi, Bluetooth, USB, etc...). It doesn't dominate the room with large speakers and cables, it works right off my TV remote, and it's just simple. And for most people, that's great. But then if they read this, which tells them that they're stupid for buying a sound bar and not spending a 2-3x as much for a lot more boxes, wires, and complexity, they're gone.

Those people probably didn't care in the first place, but they certainly won't care after you label them dumb and tell them they're doing it all wrong because they have different preferences than you. If someone wants to get into high-end speakers and audio, they will. If they don't, they won't, but yet another out-of-touch editorial isn't going to change their mind.

jalan's picture

Im 41 and I bought my first hi-fi system (KEF and MARANTZ) at my local store in the early 90's while i was in school. Back then, we could only go by what was written in magazine articles and listening to equipment in stores or friends houses. With the internet I can type in any product and read countless reviews as well a see photos and videos from people that have taken things apart to show the true guts and build quality. In many cases I see stuff that's basically a $200 kit being sold for $ looking at you HARBETH! I also don't believe millennials are going to fall for $5000 pure-wound-silver power cable, speaker wire, interconnect bulls sh.t!
With the internet I learned - If I need a quality 500wpc stereo amplifier, I cant get good deals from Crown/QSC/YAMAHA at my local musician shop and not be ripped off by Krell and Bryston or whatever

prerich45's picture

With the internet I learned - If I need a quality 500wpc stereo amplifier, I cant get good deals from Crown/QSC/YAMAHA at my local musician shop and not be ripped off by Krell and Bryston or whatever

WHOA!!!! You just said a mouthful!!!! Bravo Zulu!

Oreo's picture

I'm just outside the Millennial group, too. RE: Really?...: Your argument against the $500 boots is part of the issue. I agree that many Millennials are having a tough time finding work, but that's not an excuse for making bad money decisions. What is the long-term cost for cheap boots vs. the expensive boots? Don't just consider the now. Consider the future. Take a 10 year span. If the cheap boots only last 1 year, that's actually $1000. If the $500 boots need two repairs during that time, and I don't know cost of those, but lets say $150, it's $800 total cost. Saving money. Also consider the benefits of better comfort on your mental health and the health of your feet and body.

Let's ask why they have $50,000 in college debt. Did they go into debt to get a degree in a field where the average salary is $30,000? Jobs are available, if one is willing to move or take a different path. Welders in Houston are in such high demand that they are getting hired out of training programs before they finish. Skilled trades are in high demand in this area, and they pay well, too. These careers are earning people $30k-$100k per year, depending on skills, location, and overtime.

Like was stated above, they have other things to spend their money on. It all comes down to that choice, but try to think further down the road. Listen to some truly good speakers, and with that experience as a reference, find something you can afford that sounds similar. Decent speakers will last far longer than a pair of boots will. My main front speakers are 13 years old, and I don't plan to replace them any time soon. They were a splurge at $500 for the pair, but I had the cash and was looking long-term.

As for some of the other comments, home-buying isn't for everyone, but think about the rise in prices this way: the $175k house just out of your budget last year is now a $225k house this year. If you had bought it then, you'd have $50k in equity now. Also, I don't see the need to put examples in the article on a site that is full of reviews that cover those things. See the Top Picks, highlighted in red at the top of the page? Look there.

If nothing else, do your ears a favor and buy a pair of Audio Technica ATH-M50 headphones. Listening to music through those should give a better appreciation for what good sound is, and they should tide you over until you can afford a good home theater system. I listened to a pair once, and my regular headphones only remind me of what I could be hearing.

prerich45's picture

Listen to some truly good speakers, and with that experience as a reference, find something you can afford that sounds similar.

Yes!!!! That's something I've always recommended and that I've done. It's like test driving a car you can't afford and finding the closest thing to it that you can!!! My speakers are much older than yours - about 40 years old and I think they will be my last pair! I've reached the point of diminishing returns....and guess what....I bought them used! Mind you, I have a fair amount of upgrades in them (custom crossover mods), but after attending a few shows and demoing other speakers, I can say - I'm good.

Now I have a tendency to look a economical or technical ways to increase my listening pleasure (room acoustics, room measurements and DSP). I'm well satisfied and it didn't cost me the farm.

Bosshog7_2000's picture

I'm 43, so not a boomer and not a millenial either...Generation X I think they used to call us. At any rate, my take on the state of current music is this...people are inherently lazy and most of us are also broke. This is why Blue Ray died and people live off of Netflix and other streaming devices. People were too lazy to drive to Blockbuster when they can watch the same thing on Netflix...nevermind that you lose TrueHD surround sound and have to settle for badly compressed audio.

The other argument that others have made is also true, nobody can afford anything anymore. Where I live in Vancouver the price of a detached home in the suburbs an HOUR from downtown is $600k! Oh, you want to live inside Vancouver Metro you say, well the AVERAGE price of a detached home in Vancouver is now $2.23million. A cool million dollars will buy you a 33 x 100 ft lot with a junk heap of a house you need to tear down before you build. So yeah...where is the money for home audio coming from:)

prerich45's picture

I'm a fellow Gen X'er, I and still only buy blu-ray for its quality (namely audio). Do I have a Netflix subscription ... yes, but I only use it to see a documentary or for my wife to watch syndicated TV shows. Movies are always on BD...especially since we can buy them at low prices.

Bosshog7_2000's picture

So where do you live prerich45??? Since I commented on this article in 2015 that '$600k home an hour out of downtown' has increased to $800k. Vancouver's nuts. Anyway my point is depending where you live there isn't a lot of disposable income to blow on a Blu Ray for some movie I will likely only ever watch Apple TV/Netflix usually wins out.

prerich45's picture

I live in the southeast, in a very modest home (3br, 2 bath, on 1/2 acre of land...only cost me $50k). You are correct - it does depend on where you live - I couldn't even afford a $600k home! I'm also an empty nester, and the dream McMansion of the US has not been in my wife's eye nor mine in quite some time. Our home is about 100 years old and has went through quite a few historic Hurricanes.

You are so right though, its not necessarily about how much you make, but about what can you do with what you make. Currently, I could lose my job and afford to make my house payments off of unemployment alone and still have money left over, but if I lived else were - I'd be homeless.

Oh, and I only buy movies that I know that I will watch more than once. If Netflix or any streaming media for that matter, ever offers lossless sound - I'm all in.

WellRounded's picture

Ken thanks for the article. Yes it is alarming how many young people purchase elsewhere made crap thinking that they bought good sound system. However lots of our customers are Millennials.
Yes we are a small company thus to your graph insignificant numbers but we are very proud and pleased that most of our customers are from the same age group that you urging to buy better equipment. Millennials are saturated with plenty of selection but it is up to the manufacturers and audio professionals and press to show them why to buy better stuff. Many manufacturers are there not for the quality of the sound but to make a quick buck. Like those bluetooth sound bars with fake tubes illuminated with LEDs. Please urge manufacturers to make better, affordable gear made in the USA - Millennials will buy into that. What a concept!
Jerry Cmehil
Well Rounded Sound Inc.

Tangential's picture

I have a 5.1 setup, budget granted because I'm not a millionaire, I have a projector which projects an image of 104" on my nice white apartment wall. I buy CDS, I do not download or stream. I buy blu-rays. Whenever I have spare cash I buy a new bookcase to accommodate my film and music collections. I have no interest in buying a soundbar. I spend next to nothing on my mobile phone, which is not a smartphone.

Tangential's picture

The people you are talking about aren't likely to be reading this blog, just saying you might have wasted your time writing it. Bit pointless.

JustinGN's picture

Dude, Ken...not cool, man, not cool.

I'm a millennial. Been surfing your site and subscribing to Stereophile -and- Home Theater Mag for a number of years, lusting over the contents within. My theater setup currently consists of a Panasonic 50" G20 display in dire need of replacement, a Marantz SR6003 also in dire need of replacement due to its busted video processor, and B&W 685 (x2), HTM61, and 684 (x2) speakers. I also have a Zeppelin Air (with buggy firmware that needs rather constant reboots), Sennheiser HD800s, and B&W P5 (Series 1) headphones. 80% of my music is lossless, 10% is HighRes, and 10% is MP3/AAC. I buy movies on Blu-Ray, games on disc, and nitpick the hell out of sound mixes and graphical fidelity for both. Hell, I still buy CDs.

You want to know the kicker?

I bought all the big equipment purchases back when I lived at home with my parents, because you Baby Boomers wouldn't pay me enough to rent an apartment. I scraped and saved for months for each individual item on that list. The HD800 alone took me eighteen months of savings to afford. The 684 Front Speakers took six months working on minimum wage with upwards of fifty hours of overtime a week before I could buy them.

Here's the harsh reality surrounding your precious industry, and why more and more makers are appealing to the high-end luxury buyers, versus the bringing in a new crowd of millennial buyers: we are, collectively, broke. I pay $1700 for a studio in the Boston Suburbs, and I'm likely upgrading to a two bedroom for $2100 by the end of the year, so myself and my two best friends have space to spread out. We'd -like- to buy a house to retrofit with whole home audio, a proper theater, blackout curtains, etcetera, but the cheapest move-in ready housing in the area is $350k to $400k. All new housing is luxury only or for those below income limits, which places myself and my $75k salary in a gap where buying a house isn't possible without a second or third income, something neither of my friends can help with since, being millennials themselves, are in an even worse spot financially than I am!

We would LOVE to buy theater setups, nice televisions, fancy headphones, and better audio/video equipment in general. Of course, I'd also love to buy a new mattress to replace my thirty year old one, or a house I can gradually retrofit and renovate to suit my tastes, or a car that's not the cheapest model in a company's lineup. Hell, I'd love to take another vacation at some point. Instead, I'm sweating how to afford an increasingly expensive basic lifestyle in the freaking suburbs, trying to earn the money I'm actually worth (instead of what you boomers want to pay me), and trying to navigate a hostile and broken legal system for immigrants and the poor. To top off that suck salad, now one of my favorite publications has the audacity to blame me and my entire generation for the decline of your hobby.

So let me by uncharacteristically blunt, Ken: Fuck you, and fuck your generation. If you want us to buy decent gear, you need to respect us, and pay us. Maybe when your generation stops consistently paying me ten to twenty grand a year less (adjusted for inflation) than my Dad earned, I'll start getting back into the hobby I genuinely enjoy and seriously miss.

Justin N.
Yet Another Broke-Ass Millenial

Geoffrey Morrison's picture
Well said Justin.
JustinGN's picture

I really tried to police my own language here, given that I love the site and the publications it was born from. Problem is, I'm routinely assaulted by all manners of boomer-run media that I, the millennial, am solely at fault for the sluggish economy for a myriad of reasons, despite the fact I've only been part of it for just over eleven years (I'm 29), and am only now earning what my Dad did fresh out of college (adjusted for inflation, before he earned his Masters degree).

His $18k starting salary in 1978 is equivalent to $66k today. My first major gig paid me $35k a year in 2009, equivalent to less than $10k a year in '78. My $75k today, ten years into my career, has less buying power than the $42k my Dad earned when I was born, six years into his. Inflation has been brutal, and the boomers have not increased wages to keep up with it.

Ken's a great guy, I'm sure, but I'm sick and tired of my entire generation being scapegoated by the people who tanked it in the first place. This article, in a hobby I wish I could passionately enjoy once again, was the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back. Maybe it's time I start unleashing my anger back upon those who seem to believe they're in no way responsible for the current state of affairs, and if that means screaming at the boomers who ruined it for us, then so be it.

Geoffrey Morrison's picture
Nothing annoys me more than any rant that can be distilled down to "these damn kids these days" because every single one is factually inaccurate.
PicklesCalling's picture

You are narcissist, Justin. Stop feeling entitled for other people's money. "You have to pay us". What? Find a better job, get better skills, become self-employed. This whole "other people aren't paying me enough" victim complex you have going is extremely unflattering. And the narcissistic language you employ to whine about your situation is just off-putting.

Worry about your own situation, rather than blaming everything on the prior generation. You can easily get a mortgage on a starter home with a 75k salary. That's what I make and I own a home, in a much more expensive real estate market than yours.

Good luck with your situation, but from the sounds of it, you are the main reason for your lack of success. Your attitude is horrible, entitled and off-putting.

prerich45's picture

Baby Boomer greed is a big thing! They tend to have a "keep as many of the marbles as you can" mentality. They tend to be about monuments, and sharing is a like using profanity!

This article is quite out of touch with what's going on. What I believe will happen is that the very millennials will take on the mantle of Andrew Jones and develop affordable high-end audio (high-end as in sound quality, not price). They need to avoid the trap of greed that has plagued the Boomers. What I'm also seeing is a revival of the DIY community, people making their own speakers and using computer based DSP to them sound as good as high-end speakers ($$$$$)!!!!

They say necessity is the mother of invention, I think that's why the soundbar was created (the need for space saving due to housing cost). I believe that Millennials that really love audio quality - will find a way, and when it happens - the high-end world may just rue the day...because that will be the day that elitism will end...that would be a good day indeed.

dommyluc's picture are my hero.
I am a 59-year old fart, and I wanted to say the same thing, but I think my usage of the word "fuck" would be quite more extensive than yours. Major props for keeping your cool!
And S&V - if you are going to lecture people about buying better equipment, perhaps you should start having more articles about the really good budget equipment that's out there - and there are plenty of great speakers out there that don't cost $40K a pair. And it's a little hard for a person who is paying $2500 a month for a one bedroom studio apartment (not me, fortunately!) to install a multi-channel home theater system in a place they may have to move out of, and can't even listen to it without headphones for fear of upsetting the neighbors.
Must be nice to live in a perfect world.

JustinGN's picture

I really, genuinely didn't want to swear, but it seems like my entire generation is a scapegoat for all current ills, nevermind the fact we're the ones suffering the hardest from depressed wages, inflated housing costs, lack of additional housing, public transit and social welfare program cutbacks, and the gutting of social security and pensions. Our buying power is 60% of what most S&V folks had back when they were our age, yet they have the audacity to blame us for the current state of audio? I'm sorry, but I refuse to accept such a pathetically weak argument, especially when everyone I know would love to have a proper theater, nice TV, dedicated speakers, etcetera. Perhaps if we had the same purchasing power Ken did in his 20's, we wouldn't be eyeballing a life of terrible soundbars, since they're the only things we can afford, what with major speaker makers cutting back on budget-friendly offerings and focusing on the luxury high-end or lifestyle product markets.

Novastinger's picture

I would consider myself to be an early milennial, age 31. I think there have been a few responses that very accurately reflect the current socioeconomic situations that many millennial find themselves in, and I think they are pretty accurate in describing their reasons for soundbar purchases versus other forms of audio equipment. However, I believe there is one factor that is even more relevant to the rise of the soundbar purchase. That being the sound quality that comes from the average new television.

I believe that the audio quality that emanates from the average television set has sunk so low that a soundbar has become an almost required piece of equipment when purchasing a new television. When I purchased my first flat screen television, I was shocked at the poor quality of the sound, enough to where it ruined the television viewing experience. Now currently, there are two main televisions in my home. One is in my basement, a 70" 4K TV, with an Onkyo AVR, and Klipsch In-wall speakers. It isn't anything that will be found on the cover of a magazine, but it looks and sounds great. Pretty much everyone who comes over is impressed by the experience. However, the television that gets the most daily use is a basic 55" HD TV in our main living rom, which of course, has a soundbar attached to it. This soundbar isn't there to say I don't care about audio quality, it is there because I do. It is a definite upgrade to the audio quality, while being simple enough for my wife to be able to turn on the TV with one remote and one button. Something that is much easier than turning on the basement system. I think my reason for this is the same as many people out there. I want something better that what current TVs offer, but simple enough for the wife to use. The fact that newer soundbars can stream from phones and tablets is only a plus for a millennial, because it can cover two uses with one purchase, which makes financial sense.

I think this publication can take the information on the rise of soundbars and use it to their advantage. I believe that at this point, more people are buying audio upgrades than at any other point in history. Yes, there are many people out there who may never buy a soundbar, or never buy a soundbar that is anything but entry level, and that will always exist. But remember that everyone in this hobby started somewhere. I think the soundbar is now the first upgrade step. I think this publication should spend time showing people that for a little bit more money than a soundbar, a nice 2.1 system could be had, or a 5.1, or even atmos. Giving people knowledge of the fundamentals, where to put speakers in a room, how far to place the seat from TVs of different sizes, are all things that can help a system of any budget. If you only show people high end soundbars, or $3000 preamps, people may not realize the amount of equipment that is out there that can provided an upgraded audio experience for them that does not break the bank. These people have upgraded their audio experience once, just allow them to take the next small step, and you may be surprised how many turn out to be hobbyists in the future.

Just my two cents.

Speakerboy30's picture

Just think back to the old TV you had 15-20 years ago.....How did it sound? was it something you could tolerate? did it get loud enough to hear? the answer is a resounding YES. what has changed is todays TV's sound terrible, they are so bad that you have to do something to fix it ASAP. So the average consumer buys a soundbar of some sort just so they can hear their tv. As an added bonus it has bluetooth and can stream music. YES we know its not the best sound but we already bought the damn thing and our wife/girlfriends hates big ass speakers. We are victom to a terrible marketing ploy of the TV manufactures. Personally I blame them, they choose to make TV's with crap audio and are trying to grab another $200 on every sale.

Markoz's picture

I am 58 but my daughter, niece and nephew are millennials so I fell Justin GN's pain. Like Bosshog7_2000 we live in Vancouver. If you think it is tough being a millennial, try being a millennial in Vancouver which is famous for having the most unaffordable real estate in North America (translates to higher rents too) and the lowest wages in Canada.

On top of that the cost of the high end has spiralled up out of control over the last 25 years. 25 years ago I bought B&W 804 speakers. At $2,800 they were a stretch for me (at the start of my career) but my rent was cheap and my job was steady. If the price of that speaker had risen with inflation it would currently sell for about $4,500 Canadian. It doesn't. The B&W 804 D3 goes for $10,500 Canadian.

Yes, you can get decent (not great) sound for much less. The point is, the really good stuff is clearly aimed at the 1% whereas 25 years ago the bar to entry was not set that high.

I'm sure millennials would love to improve their sound systems but in this globalized world of low wages, high rents, tiny apartments and with an industry increasingly focused only on the cost-no-object crowd I think we can excuse them for looking for cheaper forms of entertainment.

PicklesCalling's picture

Wow, that second paragraph about vinyl records is some of the most condescending shit I've ever read. Does this guy not know that records sound far superior to CD's, which are usually horribly mastered brickwalled garbage intended to be listened to in a vehicle rather than your living room. Even when decently mastered, CD's are incredibly compressed and low res compared to an analog vinyl record, which does not limit itself by antequated digital protocols designed in the late 1970's (16 bits is really not enough for good quality audio, you need 24 bits). And the whole "maybe you'll actually learn to appreciate sound quality some day" is the topper.

I agree that soundbars are garbage, but this article was such a whiff. Complete swing and miss.

Bosshog7_2000's picture

Hey Pickles, I love vinyl...but better then CD?? Not with a good DAC and a decent recording.