What a Wonderful World This Could Be

What if Americans loved high-end audio as much as we do guns?

• There would be enough serious sound systems out there in this country, were they evenly distributed, for 88 of every 100 American men, women, and children to own one.

• 72 percent of all adult Americans will have experienced high-end audio at least once.

• Nearly half of the world's entire stock of consumer high-end audio gear would be owned by Americans.

• More than 30,000 Americans would perish from terminal audiophilia every year, while more than 100,000 would become certified audiophiles requiring some hospitalization.

• High-end ownership would have almost doubled since 1995.

• Hospitals would perform nearly 3 billion dollars in services induced by audio-related incidents.

• Only 12 percent of American women would report owning high-end audio in 2015 — but this would be up by almost half in the previous decade.

• Nearly half of U.S. men would report owning high-end equipment.

• Owners of high-end audio would be distributed almost equally across household income brackets, from less-than-$25,000 per year to more-than-$100,000 per year.

The proportion of white Americans owning high end equipment would be nearly half again that of non-whites.

• 48 percent of white men would be high-end audio owners.

• Barely one fifth of Democrats would report high-end ownership: Republicans? Almost 40 percent.

And what a wonderful world this would be! Nearly everyone would be exposed to great sound, and who knows, possibly even, great music, every day. There'd be music in the air and high-end hi-fi pride would be the order of the day. In the many states that permit it, hi-rez audio players would be worn proudly on the hip, creating a whole new cottage industry in artisanal, custom-made holsters. The audio industry would be thriving, creating thousands of skilled jobs every month, doing its part to make America great again.

With such a burgeoning audio industry there would be many more than two audio or AV magazines, whipping advertisers into a frenzy of contract buying. Fat with ads and flush with cash these magazines would be locked in desperate competition for skilled, knowledgable writers: writers who know the difference between Class G and Class H and between compliment and complement. Editorial salaries and free-lance rates would double, treble, perhaps even quadruple, rising to such unprecedented heights that even this humble scribe could finally afford that engine-turned AR-15 replica with camo stock and laser sight.

funambulistic's picture


dommyluc's picture

"The only way to stop a bad guy with a low-bitrate mp3 is to have a good guy with a 192khz/24-bit hi-res audio download."

brenro's picture

In the 70's everyone had a stereo and cared about the way it sounded. There were dozens and dozens of purveyors of a multitude of brands of equipment. Even Radio Shack's Realistic brand made some pretty decent gear. Mobile sound boiled down to car stereos and you were stuck with 8 track and later cassette tapes. It was the golden age of FM radio though in many parts of the country and that was often all you needed. Once personal electronics came along is when most everyone deemed lo-fi to be "good enough". Walkmans gave way to iPods and headphones gave way to earbuds. Convenience is more important than sound fidelity now.

drny's picture

Nice try Daniel. I myself (though a Marine veteran) have spent exactly $0 dollars in weapons, but over $20,000 in my lifetime in A/V gear.
Dollar for dollar A/V is the safest release valve from the stresses of life. Gambling, sports addiction, booze and drugs, fooling around all bring dire consequences (believe me). The only safe heaven is spending two hours listening to my music or transfixed enjoying my movie collection in my Home Theater.
This would indeed be a much more relax (maybe even better) world, if High end A/V would be the chosen means to find inner peace.

pw's picture

In the 1970's this was mostly true..
My giant Bic Venturi's driven by my Marantz 227o was well loud..