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On the State of the High End Audio & the Slow Slide Towards Sonic Oblivion

On the State of the High End Audio & the Slow Slide Towards Sonic Oblivion


Cost pressures prevail everywhere and elsewhere in the specialist audio industry, as in most other branches of consumer products, the relentless pursuit of ever-cheaper products to provide higher profits through lower and lower production costs continues unabated.


This has lead to a technological development where measurement technologies have been “redesigned”, distorted and figures misrepresented in order to create the necessary “proof” that the reduction in cost did not result in a corresponding loss in “quality”. “We can make the same cheaper” is the unspoken slogan, which has resulted in products that superficially maintain the same standards of their predecessors but which in reality are substantially and demonstrably inferior. This is what callously passes as progress in most companies’ minds, but progress to where?


Add to this the fact that a rupee spent on marketing and promotion seems to have proven to be much more effective at selling a product than a rupee invested in better quality parts or better design. Seems is really the wrong word here, it is far more effective in persuading you to buy someone’s products. ​


Remember in this context that the money can only be spent once


So if the money is invested in promotion and gimmicks and not put into the product in the form of quality parts, research & development or skilled labour, the money has already gone by the time the box has been opened. Bear that in mind next time you pick up a glossy brochure, respond to a designer advert or admire a stunning finish or visual design. At the end of the day, if the product’s function and performance is not enhanced by the investment in finish or fancy literature and publicly then it will be worth less with time because time is not only a strict but a heartless judge of quality and performance. Time favours performance quality rather than fashion, which is devalued quickly after the first admiring glance, which is why the best old audio products still command premium prices.


Audio Note aims to make tomorrow’s great classics today, a fact which is establishing itself!

Gloss fades, performance shines, all given time, and sooner than you may think, just try to sell last years “hot” digital product for half or more than you paid for it, a bad decision that only becomes obvious when you come to sell it off course. But one which should be learnt from perhaps?


Over the past 30 years this process has been repeated so many times that it takes real ingenuity, effort, resolve and considerable historical knowledge and overview to reverse, which is something that most members of our convenience oriented culture are not prepared to invest any time in. So it is left to someone as fanatical about the beauty of really well performed and reproduced music as our team pursues this with uncompromising commitment and vigour!


Peter Qvortup,

Audio Note UK

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