i read that visitors to this year's CES were all stricken by one stark realization - that today's high-end is losing its perspective with regard to pricing. when you call an item with a price tag of USD10,000 as "mid-priced", you know the manufacturer has completely lost touch with reality. i mean, RM40,000 can almost get you a MyVi and for some mid-level executives, it is equivalent to their annual salary.

while there are enough budget gear to entice the newbies, it’s the gear in the middle, the gear that those budding audiophiles will aspire to move up to when they’ve outgrown the entry-level stuff that got them hooked to begin with, that’s sadly in short supply. incidentally, mr. ling's of tong lee has echoed this sentiment to me last week, that's why he is bringing in more mid-fi stuff to his shop.

back to the subject, with rising material and labour costs in the US and other european countries, which manufacturer really has the know-how, capacity and ability to cater to this critical segment of the market? china? not really. you will be shocked at how they price shanling these days. not all MIC stuff are cheap!

i feel that to do mid-fi stuff successfully, you need a radical approach that is going to change the paradigm of how mid-fi is being engineered and manufactured. i think you know what i am thinking, you smart readers.

who's in better position than steve job and co? who has better credentials and capacity to revolutionize this (mid-fi) other than apple computers?

if apple were to take up this challenge then we audiophiles are promised a bright future. i could envision music servers that have superb UI (user interface) much like iPhone - one could flip the virtual album covers when selecting songs; one could, by using fingers' movement, enlarge and reduce the album cover, rotate the viewing angle , and many other cool features that's unheard of in traditional two-channel audio.

the price would be less than RM5K. executives or fresh graduates aged 22 and above could save up two months' salaries and afford it. they may not even need to buy expensive interconnects or speaker cables, or power conditioners. and what's most importantly is - the sound is truly mid-fi!

all these are not make-belief or fantasy. with apple's track record and its "mover and shaker" reputation, this vision is palpably real.

the only question left is, of course, whether apple sees money in the hifi industry.

13 comments:

dato r said...

Dear Maggie,

I do not feel that Apple is the right choice.

Their entire existence is making as much profit as possible.

What they are good at though is telling a fairytale.

Everyone knows that Creative zen MP3 player s are better than i-pod in everyway,but who's buying the creative zen?not even the Singaporean.

Call me a pessimist or old fashion,but the only way to me that the mid fi and hi fi stuff can move is doing what swedish statement is doing with marten,bladeus etc.Small companies run by passionate,intelligent people and coalesce together under one cooperative umbrella.

And they have to start advertising in non audio related publications[Meridian has been doing it for years] like Robb REport,Esquire ETc

Peple will always be on the look out for quality.But you will not now of their existence until your are told about it.Truth be told.

haque said...

Dear Maggielurva,
Hello,

I know a lot of so called mid fi stuff [in term of price]that beat the hi end[but mid fi in performance]stuff.

I think a lot of manufacturers are taking advantage of audiophiles trait of perceiving that more expensive equals more performance.

In the end the market will determine who would succed and who wouldn't

Remember when the prce of Condo in KLCC touched 1000psf? I thought it was absolutely ridicilous,but most people don,t think so ,and now it's doing 1.8k psf and you still have people who think that that's a bargain.....

Thats Capitalism for you

ricky said...

If anyone could safe hifi ,i think apple could.

But the problem with us audiophiles is that sometime we just want to shun the product just because it is mainstream.

When Microsoft bought HDCD,after realizing the immense benefit,they thought all the hi fi manufacturers are going to line up to use them.But unfortunately the reverse happened.

Now only a small select of audiophile companies that are run by engineers[Naim,cary audio etc] use HDCD decording.Why?because the others thought it is nt cool enough to have microsoft product on their portfolio.

Look at what happen to rega.Their Appollo and SAturn received rave reviews but what is happening now?Severe manufacturing defect.I can bet you if apple receive the complain the ywould have done something about it instead of running away from the problem.
Who will lose out?well it looks like Rega is falling down faster than you could imagine and all of us will lose out

aboon said...

wah maggie,
your readers now arelike lim kit siang.so brave ah

see ke said...

interesting notion that one,

Would apple see money in hi-fi ?surely,but would it be enought?

chit said...

Hope this truly materialize

Would be for the better for sure

wan f said...

You need a big player to save the industry.

The watch companies had the Richmont group,Could Apple be the equivalent?

km ng said...

I think successful Amerian companies are very focused on what they do (main reason why they are successful).

Unlike some GLCs and public listed companies here, they don't expand "upsteam" or "downstream" (companies here many a times found themselves "bottomstream" after doing so) but reach out to the international markets.

I don't think Apple would expand to home hi fi (not in the immediate future anyway) as it didn't fit into the company's core competencies.

maggielurva 愛美姬 said...

hi dato, hague,
you can fool the customer once but you can't fool them twice. companies that shortchange customers won't last long. look at how many brands collapsed in the 90s and never gets resurrected even. remember NRG amp?

OTOH, look at krell, ARC, magnepan, conrad johnson, sonus faber.

aboon,
controversy is good. vote DAP ;-)

km ng said...

Talking about IPhone, yes, it has many cool features but I believe not too good sound quality.

Some of my friends have iPhones and when they call me, the voices are softer, noisier and higher pitched. Sometimes I hardly can recognise them.

Not to misjudge Steve Jobs, but perhaps sound quality is not top 5 in his list.

Not too good for a start if Apple ventures to home hi fi, right folks?

km ng said...

Apologise for being seriously off topic.

I was at the DAP ceramah in Subang Jaya (USJ 12 field) last night. Wow! more than 10,000 people were standing by me.

Lim Kit Siang will be coming to SJ (same venue) on Monday. Spread the word and come, if possible.

If any MCA (Make Chinese Angry) people approaches you, just say your favourite song is from Elton John.

His "Rocket Man."

Vote for change!

P.S. Nurul Izzah, Anwar's daughter, came and spoke too in English. First time live in person for me and she's a pretty, confident and very articulate young lady.

hardcore audiophile said...

Km,
No need to apologize,

The goverment has been supplying us corrupted power supply till we can't enjoy our hobby fully.

Really time has come for a major change.If nothing really change despite what happenen Itold myself I will migrate.

The country will spiral down so fast,all of us will come down together

Anonymous said...

Guys

Let's keep the Malaysian political parties out of this blog. Remember that this is an international AV blog.

Thanks.