The Death of the Home Stereo

By Deane Barker on April 23, 2007

High fidelity takes backseat to portability: Interesting article on the decline of the stereo system as a piece of consumer electronics, and the resulting decline in audio fidelity that no one seems to care about.

With their ability to store vast libraries of music in your pocket, sleek digital music players have replaced bulky home stereo systems as the music gear of choice. But the sound quality of digital audio files is noticeably inferior to that of compact discs and even vinyl.



  1. Having the ability to listen to any song from your collection no matter where you are IS rather nice. Doing the same thing at home while listening to that same music on some proper equipment is much nicer and something I would never give up.

  2. I like that audio cable as to Ferrari analogy. However I can’t really tell the difference between using a high fidelity cable versus the cheap Honda cable that just works :-)

    Besides, compressed / uncompressed audio / analogue vinyl is one thing, while listening environment (iPod earbuds, home theater, car stereo) is another. For instance, one can plug an iPod into their home theater system if they have both–and people can listen to compressed music in their cars without earbuds.

    Earbuds are excellent for artificial stereographic images with privacy, while my car stereo with component speakers are great because it’s easier to make sounds in a smaller, enclosed space. So even though my home desktop is plugged into an Altec 5021, I don’t always have music playing at home.

  3. I can’t disagree with this assessment – especially when one considers all the disruptive innovation riding the coat tails of the IPod, mp3s, etc …

    … even more disruptive than people realize is the iStore model that has basically set the stage for on demand media.

    I mean now you see new cars with a plugin for one’s pod – when just a few years ago the sales guy was filling your ears about how great the cassette player was!

    Just wait until WiMax gets fully deployed – talk about disruptive technology – I don’t even think the iPod will survive that.

  4. I’ll always opt for the CD since it gives better fidelity than an mp3 ever will, plus it gives better flexibility in use (no DRM).

    I bought a CD online last week and found a neat surprise; the online store provided a link to a streaming site hosted by the record co. so I could listen to the CD right away, plus gave a link to a downloadable mp3 of one of the songs. Best of both worlds!

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