The Death of Hi-Fidelity: Why Are We All Compromising When It Comes to Sound?

The Death of Hi-Fidelity: Why Are We All Compromising When It Comes to Sound?

Jason Yang
Apr 3, 2013

Any home theater aficionado will tell you audio is just as important as a top notch picture. Try watching a movie on mute with close captioning and you'll obviously notice something important is missing. 

Think about how the music during a pivotal action scene gets the hair on your arms standing or when an emotional moment sends shivers down your spine thanks to the soundtrack. Why do our eyes get to feast on high definition glory while many of us subject our ears to the barest minimum of built-in speakers for audio duty?

Speakers can be smaller and decor-friendly, yet sufficiently powered and engineered for sound like these Joey Roth 2.1 ceramic speakers.

As technology constantly improves each product cycle, it's often the case most people rarely update or upgrade their home theater audio systems. Whereas we always want a faster processor, bigger screen, or better resolution, the popular trend is toward compact speaker systems that are woefully underwhelming.

We're happy to show off our latest 70" flat panel TV, but hide away the speakers in the walls, utilize miniature systems, or just rely on built-in speakers that don't deliver a cinema-equivalent level of quality. We're always yearning for and touting Retina displays and big screen mobile phones, but what about those tinny speakers on your Android or iDevice?

KEF T Series Slim Profile Speakers are slim and world's better than any sound bar or the built-in speakers on your television...yet still wall mountable!

So why are we all okay with inferior audio when only the best will do for all other aspects of our tech lives? Do we value our visual feedback that much more than our audible counterpart? Is the technology harder to make or is too difficult to convince the consumer to buy?

It's understandably difficult to put a high performance speaker into some products, but those holding gargantuan smartphones with 5" screens thought that was a pipe dream as well. I'm personally saddened by the continual miniaturization of speakers into iPhone docks and soundbars form when there are options out there which balance performance with decor-friendly living room presence.

Though we understand the need to balance home decor without overwhelming it with technology, I'd point out the acceptance and integration of big flat panel monitors dominating walls and living spaces as a source of inspiration for bringing high quality sound back into our lives.

If you still need convincing, watch and listen to the diva opera scene from The Fifth Element or anything from Chris Perez's top 10 movies scenes to demo your home theater with the volume on 11. Try closing your eyes and you will still get a full sense of what's really going on, but this time with a stirring in your soul.


(Images: Gregory Han; Shutterstock/Sergey Niven, Shutterstock/Tarchyshnik Andrei)

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