A daily dose of Hughes; Jimmy Hughes aka James Michael Hughes – “Better Sound – Where Did It All Go Wrong, George?”

At some point – and it’s hard to say exactly when – a significant majority began to lose interest in sonic upgrades and technical improvements. It’s my belief the process began sometime in the late 1980s, though the trend would not become obvious until the early ‘90s. CD certainly rejuvenated the hi-fi market in the early ‘80s; many enthusiasts upgraded their amplifiers and loudspeakers having bought a new CD player.

But, by the end of the decade, this appetite for improvement had started to plateau out. It’s not clear why – maybe CD generally sounded so good (or so average) most people no longer cared about further improvements. Also, some listeners had perhaps grown a tad cynical, having invested in new ‘improved’ CD players with higher specs that actually sounded little different to the machines they’d replaced…

But there was more to it than that. Previously, as newer technologies replaced older ones, there had always been a shunning of things considered ‘obsolete’. By the late ‘60s, Mono LPs had become virtually un-saleable. With the Silicon transistor becoming widely available after about 1967, Valve gear disappeared almost overnight – by 1970 hardly anyone made Tube equipment.