In the early 1970s, when I lived in Germany, I was a carnivore. One of my favorite meals was wiener schnitzel, pommes frites and gemischter salade, which translates to a breaded veal cutlet, french fries and mixed salad.
Since then I haven't eaten meat, but I still like french fries–only I can't eat them in German pubs anymore. Why? Because they're now inedible. Instead of what we used to get, hand cut potatoes pan fried in butter, they've learned from McDonalds to dump a bag of frozen crap into a deep fryer. It's a shame, I miss the old way of cooking.
But here's the thing. Just because German pubs no longer cook french fries the way I like them, doesn't mean I like pan fried french fries any less. It just means I have to search for different outlets to get what I want. And the same is true for audio.
Just because the masses listen to music through earbuds, something I also do when I am running, doesn't mean there aren't great audio systems to be had, outlets to sell them, experts to curate them. And it certainly doesn't portend the death of high end audio! On the contrary, the desire for better sound has never been stronger, and young people still come of age, some looking to step up to better experiences.
A certain percentage of people will always want something better than what is commonly accepted as normal. That's why high end anything exists: restaurants, hand made ice cream, fancy cars, hand tailored clothes, hand painted art, quality food served fast.
I had promised to write about integrateds but this thought seemed important. I will tomorrow.