TWICE-”Tablets Driving Premium Headphone Sales”
In an recent TWICE blog entitled, “Tablets Driving Premium Headphone Sales”, Dave Dunbar discusses what people look for when purchasing headphones to go with their tablets. Dave talks about price, sound quality, and fashion and how these three variables interlace with each other and enter into the decision making and ultimate purchase.
Line Item In Budget
Dave tells us in the article entitled, Tablets Driving Headphone Sales, that prices for headphones for tablets can reach $100.00. With the price of tablets around $400.00 that equates to 25% of the total purchase price that goes for sound. This is very encouraging to see. A customer is willing to spend a part of their budget for good sound quality instead of using the standard supplied ear buds
Better Sound Quality
It appears that individuals with tablets or even lap tops want a better sound quality in their audio signal chain. Well, I say its about time. The whole platform of tablets and laptops has been about the video presentation using text, stills, and videos. We have U Tube for videos, we send text for emails, and we attach still photos to our emails. All of these formats are video only and have audio as a secondary concern. Playing music through your computer speakers is definitely making audio presentation a secondary concern.
Need More Sound Conscious Consumers
It is good that sound quality is a consumer issue and enters in to their buying decision. We need a new generation of people that want good audio presentations. The more people that want it and purchase products that have it, the more demand for it that will be created. This demand will “force” audio manufacturers to develop quality sounding technology at a price point that fits into the tablet and laptop landscape. It will help consumers obtain better quality headphone products.
Another Hook Needed
Perhaps the video formats have all been worked out and manufacturers must look for new ways to attract customers. Now, we have tablets that are small and very portable. We even have cell phones or smart phones that can be used to play an instrument on. If a group of people are playing their phones, audience members can use their cell phones to show approval by selecting a “flame” application as if using a cigarette lighter in the audience. It also appears from the commercials on television, that one can even take a real time video of one’s mouth and voice approval or disapproval for the live music event by using our smart phone screen with a video of our mouth moving.
In my younger years, all of my friends and I were hi-fi enthusiasts. We all had our own two channel playback systems that consisted of a turntable for our source, an amplifier or more appropriately a receiver, and two speakers. Some of us had headphones, some did not. We had our systems set up into our rooms and back then basements. We would spend hours listening to music in these environments. It was a major event when a favorite group came out with a new album. Whoever had the money at that time bought the album and then we took turns listening to it.
Music, No Video
Music was always in our lives. Our hi-fi systems were our source of music and really our only source. Well, I guess we had a transistor radio to listen on. I remember listening to WLS out of Chicago. It was the most powerful radio station of the time and I think it was 50,000 watts or something like that. I remember listening to it all the way from Illinois to Florida heading to spring break in Panama City.
Sound Quality Back Seat
Today, sound quality definitely takes a back seat to video. Everything is about sight and not sound. It is a complete paradigm shift. Smaller and smaller the screens get and smaller and smaller goes the importance of our sound quality. The sound quality does not stand a chance with the speakers in our lap tops or smart phones. At least with headphones, one can control the sound quality level a little more.
One could also accessorize with an external DAC. DAC stands for digital to analog converter. It take the digital recording data and converts it to an analog signal that our ears can hear and the headphones can process. Perhaps manufacturers could provide matching styles for the DAC and headphones. With the DAC, one can just use the smart form for digital data storage and then play this data back through the external DAC. The sound quality of an external digital to analog converter is always better than the ones in smart phones and lap tops.
Whatever the marketing strategy or hype, it is a welcome to see at least a partial shifting towards audio and in particular audio quality. If more people are exposed to good sound quality then perhaps audio still has a chance to compete with video. I do not think audio quality will ever run ahead of video but if younger people are involved with quality sound through headphones connected into their tablets then we have a new generation of music and sound appreciation. One can only hope.