17 things you may not know about audio

17 things you may not know about audio


audio, audiophile, hi-fi, PMA Magazine, Robert Schryer

Prices listed are in $US.

1– The seeds of hi-fi were planted when World War Two and Korean war vets who took electronics training programs during their service started building their own electronics. (source: AudiophileReview.com / Steven Stone)

audio, audiophile, hi-fi, PMA Magazine, Robert Schryer

2– The first commercial application of loudspeaker time-alignment was in the 30s. It was designed at the request of a movie director who wasn’t satisfied with the realism of tap-dancing on a soundtrack. (source: nutshellhifi.com)

3– Walt Disney’s movie Fantasia, released in 1940, was the first full-length movie to use a multichannel soundtrack.

4– To listen to the earliest stereo broadcasts from the late 1950’s, one had to use two radios, one set on an FM channel while the other on an AM one.

5– The radio became the U.S.’s first mass medium. At one point, 599 stations were broadcasted in the U.S. alone. (source: Complex.com)

6– The popularity of radio created an off-shoot: the receiver, which included a tuner, preamp, and power amp in one chassis. Harmon Kardon released the world’s first receiver in the late 50s.

7– Columbia Records released the first 12″ 33 1/3 rpm record in 1948. The following year, RCA introduced the competing 7″ 45 rpm record, later known as the “single”.

audio, audiophile, hi-fi, PMA Magazine, Robert Schryer
Chrysler’s “Highway Hi-Fi” car record player, 1955

8– “Bookshelf” speakers were so-named because they were always shown in early advertisements as fitting in a bookshelf of a built-in library. (source: nutshellhifi.com)

9– The first car record player was Chrysler Corporation’s “Highway Hi-Fi” launched in 1955. CBS Labs developed the technology for the player, which played 7-inch discs in 16⅔ rpm format, available exclusively from Columbia Records. Each record side could fit about an hour’s worth of music. The “Highway Hi-Fi” didn’t come cheap, however. It was an option that cost around $200, or about $1,700 in today’s dollars. (source: ConsumerReports.org)

10– The first audio component to bear the HiFi designation was Yamaha’s “HiFi Player” released in 1954. (source: usa.Yamaha.com)

11– JBL was the biggest selling headphone brand in 2019, representing 13 percent of market share. (source: Statista.com)

12– The biggest selling earbuds of 2021 were the Apple AirPods Pro, which accounted for over 50% of global earbud sales.

13– In the US, CD sales went up for the first time in 2021 in over twenty years, hitting 46.6 in total units sold, 15 million more than were sold in the previous year. (source: Statista.com)

audio, audiophile, hi-fi, PMA Magazine, Robert Schryer
Yamaha’s “HiFi Player”, 1954

14– Music streaming apps generated $25.1 billion in worldwide revenue in 2021, a 32% increase over the prior year. Spotify accounted for over 30 percent of all streaming, making it the most popular music streaming provider in the world. (source: BusinessOfApps.com and Statista.com)

15– The market for high-end products—defined as audio components costing over $5000 and speakers costing over $10,000 a pair—is estimated to be worth $1 billion worldwide and expected to grow by 3% annually. (source: Twice.com)

16– The global market for consumer audio equipment in 2020? $28.5 billion. Projected for 2026? $49.9 billion. (source: GlobeNewsWire.com)

17– The audio market is growing.

2024 PMA Magazine. All rights reserved.


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