Want a demo of Hi-Res Audio at a local car audio dealer? It may be hard to find. Car audio dealers have been slow to embrace Hi-Res Audio, but don’t count the new audiophile segment out yet.
In the home audio market, Hi-Res Audio is expected to see sales of $8 million wholesale each year for the next few years, according to the Consumer Technology Association.
But the car audio market is seeing mixed acceptance.
Sony, which makes the RSX-GS9 ($1,500) Hi-Res Audio deck says sales have picked up in the past two months as consumer awareness is growing and as music is more readily available in Hi-Res Audio formats.
And most of the contestants in the car audio competition finals this fall were using Hi-Res Audio (HRA) equipment, said industry observers.
But many retailers, including leading chains say they just don’t see demand yet for HRA, which provides better than CD quality audio.
The president of a leading car audio chain, when asked how Hi-Res Audio was selling, did not know what it was. Another retail executive of a major chain said he is not aware of consumers asking for it,
Freeman’s Car Stereo, NC said its seeing low demand for HRA.
“It’s not even in the top ten requests” from consumers said Ken Wiseman of Phoenix Gold, which showed a Hi-Res Audio DSP with WiFi streaming at CES last year.
In fact both Phoenix Gold and Dual Electronics withdrew their plans to release Hi-Res Audio devices that were shown at last year’s CES. Phoenix Gold did so to rework the product, but Dual did so to wait for higher demand for HRA.
It’s DWF916L–a head unit with Hi-Res Audio WiFi streaming that won an Innovation Award, was due for release in 2016 but has been delayed until spring to give the market time to catch up.
“We had it cued up and ready to build, and yes, we decided not to manufacture it last year after we showed it at CES and looked around at the rest of the market and talking to dealers….” said Dual CEO Jim Braun, noting “demand was not where it needs to be.”
He expects the format to grow, but said, “It’s very early in the lifecycle of these products…Dual is ready to go as soon as we see the demand start to build.”
He hopes to deliver the DWF916L along with HRA ready amplifiers and speakers this spring under the Jensen brand.
The message was che