“The seeds of the decline of what it meant to own a stereo were planted way back then, because the original audiophiles were people who were baby boomers’ fathers and mothers,” he says. “As rock ‘n’ roll starts to become more of a thing, a lot of that stuff is produced so it’s meant to be heard on AM radios.”
A Phil Spector Wall of Sound production — in glorious mono! — would probably have driven a hi-fi enthusiast up a wall, says Milner.
The mass market moves on
In the ’70s and ’80s, the twain did meet, for a time. Rock and pop music production techniques improved. At the same time, grown-up baby boomers, now working adults, invested in better audio equipment, all the better to listen to Steely Dan’s “Aja.”
There were whole mass-market stores devoted to audio gear — Sound Trek, Hi-Fi Buys, Silo — and no issue of Rolling Stone was complete without several ads for turntables, cassette decks and equalizers.