What’s an Audiophile?

I must admit that I wouldn’t self-identify myself as an “Audiophile” for many of the same reasons Chris lays out in his article; it’s a loaded word, with a lot of baggage associated. That said, I like the idea that we can get away from the crazy, and use the term to label anyone who cares about a good audio experience.

Reading most audio magazines and online forums, you think you need to be rich to be an audiophile. I’ve even had a magazine editor tell me that if you want to listen to vinyl and you can’t spend $3,000 you are basically wasting your money. We see budget awards at the end of the year handed out to $1,500 speakers that, while they sound amazing, stretch the label of budget beyond recognition for most people.

Let’s stop being ridiculous about this and make audiophile an OK term again

Reference Home Theater



  • I couldn’t agree more with

    I couldn’t agree more with this article.  I used to be one of those people that would spend ridiculous amounts of money on audio equipment.  I actually took out a loan to purchase my first high end system.  I ended up spending so much time listening to the hardware that I forgot why I got into audio in the first place – the enjoyment of listening to music.  Fast forward about 3-4 decades later and I’m a happy camper.  I don’t listen to music as critically as I used to and I probably enjoy it as much, if not more, than ever before.  Of course, getting more involved with home theater added video into the mix so I don’t concentrate as much on just the audio anymore. 

    I can’t remember the last time I even set foot in a high end audio salon (they really don’t call them stores anymore), but I do recall one instance that occurred about 25 years ago.  I stopped by a home theater store and noticed they also had a dedicated high end audio shop across the street.  I browsed the showroom looking at all of the exotic hardware mentioned in the article (cable risers, magic pads for CDs, speaker cables as thick as garden hoses, etc.).  I chatted with the salesperson for a bit and he demoed a system for me that had a total price tag that was probably double my annual salary at the time.  I sat down and listened to it for a while and then walked away with a smile on my face.  It wasn’t because I thought the system sounded fantastic, but rather that I could not tell the difference between this ridiculously overpriced system and my current modestly priced setup.

    I was finally cured of the high end bug. 

    All of my friends and co-workers all knew that I was into audio back in the day.  Whenever they asked me for recommendations I’d always tell them about some obscure audio brand they’d never heard of that was probably more than they could afford.  Now I just tell them to audition hardware that’s in their price range and buy what sounds good to them.

    I still won’t recommend Bose speakers, even to people I don’t like.  My ears haven’t gotten that bad. Wink

  • I’m an audiophile and a

    I’m an audiophile and a videophile.  But I find both very subjective.  What sounds and looks great to me may not be the ideal for someone else.  My biggest audiophile thing I ever did has made a few friends I know give me tilted head looks of “really?” at me.  My center channel on surround sound is actually a car speaker box (complete with carpeting on the outside of the box).  I get questioned by my friends about why I didn’t buy a “proper center channel”; at which I point I laugh a little and explain the custom box has the speakers I wanted in it, doing the frequency ranges and output I wanted at 1/5 the price of the premade box.

    I’m sure some of them, even after listening to my setup, think I’m butchering the intended sound of movies.  But I find most action films are mixed in a way that I don’t like, too much boom! not enough center dialog mix.  I love being able to hear what actors are saying without having to turn on subtitles; might just be middle age catching up with me…

  • I think taking back the word,

    I think taking back the word, using it define someone who cares about audio, is a fantasitic idea. I really hope it sticks.