What kind of audiophile are you?

by admin on December 12, 2009 · 14 comments

in Misc

By Andrew Levine

I’ve been thinking about the so-called “audiophile” crowd lately and come to the conclusion that they are a composite of many different predilections, some of which are listed here in alphabetical order:

Fetishist

Do you buy only 24k gold CD’s and use the most esoteric of digital interconnects? Assuming you employ a jitter-immune DAC the digital source / medium & connecting cables are of no importance. Please test double-blind if in doubt.

Freak

Do you believe that vinyl records sound better than digitally encoded music converted back into the analog domain?Assuming a high-quality, very accurately clocked ADC is used and the high-quality, accurately clocked DAC employed is jitter-immune, an exact digital “copy” of an analog source, fed to the sameamplifier stage, is indistinguishable from the analog source. Please test double-blind if in doubt.

Geek

Do you feel that the technical specs of gear are all that counts? The well tuned ear is the ultimate judge. Technical specs are obviously also very important, but, besides recommendations from people (with ears) you trust they should primarily help deciding what gear to audition.

Touch&Feel

Do you believe in “you get what you pay for” beyond what most people –or even audio professionals– would consider a reasonable price, enjoy the look & feel of extra heavy gear with a thick metal frontplate, wooden sidepieces and custom made knobs? It is true that good sounding gear takes a lot of R&D, which must be payed for, and that high quality components don’t come cheap, but, as a music enthusiast, please use the resolution of what your own ears can discern as the landmark and give the money you save to a charity.

Sonophile

Do you love to listen? Do you enjoy the vibe of a live performance, the sound of a “real” space, the incredible span of real-life dynamics, the tinyest details that may still be discerned? A true sonophile is in love with things that can be enjoyed when listening to, no matter which genre. Great musicians, performing extraordinarily well in a nice sounding space, recorded optimally and presented (mixed and mastered) in the best possibly way, retaining the excitement of “being in the moment”.

So, what kind are you?

I confess to find myself reflected to varying degree in several of the above categories. I am no audio fetishist and do trust in a completely digital work flow, but there surely is great analog gear about and there are people who can use it to achieve optimal results. To some degree it’s a question of what environment you are comfortable with. I do like to browse gear by looking at it’s specs, and I often feel tempted by numbers, but due to budget constraints I don’t run amok ;-) The same goes for the looks of some equipment. Nice…

But in the end I am a sonophile. I just _love_ to listen. And I hope there are many others around, because even though I don’t know how to explain this I believe it will help make this world a better place. Listen closely, listen well, enjoy!

From radio.blumlein, with permission.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

admin 06.16.09 at 9:25 am

All of the above! :)

Thanks, Andrew.

marvin fox 06.16.09 at 5:57 pm

Very good article.I think we all know in our hearts what we believe in when we listen to music.

rob 06.17.09 at 10:11 am

hmm…
i think i am a bargain hunter audiophile.
i like buying ex demo gear that sounds great together and getting a nice price

Craig 06.17.09 at 11:14 am

Thanks for the fun article.For myself….Sonophile mainly but there are always elements of the others in play.

admin 06.17.09 at 5:16 pm

Welcome rob and Craig.

Stay in touch. Cheers, a

Marc 06.17.09 at 7:58 pm

Im a modding audiophile. No matter what i buy, im always looking for ways swap out components for higher quality parts, at the best price possible.

Ken 06.20.09 at 10:36 am

I’m a sonophile first and something of a touch-and-feel - but then (I’ll make this up) a mediaphile. For example, to play a record, I need a good turntable system; to play a CD, a fine CD player; live radio broadcasts sound fantastic with through a good tuner; PC delivers a hi-fi buzz with a decent DAC. Comparing the media is like comparing fruit - apples and oranges. Equipment can be new, secondhand, in or out of fashion, etc., listening and tweaking and upgrading any or all of these sources concurrently is what makes hi-fi fun for me.

Ronnie 06.22.09 at 1:12 pm

I think most of us have a degree of ‘obsessive compulsive disorder’. It’s at the root of why we do what we do, in most cases.

Ronnie

Shea 07.06.09 at 9:59 pm

I have somewhat recently converted over to sonophile - not that I have a disdain for production sounds by any means, I have just grown a new ear to listen with it would seem.
I try to regularly challenge myself to enjoy strange genres - not just to listen but to experience the emotions being presented. Live, raw music seems to translate this more readily - I am even listening to country music now.

G&P,
Shea

Regis 12.12.09 at 9:46 pm

I suspect every one started their respective audio life quests thanks to an appreciation for music. That said, I draw considerable pleasure from acquiring vintage gear at the best possible price, hunt down great records and enjoy a few ‘cold ones’ listening to both.

admin 12.13.09 at 6:45 am

Fun activities, all, Regis.

Welcome. Cheers, a

John 12.13.09 at 1:41 pm

Freaky Sonophile.

Don’t assume anything, just listen…

Bill Woods 12.22.09 at 12:15 pm

I’m not sure what category it is, but I can never seem to afford what I want, never really satisfied with what I have, but absolutely love the process of adding, removing, tuning and discussing all things high end audio. I’ve always been drawn to DIY solutions and because I don’t have access to limitless funds, I’m completely obsessed with Price-to-Performance ratios. And lastly, I appear to do all this as somewhat of a renegade loner here in Oregon. The only other audiophiles I meet or talk to are on the internet. Fortunately, there’s no real such thing as a ‘lonely audiophile’. It seems to be part of our DNA that we can power up our systems, sit back and be transported through time and memory. It’s really quite an amazing thing to behold… what were we talking about?… (Happy Holidays!)

admin 12.22.09 at 1:09 pm

Another great post, Bill!

I’m up for discussing high end audio anytime!

Merry Christmas to you.

Cheers, a

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