Audiophiles are OK
By Chris Heinonen on
If you hear the term “audiophile” you probably visualize the worst possible example. Special cable risers to keep them off the floor, special mats to place on top of a CD while playing it, and refusing to listen to a component until it has been powered on for a week straight to break in. This stereotype of a person is one that most of us do not want to be identified as.
I want to destroy that concept. I want the audiophile term to go back to what it should be: someone that loves music and enjoys better sounding audio. You don’t need to spend a month’s salary on cables, and you don’t need to seek out rare Japanese pressings of a 1980’s album to fully enjoy it. You just need to love audio and want to enjoy it to be an audiophile.
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.
Are you buying a sound bar for your TV? Good news, you’re an audiophile. You’ve decided that you want better audio quality than what the built-in speakers of your TV offer and will pay to upgrade it. Don’t let someone tell you that a sound bar is stupid or not a real audio system. They probably have never sat down and listened to a selection of the sound bars out there and have no idea what they’re talking about.
You want to upgrade the free earbuds from your smartphone with a $30 pair? Welcome to the audiophile club. At home, in the office, or anywhere else you want your music to sound better. There is no magical dollar figure that turns headphones from a commodity to an audiophile product. You want better audio quality than you had before and that’s great.
Are you after a turntable for listening to your music on? That’s awesome. Even if we debate over the sound quality of a turntable, that’s still a big deal. The act of listening to vinyl typically leads to more serious music listening and treating music as something other than background noise. As wonderful as whole home music systems are, and I love mine, vinyl can’t be beat for really sitting down and listening to something.
I’ve had people tell me that they can’t really evaluate speakers because they lack the “golden ears” that some other people have. Or they tell me that they don’t know what to listen for in a speaker. Or some other ridiculous statement that implies that only a select few are capable of hearing these differences in products.
Stop listening to those people. If you can’t hear a difference, there is a good chance that one doesn’t exist. If there is a difference then you will probably hear it quite easily. Embrace the idea of being an audiophile and reject the idea that you have to spend a ridiculous amount to join the club. We love people who love music so ignore anyone that says otherwise and embrace the audiophile label. It’s a club we want to grow.