Most audiophiles are men. That may seem like a gender-insensitive generalization that’s not politically correct in this day and age, but even women can acknowledge this fact.
Actually, this is a good thing for women. That’s because their gender, as a rule, isn’t as susceptible to descending into this kind of obsessive geekery. It’s a kind of madness that leads men to obsess and argue about the seemingly useless trivia regarding car engines and accessories, computer paraphernalia, and the movements and finishing on wristwatches.
When women accidentally stumble upon gearheads who argue about engine specs, computer nerds who want the latest CPUs for gaming, and horology enthusiasts who sneer at quartz watches, then may roll their eyes and wonder why they still like guys when guys are just so stupid.
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What is Audiophile
So, what’s an audiophile? While there are plenty of off-the-cuff explanations, the basic gist is that an audiophile isn’t just interested in the music. He (as we’ve established, it’s almost always a he), doesn’t just like music. An audiophile wants the right audio equipment to hear the music “the way they’re supposed to be heard”. They want a true and realistic experience, as if they’re hearing live music even while at home.
Here are some clues you may want to look for if you think that your friend is an audiophile:
He has gigantic speakers at home. They’re at least as big as their microwave oven, and those are probably his smallest speakers. Heck, some of the speakers may even be bigger than his fridge. The same goes for some of his audio accessories. His speaker cables may be thicker than your garden hose. He often goes with more obscure brands other than Bose, just as watch lovers know more brands than Rolex.
When he talks about his gear, he often slips into technospeak jargon that makes your eyes glaze. You just hear words like “ohms” and “slew rate” and you just want the discussion to be over.
He also has rather strange ideas about the “beauty” of his audio system components. It’s not just about the outside, it’s also about the beauty of the inside. We’re not just talking about the capability of the components here—he will talk about the literal beauty of the inside of his audio components.
This is actually normal with lots of geekdom facets. Some wristwatch collectors talk about the literal beauty of the mechanical movements powering their watches. That’s why lots of wristwatches have clear case-backs so the owners can gaze in wonder at the tiny springs and oscillators.
The same goes with some car lovers. Most people talk about the body of the car when they judge whether the car is beautiful or not. But some car lovers have to check out the engines too.
He also considers listening to music as a legit activity, and he does this often. Unlike other “music lovers” who listen to music as background when doing chores or reading, an audiophile will sit down in a relaxing couch, play the music, and then actively listen and concentrate on what they’re hearing.
This is why he has a lot of LPs and maybe CDs compared to books and magazines (unless they’re books and magazines on audio equipment).
Do You Want to Be an Audiophile?
If you find yourself unexpectedly interested in the many types and models of audio equipment, then you may be a budding audiophile. Here’s how you can nurture your newfound hobby:
Listen to Lots of Live Music
It’s pretty much a truism than audiophiles are music lovers. They’re just at the other end of the spectrum, opposite that of casual music listeners.
The first step is to listen to live music performances. Savor the sound of a grand piano or an acoustic guitar. Feel the music, and if you’re a true music lover then the music should speak and connect to your soul.
If you’re like most audiophiles, then you want to keep enjoying this feeling. That’s why you don’t just go with any cheap set of speakers playing muffled MP3 tracks. The point of getting the best audio equipment is to recreate that same feeling you get when you’re listening to musicians playing their music live.
Learn the Technology
Dive into the intricate and highly sophisticated world of audiophile-grade sound systems. You have to educate yourself, so you can tell for yourself which speakers and other pieces of equipment are great, and which are overhyped crap.
First of all, you can start by listening to high-quality digital tracks and premium streams online. If you have sensitive ears, you can tell the difference between these recordings from the lower-end MP3s you normally listen to through pipsqueak earphones.
Know about what you need to check out in an amplifier, and what kind of speakers truly offer the best sound. You should do your research on earphones and headphones. Discover the usefulness of digital-analog-converters (DACs).
Learn the Setup
Once you know about the gear, you can then find out about setting your system up yourself. The absolute audiophile experts are so good at what they do that they even know where to place the speakers in a room for the best music listening experience.
There’s plenty of DIY when it comes to being an audiophile, because you need to customize your setup to your own particular needs, tastes, and listening sensitivity. One setup that will please one audiophile may not work all that well with another audiophile.
Basically, you have to know yourself first. You have to know what pleases you in terms of the music you like to hear.
Once you know what you want, go with the gear and the setup that will provide you with what you want.
Just one warning—being an audiophile can be expensive. While it’s true that you can find excellent amplifiers and speakers at reasonable prices, often you may have to go with high-end audiophile-grade gear that will cost more than you might like.
But if you’re a true audiophile, then for you the quality of the gear and the musical experience will be worth the expense and the trouble of setting up your premium audio equipment. Hopefully, your more sensible wife or girlfriend won’t mind. If you’re really lucky, then they may be audiophiles themselves!