Can you be an audiophile if you don't own "great/expensive" equipment..?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by DK Pete, Feb 26, 2018.

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  1. Leggs91203

    Leggs91203 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Indiana
    Asking about what qualifies as an "audiophile" on this forum would be like going to a honda forum and asking if civics really are fast.
    AKA "opening a can of worms".
     
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  2. Warren Jarrett

    Warren Jarrett Audio Note (UK) dealer in SoCal/LA-OC

    Location:
    Fullerton, CA
    I just saw the opera Rigoletto in Los Angeles tonight. I was able to sit in the second row, center. And, WOW, no audio system can ever sound like THAT. Every sound was so clear, so dynamic, and so NOT harsh or emphasized. Just natural sounding, with a gigantic and perfectly laid-out soundstage. Of course it is ridiculous to even SAY these things about live, unamplified music, that sounded, well... live and unamplified... but I found myself closing my eyes and thinking about these audiophile qualities, that I have NEVER heard so perfectly rendered in an electronic reproduction.

    I can hardly wait to play my Rigoletto LP tomorrow night at home, and try to re-live the live experience, such a foolish die-hard audiophile that I am.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2018
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  3. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    I met the owner of this system last year at the California Audio Show - Jeremy Kipnis who is also a reviewer - He is very knowledgeable and down to earth and one of the nicest guys I've met in audiophile land. His room changes a lot and the recent photo I saw had him reviewing the Pure Audio Project Quintett 15 loudspeakers that both of us felt was one of the very best rooms at the show. A speaker under $10,000.

    Jeremy specializes in home theater and he is HUGELY passionate. I know it looks absolutely nuts but if you have the money, which he does, and you love movies and music why not go all out?



    website Kipnis Home Theaters
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2018
  4. Juan Matus

    Juan Matus Reformed Audiophile

    Nope. Poor people could not possibly enjoy music.
     
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  5. violetvinyl

    violetvinyl Forum Resident

    The thread is not about the enjoyment of music.
     
  6. LeeS

    LeeS Blue Note Fan

    Location:
    Atlanta
    Jeremy worked together on sessions in the early 90s at Chesky Records. He is a very smart and nice guy. He is also a brilliant recording engineer. I think he has dismantled his home theater flagship recently but his ability to combine gear is among the best I have encountered.
     
  7. pdxway

    pdxway Forum Resident

    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    Warren, any of your setup comes close in reproducing the second row experience?
     
  8. Warren Jarrett

    Warren Jarrett Audio Note (UK) dealer in SoCal/LA-OC

    Location:
    Fullerton, CA
    Two of my systems in The Audio Home, and Steve Hoffman's main system, sound close to the best reproduced audiophile sound I have ever heard, to my taste. There have been just a few systems that I've heard at audio shows that sounded even better, I think, but my memory of them may not be totally accurate... like a "fish story" that keeps getting bigger every time the teller remembers the story. Recently, there was only a Vandersteen/Audio Research system that REALLY impressed me at a show.

    But none of these come close to a live orchestra and singers from the second row. I would say my favorite systems reach 75% there, and maybe a "nice" home audio system (again to my taste) reaches 40% or 50%. Basically, "who cares"... we are not getting live sound from ANY of our stereos at home, so let's just respect ALL of our systems for the opportunity they provide us to hear great music at home. Whether they provide 30%, 50% or 75%, they are doing their job for each of us, and THAT is all we can expect.

    I say, there is no reason to criticize one system as "not good enough" when actually ALL systems are "not good enough", compared to the real thing.

    In that Vandersteen/ARC system I was so impressed with, I remember that Frank Sinatra's mouth was about as big as the entire room. That was not accurate to real life at all, but it sure was impressive, and VERY enjoyable.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2018
  9. pdxway

    pdxway Forum Resident

    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    Thanks! I feel much better about my setup now. :)
     
  10. Uglyversal

    Uglyversal Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sydney
    So, is it about enjoying the electronics and the music is the necessary evil to accomplish that?
     
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  11. violetvinyl

    violetvinyl Forum Resident

    The love of music would be implied if you are an audiophile. And, it's not just about the electronics. The source material is just as important as playback unit and speakers. That's a big component of this forum.
     
  12. Khorn

    Khorn Forum Resident

    Hate when they use compression on Live natural sound performances specially what it does to the musicians and vocalists. Yuck!!
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2018
  13. Jack Flannery

    Jack Flannery Forum Resident

    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Of course. You dig it? You are an audiophile.
     
  14. stax o' wax

    stax o' wax Forum Resident

    Location:
    The West
    If I own very expensive audio equipment but I'm not an audiophile....is that a problem?
     
  15. Khorn

    Khorn Forum Resident

    Well, I guess I wouldn’t have to be an art lover to own a Manet or aVan Gogh although I probably would prefer a Van Morrison.
     
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  16. Uglyversal

    Uglyversal Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sydney
    No, it only means you have too much money to waste.
     
  17. Agitater

    Agitater Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Just as an electronics hobbyist can be limited to a meager budget but still be completely absorbed in his breadboarding, crystal sets, Raspberry PI kits, and so on can be passionate about his interest, and just as a young stamp collector with nothing but money from an allowance, odd jobs done for neighbors and maybe a part-time job after school can be passionate about his interest, so too can an audiophile be just as passionate about his interest no matter how limited his budget.

    Scouring the garage sales, flea markets, Goodwill, Salvation Army Thrift Shops, and all the other sources for serviceable gems is as vaild a form of audiophile passion and engagement as the comparisons and considerations and decisions and experimentation done with much bigger budgets.

    The Audiophile’s pursuit is a means to an end, basically: What combination of electronics, player, turntable, cartridge, DAC, streamer and speakers will excite him when playing a chosen piece of music? It’s the researching, sourcing, buying, selling, trading, installing, configuring (and then doing it all over again with another combination or variation) that defines what an audiophile does in order to find his music.

    A big budget has little to do with it. For many audiophiles, being prosperous enough to be able to apply a big budget to the effort is too easy and far less interesting. Having a natural or a self-imposed budget often forces us to think a lot harder about our choices. In many circumstances, putting in that sort of bueget-constrained effort and then coming up with a combination of equipment that produces something exciting to our ears is supremely satisfying.
     
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  18. tmsorosk

    tmsorosk MORE MUSIC PLEASE

    Location:
    Sprucegrove Canada
    Were you able to determine which sounded better ?
     
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  19. Bathory

    Bathory 30 yr Single Malt, not just for breakfast anymore

    Location:
    usa
    wow, this is still marching on.............

    what a conversation.
     
  20. Warren Jarrett

    Warren Jarrett Audio Note (UK) dealer in SoCal/LA-OC

    Location:
    Fullerton, CA
    So, now are we going to criticize people who love their "expensive" equipment as not REAL audiophiles, just because a few people with lower budgets resent their ability to spend good money on the equipment they decide to buy? This just sounds like jealousy. I think we can all get along and respect each for our differences, not claim that there is only one kind of bona-fide "audiophile".
    Apparently "expensive" applies to anyone's equipment that was more costly than a particular jealous pundit spent on HIS system. Obviously, I don't think we should criticize anyone who spent more money on his stereo than we may think we would ever want (or be able) to spend.

    But I admit, that I have occasionally been tempted to toss red paint (or maybe super-glue-laced toilet paper) on a V12 AMG Mercedes driving around with personalized license plates announcing the owner's profitable profession.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2018
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  21. Agitater

    Agitater Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Not at all. I wrote, “For many audiophiles (...)”

    By no means does that mean all audiophiles. You’re looking for jealousy or spite or negativity where none exists. I think it’s inappropriate for you to misinterpret my post in that way. It also implies that you think my audio budget is financially constrained in some way. That’s not the case.

    For clarity, I do not now, nor have I ever posted or spoken balefully or jealously here or anywhere else about audiophiles who are well-financed, strictly financed or who have very limited means. The spirit of my post - which you seem to have missed by a country mile - was highly appreciative of audiophiles of all means. I only offered my personal view of how passionate audiophiles of all means can pursue their interests.

    That many audiophiles I personally know appear to express less concern and expend less effort to make equipment changes (because they have the cash to do whatever they want, whenever they want) compared to audiophile friends with far tighter budgets is merely an observation not a criticism.
     
  22. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    Some of us have made choices in our lives to forgo one thing to get another thing. When I was 16 my friends were out buying cars while I spent around $4000 on stereo equipment. My thinking was that I could buy a crappy used car for $4000 or a pretty awesome stereo. $4k in 1990 was pretty good money on a McDonald's paycheck.

    When I went to university after 8 years working as an accounting clerk I sold my newish car - elected to take the bus and bought the AN J/Spe and OTO.

    I think I understand to a degree the argument that SOME people just spend to show off - There are guys who will ask around for "what the best is" and then just go an buy it - not audiophiles or even all that interested in music - they just want the $200k Krell and the B&W snail because they are the things they should have.

    And the males of the species do tend to be susceptible to marketing bling. Bigger, heavier, more power. There was this TV show dedicated to the concept called "Home Improvement" where more power is always better. This is true in cars with HP, and highest speeds even when most all roads have 120kph max speed limits. It's the same with stereos where there are 400lb 2000 watt solid state amps connected to 500lb speakers and it all looks great and usually sounds mediocre. But it costs a lot and some hack reviewer will rave and people line up to drool.

    There are the sorts of people who buy Rolex because it's Rolex and they think they're going to get women by owning one. It's a show of wealth. It replaces having an actual personality and these guys wonder why they wind up divorced and giving half their stuff to women who were interested in the watch more than them. BUT there are the sorts of people who buy Rolex because of the craftsmanship and pedigree and genuine love of owning a fine watch.

    When I buy an Audio Note M3 preamp it's partly about the sound but it's about the hand craftsmanship of a company that makes most of the parts - I value that element more than most other companies who buy their transformers from transformers R'us in China - then slap a huge thick case on it to add weight and charge more money than the M3.

    $11,000 for a preamp is not an insignificant sum - but I sacrifice living in Canada, I again have no car, and Hong Kong values teachers far more than any state/province in North America. And since ,y career is teaching I may as well go and teach in a place that pays teachers.

    I never get why people will happily spend $40,000 on a car but balk at buying $15,000 loudspeakers. The latter can last 30 years of musical bliss. When I bought brand new cars - I was already sick of it after the first monthly payment. And the used cars I was sick of having fixed. I'd far rather spend the $40k on the stereo and buy a $15,000 car than the reverse - and look at all the huge number of $40k plus cars you see on the road.
     
  23. Tullman

    Tullman I prefer analog

    Location:
    Boston MA
    Just because someone applies a big budget to their equipment doesn't mean they are filthy rich or don't spend a lot of time and resources in building their systems. And...it doesn't mean they don't enjoy putting together their systems.
    There are plenty of financing deals to be had for those with good credit.

    I like this post. It home with me.

    I'm not sure Agitator meant this. However, there is plenty of this attitude from others on here, so I totally get where you are coming from.
     
  24. Tullman

    Tullman I prefer analog

    Location:
    Boston MA
    I'm with you.

    I remember a friend of mine was looking at my stereo and said, you could have a BMW for what this costs. I told him that my stereo wasn't parked on the street and susceptible to the elements and other people.
     
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  25. Warren Jarrett

    Warren Jarrett Audio Note (UK) dealer in SoCal/LA-OC

    Location:
    Fullerton, CA
    Please don't be offended by my inclusion of your excerpted quote in my example of an attitude I don't support. I didn't mean you. I knew that "jealousy or spite or negativity" was not your motivation or intent. I took the liberty to use the excerpt out-of-context, as an example of what I wanted to highlight for comment because OTHER posts in this thread HAVE seemed (to me) to imply "jealousy or spite or negativity". Your little excerpt was just a convenient way for me to comment, without pointing directly to a culprit (which you are NOT).

    Tullman understood my intent (and Agitator's) but I apologize for being unclear about it.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2018
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