While some think that the term “Audiophile” is safe again, I still find it incorrect in describing myself. I have noticed it is still implying the meaning of audio snob or audio narcissist with complexity and some kind of pseudo-authority. The real definition of “audiophile” is very simple: “a person who is especially interested in high-fidelity sound reproduction”. Yes, that’s it, there is nothing more. A key goal of audiophiles in its original form, is to capture the experience of a live musical performance in a room with good acoustics, and reproduce it at home. It is widely agreed among the music-lovers with a foot in reality, that this is very difficult and that even the best-regarded recording and playback systems rarely, if ever, achieve it. Home systems will never achieve this because what gives that live sound feel is the venue plus the fact that you are witnessing the music being played live, so unless you buy a concert hall and have the artists play for you live every time you want to hear something, you are chasing ghosts. That’s not to say one should not pursue the best sound quality possible within one’s means though, let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water. I don’t know when or whom was responsible for turning the term “audiophile” into the perversion it is today and I wonder if the damage is reversible.
It used to be that all Hi-Fi gear was accepted and there weren’t any labels of “audiophile” this or that. There were all levels and manner of “audiophile” and it did not matter what name was on the gear or even how much it cost and what have you. Sure, there has been “high-end” audio gear since the sixties, but there was not the elitist attitude associated with it as there is today.
Why try to make it something more extravagant than it is? It is listening to music, that’s it. Many “audiophiles” think in black and white terms, either stating that one must be an “audiophile” to listen to music or some say that anyone who listens to music is automatically an “audiophile”. If that floats your boat, great, but for me, I just don’t need a title to listen to music while desiring the sound quality to be the best I can get it.
If the term was used properly then anyone who “loves” music would indeed be an audiophile, but sadly, the term or definition has been hijacked to mean an elite group who believe they are superior in every way to everyone else. It’s human nature to want to be special and technically we are already special each in our own way. When there is something that is important to us, there is a natural desire to want to be able to appreciate it on a deep level, even a special level reserved only for people who really value it. This is true of food, wine, music, etc. But what happens when you take that desire and convince yourself that it is not just a desire, but something much more. It’s like religion where folks think and believe they are superior to all others and that their way is the only true way and everyone else are losers, etc. or worse, “the enemy”. That is when it becomes harmful (and even dangerous at a certain level).
It really isn’t that the term “audiophile” in its true definition is evil or even negative, but it is also no secret that at least half the number of so-called audiophiles are of the “dark side”. Their purpose in life is to sour things for everyone else and then some of them have the audacity to complain about it. Just as in the Star Wars story, there are also officers on the dark side of audio and the “rebel” side. Not all, but even a number of audio journalists, etc. are on the dark side. In fact, some are the worst offenders. I’m not going to name names. Sometimes it seems that the dark side audiophiles have almost what appears to be precision operations. Their favorite prey though are the gullible and uninformed. The irony to that is that those dark-side creatures are uneducated themselves. They follow each other like lemmings over the latest cliffs of regret.
There are those of us though who know these sour beings and can smell them miles away. Those on the dark side just want to be spoon-fed the placebo, pseudo-science, “alternative facts” (lies) and don’t want to bother thinking for themselves. They would rather rely on others to tell them how something sounds, what to like and dislike, what to think and all manner of necessities to be a member of the seemingly elite club. On the outside it looks very glamorous and powerful, but once inside, it gets ugly and toxic. Everything about the dark side audiophile is usually all about the money or status or the appearance thereof and very little to nothing about the music.
Unfortunately, these creatures are like deadly traps or landmines. They infiltrate audio shows, audio clubs, etc. waiting for the unsuspecting to fall prey to their power or influence. I am not comfortable around them. I am not comfortable at audio club meetings, shows etc. (Continue next page)