I’m an Audiophile and I Admit it

That sweet setup you see there? Yeah, that’s not mine. Alright. So you made the decision on tossing your cheap audio system and adopt audiofile excellence: Perfect duplication of recorded audio. Or maybe you might be just curious about the Ideal and wonder if it actually matters to one’s pleasure of, and involvement with, sound that reproduction be better than that of your existing audio system. If that’s the case, how do you learn more? And how does one start in becoming an audiophile? When I first got into my new home, I wanted to do all these repairs but didn’t know where to start. After reading hundreds of air compressor reviews, I decided on a the Rolair JC10 simply mainly because of how quiet it was. That combined with my new Hitachi nail gun allowed me to build my first deck (with a little neighborly help). Shopping for audio components is the same thing.

First, what to do if you’re just trying to learn more about high end audio? There is certainly, simply, no replacement for listening to a great high-end system: In fact, for listening to a lot good high-end models, so that one gets, not just a sense for exactly how good reproduction is, but also pertaining to how different models sound, what different kinds of compromises one might create, and so on. Obviously, if you know someone who has such a technique, you can merely wander over and talk to them. So what to do? My only advice would be to find a high traffic, local high-end store or dealer and visit them. These dealers enjoy dealing with people who will be genuinely interested in getting to know about high-end sound recording; not all, however, but most. And you may find that these shops are extremely different from the particular ‘electronics stores’ such as Best Buy and Frys. Typically, they have a bunch of ‘listening rooms’ where they will setup systems, constructed from components you may be interested in purchasing, and allow you to sit there and pay attention to music for a reasonable time. (If the very first store you check out doesn’t treat you as I’ve just described, tell ’em you’re leaving, say to them why, and check out their nearest competitor.

Tip:  Take with you a couple CDs you normally listen to. This will allow you to see the difference in quality.

Secondly, what should you do if you want to get started with high-end audio? The most important piece of advice I can give is this kind: Find a trusted sales person you already know, and ask them to help you plan your new system. Let them know, from the beginning, if you can do this over occasion. (If they are not willing to help you do so, again, tell them you’re leaving, say to them why, and check out their nearest competitor. )

Tip:  It’s sometimes not necessary to buy all your components at once. Maybe speakers are the weakest point. Upgrade those first. If the problem is the amp, put that at the top of your list.

It is imperative that you remember that the ultimate goal is to increase your enjoyment of music. In my honest opinion, the best way I know when I’m listening to quality components is when I forget I’m doing anything other than listening to music. My friend would tell you it’s just as relaxing as when she’s doing yoga. To be honest, it’s more annoying then when birds hit a window. If you spend the time on selecting quality components with the advice of a good salesperson, the time spent will pay off in the long run.

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