What is an Audiophile?

vacuum tubes

What is an Audiophile?

Audiophile is a term used to describe a person that is a HiFi enthusiast. That is, someone that enjoys or even obsesses over listening to music with the highest quality equipment available. They desire the best reproduction of the original sounds of the recording. Audiophiles are consumed with the idea of having the best possible listening experience.

Audiophiles obsess over standard equipment like amplifiers, speakers, wires, etc. but also over accessories. Accessories are used to tweak a setup into a more fine tuned sound and listening experience. Some accessories and tweaks may include speaker platforms to reduce vibrations, or simply the general layout of a room for best acoustics.

An audiophile’s obsession with the highest quality can lead them to be susceptible to ‘snake oil’ purchases. For example, buying a product that adds little or no real improvement to one’s audio listening experience. This kind of blind obsession and promotion of ‘snake oil’ products for sound improvement have led to controversy within various audiophile groups and communities.

PWB Electronics famously sold ‘snake oil’ products for HiFi setups. A few of these products included a standard alligator clip with a piece of copper wire attached, PWB Electronics sold these clips for hundreds of dollars. Another product was a simple paper clip, that he said were ‘treated’ to give them special properties. Audiophiles are often targeted by companies selling products such as these, or standard equipment with extremely high markup and prices.

tube amp

Not all audiophiles buy into these scam products, most audiophiles are simply music and audio fanatics. They enjoy the equipment and audio setups as a hobby. They build their own tube amplifiers, setup listening rooms with great acoustics, and hunt for rare speakers at thrift stores. They are involved in online communities mostly to share their audio configurations and discuss the hobby with other likeminded people. They discuss various audio topics from analog sound versus digital sound, to tube amplifiers versus solid state amps.