There are two type of audiophiles.
That’s a lie; there are way more than two types, but I want to address only two.
The first type is one who is driven by his love of music to acquire top-quality playback equipment, often at reasonable prices. He is obsessed with hardware only inasmuch as it promises better sound quality or expands playback options. This person will search online forums, become a member of online forums, then participate in online forums, all in pursuit of enjoying music more fully. He is more a musicophile than audiophile, though he may get a certain gratification from the prospect of new equipment now and then.
Why “he”? Because there is a dearth of female audio purists for some reason. Sure, they exist, but the audio world is dominated by men, and men like things. And the continued acquisition of things.
The second type of enthusiast is the true audiophile, and I’m not really using the term affectionately here. They place audio above music. They place aesthetics way above music. What do I mean by this? The audiophile loves the reproduction of sound and they desire the most elaborate and expensive equipment to do so. These people are extremely wealthy, since the hardware required is astronomically priced. I have reason to believe there may be some audiophiles who rarely play music, or even turn their stereos on; their systems function only as visual art. And there are indeed some very beautiful systems: gigantic monoblock tube amplifiers the size of a room radiator, speakers that dwarf a refrigerator, and turntables that more closely resemble a Rococo-like Rube Goldberg contraption than something that spins records. The tried-and-true design philosophy that “form follows function” is cast to the four winds in favor of ever more ornate and wildly unnecessary “improvements.” Luckily for the music lover, accurate stereophonic reproduction does not require such equipment, though the silver spooned audio elite may disagree.
I myself am the first type, and I would like to think that even if I had unlimited income, I would still opt for the reasonably-priced brand names, from companies who want everyone to enjoy high fidelity without taking out a second mortgage.
Yeah, right. I would so get the expensive shit.
Mark Levinson monoblock amplifiers/room heaters:
Pathos power amplifier with ridiculous heat sink:
Gargantuan Tannoy Westminsters have a gargantuan price tag: