To be an audiophile Part 1: Origins

How does one become an audiophile? What does it mean to be an audiophile? I’ve been pondering the personal origins of my hobby, my passion, my obsession lately.

My own ardent interest in high-fidelity sound kind of snuck up on me. If I really think about it, this hobby makes no sense at all – I can’t afford it, clearly marketing and placebos are all around me tricking my brain. My younger self would have ridiculed my current self for hankering after another DAC, for considering cables worth more than my TV, or for the stream of images of outlandish speakers that dominates my newsfeed – and yet…

…and yet when I have the right set of headphones on, or when I have speakers, a bunch of cables and a new amplifier to set up from scratch, or when I get lost in reading hundreds of vinyl covers – it all makes perfect sense.

My first clue into the origins of my own audiophile conversion comes in the form of playing live music. I played in bands for most of my teenage years and early 20’s. Music was my haven, my happiest place. I have always found peace listening to music and actually playing it gives me something that is quite hard to describe – but it is something like the feeling you get when you hit a massive drive off the tee at golf, or when you see a long lost friend for a good catch-up session. It feels so good.

So the first clue to my own audiophile origins lies in the source material – music as a form of media has always made me happy. Extraordinarily happy. But I enjoyed playing and listening to music for 30 years without caring one bit about the quality of its reproduction, and without knowing what a bitrate, a tweeter or a soundstage was.

Uncovering the true underlying reasons for my obsession is going to require a deeper analysis: The technology, the marketing, the current music industry trends, the psychology, the biology. I will try to attack them in this blog, and you are welcome to join me.

Chimp with cans.



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