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What is a Music-First Audiophile?

  • The Music-First Audiophile is not like other audiophiles.

    The Music-First Audiophile buys an audio system to elevate the sound quality of music s/he likes.

    The Music-First Audiophile understands that this might not be what others like.

    The Music-First Audiophile compiles an audio system for his/her own enjoyment, not to impress others.

    The Music-First Audiophile does not tell others that their preferences are ‘wrong’; that their findings require double-blind test confirmation; that their understanding of theory negates another’s direct experience.

    The Music-First Audiophile knows that subjectively good sound can vary from genre to genre.

    The Music-First Audiophile knows that there are many music genres, not just those that s/he enjoys.

    The Music-First Audiophile isn’t trying to bring the live experience home. S/he understands that playback is its own art form.

    The Music-First Audiophile knows that dynamic range compression can affect the quality of the listening experience but also sees it as an artistic decision made by the label, artist or mastering engineer.

    The Music-First Audiophile doesn’t choose or refuse an album on the basis of its dynamic range compression.

    The Music-First Audiophile knows that hi-res audio can enhance the listening experience but doesn’t choose or refuse an album on the basis of its sample-rate or bit-depth.

    The Music-First Audiophile enjoys the benefits of vinyl playback but doesn’t choose or refuse an album based upon its availability in the format.

    The Music-First Audiophile has heard the benefits of MQA first hand but doesn’t choose or refuse an album based upon its availability in the ‘format’.

    The Music-First Audiophile has heard the benefits of DSD first hand but takes one look at the titles available for download and asks “Is that it?”. (S/he understands DSD’s potential for up-samplers at home).

    The Music-First Audiophile thinks: music first, hardware second, format third.

    The Music-First Audiophile knows that it’s not all about the music”. If it were, s/he’d be content listening to laptop speakers and tiny white earbuds.

    The Music-First Audiophile isn’t an audiophile 24/7. S/he listens to Bluetooth streams, in the car, or as background music at home and/or when friends drop by.

    The Music-First Audiophile knows pragmatism: that the convenience of Spotify or Apple Music outweighs its lossy encoding, especially when out and about. Or that a high-end audio system isn’t required for every room of the house.

    The Music-First Audiophile understands that software’s user interface and/or hardware’s aesthetics and/or ergonomics each have their parts to play in the subjective enjoyment of the listening experience.

    The Music-First Audiophile is transducer agnostic. S/he listens via loudspeakers and headphones because headphones don’t suffer room-induced colouration.

    The Music-First Audiophile understands that sound quality is more dependent on the listening room’s acoustic make-up than the audio hardware that resides within. That spending more money on larger loudspeakers has the potential to make your favourite album of all time sound worse.

    The Music-First Audiophile hears the law of diminishing returns as s/he spends more money on hifi gear.

    The Music-First Audiophile knows that being an audiophile is but one part of life. That the pursuit of subjectively better sound must end somewhere.

    The Music-First Audiophile admits that s/he is an audiophile and that being an audiophile is, by definition, concerned with the hardware and software that brings music to life.

    The Music-First Audiophile knows that music and sound quality are important but music will always be the most important.

    John Darko

    Written by John Darko

    John currently lives in Berlin where creates videos and podcasts and pens written pieces for Darko.Audio. He has also contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

    Follow John on YouTube or Instagram

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