Do you identify as an audiophile: yes or no? A straightforward question pitched at 3,000 Darko.Audio Facebook followers that returned straightforward results from 568 respondents:
The high incidence of ‘No’ raises an eyebrow. Darko.Audio is an audiophile channel. It is not Pitchfork or Rolling Stone. We don’t cover music. We cover the sound of music; and how it changes with different gear. And being a music lover is part and parcel of being an audiophile. After all, why would you care about the sound of music if you didn’t care for the music itself?
In my world, if you’re a music lover but not an audiophile, you don’t care about the hardware through which you listen. You’re just as happy with the earbuds supplied by your smartphone manufacturer as a single Bluetooth loudspeaker at home as the sound system in a local cafe or bar.
By asking a slightly different question of Darko.Audio’s Twitter’s followers, one that included a third option for “music lover”, the results came back with over half of the 738 respondents choosing that third option:
For YouTube, I took it a step further by subtly baiting the mutual exclusivity of ‘music lover’ and ‘audiophile’.
Of the 4000 respondents, over half took the bait: 54% do not see themselves as audiophiles but as music lovers instead. To them, it would seem that the idea of being an audiophile is not appealing, despite responding to a poll on a channel dedicated to high-end audio. Perhaps they see audiophiles as other; that being one can – but not always – preclude the love of music. Their world view might look something like this:
Why the reluctance to self-identify as an audiophile? I can certainly relate to not identifying with other audiophiles – my music taste barely intersects with that heard at audio shows – but that is not enough to refuse the label. To live with a room full of high-end audio gear and claim that I’m not an audiophile – to claim music lover status instead – would smack of pretension.
Furthermore, owning a more modestly-priced hi-fi/head-fi system or streaming only lossy audio doesn’t mean you’re not an audiophile. It depends not on one’s financial status or hardware/software spend but on a simple attitude: maximising sound quality within one’s own means.
I care about the sound of music. And if you’re reading this, chances are you do too. I am an audiophile. And so are you.
Further information: Steve Guttenberg is also a self-identifying audiophile