Am I an Audiophile?
This may seem like a subject meant only for mental calisthenics and one which has probably been addressed many times but here goes.
A couple of weeks ago a guy referred to my system as not being of audiophile quality. This didn't bother me partly because I never presumed to call myself an audiophile and, after I thought about it, I am not sure what it means anyway.
I looked up the definition and the main reference was to using "high end" equipment to accomplish high quality sound reproduction. High end, I suppose, refers to the monetary investment that one is willing/able to make putting a system together. This "wow, you spent that much? It must sound great" approach to hi fi can't be valid even though, if you know what you're doing, having a relatively unrestricted budget has to help a lot. Another judgement is that if one doesn't incorporate vacuum tubes to play vinyl recordings one can't call themselves an audiophile.
I have what would most likely be considered by most as mid fi at best. It doesn't in any way, though, restrict my enjoyment and appreciation of well recorded music. Nor does it qualify me as any kind of expert as regards the choices I've made to get to this level.
If appreciation of quality sound reproduction is the primary qualification for audiophile classification then I suppose I would qualify. In that case, one could be called one even if they owned no sound equipment themselves I suppose.
I have devoted a great deal of time and effort through the years on Hi Fi usually on a fairly tight budget. I built my first Heathkit monaural amplifier when I was 15 years old. That was over 55 years ago. For that first setup I also built a "sweet sixteen" speaker enclosure consisting of 16 modified 4" drivers that I read about in Popular Electronics. I also used my parent's attic as an infinite baffle using a cheap 12" driver.
I have put together many systems since the advent of stereo with an emphasis on panels (ribbons and ESL's) with Japanese and British amps. Currently, my system is: Shanling s-100 solid state CD player, CAL tube DAC, Rogue Audio Sphinx integrated hybrid amplifier and ML Odyssey speakers which I've owned for 14 or 15 years. Although there are some changes that I could make, to me, it sounds great and I think that is all I need to make me happy. BTW, someone should write a treatise based on Jeff Foxworthy's "you might be a redneck if....." You might be an audiophile if you spent more on your stereo than on your car (or house), etc, etc.
Anyway, I kind of look at this the same as defining someone as an intellectual in that the term doesn't necessarily imply exceptional intelligence but the devotion to studying and thinking about things in a more than passing way.
So, although I would not presume to refer to myself as an audiophile, I've at least applied my best efforts toward that imaginary goal.