are audiophiles different than non audiophiles ?

i have been curious as to what determines one's interest in equipment, sound and music.

is it some personality factor, just a matter of choice of hobby or is their something else?

any ideas?

i think the answer to this question explains why some have no interest in listening to a high quality stereo system, when invited for a social occasion, as was the subject of "disappointing evening".
Audiophiles: detail oriented, nervous disposition, high strung (though may have the appearance of laid back barbeque, inside they are a taunt bow) finicky, demanding, precise in some ways, utter slob in others, strong focus in areas of interest, ignore other areas.
Non audiophiles; see 'just listening' to music as a waste of time. view audiophiles as all the attributes i listed them having above!
Interesting question! It is a hobby that you have to seek out ,,its not a high profile hobby,,,you dont see billboards for high end products,or much advertising in newspapers ,shopping guides,,Its not a hobby that draws girls like classic cars or motorcycles,Ive been interested in the feeling I get when I hear a good sounding system,or good live music ,or just cool sounds from nature ever since I can remember,,when I was a kid a good song on a transistor radio could put me on cloud 9,,ive always had a thing for good sound !When I discovered that certain gear made sound,,,sound better,I was drawn to that gear as well!I am a rarity among people I know in that respect.
Ray, there is this brand new punctuation mark that has been made for the English language and you might want to check it out: it's called a period. And it looks like this: .

You are supposed to use it at the end of a sentence. I know, it sounds crazy, but I figgered "Whta the hell, I'll give it a try!" And you know what? It actually worked and folks were then able to read and understand my posts. I was amazed, I tell ya!!

I know, it sounds crazy, right? But you might just give it a whirl and see if it works for you...

I do have a habit of checking the build quality of everything, no matter how cheap or small. I do like everything done right if possible.

The terms/adjectives you listed ("detail oriented, nervous disposition, high strung (though may have the appearance of laid back barbeque, inside they are a taunt bow), finicky, demanding, precise in some ways, utter slob in others, strong focus in areas of interest, ignore other areas") would have described 9 out of 10 of my former law school classmates.
i have been curious as to what determines one's interest in equipment, sound and music.

Many times, what determines an interest in any endeavor centers around an individual's exposure at an early and impressionable age. I remember many years ago hearing a Sansui multi speaker system. That experience changed me forever. That day, I heard what was possible in home music reproduction. Sometime later, I walked into a store and saw top shelf McIntosh and Sansui gear. The look of the equipment and the sound was so much like real music. So impressive... I'd say that if more people at an early age were exposed to high quality sound, music, and equipment, they would develop an interest in the "equipment, sound and music." It just doesn't happen in early childhood development for the majority of people (and is impractical for many). We'd have many more audiophiles if it did.
RW,,,,Please ,,,,take your meds!
There are different types of audiophiles. Some are Music people and some are Gadget people. And some are both but lean more one directrion or the other. I thought I was an audiophile, until I joined this site. Now I know I'm just a guy that loves music and wants to hear it without audible noise or distortion.
I think that personality traits may explain some of the differences between audiophiles and non audiophiles.

the problem is what are they and how to measure them.

since listening to music alone is a solitary pursuit, most of the time, being introvertive may be a factor. also having musical talent may predispose one to becoming an audiophile.

i wonder if there are demographic issues that relevant as well--just speculating.

wouldn't it be interesting if one's political leanings were correlated to one's interest in attaining sound quality.

it remains for clever people to suggest factors which may distinguish one type from another and then do statistical studies to see if some theory has justification.

age is definitely a factor.

there have been generational shifts as to exposure and interest in different media.

people over 60 were exposed to phonographs, radios and perhaps listened to certain types of music more frequently than people under 30.
Ray, gimme your address. I'm gonna send you the period key from one of my spare keyboards ...

I think that the audiophile bug is just inbred. I recall many years ago fishing around in the back of a big ole console TV to find the source of the speakers and connecting them to external speakers for a superbowl or something. It was a feeling of great accomplishment when it worked! It has grown since then. It is just IN some people. That's the way it is.
Elizabeth, that is a hilarious description - it also fits most orchestral musicians.
Yes, audiophiles are generally more neurotic than any other group. I say good; better than perverts.
I dont see any pattern to the hobby at all. I have met slobs, neat freaks, junkies, christians, outcasts, socially blessed, nerds, jocks and ofcourse liberals and conservatives...people as varied as the music they enjoy and gear enjoyed on.
Its just something you wired for, perhaps some little DNA mishap. Usually they appreciate art ofcourse and generally are for the most part above average in the intelligence catagory.
I've been reading some Radio Yerevan latest news that there's out of nearly 300 tested audiophiles nearly 88% were having treble-clef-shaped chromosome.
Better than peverts. Yeah. A collection of inflatable latex bodywear does not make as good impression on the neighbors as collecting Lps..
Like Chad said,"Its just something your wired for"
Audiophile, a state of mind not everyone can appreciate.
There is a basic flaw in the question. It really needs to be two seperate questions. While interest in equipment usually means at least some interest in music, many avid music lovers have zero interest in equipment.

Completely agree with the first paragraph in Elizabeth's first post. And completely disagree with the second paragraph in same.
Of course,if you did not have a personality inclined towards perfectionism you would not be one,
i don't think that perfectionism has anything to do with being an audiophile.

all systems are inaccurate and audiophiles recognize that.

rather, an audiophile will try to create a balance between sound quality and the facility to enjoy the music.
This is a difficult question to answer for all audiophiles but I tend to agree with Foster 9 and Frogman's first paragraph. So far as personality types are concerned, I'll leave that to the shrinks and behavior psychologists. Oh, Detlof, where are you? He could really contribute some interesting comments to that aspect of the equation.

On the one hand it is a quest by some to get a glimmer of what we hear in live music, to others it may have started out as a hobby in electronics and evolved from there, to others it is a fascination with the sound, to others the gear. But to the majority more satisfying music in our homes. I'm not convinced that all audiophiles are music lovers and that non-audiophiles necessarily like music less. I guess at the end of the day it must be "something you are wired for" as stated above other wise there wouldn't be audiophiles that really don't listen to music and music lovers that don't care to be audiophiles.
There are guys out there building catapults to chuck watermelons, for god's sake. We aren't that different. Except, they have a much more realistic goal.
Audiophiles have better signal to noise.
Frogman, technically, one can not be an "audiophile", unless one has a keen interest in the equipment.
the word audiophile is made up of "audio", and "phile".

in the greek language, philos means love.

thus audiophile means lover of sound, not lover of equipment.

audiophiles vary in their criteria and designation of excellence of sound.

so, the essence of what distinguishes audiophiles from non audiophiles, is a preference for sound quality (audiophile), as compared to an indifference to sound quality (non-auidophiles).

the important question is why do some people favor one form of sensation -- sound over another ?

as people have different hobbies that emphasize different senses, e.g., sight, taste or touch, the difference between audiophiles and non audiophiles can be observed.

i suspect the essence of these differences is partly genetic and partly phenotypical. can't say which is more important.

if you consider that some people enjoy activities with movement, while others enjoy activities of taste, you will see in action the multiplicity of expression of hobbies that rely on a refined sense of something.

wine tasters and food lovers (epicures), obviously favor their taste buds.
our senses are the source of pleasure.

audiophiles get a greater percentage of their pleasure from their sense of hearing than others. that's about it.
An audiophile, from Latin audio[1] "I hear" and Greek philos[2] "loving," is a hobbyist who seeks high-quality audio reproduction via the use of specialized high-end audio electronics.[3][4] Audiophiles prefer to listen to music at a quality level that is as close to the original performance as possible using high-fidelity components. These specialized components include turntables, digital-to-analog converters, equalization devices, preamplifiers and amplifiers. Both high quality solid-state and vacuum tube amplifiers are used. The quest for audio perfection can also include horn loudspeakers or electrostatic speakers, power conditioners, subwoofers and acoustic room treatment.[5][6]

Audiophile values may be applied at all stages of music reproduction: the initial audio recording, the production process, and the playback, which is usually in a home setting. High-end audio refers to expensive, high-quality, or esoteric products and practices used in the reproduction of music. Electronic gear used by audiophiles can be bought at specialist shops and websites.[4] Audiophiles can purchase special recordings made with extra attention to sound quality, some being special audiophile-oriented reissues, as well as recordings in high-resolution formats such as Super Audio CD or DVD-Audio. Many modern audiophiles also take advantage of lossless file formats such as WAV, FLAC, WMA Lossless, and Apple Lossless.
Orpheus10, I am not sure wether you disagree, or not, with anything I have stated, but I agree with you.

Mrtennis (and Orpheus10), my point is that a "keen interest in" music, is not necessarily a criterion for defining an audiophile. I know many audiophiles that care much more about the equipment than the music. And their interest in music is almost peripheral.
The music is much more important than the equipment for me. It is because of the music that I have the equipment.
04-10-11: Elizabeth
Audiophiles: detail oriented, nervous disposition, high strung (though may have the appearance of laid back barbeque, inside they are a taunt bow) finicky, demanding, precise in some ways, utter slob in others, strong focus in areas of interest, ignore other areas.
Have you been talking to my psychiatrist?
" Please take your meds " You guys crack me up . Best post all week .
It all depends on how the good Lord arranged your gray matter.
I don't agree with the statement that audiophiles are in general smarter than non-audiophiles. I have met plenty of audiophiles that I think should be commited.
How important is high quality audio reproduction, not that important. It's a simple hobby like any other, no better no worse. Audiophiles have to stop looking at others not in the hobby or involved to their level as if the other people are missing out on something because they are not.

I'm sure the other people are involved in other hobbies just as rewarding. There is nothing fascinating or special about hi-fi. If it were truly that great then more people would be involved. They are many who have heard a nice hi-fi system and can walk away with fearing a need to pursue it just like I'm sure Audiophiles do when they encounter other hobbies.

Audiophiles really need to get over themselves. What's important to you at this time is simple not as important to someone else at this time. a few years from now you may give a damn about hi-fi and someone else may. Just because some people don't want to become about sense with listening to they system components doesn't mean they don't enjoy music.
There are a lot of people who like good sound but are not obsessed with it and will never draw the label audiophile.

They are as happy with their sound as anyone. That makes them as good as anyone in a sound quality sense. Maybe they are also smarter as well since they care and seem to have solved their sound quality problems rather than drawing them out forever.

Some people just like to play with gadgets. I suspect many audiophiles fall into this category. That's fine, but playing with gadgets does not necessarily mean better sound quality (just different) nor more satisfaction from listening.

Audiphiles smarter? Maybe than average as a group. IT's a hobby that requires some knowledge to get a handle on, but so do many otehr hobbies.
I have never met a professional musician, who would fall into the audiophile category. That's a peculiar contradiction.
"I have never met a professional musician, who would fall into the audiophile category"

I haven't met one either but there are examples, how about Keith Jarrett? I would tend to agree that most don't since live and recorded are two different things that can't be reconciled by a musician when listening to a "audiophile" or "high end" system. Just a hunch.
Orpheus, plenty of successful musicians buy high end gear - just look at the user list of many audio equipment manufacturer's.
RW the ".", is not a period, it's a full stop! We on the other side of the pond invented the language, sort of, so we get to give the punctuation correct names.
Stereophile ran a series where they interviewed famous musicians. Branford Marsalis, Tony Bennett, and John Lee Hooker are three that I remembered. Branford had Herron Audio, which is top notch, John Lee had all Kenwood, and Tony's rig was in a beautiful custom console that fit in with his furnitue. John Lee said his Kenwood gave him the "funky" sound he liked.

During the course of these interviews it became apparent that "high end" music was not a big turn on although they most certainly could afford it. The professional musicians I knew personally preferred digital cassettes, and were moving too fast to consider the detail involved in high end audio, besides the fact that they spent most of their time listening to live music.

A professional musician can hear more in an ordinary audio cassette than we can hear on high end analog, they hear all the music and what each musician is doing, while audiophile's hear the noise.
I am a professional musician, and audiophile. I know many musicians who are also audiophiles. In fact, as a percentage of the population of musicians, there are far more musicians who are audiophiles, than there are audiophiles in the general population.

It is true that many musicians are not interested in being audiophiles. There are many reasons for this:

-Musicians are exposed to live music all the time, and that kind of in-depth familiarity with the sound of real instruments and live music making makes the limitations of even the best audio equipment that much more obvious.
-Some of us love the tweaking, the tinkering, and the simple act of playing with electronic toys (second to the music, of course). If you think that you can get that itch scratched by the latest cable or isolation device, you have no idea the kind of options and possibilities that are available to musicians when it comes to tweaking/fine-tuning their instruments! It is an endless font of possibilities. I assure you that the audible differences between Nordost and Jena cabling (for example) pale in comparison to the differences between one brand of reed (or guitar strings) and another. Particularly when one realizes that the differences are not simply things that we hear, but also things that affect the way the instrument actually responds and feels, and consequently affect one's performance.
-Many musicians listen mainly for study purposes. The need to have the playback quality be just so is way down the list of important considerations. Playback quality needs to be good, but not necessarily of audiophile pedigree for a musician to be able to hear what needs to be heard.

I am always amused by the often used example in audio equipment reviews of the fact that such and such component "allows the listener to distiguish between the sound of an oboe and an English horn". The difference between the sound of an oboe and an English horn is obvious to any orchestral musician catching the first sounds of the Muzak being played inside the Home Depot, while still in the parking lot.
Musicians call it "GAS" - or Gear Acquisition Syndrome (the origin is believed to be Guitar Acquisition Syndrome).

Ultimately the love of music and sound manifests itself in a large amount of gear and there is a constant desire to not merely upgrade but also accumulate.

Example of GAS

In the case of many successful male musicians this compulsive behaviour applies in other areas too...
Frogman could not have stated the case better. As a professional musician myself, I agree with 100% of his post. There are indeed more audiophiles among musicians than in any other profession, as a percentage, especially when we are talking about classical musicians in particular. It is also true, as Orpheus said, that the average professional musician hears far more than the average audiophile when listening to music - our ears are very well trained from a very young age to hear a great many different types of things, including such things as Frogman's equipment example.

I have said this many times before here, but it always bears repeating - one of the best things an audiophile could do to deepen their appreciation of whatever type of music they listen to would be to take an ear training course at a local college. Even if one is not offered, there may be a grad student in music theory who would be willing to give private instruction - this is good experience for them, too. This type of work will also help greatly in learning to hear differences between pieces of audio equipment, too.
Unfortunately, I have never even met a "classical" musician. It's possible they have different lifestyles from jazz and rock musicians. Since that was a long time ago when I hung out with jazz and rock musicians, a lot has changed, and I wrote from personal experience plus the articles in "Stereophile".

If we got really loose with the definition of "audiophile", we could probably include some of the musicians I knew.