As Varied as the Audiophiles Themselves...
I'm speaking of their systems, of course! Yesterday, had an experience in just how wonderful and wacky high end audio can be. Leaned a few weeks ago of an audiophile nearby, whom I've become friends with. He's not an "upgrader"; bought his lovely (now) classic system about 20 some years ago: McIntosh 400wpc (or 450, can't recall) amps, pre and cdp. Klipsch speakers with massive 15" woofers and horn mid/tweets. Sadly, he's running them on Monster Cabling and a basic powerbar at the wall. Speakers are not decoupled from floor and worst, he elected to move the system upstairs from a generous living room environment to a tiny 10' by 12' bedroom.
Yet, he seems happy/content enough with it all.
He's after the "concert" effect, which means to him BIG BASS! And oh, boy does he have it! In addition to the Klipsch's, he's using an M&K badass powered sub with twin 12" drivers! This all in a 10x12 bedroom! He puts on the music and all I hear is WHAM! WHAM! WHAM! I told him it seems there's a T-Rex stomping around in the yard! (I wasn't hacking on it; just letting him know HOW much bass there is). He smiles - he LOVES the bone jarring bass!
But to me it was not bass, it was electronic noise. Frequencies so strong that they were almost like an earthquake; shaking things but not being heard well... The bass completely took over the presentation of the music. I could not get my mind off the SLAM! THUD! of it all and just enjoy the sound. Worse, this was all nearfield listening! We were sitting literally about four feet from the speakers! The speakers were along the long wall, and our seating position had us about arm's reach away from the Klipsch's!
Then we went over to my house; I have no slouch system, and plenty of low end, but after hearing the T-Rex for a while, my system sounded really anemic (I have Chapman Audio T-77's with side firing 10" bass and twin VAndersteen 2W subs; in dedicated HT in basement with cement floor, heavy/thick walls, room tuned and 1/2" carpet pad under thick berber carpet). It took a while for the ears to adjust to what I hear as more normal bass.
I just shake my head about it all. Two guys who are both audiophiles in the same neighborhood. One's trying to create a P.A. system like at a concert in a bedroom, the other is out to recreate a sound room at a high end store in his basement. One has got bass to break a guy's balls, and the other's got refinement galore... One's held equipment with virtually zero changes in more than two decades, and the other has just finished a whirlwind cycle of upgrades over two years. One has about a 50 year supply of ear plugs in a closet to preserve hearing so he can sit in the room and blast his concert-level music. The other has never attended many live concerts or ultra-noisy affairs in part because he does not want to lose his hearing prematurely (last concert I did go to, I wore not only foam ear plugs but also ear muffs - I could care less what others think I look like; I'm not intending on going deaf prematurely), and never attempts to play his rig at "realistic" concert levels. One who has a fabulous antique tube AM receiver in museum quality condition (a TRUE collectable; not just vintage, but antique), and the other who kicks himself continuously for not hanging on to some of the older components he had when starting out.
Often, there's much disagreement/division on these boards about what consitutes good sound/components. Give an Audiophool a keyboard and there will be a debate!
I just shake my head about it all. What fun! Two people from different audio worlds growing in appreciation. We both think we've got good sound, but you would be hard pressed to find two rigs that sound so different!
Man, this is a fabulous hobby!