How rare is an audiophile

I’ve been extremely busy lately and not had a chance to sit back and listen to music  on my system for a few weeks. I’ve streamed my favorite music in the car and on a small JBL Flip-4 portable speaker; which by the way “punches way above its size class.”  I continued to enjoy music whenever, wherever, and however i can during this “dry spell.”

So now its 5 am Sunday morning. I know i’ll be spending most of the day listening on the JBL when my wife and I drive out to a lake house we bought recently and are furnishing and getting ready for 4 generations to enjoy lake life this summer and for years to come. 
I’ve let my system warm up and hit play on my CD player. I now find myself in total bliss listening to Chris Standing’s newest CD “The Lovers Re-mix Collection.”  The effect of the quality of the sound of the music my wife and i are enjoying right now with a cup of coffee is hard to explain, but it brought literal tears of joy.  

I started thinking, how many people are like us?  What % of the population are audiophiles (whatever your definition of an audiophile is)?

I know the answer is heavily dependent on which country you live in. I live in the US along with ~332,000,000 fellow citizens (please, lets not get political on the meaning of population or citizen). 
Are we the 0.1%ers?  Are there ~332,000 audiophiles in the US?

i’d be interested in what others think about how rare our species is.


Rare indeed! Where I am in the Florida Panhandle, I don’t know anyone I can share this hobby with. There are no clubs, and no Hi Fi shops. I’m envious of those who can actually drive to a hi fi shop and look, listen and purchase audio. There are a couple of record shops but no serious hi fi. So I listen on my own. When I have guests over they look at my systems quickly and maybe a “wow,” “what’s that’s” or “that’s nice,” but that’s it and oh, “ can you turn that down?” So, if you have pals to enjoy the hobby with your are lucky!

I'm the only one I know of.... When I was young, I tried to get my parents to buy a nice system but they thought it was a waste of time and money as I feel all my current friends feel the same way. It's OK though.

@jasonbourne71 I'm not so sure that the surge in LP sales is an indication that those purchasers are audiophiles.  I've read a statistic that implied more than 50% of those purchased albums never get played.  They are purchased so someone has a physical "thing" that they can have in a collection.  They are most likely actually listen to music through streaming (and its probably Spotify).

Having said that, those folks are absolutely music enthusiasts and that is the first step to becoming an audiophile.  So you point is valid.  

One in five vinyl buyers has no record player… – Record Collecting Vinyl & CD New, Rare, Reissue & Box Set News (

Like a lot of things, audiophiles are not a homogenous group. It reminds me of that old saying, “One person’s ceiling is another person’s floor.” There are people (like me) that fancy themselves audiophiles that “real audiophiles” would not. Part of the difference is money — my entire system only cost $8,000, and for some here that doesn’t even afford what they consider high-end speakers. But, I think the bigger part of what makes an audiophile is the continual search for something better. It could be different equipment, room corrections, spacing of components, all the other tweaks that we read here that people have tried. I think of Mahgister as an audiophile, even though his equipment is modest — he tries all of the various tweaks that most likely don’t even think of, in pursuit of the elusive sound.

I used to consider myself a “baby audiophile”, as my equipment purchases have have been modest, while being open to making improvements. But then I realized that I’m likely not moving on from my initial equipment, for the foreseeable future anyway, because I don’t really want to fiddle with all the details and the hassle of trialing new equipment, sending it back, sampling something else, sending it back, finding something better and selling my old pieces, etc. And questioning, “Did I REALLY hear a difference, or am I fooling myself?’ I’m not good at selling anything, and I find most people want something for nothing. I’d just rather not deal with it. So, these days I’m mostly a “listener of music” rather than an audiophile. Which is OK. I still have better equipment than anyone else I know, and those people think I’m a nut for spending as much as I have.

P.S. I think of audiophiles as like the guys that keep adding stuff to their souped-up cars to make they go faster, corner better, look sportier and sound more aggressive. Obviously, these guys also love the tweaking and trying out new gear, and communicating with others that share that passion. Other people don’t understand them either.

For me it’s very hard to tell. I talk to people about music but rarely does the conversation shift over to systems and sources. I like you will listen to music any time and way I can. I am picky and do demand the best quality I can get given the situation. Take my car I upgraded to the mark levenson system and then use an external dac headphone amp run into the aux jack to deliver a great sound in my car. I will say that there are times I am in a couples home and get pleasantly surprised by their systems. I will say is rare but is nice to see there are others out there. Being an audiophile is not like a car collector or watch collector were you can drive and wear in public. It is mostly hidden inside homes if people who don’t flaunt it.