Love of MUSIC or love of GEAR

I think the appeal of audio gear is more complicated than simply a love of music. In my experience I have not seen much of a correlation between the love of music and the pursuit of high-end gear. That is not to say that audiophiles do not necessarily love music – I think that they do (or they at least have some kind of aural fetish)– or the gear would not make sense to them. But if the full appreciation of music was dependant on hearing it played through the best gear, then musicians, composers, CBC FM radio hosts (yes, I am Canadian) – would all be audiophiles. As it stands, this is not the rule but the exception. (I would bet that there are more architects than musicians that have high-end systems.) I propose that the pursuit of high-end audio has something to do with an obsession with the POTENTIAL of gear to produce music. Wrapped up in this ‘potential’ are the aesthetics and physical appearance of the gear, its smell, feel, ergonomics, size and mass, technological innovation, myths associated with it, etc. The pursuit of gear in this context is its potential to offer a doorway to a world of music as expansive and rich as we can imagine, that we can open at will - by ourselves or with others who are willing to listen.

Showing 1 response by redkiwi

I have known some "gear heads", but usually they fall into two categories. Category A - the big noter - likes to tell people the brand of the gear he (rarely if ever a she) owns, even if it is in a box in the garage. Category B - the simplistic type - wants to just decide on a brand or two to love and then only buys that gear and always swears by it. People attracted to Naim and Linn often (but not always) fall into this second category. As for me, if my system sounds like rubbish I get this urge to throw it out the window and just start again, regardless of the brand or looks or feel of it. Nice to have the tactile stuff, but these attributes are only able to be enjoyed by me if the music made is excellect.