Music lover or audiophile?

I think you have to decide, are you a music lover or audiophile?  I know the majority will say, both.
 I’m not so sure though. The nature of audiophilia is to get in there and fiddle with the tools, like any other hobbyist.  The difference in our hobby though is that presumably, our ultimate goal is to have the best musical experience we can get. The hobbyist is never really finished. The manipulation of the materials is the fun. The music lover, however, wants to get the most out of that esthetic experience.  
By continually plying materials, the audiophile is on an endless quest for better sound.
 After years of this quest, I’ve decided I can be a music lover or an audiophile.  I’m happy listening to my system now the way it is.  So, I’ve decided to be a music lover once again.
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Music lover first, audiophile second.
Both are not mutually exclusive for me.  Improving my system affords me the opportunities to enjoy my music even more than before.  I recently went the all silver wire route with my interconnects.  That upgrade improved the resolution of the system and thus I now can here minute details in music heretofore obscured.  More musical enjoyment as I now can hear more of what the musicians performed.👂🏻👂🏻

My audio dealer, Jeff Harris of Reference Analog in Oklahoma, has summed it well, imho:

"I really like experimenting with different playback equipment and setups. The gear does bring me as much joy as the music. I don’t own the gear simply to recreate the music, but I don’t play music simply to test gear either. My passion for the gear has opened up a lot of music and my passion for music has opened me up to a lot of different gear. I can’t say I would be as into either without the other."
I agree with OP on that it is difficult to be both audiophile and music lover.

After finishing renovation of audio hardware, I will go back to music lover by not spending on major change of audio equipment.

I had bought 1000 redbook CDs at 2,500$ during last 6 months.

I will try to enjoy new collections of music.

From 2013 to June 2018, I had not changed any major components except inexpensive music server (Cocktail Audio X12)

During the period, I could enjoy music without paying attention to its sound.

Music lover first and always. The equipment is a means of enhancing and magnifying the experience. I mainly use 4 different systems for specific types of media and musical genre and listening styles (passive or active).
If I didn’t have a great audio system, I would still need music.  If I couldn’t hear music, I wouldn’t need a great audio system.  So, musicophile first.

An audio system is somewhat similar to my guitars.  At a basic level, they allow me to hear the music that stirs my soul.  But in addition, I love the craftsmanship of a fine guitar, the way it feels in my hands, the way it looks, the way the carefully selected woods work together to make it respond just so.  They have even expanded my social network.   So I guess I’m a guitarophile, second.

 I have developed similar appreciation and fondness for audio equipment.  It gives me a great musical thrill, but I also enjoy learning about it, experiencing it aesthetically in its own right, and even the people I meet here and elsewhere who share my enjoyment.  Audiophile, third.

its not a pejorative term to me, just describes a hobby.  And it’s no crazier than collecting plates with heads of Indian chiefs painted on them.
For me it's all about the music...but the music must be well presented.

Music lover I have to have music on wherever I am home, car, if i am traveling earbuds. Also I have had the same preamp/amp combo for over ten years now so not sure I qualify as an audiophile. The newest item in my system my speakers are now two years old. I stream both Tidal and Qobuz and love both.

Love music like anyone else. The sound quality is essential. Being a busy person especially in the US its rare to sit down an have a quality time listening especially if you found your holy grail setup. I don’t touch or not even change one bit of my setup now. I’m trapped in my music room and car audio. I cant find myself to appreciate any other places or headphones. I don’t know why. As of now, I’m on a hunt for better music formats. Its either I listen to a quality sound or not listen at all.

music lover or audiophile, that is the question

In grade school they brought in a concert violinist to play for our class. Still clearly remember him saying close your eye and listen, then he would play to sound like one, then two, then a whole bunch of violins! When we went on a field trip to the Seattle Opera House I remember closing my eyes listening to the symphony orchestra.

So thinking back on it, even when I was listening to real instruments  I was listening as an audiophile. My first significant purchases with my paper route money were all stereo components. I was maybe 13. In selecting these I knew little at the time about frequency response, and hardly anything about power, but I did listen very keenly to see how everything made music sound. So maybe I was a music lover.

Later on when shopping with my laundry list of sonic attributes to seek out, or avoid, it would seem I was an audiophile. But the components I bought always seemed to be the ones that got my toes to tapping.

Music lover makes me think of the saps on the stairwell in Animal House. I'm more the Bluto who comes along and smashes the guitar. Only thing even more insipid, audiophiles pedantically parroting what makes a good whatever, and how can we design a test to be twice as blind. 

What is the word for the guy who just loves listening to really good music played back really well? That's me.

Once I built a line array speaker system(16 mid ranges, 31 tweeters, on3 12 inch woofer, electronically crossed, with a separate amp for each section, the sound was so distortion free, that I could simply not tell how loud it was playing.  The electronics distortion levels and other measurements were always below hearing in comparison tests.  
And so, when I found myself making a comment that I could hear placements left and right, but also forward and backward, there was no more audiophile left in me, and only the music lover.
My point exactly.  Once you have found a place of contentment, there is no need to twiddle and replace.
You turn from an audiophile to a music lover.
Music lover first. Vinyl record collector second. Music archivist (rare 45 digital transfers) third. Tweeker fourth. Audiophile distant fifth.
Some people keep changing major audio components less than a year.

I think it is a "sound addiction" like "drug addiction" which  requires medical treatment.

Once you are satisfied the sound of your system, it is better to have a break of two to three years without any change of major components,

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Music lover, that’s the whole purpose. Everything else is/are just a refinement(s) of the purpose.
I'll admit it, I love the equipment almost as much as the music. And while I've scaled back over the years and appreciate the music much more than ever, I still love the equipment. 

Hi I'm Tim........and I'm an audiophile
Music first always, but the gear is fun and so is reading about it.
It’s fun until it becomes addictive.
Huh?! Addiction is the most enjoyable part. Hel-loo!
I must give credit for my contentment to my wonderful equipment which, I guess, through my addiction finally came together so I don’t need to look further.
I don’t understand why they are mutually exclusive.  If I was forced to listen to music on a 1960 vintage transistor radio, I would still enjoy it.  I just enjoy it more on better sounding gear
Without the music, the equipment is pointless....this is for sure. But if I walk into a room with an awesome system that is powered off, I still appreciate it for the engineering, materials, manufacturing and history behind it. 

A diamond to me is just a rock, nothing more and other than its intrinsic value...worthless. A real nice piece of stereo equipment, now that's a whole different conversation. It just comes down to what we value. 


They wouldn’t be mutually exclusive if it weren’t for the addictive nature of audiophilia which can dominate the process of listening to the point that it totally cripples the enjoyment of the music.
As a music fan, the trick is to get ones system to a minimal level to satisfy the ears. When to stop, is where the madness begins.

Seeing and hearing some of the "best" can be a fun experience. It's the actual music however, which stirs emotion-even through awful equipment.

I think there are more gear heads in the forums than music lovers.  Absolutely nothing wrong with it. 

The hobby needs someone to obsess over cable,widgets,fuses, power conditioning, digital superiority..etc.  Without them, no ridiculous threads we can comment on!

Reading some of the thread convinces me. Concern with some of the topics is mind boggling,odd and weird at times.

Time to flip over a record on the table.
No file playing over here...just some rekkids and FM through tubes.

Music lover is the one who enjoys listening to music even via car radio.
An Audiophile is someone who can hear differences in cables.
Truth be told, I still can’t listen to the music without having the sound enter into the picture.  The point is, I’m not looking to improve it.

Music loverphile

is that a possible response?

music is indeed the thing which centers me and adds to my joy.

However, since stumbling and wandering along the 'make it sound real' highway, and yes, there are some lofty prices associated with acquiring those last degrees of reality, I've gotten a mite spoiled or I've been educated enough to realize one can actually have the illusion of reality in their listening room. eventually.

if done well, keeping synergy as one's compass.

I've also learned when to say when.

so Music Lover 60%

'phile 40%

more or less.
I want to be honest. I would like to think of myself as a music lover first, but there have been times when I get a bit overly involved with the gear. Not an audiophile in the truest sense as I prefer 2 channel sound over multi channel surround or mono. Am I a stereo-phile? No, no relation to the magazine....
Can I oscillate back & forth between an Audiophile and a Music Lover?  I think so.  Maybe it switches weekly, or monthly, or maybe it is based on my checkbook? Dunno.  But I like both!

Few music lovers are audiophiles. To be an audiophile and not a music lover seems senseless. 
Addendum: Not to love music also seems senseless.
I guess I never of had the experience of getting so wrapped up in the gear issues that I couldn’t enjoy the music because I was obsessing to much about deficiencies in the playback experience.  You seem to have been unfortunately afflicted in this way.  I am not being critical, just expressing sadness that this has occurred.  Based on your previous posts I think that we have very similar tastes in Music, so this seems to hit a bit close to home...I can only urge that if playback obsession becomes the dominant focus, perhaps you shouldn’t listen to anything for a few weeks.  When I have to endure a long stretch without being able to hear Music I then appreciate it so much more and cease to care what playback medium is used.
Mahler 123,

Yes, you are indeed fortunate not to have been afflicted with that sorry addiction.
But, the good news is that I’ve decided to move on. 
And, for now, I’m in a very good place.  I actually created this post as a kind of manifesto celebrating my liberation.  Audiophilia, as I call it, to me was a destructive force in the way of enjoying my life’s passion.
Thank you for your suggestion, but I don’t think I need that hiatus now.

Anyone addicted to gear swapping as an obsession might be sane, but OCD esque personality quirks best just stay home and get therapy...unless you're happy with that...Not unlike most people around here, I'll try things in my gear heap to see if they're for me, and if it ain't working, meaning the music I like sounds wrong somehow, it's outta here or I fiddle until things are right (tube synchronicity is one of those fixable things that takes some attentive listening). Generally if there's clarity and coherence I can leave the rig alone for a long time and dig deep into the music. I'm a musician first, and an evil ne'er do well second.

Ah the usual false dichotomy.
Though it's always been a form of "virtue signalling" in the audiophile world to say "I'm all about the music...I'm a music lover first!"

Most of us (if not all) are both. 

I like switching up my speakers...because I like speakers and audio gear.  It's fun.  I just switched in my little spendor speakers, did the usual audiophile dialing them in to get the sound I want....and then enjoyed the f#ck out of some Cheap Trick albums.


Ah, the usual sophistry.
Please read the entire thread.

What did I miss?

You posed "being an audiophile" vs "being a music lover"  as an explicit dichotomy and said you’ve moved on from being an audiophile to being a music lover.

Just reading the headline might lead one to believe it’s the “usual false dichotomy.” But reading the whole thread clarifies the full meaning of the declaration.
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From your first post to your subsequent replies, you’ve upheld the false dichotomy.

You started with telling people "I think you have to decide, are you a music lover or audiophile? "

Which is a false dichotomy. As you acknowledged, the majority will say "both." Because it’s a false dichotomy.

I just get annoyed when false propositions like those are promulgated in regard to audiophiles. "Audiophiles just care about the gear, they don’t really care about music!"
You can speak for yourself, to tell us you became overwhelmingly focused on the gear/sound. But generalizing this to telling people they have to decide between being an audiophile/music lover is just false.

I certainly DO know what you mean by getting crazy thinking about the gear a lot. I’ve been there. But even at those points I personally never stopped being a music lover. It’s not a "virtue" that I remained a music lover, just a plain, dull old fact. If someone is far more skewed to being interested in the gear for most of the time, I don’t denigrate that in the least.

In any case, I’m glad you feel you’re in a better place, able to enjoy things.

i think the problem is in our view of “audiophelia.”
I agree mine is a  negative one. To me, it carries with it an addictive quality, as is evidenced by the submissions of so many Audiogoners.
 But you are right in pointing out that not everyone may be so afflicted.
I just suspect it is endemic in the audiophile community. 
Yeah...the serious gearhead will sometimes smirk at the audiophile label to imply they're too hip for that sort of thing, and I call bull****. You enjoy your gear? Try new things from time to time? Roll tubes? Listen actively without the blue glow of that phone in your face? Music is important to you?...if you're obsessed with audio that at least keeps you off the road...maybe...
i think the problem is in our view of “audiophelia.”

SIC [My View]  Or specifically, Your View...which happens to be negative as you have proclaimed above.

Nothing 'wrong' about that because it is your view.

+1 @prof  Great post. Thank you.
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Lol,Elizabeth!Nobody else except other audiophiles care about our trials and tribulations:)

elizabeth, while I can't get myself to be as cynical as you are on the topic, I do agree with you that almarg is the Gold Standard for helpful input here!