Rockwell: audiophile term "just like a pedophile"

Hey guys. You should read this bigoted and ignorant caricature of audiophile stereotypes by camera reviewer Ken Rockwell. I have never seen anything like it. Just do a search under his name and the article "What is an Audiophile".

Coming from someone who spends his life detailing differences between camera lenses, is this also hypocritical?
Here is the link:

What is an Audiophile

This guy is a douche...
An Audiophile must have run over his dog!
Haven't visited the site but there's a Rockwell that also posts reviews of audio equipment. Could this possibly be the same guy?
I used to respect him for his photography advice...
The pedophile analogy was way over the top. While lusting over $20,000 power cables has to be absurd by any rational standard, it certainly isn't abhorrent or illegal.

And at the risk of being banned from this forum, I find little fault with this statement, " audiophiles spend fortunes on the wrong things, which are the high-profit-margin and well advertised items like cables, power conditioners, amplifiers, power cables, connectors, resistors, and just about everything that has almost nothing to do with the quality of reproduced music — but makes loads of money for the people selling these fetishes."
According to Kenny, we don't really like music because we're too obsessed with the equipment which, ironically, HE REVIEWS!! His website includes a plea to help support his family, which reads in part:

"I support my growing family through this website, as crazy as it might seem...If you haven't helped yet, please do, and consider helping me with a gift of $5.00."
I suspect a religion analogy would have been more appropriate. Or maybe Jihad.
Childish rant. Arrogant, egotistical, stereotyping and bitter. Wonder what his problem is.
Well now Ken does have a point. I do find myself drawn to gear that is less than 18 years old. I find their fresh, young faces and firm lines exhilarating and exciting. Perhaps I have more in common with pedophiles than I thought. ;^)
Well just as he proclaims that audiophiles could care less about music because they're not interested in it, so too, does this guy not care about about being truly critical from an educated standpoint, because if here did he would have done his homework to understand that he is wrong about our love of music first.

Ah just another pot stirrer-upper; they come in a million shapes and sizes, so what else is new? Next!
One can't help wondering where he stands on nude cantilevers and female connectors.
Minkwelder, that is exactly the absurd part: he is a photophile or whatever this would be called. So am I. Whats wrong with that.
By the way, the "phile" part means "friend of" and does not denote an unhealthy affinity to something.
Then again Jmcgrogan2 has a point!
Minkwelder - THAT'S the guy I was thinking of! Guess he's planning to rely solely on his photography reviews for any supplemental income.
It sounds like at sometime, he missed or stepped off the path and now resents it since he can't or won't relate. It could be he's simply nostalgic for the good old days and considers himself a kind of oracle, admonishing those who foolishly buy into the latest and greatest.

I can see his point that some audiophiles use their music to listen to their equipment but that's an over generalization, a cheap shot from a cranky old guy who'd rather blow his money on photography.

All the best,
Why can't we just laugh at ourselves a little bit rather than getting offended over something that was obviously written in a style that is a little over the top and intended to entertain people at the expense of us audiophiles. It is funny because it contains an element of truth. To deny that is ludicrous.

I tend to agree that most audiophiles are more interested in the gear than the music. Music is part of the equation, but an audiophile grade system simply isn't required to enjoy music. Changing power cords and speaker wires isn't necessary to enjoy the music.
I think that your out of context quote in the header casts more heat than light. The certain mark of a troll.

Nowhere does Rockwell say that audiophiles are pedophiles, what he says is that the unnatural attraction to gear is, in his opinion, like the unnatural attractions of a pedophile to their victims. Still a polarizing statement, no doubt.

But lets not focus on the hyperbole and the trolling and look at the sentiment involved. And here, Mr. Rockwell hits a bit closer to home. We can admit it or not, but those of us involved in the hobby for many years, who have belonged to clubs and audio societies, know people in the audiophile communitiy that are exactly as described by Mr. Rockwell. And I would be surprised if one does not see a bit of himself or herself in the description as well.

IMHO, Mr. Rockwell's sentiment is more correct than not. Too bad he had to couch it in such polarizing terms. And it surprises me not one whit that the reaction on an audiophile forum will be less than charitable.
Agree with Viridian.
Audiophiles in most cases only think that they love music but in reality, please refer to Mr Rockwell and re-think.
You can also do quantitative analysis. Math makes life slimpler than science:
Equipment investment vs. music investment(you can count purchased live concert tickets as well)
Time spent listening to the reference recording, tube-rolling, cable swaps and other 'fetish' mentioned by Mr Rockwell vs. time spent listening to the new music or attending live concert
Make conclusion based on that.
My godz...the dreaded KR has jumped over from the photography forums to audiogon. He's not taken seriously at all over there...check out the numerous posts on dpreview...all he does is extoll the latest Nikon and Canon bodies for the click referrals.
That word has no place on Audiogon!!!
OK, lots of good comments above from members, a certain amount of introspection is a good thing. And for the life of me, I cannot imagine spending hours and hours listening for differences in good power cords. But after drilling a little deeper into his site, I found the following statement:
As this page is copyrighted and formally registered, it is unlawful to make copies, especially in the form of printouts for personal use. If you wish to make a printout for personal use, you are granted one-time permission only if you PayPal me $5.00 per printout or part thereof.
which is not only churlish and pathetic but totally, totally wrong. Making a copy for personal, non-commercial use is pretty much what the fair use concept is all about. According to the US Copyright Office:
[quote] Section 107 contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Section 107 also sets out four factors to be considered in determining whether or not a particular use is fair.
1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
2. The nature of the copyrighted work
3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work

So if you are printing pages from his website for your own education/research or the education of others then that's fair use. Since the content is available for free on the web to anyone who wants to view it, making a copy so that you can see the content w/o having to boot up your computer and load the page is also fair use. Remember, I'm not a lawyer but I play one on TV ;-)

Anyway, in my personal, non-legal, opinion, the guy is a a$$hole. He publishes reviews of audio equipment and then rags on audiophiles. He says that you had to design and build your own to get good sound before the 1970s. He apparently never heard (or heard of) the great Saul Marantz-produced Models 7 and 8 pre-amps and amps of the 50s and 60s, the Dynaco ST-70 (1959) or the McIntosh amps of the 50s and 60s. He's got the longest "About" page I've ever seen. Correction, narcissistic a$$hole. Rant over. Spock out.
Mr,Rockwell makes assumptions based on his thoughts and beliefs as to an audiophile. Dr. Freud reborn ?
He also states that amps make no difference. Mr.Hirsch reborn ?
He also asks for donations.Mr.Barnum reborn ?
Mr Rockwells remarks are not new, It has often been stated ,here and in other forums that Audiophiles (what ever that word means) dont enjoy music. Can it be the opposite.Possibly that they enjoy music so much that they are willing to spend $$$ on components that will make music burst forth with all the emotion that it was intended bring.
What do pedophilia and audio have in common? Absolutely nothing! Pedophilia is a crime and should be. Audio is not related to pedophilia in any possible way except in Ken Rockwell's ridiculously stupid choice for an analogy.
My mother-in-law is a very musical person that couldn't care less about anything electronic. When I first setup my current speakers she was lost in a CD that I picked out for her even though the volume was well above anything she would normally listen to. She didn't care if it could have sounded better or not, she was just sucked into the music. Period. If this doesn't happen often to you (it doesn't to me) then it isn't all about the music. For some it is both, but that is a subset within audiophiles.
Viridian, my title is not out of context at all. I tried to make sure that I am not saying anything he isnt saying. That is why I said "audiophile term". This is accurate: he doesnt say audiophiles are like pedophiles, he is saying the term audiophile is based on the same notion of an unhealthy fascination. He is incorrect there, in an absolute say: "phile" derives from the greek filos which means friend. So I believe I have done my best to represent what he says.

Secondly, as a father of two little girls, I do take offense to a hypocrite who spends his days trying to discern fine differences in lenses but doesnt accept one can do that for audio. There is absolutely zero difference between his fascination with the performance of photo equipment and the interest that audiophiles take in the accurate reproduction of sound.

Thirdly, I am fed up with the self righteous notion that appreciating reproduction equipment is a lowly passtime, one that should be shunned. Audiophiles should hide their interest and pretend it is all in the goal of seeking better music. Bull. I very much enjoy music. I listen to it live, in my home, on the headphones etc. At the same time I also very much enjoy the engineering aspect of equipment. My main occupation is in finance and having something completely different like electrical engineering as a hobby is fun and stimulates regions of the brain that would otherwise remain idle.

I dont find anything wrong with that. I certainly sympathize with rockwell's (lowercase please) opinion of extreme behavior but he cant paint all audiophiles under that color. Having a drink doesnt make one an alcoholic.

In any event, I certainly agree with the member who said we shouldnt take any of this too seriously, especially not rockwell who clearly has some deep issues of his own.
I've never considered myself an, "audiophile," but-
definitely a(live sound familiar/live sound seeking),
"music lover." STILL; the author of that article is
But his obsession with gear - cameras, cars, audio - are healthy of course, because he is genuine and all about the music, and the picture, and the drive. No one else is. Just Ken Rockwell. Remember the name, ladies and gentlemen, that's Ken Rockwell, K-e-n R-o-c-k-w-e-l-l. You can find him on the Hoffman music forum pontificating about how Audiogoners are all misshapen luddites fondling speakers. Not at all like the honest-to-God, down-to-earth, truly knowledgeable, truly heartfelt and understanding Ken Rockwell.

Ah well, he may be right on some accounts, but then again, how many other classes of people think photographers are creepy?
The guy isn't very erudite. The word "pedophile" has no judgement infused into it whatsoever. To say that the word "pedophile" refers to something "unnatural" is silly. It's just a word; so it follows that neither does the word "audiophile" carry a negative element. You can trust me on this. I'm a linguaphile, you see!
It is a good for a laugh or 2. But, ask yourselves, 'are the two terms in question really that far removed'? I believe KR
was touching on (no pun) the quest or thrill of the chase for some of us audiophiles. Happy Listening!
The article wasn't funny because it wasn't very well written, yet audiophiles are an easy target for ridicule. Can you imagine the movie Christopher Guest would make about audiophiles? Furthermore, there is an element of fetish-like behavior in this hobby. How many times have you read here on Audiogon equipment being described as beloved?
My experience is that,for most of us, better (more lifelike) equipment and better recordings are simply about an improved ability to hear music we enjoy. It's just not complicated at all.

An lot of headphones/amps reviewed for someone who claims not to be an audiophile.

Following Mr. Rockwell's line of reasoning, like a pornographer, the word photographer indicates someone with an illicit involvement in images; fixation on cameras, not scenery. Ergo, Mr. Rockwell has an unhealthy relationship with cameras.

Never assume a musician has a clue about how to develop an audio system.

I don't see Mr. Rockwell buying once and using the same technology for decades.

What of the Mediaphile, who amasses a huge collection of media? Is this not also a materialistic preoccupation? Yet, somehow the notion is promoted that it is a more noble endeavor. Nonsense! It's no more or less a problem than someone who invests heavily into the system.

If he were to follow his advice he gives to audiophiles, perhaps Mr. Rockwell should have bought a black and white camera that used film from 40 years ago and use it for decades. Who needs digital? The mind can surely fill in the blanks. Surely the experience would be just as grand, and he could not be accused of being a photographer (you know, like pornographer)!

It seems he is blind to his own prejudice. :(

Well put Doug.
One other evidence that reviewer and audiophile are very often 2 different meanings.
Reviewer is one working as professional writer and writes whatever he/she's supposed to write(that's how reviews work). At the same time Mr. Rockwell proves this fact through his OP mentioned article that he was/is reviewing audio components to make living rather than truthfully describing them. Anyone can do same.
For me speaker or hook-up cables for home audio priced several hundreds to tens of thousands$ and many other tweaks would be absurd, meaningless and unFreal as to any other non-audiophile like KR. At the same time if offered some hefty pocket cash for writing story onto the specific magazine, than why not(would probably keep my mouth shut instead of confronting audiophile community and continue to slurp out of my bread bowl)?
Any professional writer can 'digest' audiophile specific terms onto his/her vocabulary and blast these onto the magazine surface. No need to be audiophile at all all.
One can't help wondering where he stands on nude cantilevers and female connectors.
Geoffkait (Threads | Answers | This Thread)

Or banana plugs.
Obvious typo; should be "A lot of headphones..."
Jafant-A very disturbing post. There is nothing funny about children being abused. Comparing an audiophile with that form of mental illness is absurd!
btw 18 through 21 are legal pediatric ages for both genders.
there are countries with earlier ages of concent as well.
There is no reason to get defensive; these are all tired old arguments, many of which are found here on Audiogon by posters who allege they are more devoted to music than the gear.

As for Mr. Rockwell, I love a guy who reeks of arrogance with respect to his own education, technical and intellectual brilliance who is nonetheless chippy about the price of luxury goods and whose career plan and business model consists of begging for money on a sloppy website.

I am going to clear my cache now before shopping at BH Photo.
Why waste time with this?
There's truth in his statements. The problem is he paints with much too broad a brush. And he does so with smug arrogance which is unflattering.
He's clearly suggesting those obsessed with audio gear are driven by impulse much the same way as pedophiles apparently are, and hence the appropriate audio'phile' label. Similar to the driving force behind a fetish and therefore, perversion. Not to be confused with a love for music. And so, we should not be fooled by self-proclaiming audiophiles who also claim to love music since the terms are counter intuitive. He's saying you can't be both a lover of music and an audiophile because the gear will take precedent over the music. You won't be able to enjoy the music because the the gear will get in the way. Forest for the trees analogy. He clearly has never had a hobby. It may not be as true today anymore but I'm sure stamp collectors in the past didn't develop a complex at the prospect of mailing off a letter.
Who really cares?
Honestly, I recall reading his site a while back and finding him to be pretty knowledgeable about cameras and photography.

Didn't take as much notice of any audio comments though I think there were some.

Photography and audio are always interesting areas to compare. We use eyes for one and ears for the other. People seem pretty confident and generally more in agreement usually about the quality of what we see, but less so about what we hear. That uncertainty opens up a lot of cans of worms in trying to quantify good sound versus good photography. Sound quality seems to be a more ubiquitous thing. Of course there are Canon and Nikon fanboys that can't see eye to eye as well. So its a very interesting thing.

Not sure I see a need for comparison to a pedophile though. Is that a moral judgement? Sure, there is a lot of shady things that go on in the twilight zone of high end audio. SOme probably not on the up-and-up. But hopefully that's the exception still and not the norm. Who knows?
Ebm-You nailed it(this time). My disappointment comes from some members that agree or justify this a**clowns analogy!
Madman wrote,

"Sure, there is a lot of shady things that go on in the twilight zone of high end audio. SOme probably not on the up-and-up. But hopefully that's the exception still and not the norm. Who knows?"

Do tell. What a tease. I imagine you have the inside track. Share, share!
EBM is very efficient with his words....

WHo does really care?
Audiophiles or any other hobby that people want to spend their hard earned money and time on should not be compared to people who are the SCUM of the earth, for any reason.
My experiences have all been very positive. Well, I can think of one exception.....not very significant though really.
Actually, its another name for ocd , we are never satisfied with what we have, have to try something else, its neverending, forever!
Geoffkait, the main issue i think is with the magazines which basically are posing as credible reviewers and experts when really they are glorified advertisers. I have listed numerous occasions where this was obvious. So sure, its a hobby based on very subjective opinions allowing many people to take advantage of that. Caveat emptor.