Should people who can't solder, build or test their speakers be considered audiophiles?



  So, if you bought that Porsche but can only drive it and not fix it do you really understand and appreciate what it is? I say no. The guy who can get in there and make it better, faster or prettier with his own hands has a superior ability to understand the final result and can appreciate what he has from a knowledge base and not just a look at what I bought base. I mean sure you can appreciate that car when you drive it but if all you do is take it back to the dealership for maintenance and repairs you just like the shape with no real understanding of what makes it the mechanical marvel it is.
  I find that is true with the audio world too. There are those who spend a ton of money on things and then spend a lot of time seeking peer approval and assurance their purchase was the right one and that people are suitably impressed. Of course those who are most impressed are those who also do not design, build, test or experiment.

  I propose that an audiophile must have more than a superficial knowledge about what he listens to and must technically understand what he is listening to. He knows why things work and what his end goal is and often makes his own components to achieve this. He knows how to use design software to make speakers that you can't buy and analyze the room they are in and set up the amplification with digital crossovers and DSP. He can take a plain jane system and tweak it and balance it to best suit the room it is in. He can make it sound far better than the guy who constantly buys new components based on his superficial knowledge who does not understand why what he keeps buying in vain never quite gets there.

  A true audiophile can define his goal and with hands on ability achieve what a mere buyer of shiny parts never will. So out comes the Diana Krall music and the buyer says see how good my system is? The audiophile says I have taken a great voice and played it through a system where all was matched and tweaked or even purposely built and sits right down next to Diana as she sings. The buyer wants prestigious signature sound and the audiophile will work to achieve an end result that is faithful true to life audio as though you were in the room with Diana as she sings. The true audiophile wants true to life and not tonally pure according to someones artificial standard.

 So are you a buyer or an audiophile and what do you think should make a person an audiophile?
mahlman
Jerry, You may not understand. Mine has a cute cartoon mouse on it. But the best part, and get this ...... his arms go around and ACTUALLY point to the numbers that tell the time! Honest Injun!!! You may not know this, but some men will pick a watch that they think will impress the ladies. Let me tell ya'... this one SURE does, and how!!!! 
A wristwatch?

Quaint....in a world of 'personal wrist gadgets', something that just registers Time...?
CNC along with Computer Design is making great strides in Watchmaking. Good on you mahlman, in your career!
" malhman, I asked about a wristwatch because I know many that like them VERY. much, but can’t service their own at all "
I like precision things and in real life I am a 3D CAD designer and a CNC Machinist. I do not do well on hands on mechanical things. I would not be an Autiophile by current standards for being a "phile" but I do drive two different vans.
Robert, I tried to be clear that I DO understand the OP's intentions regarding this thread. I also enjoy it and all of the responses including your's. We are occupying the same playground and game. Fair play is always preferred, although not required in admittance. We can self-referee.
Oh ISO, look at you again, can't help the personal attacks, but it's okay, if you didn't get the intentional irony and sarcasm of the ops post, I could see how you may be a bit sensitive at this point.

May I suggest working harder on your own persona, and worrying less about mine?  
malhman, I asked about a wristwatch because I know many that like them VERY. much, but can't service their own at all. Btw, I have certainly been enjoying this thread and the many responses, kudos. roberttdid, if during your door experiment, the door you went through was an EXIT, I'm sure you missed the applause of all of those remaining inside. 😊 
Let me know when you want to borrow that dictionary ISO. You seem to have a difficulty with understanding what certain words mean.
roberttdid, When your mirror cracks, it's evident. Never reject the obvious.
Self reflection is not self evident.
@roberttdid
Which door do you think the following quotes author would go through?

" My thoughts were that the topic of this thread you created was implicitly exclusive, snobbish and pretentious since it contained the inane exclusion and limitation of non-solderers from being considered audiophiles. "

The more I think about this the more I think it smacks of elitism. Just way to many look down your nose words in play here.
My favorite psychology experiment mahlman is double doors. I can't count the number of times I have walked past a line of people all queued up behind the person in front of them to enter or exit through a single door, only to walk by all of them and open the other door and walk through. The looks are always priceless.
" mahlman, This may seem like an obscure question, but do you happen to wear a wristwatch, and maybe own a couple? "
Last time I wore a watch was before 1980. Do I owe you anything for psychological analysis?

" 10 pages .... and the intended humor and sarcasm of the posted topic .... is still lost (on some). It has been an interesting psychology experiment @mahlhan. "

@roberttdid
In grade school, back in the days when real teachers with moral values taught you, we had a little lesson given on following instructions. It was also a test of your ability to understand what you read. The teacher handed out copies and told us to read it. The first paragraph told you to stop reading and wait. The vast majority continued to read and when finished the teacher got to point out how many of us failed a simple thing like reading comprehension and following instructions. Human nature does not change as far as I can see, just the sophistication of our toys is subject to great change.
10 pages .... and the intended humor and sarcasm of the posted topic .... is still lost (on some).  It has been an interesting psychology experiment @mahlhan.
mahlman, This may seem like an obscure question, but do you happen to wear a wristwatch, and maybe own a couple?
mahlman:" As has been stated before, but apparently not read by many who stop in, this is for my entertainment. Thanks for your contribution by the way."

Hello mahlman,

     I stated something similar in my last post: "  I’m just an independent music and HT lover and A/V gear enthusiast who prefers enjoying his hobbies freely, along with the inclusive interaction with all like minded individuals, including yourself, and without exclusions, pretensions and limitations."
     I believe most members here on Audiogon generally agree with my statement about  enjoying this hobby freely, along with the inclusive interaction with all like minded individuals, including yourself, and without exclusions, pretensions and limitations. 
     My thoughts  were that the topic of this thread you created was implicitly exclusive, snobbish and pretentious since it contained the inane exclusion and limitation of non-solderers from being considered audiophiles.   
     My main point is that I believe the qualities of elitism, exclusion, snobbishness and pretentiousness are generally not embraced by the majority of Audiogon members. including myself.  

Tim
" So, you are trying to save us from ourselves? You do know how old this argument is? "
  Why yes, I do know how old it is. The topic lives because the source material keeps piling up until it draws attention once again.
  As has been stated before, but apparently not read by many who stop in, this is for my entertainment. Thanks for your contribution by the way.
" Now I come here because it is a strange mix of people who do know things and strange diatribes on weird high dollar stuff that does nothing but drain bank accounts. It is the oddest mix of all the forums I have been to and quite fascinating."

So, you are trying to save us from ourselves? You do know how old this argument is?
Oh I don't know. Look around and you tell me.

  Initially I came here because I was curious after reading comments on other forums. Now I come here because it is a strange mix of people who do know things and strange diatribes on weird high dollar stuff that does nothing but drain bank accounts. It is the oddest mix of all the forums I have been to and quite fascinating.
" So how did you end up on a forum full of standards and audiophile qualifications and towering opinions?"

Is that what this is or is that what YOU say it is?
Right. So how did you end up on a forum full of standards and audiophile qualifications and towering opinions?
Hello mahlman,

     That’s cool. I have no need, use or desire for any audiophile credentials, standards, authorizations, approvals, exclusions or other restrictions and limitations.
     I’m just an independent music and HT lover and A/V gear enthusiast who prefers enjoying his hobbies freely, along with the inclusive interaction with all like minded individuals, including yourself, and without exclusions, pretensions and limitations.

Tim
" Well, okay. But please make certain that all required official audiophile forms and permits have been submitted and been approved, your audiophile dues have been fully paid, you're clad in all official audiophile mandated safety gear and that you're strictly following official audiophile crimping procedures.
     Additionally, you must utilize the most recent version of the official audiophile crimp connectors and recite the audiophile pledge with extreme conviction and righteous indignation, prior to proceeding any further with your crimping endeavors. "


   Well as the codifier of the only relevant set of working standards for Audiophiles I think I can say I am aware of what is required. I am afraid you have some work to do.
.. or at least think they are.
Not all Audiophiles are DIYers. But with that said, Audiophiles tend to be more technical than non-Audiophiles.
mahlman:
"  Well since right now I am not building or altering crossovers technically you are right. It's crimp connectors right now. How ever I know how to do that and have the correct tools so I have audiophile grade crimp connections."

Hello mahlman,

    Well, okay. But please make certain that all required official audiophile forms and permits have been submitted and been approved, your audiophile dues have been fully paid, you're clad in all official audiophile mandated safety gear and that you're strictly following official audiophile crimping procedures.
     Additionally, you must utilize the most recent version of the official audiophile crimp connectors and recite the audiophile pledge with extreme conviction and righteous indignation, prior to proceeding any further with your crimping endeavors.

Thank you,
     Tim
Do you listen to your music with your fingers? 
Good ears only need apply. 
" Oh man, I thought we all agreed:

     No More Soldering! "
  Well since right now I am not building or altering crossovers technically you are right. It's crimp connectors right now. How ever I know how to do that and have the correct tools so I have audiophile grade crimp connections.

    Oh man, I thought we all agreed:

     No More Soldering!

Jeesh,
 Tim
Well stated, mahlman & noble100 both....

Can we all go home now? 
I've got some soldering to do on some speakers I built...

     I also consider myself primarily and foremost, an avid music lover.    As mahlman stated well, the reproduction gear is mainly just a means or conduit to reproduce music recordings with the highest fidelity possible. 
     My system goal has always been a system attaining a quality level that presents a wide, deep, holographic stereo sound stage illusion that is so palpable, tonally accurate, powerful, dynamic , detailed. realistic and natural that the musicians are perceived as being in your room or as if I've been transported to the venue and am listening to a live performance with a seat center stage and no more than about 15' back from the stage. 
     Once any overall system reaches a certain level of quality and fidelity, of course, the quality and fidelity levels of the music recordings played becomes extremely apparent, both positively and negatively,and one quickly realizes that this has become the new limiting factor on one's overall system reproduction performance quality.  As a result, the search for music shifts a bit, from music you like to music you like and it's also been been captured on the highest quality recording available. A bit of a wrinkle but well worth the effort.

Tim
" I would have to ask: Can one be an audiophile without caring at all about the equipment?

I love music, first and foremost. I love the community that it engenders, the primal power that it has to move human beings across time and space in a way that can’t be matched by other forms of art.

I have found that beautiful, artistic, meaningful music, played skillfully, sounds better on thoughtfully designed reproduction equipment. So, To a point, I enjoy pursuing the kinds of knowledge and insight an audiophile cultivates.
Only to a point though. At some point, the quality of reproduction is not really the focus, there is not enough music that, if reproduced at absolute fidelity to the source, is actually worth hearing at that level of clarity. The focus becomes the process of reproduction, and from where I stand (a guy who neither knows enough to be a truly informed shopper for $10,000 amplifiers, nor enough to work on one) are extremely dedicated to the technical aspects of being and “Audiophile”. I wonder; though, whether they give a damn about music? "


   I would say yes but then how do you feed the resultant desire to hear good fidelity music? It does require thoughtfully designed and assembled equipment.

   I think you can reach a point where you are satisfied with what you have and the tinkering stops and then the search never ends for well engineered recordings. For me the metric is how close can I get to a live performance where the acoustics are good or where I want to remember what it was like to be there, which often means not so perfect recordings but there is a sound I want.
   I really like the things you say and yes I believe there is a point in time where the technical aspects can over run the audio quality. Then you have achieved some sort of "tonally pure" electronic standard but have lost the life of it all. Really fine audio does not have to cost a lot but to do this you need to know more than the average guy or have some good advice.
an audiophile is simply someone who cares about music sounding as good as possible. nothing more......no rules at all.

they don’t even need to own any gear, or maybe have just one test track, or only MP3 on their i-phone.

it’s the passion to care about the sound.

so no, they don’t need to care a whit about gear. or even only collecting gear and not really playing it......assuming they collect gear that is intended to sound good.

no rules. just passion related to the topic.

OTOH there are music lovers who are not audiophiles. there is considerable overlap but they are not equivalent.
I would have to ask: Can one be an audiophile without caring at all about the equipment?

I love music, first and foremost.  I love the community that it engenders, the primal power that it has to move human beings across time and space in a way that can’t be matched by other forms of art.

I have found that beautiful, artistic, meaningful music, played skillfully, sounds better on thoughtfully designed reproduction equipment.  So, To a point, I enjoy pursuing the kinds of knowledge and insight an audiophile cultivates.  
Only to a point though.  At some point, the quality of reproduction is not really the focus, there is not enough music that, if reproduced at absolute fidelity to the source, is actually worth hearing at that level of clarity.  The focus becomes the process of reproduction, and from where I stand (a guy who neither knows enough to be a truly informed shopper for $10,000 amplifiers, nor enough to work on one) are extremely dedicated to the technical aspects of being and “Audiophile”.  I wonder; though, whether they give a damn about music?
Are brilliant guitar players required to build their own guitars? Are art critics and experts required to paint like Matisse? Are audio experts required to be as irrelevant as Kaitty? The answers are obviously no.

     If everyone knew what I know, I'd likely have more competition for my village idiot position.

Tim
If you could hear what I’ve heard with your ears.

Fiery the angels fell

https://youtu.be/oSDx0RM2vAU
mahgister:  "The wise has many masters or no one» -Groucho Marx"

Hello mahgister,

     I believe the correct quotation is "The wise may have many masters or none at all."
     Just like our African-American brothers and sisters up until Emancipation, I also tend to prefer no masters at all. 
     There is no wisdom in snobbery and exclusion. Clearly, no masters are required to understand that there is wisdom in humbleness, inclusion and egalitarianism. 

robrtdid: "they're real... and they're spectacular!" -- Teri Hatcher

Hello robertdid,

     Their realism may be questionable but their being spectacular is certainly not.  

Tim
"they're real... and they're spectacular!"  -- Teri Hatcher
«The wise has many masters or no one» -Groucho Marx
"Take a look around Mahlman, I believe you'll find you're alone and an easy target in that barrel."

Awaiting the fiery darts of audiophile wrath to descend upon me. I hope I can survive the harrowing experience. By the way when you get around to firing some make sure the directional arrow on the arrow shaft is pointed the right way else it may not work.
From what I can tell Mahlman is in the company of friends, while others are in the company of friends of convenience :-)
     


Take a look around Mahlman, I believe you'll find you're alone and an easy target in that barrel.


Tim
Post removed 
"" Gosh, mahlman, you’re very observant. Did you take a smart pill this morning? "
  It's all natural with the exception of the caffeine.  Don't bother me right now. I am busy shooting fish in a barrel.
Geoff is the life of the asylum!! The stories he come's back with from his daily work program outing, has the other patients rolling in the padded room. He love's music so much, before they give him back his Walkman, they have him wear his special "audiophile jacket". They call it that, so he feel's good about himself. It is white and ties (his arms) in the back, so he won't hurt himself. Yeeeesss we all love geoffee. There there, they say.

     I enjoy all of geoffkait's posts.  They're typically humorous, irreverent, relevant, clever, slightly rebellious and always entertaining.  Every comedian has an inventory of favorites they rightfully consider gems, puts them in a rotation, slightly modifies them as the topic or target dictates and sprinkles in new material as they naturally occur in a funky fun guy's mind. 
     I believe geoffkait is often just filled with an overwhelming and ebullient sense of being pretty and witty. I say: You go girl!

Love,
 Tim
XOX   
Perhaps it’s time to stop sitting on your face, arachnidism. 🕷 
You use that fish in a barrel joke quite often. Perhaps it's time to replace your trusty joke book, the pages must be tattered by now anyway. Hey, how about trying monkey's in a barrel for a change. Nothing's more fun than, ... you know. 🐵