un-becoming an audiophile

Yes, the title is what is sounds like.

I remember long ago, as a boy, I used to be able to enjoy music without picking apart a track. is the bass tight? is the midrange clear and life-like? is the treble resolution spot on? What about imaging/sound stage?

Most people have this very same superpower - not being an audiophile. They can play a song from the worst earbuds, laptop speakers, or even computer speakers - and enjoy the music; even sing along. They aren’t thinking about "how it sounds" or scrutinizing the audio quality. Actually, they couldn’t care less. They can spend their time on other life pursuits and don’t feel a need to invest big money (or much money at all) in the hi-fi hobby.

Any psychologists or scientists in the building? (please no Amir @amir_asr ) since you are neither! ...despite the word "science" being in your domain name - audio science review.

Please, I beg you. Help me get away from this hobby.

Imagine - being able to enjoy all of your favourite music - while still achieving that dopamine rush, along with serotonin, and even oxytocin - the bonding hormone, which can be released while listening to songs with deep emotional messages, or love songs.

We’re very much like food critics or chefs in a sense. We want the best of something (in this case, audio) I’m sure michelin star chefs face the same thing in their own right...can’t enoy or even eat the food unless it’s up to a certain standard.

When we audiophiles want to listen to music, we often play it on a resolving system, so as to partake in a a "high-end" listening experience. We often pick apart music and fault the audio components in our system, cables etc. All of this takes away from the experience of enjoying music as a form of art/entertainment. It has been said that some famous artists don’t even own a high-end audio system.

I gained a great deal of wisdom of from the documentary - Greek Audiophile. In it, we have audiophiles from all walks of life. Their families think they’re crazy for spending all this money on audio. They say it sounds "nice" or "real" but still can’t justify it.

I think it’s all in the brain. If we can reset our brains (or me at least) I can still enjoy music without needing a great system for it.

- Jack



@yyzsantabarbara: "I never considered listening to music a hobby." Hallefreakinlujah! I can understand and don’t object to the audiophile pursuit being considered a hobby, but music? If that’s all music is to a person, well, I don’t know what to say. I’d rather be dead than deaf.

As for me, I feel a little differently. Do recording engineers consider auditioning and evaluating studio monitor loudspeakers a hobby? Of course not, those monitors are a tool required to perform their work. The search for playback equipment (the hi-fi system) that allows one to better appreciate and "become one with the music" is not a hobby in the sense that, say, building model cars was when we were kids (a thing I loved!). Hopefully I can say the following without sounding sacreligious: pursuing the assembly of a hi-fi to reproduce music is no more a hobby than is the study of the Bible (or any other sacred text).

It imo becomes a problem when one puts the hi-fi system above or before the music itself. The hi-fi’s job is merely to serve the music, by reproducing it as well as possible (given practical constraints). But I can still become enthralled when I hear great music coming out of the speakers in a restaurant or bar, or the speaker(s) in a car.

It’s all about the music!

Do you like what's coming out of the thing?  Does it make you want to put on another piece of music after you've finished listening to what you've just listened to? Do you feel a stab of pleasure and anticipation when you first switch the thing on? If so, sit back and enjoy yourself. Enjoy reading the audio press and hanging out on Audiogon. No need to suffer neurosis.

By the same token, though, if you're caught up in the hunt to perhaps derive still more pleasure out of the thing, keep your wallet primed and open. Indulge in the neurosis.  Just try not to go broke.

I have two listening modes. Critical listening and evaluation while working on system synergy. Then I switch that off and go into music listen mode. Practice often and you will be happier. 

@ditusa @yyzsantabarbara @bdp24 

The word Hobby as defined by the English Dictionary 

"an activity pursued in spare time for pleasure or relaxation"

As defined in the American  Dictionary 

"something that one likes to do or study in one's spare time; favorite pastime or avocation"

Unless you're getting paid to listen to music, I think you have a hobby.  Just saying..... 🤣

I am an audiophile.

I have been one for over fifty years. I am attracted and drawn to great sound and music… the combination. I derive great pleasure from this pursuit. Each improvement that allows me to better enjoy music. Everything about this pursuit is positive to me. There are no negatives.

Now retired, I listen to music about three hours a day. I have to drag myself away as I must do something else. Every day, turning my system off and doing something else is disappointing. My system is the culmination of fifty years of effort, learning and the sound perfectly represents what I appreciate in music. I listen to the music… not my system.