It’s been said a thousand times and I agree, we all have different goals in our pursuit of a sound that we like and there really is no room for judgment of someone else’s goals. However, I think we kid ourselves sometimes and fall back on a type of relativism that is, let’s just say, self serving in order for things to align with our pereonal goals.
The question is about the term “hi-fi” and its meaning. High fidelity. I don’t particularly like the term and some may consider the use of it quaint but if the term is to be used the question has to be asked: “fidelity to what?”; and on a “high” level at that. That is why this is my favorite quote from the article:
**** Alex Munro, Brand Director at Q Acoustics
"The original proposition and purpose of hi-fi has all but gone. That is except for a hard core among audio enthusiasts, who are still making tiny incremental changes to a component audio system seeking the ultimate sound, adopting higher and higher resolution replay sources. But only those of them who attend a lot of live unamplified music have kept touch with the original aims of hi-fi. ****
First, there is plenty of live unamplified music out there and anyone who thinks otherwise is not looking very hard at all. Now, one may not like the genres represented by most live unamplified music, but that is a different story. Moreover, in order to be able to use that sound as a reference there is no getting around the fact that substantial exposure to that sound is the only way. For historical perspective remember that when the term “hi-fi” came to be the vast majority of music was, in fact, live and unamplified.
I don’t think that acknowledging the true definition of the term is elitist at all and the term is still relevant for some. Pursuit of sound that is “best” and more to one’s liking without the use of the live/acoustic reference is perfectly valid on a personal basis, but if that is the goal I don’t think “hi-fi” is the term to use.