· By David Millar

It's All About The Music....

Alan Parsons said “Audiophiles don’t use their equipment to listen to music. Audiophiles use your music to listen to their equipment”

This one is a bit of a ‘hot potato’…. I can just see Audiophiles steaming at the suggestion, and lovers of music are applauding the idea.

Definition- ‘An audiophile is a person who loves listening to high-quality sound from a stereo. Audiophile-grade recordings and equipment are designed to reproduce music without distortion or coloration.’

So that sounds, no pun intended, about right. As audiophiles we do love to sit down and try a new record, or music from a digital source. The accuracy and detailing of the music is the goal. A new piece of gear recently installed also becomes something to listen to and analyse. Does it contribute or muddy the reproduction? Are my reference recordings shining?

But the term ‘Audiophile’ is slightly out of favour now which is somewhat unfortunate.

We have talked before about the importance of reference albums. These give us a yardstick by which all else is judged. So perhaps if we listen to a limited number of recordings our ears then become attuned to only these sounds.

It’s much like a winemaker who only tries their own wines. They develop a ‘cellar palate’, which for many large wineries is fine but the most switched-on winemakers try large varieties of varying wine to develop and refine their art.

It really is a no-win situation. If you drew a Venn diagram of both groups, audiophiles and music lovers, you would get some intersection of the two, no doubt.


So how do they Music lovers sit with this? I would like to believe that we are all music lovers. The discovery of a long out of print gem, or listening to lost tapes can become a mystical experience. The goal is not top level reproduction but tap into that part of the brain with the dusty memory files, for that, ‘Ahhh’ moment.

There is of course the irony from Alan’s comments that he would criticise Audiophiles. He has built his career, and made plenty of dosh producing fine, beautifully engineered music that sounds absolutely the best on top hi fi gear.

‘Audiophiles’ do get a bit of a bad rap, as the hunt for perfection in sound is an admirable pursuit. But perhaps the point of Alan’s comments is that have we lost sight of the fact ‘It’s always has been, and always will be about the music’


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