There is much more than just stocking your listening space with high-end, exorbitantly expensive equipment that defines an audiophile.
As with any activity, it calls for specific knowledge and expertise. It entails understanding how to listen to music beyond anything else.
The language and terminology used in hi-fi music are unique, just like in any other specialized profession.
To become a true audiophile, you must become proficient in it. Because these terms aren’t merely abstract concepts that can be memorized and then forgotten, memorizing them might be challenging.
Still, when choosing equipment, it’s critical to understand what terms like “harmonic distortion” or a “sharp” treble mean. It may even help you to avoid buying things that most audiophiles will stay away from.
What are these things? I researched eight things that every audiophile should avoid buying or owning.
1. Lightweight Turntable
I would be ecstatic for you if you chose to switch to vinyl. However, a 12″ record is only worthwhile if you have good equipment to play it.
A cheap turntable with a lightweight platter may produce some extra noise due to acoustic vibrations.
Additionally, ceramic cartridges, often heavier, are used in current turntables. Over time, they cause damage to your records. Those scrapes will make it seem more like dubstep rather than old-school or anything else.
2. Complex Equalizer
As a general rule, you should generally aim to keep your equalizer tuning to a minimum. The track should sound as the producer intended it to if you use the right equipment.
The use of equalization too frequently will obstruct that. Even an audiophile would consider it extreme if someone spent more time getting ready to listen to a record than actually listening.
3. Inexpensive iPhone Dock
Even the most discerning audiophile can’t help but listen to some MP3, but a shoddy iPhone dock won’t help give you that high-resolution sound collection you’re looking for.
The quality is constantly compromised for convenience with lossy audio formats. Using a subpar dock for such a sound can only worsen it. Invest in a Hi-Fi system rather than a dock. Even a simple one can produce satisfactory results.
4. Digital Download of a Music Album
Put the songs on your preferred iDevice if you purchased a special edition LP with a download code. But never accept a digital copy of one of your favorite albums that are only available in that way.
By that I mean a bootleg.
Generally, they give off the impression that someone secretly entered a concert with an old tape recorder, kept it aloft all night, and then sold you the recordings.
I don’t fully disparage digital downloading.
Contrary to popular belief, iTunes has high-quality files that are available as do Tidal and more.
You don’t need a turntable to enjoy your music.
But, you don’t want a tape to sound like it was made by a spy and sneaked out in secret.
5. Overly Expensive Cables
It is well known that audiophiles will spend money on ostensibly useless products. Avoid conforming to stereotypes by refraining from spending a fortune on expensive wires and cables.
Although better cables may initially improve your listening experience, they eventually become a waste of money that could be used to purchase equipment that changes the way you hear music.
6. Shower CD Player
If you are a true audiophile, you’re probably scratching your head and saying, “what on earth is that.”
Well, you’re probably not actually.
It turns out it is one of those gimmicks that makes people buy things they still don’t want because it sounds like something “new” or “unique” when it’s not.
There is no harm in listening to your favorite songs in the shower. But I would advise you to avoid spending your hard-earned cash on gimmicks like these that aren’t intended to deliver a high-quality listening experience.
Several other ways to build a hi-fi system enable you to rock ‘n’ roll in the shower while maintaining your dignity.
7. The Average Earbuds
Always choosing hi-resolution audio formats over other options is an excellent method for optimizing audio quality.
Unfortunately, average or cheap earbuds aren’t made to provide those benefits. But it doesn’t mean you must choose bass-heavy or extravagant, stylish headphones.
It might work out if you were a gullible teenager, but most people concur that such earbuds distort the music.
Try to strike a balance by buying quality earphones that are not bass-heavy and still ensure optimized audio quality for a great listening experience.
8. A Digital Music Collection Limited to MP3 Format
No doubt that a digital collection is an effective way to save your music, although I know most audiophiles will never abandon their love for vinyl records.
And no, there isn’t much difference in how computer-based solutions, such as MP3 and FLAC, sound.
FLAC, however, is the better digital format for preserving your music. You’ve already acknowledged that you have a bit of an obsession with music.
Why not at least try to go lossless.
Why keep it a secret that you look after your music collection like your mother looks after the family photo album?
Some of this is toungue in cheek – obviously.
I tend to have strong opinions on some things also.
Surely you know you must listen to music differently than the average music lover if you consider yourself an audiophile.
While performing routine tasks, the average music listener will listen to music in the background. And they won’t give their full attention to the sounds most of the time.
An audiophile, however, must commit to listening. It entails attentive listening, eliminating all outside distractions, fixating on minute details, and immersing oneself in the music. It also requires not buying or owning things not designed to ensure this.
The eight things detailed above are just a few examples of them.
Avoiding them will save you both precious time and money.
Save the world people, save audio.
A passion for writing and ongoing research projects gives Catherine an incredibly broad knowledge of all things. She has authored an incredible number of articles and can be found in the wilderness when not attached to technology or listening to podcasts.