Lately, I have noticed the “audiophile litmus test” has been coming back lately. Of course, there is no official test, but more and more reviewers and other folks with audio blogs and you tube channels have been dividing folks between audiophile and non-audiophile and even assigning grades of audiophile in an “us vs them” tonality. None of this does anyone any good and is only divisive (a tool to sow division). My reaction to this is, don’t we already have enough division regarding everything being sown since #45 took office? Do we really need this in the audio and music world? I have even addressed some of these individuals to try to get them to think about what they are saying, but as expected it falls on deaf ears or just causes more problems because they are elitist and think they are right to posit an “us vs them” mentality as they divide people instead of encouraging people to listen to music. It’s like they are saying “you must join the club and drink the koolaid or you will not be allowed to listen to music now and that music is leaving the world and you will not get to keep it unless you are a member in which you will be spared from the coming apocalypse”. It even gets to the point that these dark-side beings also try to tell people what to listen to and what not to listen to in music. I find this attitude to be ludicrous at very best and severely damaging on many levels at worst. The scary thing in addition to that is that some of these types appear to be angels of light, but are really mean-spirited with an agenda in disguise, (like a sociopath who appears to have your best interest at heart but is really in it totally for themselves leaving you drained dry at the end).
I may have studied “things audiophile” (referring to the original definition of the term) for a while and always try to get the best sound quality I can with what I have in either gear or funds and anything purchased is for the long haul, but by today’s definition of “audiophile” I don’t even come remotely close to being an audiophile. I would not want to be one and am glad I am not at this point. I am what you would call a Musicphile (which is not a word….yet), however, we will use it here. For me, it has always been about the music and the power of music my whole life. I have even used music as an energy tool to help myself and others, which is part of its natural proclivities in my opinion because it speaks to the soul, our emotions and our being. That doesn’t happen with gear, the gear is incapable of doing such things as speaking to our souls or interacting with our spirit. (However, many audiophiles naively or errantly believe the gear does do those things). Spending $10, $10,000 or $100k or what have you on gear does nothing for the soul or spirit or health. The gear is just the means to an end, which is to provide the way to hear recorded music and thus experience the music’s energy and message and what have you. Music is not supposed to be a tool of oppression. In fact, it’s very nature is incapable of it. It is not just gear either, sometimes these people of the killjoy crowd will get into telling you what music and/or artists to listen to and what music and artists not to listen to, thereby creating even more restriction.
There is nothing inherently wrong with wanting to be or striving to be an audiophile by its original definition and it doesn’t take tens of thousands of dollars to do so and achieve something that is 100% satisfying and allows the music to speak to you if that is your goal. I personally just do so quietly and stealthy because it is the only way to do it for me without having to wade through all the static and unwanted feedback and more importantly, allow me to truly enjoy the music.
I have always said for years that audiophiles listen to gear, not music. I ran across this quote that resonates with me on the highest levels: “An Audiophile uses music to listen to their equipment, while a Musicphile uses equipment to listen to their music”. The author is unknown, but this is as close to perfect as it gets for a one-line explanation.
So, I encourage you to always keep in mind what music is about. It is the greatest defense against those whom want to rob you (that is what they are trying to do), of your enjoyment and benefits from engaging with your music and discovering more. Those out there preaching the elitist and dark-energy stuff I am talking about do not realize they are trying to destroy the very thing they “claim” to care about. The more people who ignore these curmudgeon type audiophiles and such, the better the chance we can get more folks interested in music and yes, even the gear used to play it too.