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Are You a Musicophile or an Audiophile?

Today I’d like to bring up a sensitive topic which deserves all our attention. It’s about our priorities in this hobby. Are we into audio gear or do we value the actual music more? With so many enthusiasts quitting their hobbies and selling off their hifi-possessions at massive losses, this seems to be a valid question to ask. I spent some time in the last couple of weeks scanning the For Sale/Trade sections of major audio forums.

I’m contemplating what drives many audiophiles to constantly buy and sell – is it the quest for perfect sound, the never ending search for the holy grail of sonic nirvana? Is it pride of ownership, collector instinct? Or are we led by some sort of new toy syndrome? Maybe even a lack of brick and mortar stores to audition before purchasing. Or could it be too much choice that simply overwhelms us? I admit I’m affected by this problem, too. For me it is curiosity of the unknown. As a technophilic I just love experimenting and being at the cutting edge of technology. Fortunately my wife and kids take care of my sanity :)

Now, I’d like to hand over to my friend Alex because he’s got an important message to share about audio gear versus music.

Alex actually asked me to publish his plea on his behalf addressing the entire audio community. Alex is totally not the type of listener with a crappy stereo system. He’s actually very much into great sound quality and he owns some impressive audio gear including B&W Nautilus speakers powered by an Accuphase amplifier. For undisturbed listening, he also owns a pair of Sennheiser HD-800 headphones with a proper headamp. Despite all this great hardware, he is more obsessed with the music itself. So he rarely – if ever switches or upgrades anything.

Here’s what Alex wants to share with us:

“Appeal: Invest in your music passion and not just in lifeless music hardware
The most important question for music enthusiast could be: are you interested in music itself or are you just addicted in somewhat like a process of buying, improving and reselling hardware like headphone, loudspeakers,…etc? If you think you are the second kind please leave this article since it would bore you. If you are a true music lover and the most import thing is music itself – not just music-hardware, you should stay with me and continue reading!

Welcome, …..
Is it fact that you have a physical collection of real music on media like vinyl, cd, tapes or whatever? You feel a real connection your music you are listening from the media you have bought? You have a strong connection with your past that has been a truly fellower in collecting rare music and rare publications!? Can you still feel your excitement and remember where you bought 40 years ago with all your leftover money the latest e.g. CCR vinyl – at least when start playing your original Vinyl? Start enjoining this precious moments of music and connect with your special moments you feel just in playing this special disc? I am sure each of your disc of your collection can narrate its own story!

Music can be so delightful! It doesn’t depend if you just hear music, are musician and create music and/or play your instrument, play or attend concerts ->however, what’s really important is the music itself and your love to it!! Don’t forget on this when you read eg. an audio article of a paid hifi magazin that just tests certain hardware which is ranked over their advertisement income bringing to the magazine. Don’t experience the mistake to spend your money for the latest hardware which doesn’t significantely improve the music listening experience at all! if you are truly honest to yourself – instead of lurking for new hardware – and take your effort you would be willing do so for hardware improvement and put it instead in music collection! Even improving your room acoustic could have more important effect than eg. Buying the latest digital cable!

Don’t get me wrong, i love good music hardware – good headphones and loudspeakers etc. are really important to bring you the concert directly to your living room! Unfortunately the music hardware business is full of so called „high end“ manufacturers and those want to sell its overpriced shit – which isn’t even worth a tenth-part of the called money! Spend your money in buying good music and support good musicians! That’s what’s is really counts – more than ever since there‘s a lot of download and streaming! No cauldron for that but don’t forget to buy your record when you really liked the music after listening over eg. Spotify or downloaded! Think about it – without musicians no new and good music! Also take a look besides the mainstream of radio, tv and streaming! Without underground music the trend of tomorrow never will happen! Go to concerts, share your music-experience of new unknown bands with your friend, buy their lp….!

Unfortunately the music industry itself is also on behalft to this doomy situation declined music history! Mainly they don’t care in enhancing the music-experience: if you buy their records i expect something special – a benefit compared to the download! A small booklet without lyrics or just the disc – this should be a joke or what? Jesus, why should i buy this unkind piece of monetarism Mr. Music-industry? A good lp with A2 format added posters, big booklets containing lyrics, pictures, background-information and an exclusive limited design figures are just a few benefits that a music seller hast o offer! …but not just like to add the vinyl and a download-code! You – so called profit sharks – have to re-think this situation and not just on your money! Otherwise this will be the end of he music business! You dear reader and music lover – support music and not just hardware! Thank you!”

What are your thoughts on this? Please post your comments below or your email me.

  • Ron December 27, 2015, 21:40

    I’m amazed at how many audiophile sites (facebook) concentrate on equipment and forget to talk about music. I went on about some music on one of these places and was met with “yawn”, “bla bla bla”…. It all starts with music !!

  • Sal January 13, 2016, 05:18

    Alex hit the nail right on the head. We have a whole cult of “High End” buyers the spend $3k on power cables and the likes of all kinds of crazy stuff like that. And the magazine writers making all the claims of sonic improvements from all these snake-oil products while lining their pockets with the advertisement income. I wonder how much music I could buy with that $3k power cable off ebay?
    Also on the subject of music download sales, I written numerous letters of complaint to HDTracks, etc; about the absence of artwork, liner notes, lyrics, etc. All I’ve ever gotten in the way of a response is that “we can only include what the label provides”. BS! At $19.95 and up per download, deals and negotiations could be easily made to at least provide a .pdf of everything that comes on the LP jacket.
    I’m 66 and the final outcome is going to make little difference to me but I hope the labels all go down the tube financially. I buy 99% of the music today used off ebay, discount stores, etc. and avoid putting any money in the rip off artists pockets whenever possible.

  • Bee September 10, 2016, 04:42

    This has been something I’ve been thinking about, but almost no one is talking about. I’m eager to get a new set of Audio Technica headphones that will put me out 200$, but i wouldn’t have decided to buy them if I hadn’t tested an amazing song on them. Since a home-theater experience isn’t really possible for me, I love finding songs that use the depths of all registers in an amazing way on what I have (or will have). I’ve had these headphones for 5 years, and my next will probably last just as long.

  • RB October 24, 2016, 10:26

    I spend way more money on buying music (mainly vinyl) than on equipment. I like high end, but not the high end price so i try to find the best bang for the buck or build it myself if possible (wich isn’t also cheap if you want to do it right). But at the end, my budget for music is much higher than for equipment…