If you’re new to music or a music lover, the word audiophile might still sound strange to you. What is an audiophile? Well, in this blog, I will give you the basic information to understand the audiophile world.
What Is an Audiophile?
An audiophile is a person, audiophile equipment designer, or enthusiast who has an immense dedication to music and sound reproduction. They typically listen to and collect recordings of classical music, though their interest is not limited to just this genre. If you are an audiophile, your iPod probably has more than five thousand songs on it and your tunes come first before all other distractions in life.
The word audiophile was first used in the early 1950s by audio engineers. They were listening to a new technology, compact discs, that presented an opportunity for people to enjoy the quality sound. In 1965, the word “audiophiles” was used by “Stereo Review” magazine to refer to electronics enthusiasts who valued audio quality more than other consumers. This was the first time that the word was used to describe a subculture but it wasn’t until 1976 that the word was used for a person who took great interest in sound quality.
At some point, audiophiles were able to purchase high-fidelity equipment like turntables, amplifiers, and preamplifiers. Some of them even started collecting vinyl records just for their own listening pleasure rather than for use in their audio systems.
The audiophile culture was evolving from its experimental origins and the audiophiles were interested in the reproduction of sound. They wanted to develop high-fidelity audio equipment that would produce a high-quality sound in order to make their listening experiences an even more enjoyable one and so, there was a growing number of audiophiles particularly among young people who enjoyed analog playback systems. Those who were interested in vinyl records made up a large population of the audiophile community.
Let’s look at some equipment for audiophile:
Turntables & Amplifiers
Some of the older audio equipment, such as turntables and amplifiers, were always designed for music reproduction purposes. The audiophiles eventually focused on improving the quality of sound by improving the components that shape the sound quality.
In 1935, J. Gordon Holt developed a way in which to lower distortion on audio circuits in order to improve sound quality. He did this by increasing the value of capacitors and resistors used inside the circuitry that was being developed for FM radio transmitters. In order to achieve the most accurate playback on a vinyl record, audiophiles generally used a turntable that was placed on a high-quality shelf with a subwoofer in order to produce very accurate sound and bass.
The audio signal traveling from the disc to the amplifier was also considered very important because it would affect the quality of sound being produced by an audio system. A cable that was designed for high fidelity purposes would be required if you wanted to ensure that no distortions were made in transit.
Turntable & Phono Cartridge
The kind of loudspeaker that was used in audiophiles’ audio systems was of a different design. These changes made these loudspeakers more efficient in improving sound quality.
There was a lot that was new about the design of the turntable and phono cartridge. The turntable itself had to be extremely accurate with the ones that were developed during this time being able to produce high-quality audio reproduction at lower prices.
A high-quality tonearm would also be required for the turntable to work properly for it was designed to function without any distortions. A good cartridge and stylus should also be used in order to ensure that the best sound quality is produced by the turntable.
Phono cartridges are designed to hold the stylus in position above the record, primarily through the use of magnets and friction between the cartridge and phono head. A phono cartridge has three main parts:
- A cantilever that supports the needle
- A magnetic field in which the stylus is held
- A coil is capable of building a signal
The way in which each part can affect the quality is based on science that I don’t want to dive into.
For audiophiles, headphones are indispensable items. Headphones for audiophiles are special as they are designed to reproduce the sound waves so that they match what the artist or producer wanted. The reproduction is believed to be precise as audiophiles tend to go with higher model headphones. This makes it imperative that they operate on a base of quality.
Headphones made for DJs, performers, and public spaces are only a base that is used to make the music audible for the masses. There are different models available that cater to different uses and this is why it is important to get the best product. The headset can be a microphone and digital signal processing module; there are also other additions such as a switcher with remote control of volume functions.
Microphones that are good will produce crisp sound and it can be heard easily. Their use in public spaces is ensured by the noise-canceling feature which makes them ideal for the place they work. The volume adjustment is also possible through remote control.
Noise-canceling headphones are made to focus their energy on the understanding of the music rather than on canceling noise. These are ideal for people who want to hear the music at concerts and public places. The sound quality of these headphones is high, as long as they are used to reproduce the music clearly and without any distortions.
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- Bose QuietComfort 35 II Review: The Best Noise-Canceling Headphones?
How to Become an Audiophile? 6 Signs to Know
Now you have some ideas about what is an audiophile, let’s look at some common qualities among audiophiles.
I always have my headphones on and listen to music, am I an audiophile? Well, that’s not enough. There are the 6 signs to know if you’re an audiophile:
#1 Always Listen to Music
There are audiophiles who always listen to music, anywhere and anyway. They are not listening to music because they have a particular moment to do so, but they just crave for it. They put the headphones on while walking on the street or in public transportation, in their car when going home, and even at work. Do you do that?
#2 Seek for Best Quality Music
Audiophiles are truly passionate when it comes to music. They will spend money and time to be able to buy the best quality of music. They do this for they want to hear the music at its best and nothing but its best.
#3 Looks for Good Audio Equipment
They are not only passionate about listening to music, but also about having good audio equipment, such as good headsets, and Bluetooth speakers. Nothing beats the feeling when you’re wearing a good headset that has crisp sound and can answer your needs. They know that there is nothing like the feeling of just being there.
The audiophile seeks for good quality headphones as well. It’s important to have quality headphones that can make music enjoyable since this means that the sound will be consistent and accurate.
#4 Know a Lot About Music Production and Sound Quality
They also know a lot about music production because they want to be able to hear songs at their finest. They want to understand the intricacies of the music, and how everything fits into one perfect whole. For them, music is more than just entertainment, it is also an art that must be appreciated.
#5 Use Audio Jargon
If you use words like lossless compression, DSD file or original analog source, I can tell that you’re an audiophile. Those jargon are just common in audio culture. You’re deep enough to understand and use them.
#6 Dream to Be an Audio Engineer
Many audiophiles are also audio engineers. They were born with it and it’s impossible to stop them from dreaming. They just choose to do their engineering in a different way, by using their deep knowledge of music and equipment as a profession.
They have their own philosophies on music, they know what makes a good song and they also know how to improve the sound quality when it comes to recording music. They are conscious about the sound they want, and this is why they make sure that everything is perfect or even better than perfect.
To conclude, there are so many things that an audiophile knows, and among them is the professionalism when it comes to listening to music. They know what they want, and they will go further to make sure that they have the best in every particular.
An audiophile is really someone who appreciates music, hence their love of wearing good headphones for listening to tunes. An audiophile might be a person who loves classical music more than rock or rap, but that does not mean he or she has nothing to do with any other kind of songs.