You are here

Log in or register to post comments
Rusty Ankles
Rusty Ankles's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 5 months ago
Joined: Sep 6 2005 - 11:37am
What is the basis for an "audiophile" component?

The reason I'm asking is I'm researching universal disk players such as the McCormack UDP-1 which carries the moniker as an "audiophile" udp but the Denon 5910 which does the same plus more on the video end, does not carry such a title. So is this just marketing or are there true characteristics that seperate the two?

Pjay
Pjay's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 4 weeks ago
Joined: Sep 1 2005 - 6:59am
I think it the same as the term "fine wine" . . .

found on bottles from $5 to $500. At some point people will agree what is not audiophile, a sony table radio, but the line on where to start "audiophile" should be based on results, not looks or price. And since results are subjective . . . now go read that other thread on blind testing.

P

Rusty Ankles
Rusty Ankles's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 5 months ago
Joined: Sep 6 2005 - 11:37am
Re: I think it the same as the term "fine wine" . . .

I've read many such treads on other forums and after a point it hurts my brain. I wondered if it was subjective or if there were specifics...but if it comes down to the eye/ear of the beholder then I'll continue researching until I find a fit!.

ohfourohnine
ohfourohnine's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 1 2005 - 7:41pm
Re: I think it the same as the term "fine wine" . . .


Quote:
I've read many such treads on other forums and after a point it hurts my brain. I wondered if it was subjective or if there were specifics...but if it comes down to the eye/ear of the beholder then I'll continue researching until I find a fit!.

What else could it come down to? Who, in the so-called audiophile community recommends any other basis for a buying decision? Get a dealer who'll offer a 30 day home trial. If, after a reasonable trial you want it, then it's the right one. Call it "audiophile" if you want to.

Incidentally, the ear of the beholder is the final answer to the unending debate over blind testing too. Who cares which of us has the more golden ears as long as we each wind up with equipment that makes our music sound the way we want it to? I'll acknowlege that I've auditioned equipment based on its placement on the Recommended Components list, but I never have bought an item till it passed the in-home listening test. No, that isn't a blind test.

Rusty Ankles
Rusty Ankles's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 5 months ago
Joined: Sep 6 2005 - 11:37am
Re: I think it the same as the term "fine wine" . . .

Clay,
I wondered if it was something in the specs or because a particular manufacturer made the component that the phrase "audiophile" would be attached to it. I have heard that some components sound more "musical" than others, and as I build my system, I'm trying to understand the basis for that too!

ohfourohnine
ohfourohnine's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 1 2005 - 7:41pm
Re: I think it the same as the term "fine wine" . . .

Rusty,

Before you make a substantial investment, you might want to buy a copy of Robert Harley's Complete Guide to High End Audio. He has an important relationship with a Stereophile competitor, but ads for that book are carried in Stereophile, so this suggestion is probably not out of line. The book opens with some serious and good advice to people like you who are just starting out. Careful though. This stuff is addictive.

Rusty Ankles
Rusty Ankles's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 5 months ago
Joined: Sep 6 2005 - 11:37am
Re: I think it the same as the term "fine wine" . . .

"Careful though. This stuff is addictive."
Too late I'm already hooked...Thanks I'll check it out

EdAInWestOC
EdAInWestOC's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 1 2005 - 11:28am
Re: What is the basis for an "audiophile" component?

Its dangerous waters that you're in here. "Audiophile" is a term that is tossed around like any other word in the english language. Sometimes it fits, sometimes it doesn't, sometimes its been coined by another audiophile and sometimes its plastered on by the manufacturer. Its the last form of usage that should concern you the most. Obviously the manufacturer has a financial interest in the success of the product and sometimes they might be less than honest in its usage.

You are correct to ask.

I hope your system turns out well,
Ed

Monty
Monty's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 16 2005 - 6:55pm
Re: What is the basis for an "audiophile" component?

I whole-heartedly agree with the recommendation of Robert Harley's book. Of all the former contributors to Stereophile, I miss Harley the most. His book is indespensable for beginners looking to make wise and informed decisions concerning audio equipment.

This book should be a permanent addition in Stereophile's recommended components.

commsysman
commsysman's picture
Online
Last seen: 10 min 53 sec ago
Joined: Apr 4 2006 - 11:33am
Re: What is the basis for an "audiophile" component?

You might want to consider the SONY XA9000ES. It has a Class A rating, and I can assure you it sounds better than the McCormack, and is $500 bucks less. Marantz has a unit at $1100 that has very good reviews also (check website for model #), and sounds very good.

gkc
gkc's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Feb 24 2006 - 11:51am
Re: What is the basis for an "audiophile" component?

Hi, Rusty -- I hope you didn't get them ankles from wearing a ball and chain on a rainy day. You pose a good question. Everybody knows "audiophile" literally means "sound-lover," which suggests "music lover" in most contexts. The usage you draw on, however, begins to take on negative connotations. "Audiophile" as a label means something like "high end," which brings cost and prestige into play. Components that carry either lable may or may not live up to either term sonically. An "audiophile" component manufacturer is in the "club." Anyone who reads a lot about music systems keeps running across the same names, which suggests implicit approval whether the actual sound lives up to the branding or not. Most "audiophile" components DO sound great -- Conrad-Johnson, Audio Research, and, yes, McCormack all make fine equipment. Interestingly, only in the past 5 years or so has McIntosh re-joined the club: Stereophile writers during the '90's saw this gear as decent enough, but no longer on the cutting edge, and often rated McIntosh amps as class "C" or "B," -- okay, but nothing special compared to Mark Levinson, Audio Research, and other more exclusive brands. Now, of course, McIntosh is safely back into the "high end," exclusive club. Denon is not in the club. Yet, a Denon piece may sound as good as or better than any "audiophile" competitor, and will almost certainly cost less. I believe Denon is a good, reliable company that stands behind its warranties (forum denizens can correct me if this is not so). So. Should you pay more for the "audiophile" label? I would say not, but prestige IS a factor for many who buy this stuff. As a few other respondants to this thread have noted, just listen. If the Denon (or the Sony) sounds better to you, then that's what you should consider, especially since you're likely to save some serious money. I hope this helps. There is a lot of phony labeling that goes on in the business of Hi Fi, and you just have to decide for yourself what sounds the best and allows you to economize. Cheers and happy tunes, Clifton.

RGibran
RGibran's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 9 months ago
Joined: Oct 11 2005 - 5:50pm
Re: What is the basis for an "audiophile" component?

I must say I find it odd you replying to a post from six (6) months ago.

RG

Buddha
Buddha's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 8 months ago
Joined: Sep 8 2005 - 10:24am
Re: What is the basis for an "audiophile" component?

Well, what the heck...

The basis of an "audiophile" piece of gear is that the designer is claiming to be trying to extract as much of the true nature of the signal out of that certain piece of gear as he (or she, if you are the great, the one and only, Eve Anna Manley) can, either given certain price restraints, or bar nothing.

Calling a piece of gear "audiophile" should be an indication of someone's intention - beyond just making something because there is a market for it.

I know, that's a bit vapid, but I'm feeling romantic today.

Windzilla
Windzilla's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 7 months ago
Joined: Oct 19 2005 - 10:10pm
Re: What is the basis for an "audiophile" component?

A component is "audiophile" if you can get people to argue about what cables will match it with.

gkc
gkc's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Feb 24 2006 - 11:51am
Re: What is the basis for an "audiophile" component?

Yo, Buddha -- are you horny AGAIN? Seriously, I suppose you're right -- some manufacturers want to be known as "audiophile" as a sign of respect and want their products to compete at the highest SONIC level, not caring about the bloat and hype that often come with the "audiophile" label as a result of snob appeal. Some manufacturers even split into 2 divisions -- budget and audiophile, which validates your point (i.e., Sony comes first to mind in this regard). I forgot to mention...I went to Junior High School in the Huntridge area of Sin City, back when you could walk the streets after dark without getting shot at (propositioned, maybe, but what's so bad about that?). Windzilla is probably closest to a final word on the subject -- if it has to be "matched" with a couple grand's worth of wire, then it MUST be "audiophile." I also liked Harry Pearson's definer: you know it's "high end" if it blows up the first time you plug it in. Cheers, and save some o' them old ladies for me! Clifton

commsysman
commsysman's picture
Online
Last seen: 10 min 53 sec ago
Joined: Apr 4 2006 - 11:33am
Re: What is the basis for an "audiophile" component?

Since "audiophile" means lover of sound, I suppose the answer is that an audiophile component is one that would appeal to a person who truly is devoted to equipment that delivers a very high level of sonic purity and very low distortion.
Now you must define those terms in some meaningful way.

gkc
gkc's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Feb 24 2006 - 11:51am
Re: What is the basis for an "audiophile" component?

Hi, Rigbran,
Hey, some of us slept in. There's no argument like an old argument, eh? Happy tunes. Clifton

  • X
    Enter your Stereophile.com username.
    Enter the password that accompanies your username.
    Loading