|A music lover's romance or audiophile's wet dream? Why make the distinction, as long as this beauty is helping me to re-position my speakers. Ha! Ha!|
It seems like my earlier music review article, featuring The 1969-1981 Singles, by Carpenters have rubbed more than a few feathers the wrong way, only because I confessed to recognise the talents of the hugely popular artistic duo via the latest 24/96 remastered hi-rez downloads. The so called "music lovers" immediately accused me of being an audiophile, like as if it was something that I should be ashamed of. Many also pride their huge collection of music as proof of being a music lover, rather than an audiophile, yet they have very ambitious audio rigs at home, and behave in a highly critical manner when they go visit fellow audiophile homes. I wish to ask this pertinent question to those who behave as such. Why the double identity, split personality behaviour?
It's actually been happening for a few years now, that I see and hear many audiophiles declare themselves to be music lovers. I could not understand that why we should be ashamed of our fairly healthy, if somewhat obsessive hobby, in pursuit of "The Absolute Sound"? We are also not as proud to "parade" or show off our equipment to fellow enthusiast, unlike those motorcar or super bike loving folks!
When I was in to stamp collection, I proudly lugged my heavy albums with me to share my collection(OK, plain showing off, if you wish!) when I knew I was about to meet fellow collectors. My friends who like to go fishing talk about their latest sea fairing adventures and show photos of their finest catches with pride. So why are we audiophiles so eager to disguise our hobby in to something else? What's the shame in being some one who adores good sounding equipment, just like the boys who adores the fast cars and perhaps, even faster women?
In a world of six billion human beings and counting, some statistics point to the figure of 2% or so, that can be considered as audiophiles. My buddy ML would even call the said statistic as highly optimistic! No wonder the hifi market is slumping due to a lack of fresh young blood. If we, the music loving audiophile can't even be proud enough and admit to being one, who else will be convinced enough to follow our foot steps?
As ML pointed out, audiophiles seldom attends "live musical concert" as they prefer to stay at home to listen to music through their hifi systems. I see nothing wrong with that. What one chooses to do with his/her time is of nobody else's business. I personally know many music lovers who do not own any audio equipment that we could in any way considered capable of hifi! My little girls loves music for the music it self, only because they can enjoy music via their iPods, the radio station or even the crappy OEM Honda car stereo. They still move and respond to the beat of the music, despite all the lesser than average audio fidelity. The maestro,Tey Cher Siang and many other musicians I know, do not own any audio equipment that we, the snooty audiophile community will ever consider as hifi, yet they enjoy listening to music any way(to be frank, I know the maestro is trying to get to hifi kingdom, someday)! For me, it's these particular group of people, if any one else, who deserves the title of "music lover".
If one craves for hifi equipment, only because he/she wants more bass, or clearer sound, while listening to music than they are most likely to be considered an audiophile, perhaps in the future if not now. Me? To be honest, I do not know exactly which group I should consider my self to be, an audiophile or music lover?
Here's my story so far. At six of seven years old, I discovered the addictive quality of music, when I listened to stuff, from The Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, and bands like Kajagoogoo, Yazoo, Depeche Mode, Culture Club, Duran-Duran and Men At Work. It wasn't really about hifi or sound quality until I was about 15 years old, when I'd tweak the tape capstan(these were the compact cassette days!) tension to get better bass and improved speed stability. The hifi streak took over as a dorm dwelling student as I started to upgrade my stereo system, what ever it was back then. Strangely, the routine of ritual called work, plus the need to save up for a nice car and home put an end to my hifi days, but I never stop buying, listening and enjoying music, which at this point is almost always the latest chart topping hits. Some where along the line, I started appreciating female vocals and some guitar(I first heard about Roger Wang about this time) music too. It wasn't until 10 years or so ago, that the car audio bug bite and soon, I was building formidable mobile systems. I moved on from the car audio only a few years back to build my current hifi system today. While doing so, I managed to revisit and appreciate much of the music that I once discounted. It wasn't until too long ago, that I started exploring musical genre like jazz, classical, or just plain audiophile music.
So one can easily see, that in my short lifetime, I have drifted in and out between music lover and audiophile with various degree of intensity. At this point in time I'd consider myself more audiophile than music lover, only because I write in these pages and the current hifi system helps me to expand my musical horizon. If you're reading this now, surely you're more of an audiophile than anything else! Otherwise, you should be spending more time on Pop Pop Music blog as linked on the right side panel or go to http://www.thediapason.com/ amongst other worth while music journals.
However, my question now(again?) is this, music lover or audiophile? Why make the distinction? How does it matter if you've got a hifi system and love good sound with the aim to better music enjoyment? Why does one need to feel so ashamed to be called an audiophile, that he/she has to disguised as "music lover"? After all it's not like we're doing anything bad and harmful such as paedophile? Oppss......... perhaps something is better left unspoken? Your thoughts on the subject matter?