What is an audiophile? – by Cookie Marenco

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What is an Audiophile?

Why does the term “Lunatic Fringe” come to mind?

Since When Did It Become Controversial Listening to Music with Great Sound?

After all, sound is a huge part of everything we do as humans, from how we communicate with each other to how we choose to spend time alone. What is wrong with wanting the sound we interact with to be the best that it can be?

I travel in music circles with pro audio engineers, recording artists, label execs and audiophiles. It surprises me that more industry people don’t go to the audiophile shows where the rubber meets the road — the people who create the music meeting those that love and buy their products.

When I ask my industry cohorts ‘why’ the first words coming from their mouths seems to be ‘lunatic fringe’ — as if ‘audiophiles’ have the plague and should be avoided at all costs.

What is defining the word ‘audiophile’ that is so bad in their minds? Can we reintroduce ‘audiophile’ to a new generation? Do we need a new word to describe a passionate listener?

A recent survey by the CEA (Consumer Electronics Association) indicates that music lovers are everywhere. They’ve analyzed the results in a study called “Notion of Quality: Audio Expectations of Consumers.” Participants were asked to rate themselves as to their music listening habits divided into 3 categories. Here are the results of how people thought of themselves.

  • Audio Enthusiast –34%
  • Moderate Interest – 34%
  • Low Interest – 32%

CEA estimates that there are 80,000,000 Audio Enthusiasts in the USA alone. Audio Enthusiasts would pay more money for better quality content and listening gear. Their ages run relatively equally from  ...

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