Howard Popeck ponders on what it is to be an audiophile and how to avoid being the proverbial ‘walking wallet’

Perfection is only a point of view. Moreover it’s only valid at the instant it happens and only if we accept the challenges of being ‘right there’ in the moment. By this I mean the listener being intimately (inextricably?) involved in that perfection. In other words, a perfect musical performance doesn’t mean the performer made no errors. It simply means those errors were perfect for the moment.

During the 37 years in and out of this business many have told me that their quest for perfection in their high-end systems means they are an Audiophile by definition. I take this (and took this) to mean that they never intended to stop seeking the perfect performance in other words their quest for perfection is what defined them as Audiophiles. Sometimes my responses as a specialist retailer were taken as an attempt to discredit their goals.

I disagree. In my view Audiophiles are those of us who have a desire for better sound and then take action to achieve that goal. Perhaps my original words were incautious; that perfection could never be achieved and that some disreputable makers took that we-intentioned but future quest to see such people as ‘walking wallets’.

Anyway … I too strive for the mythical perfection in my system, in my interaction with the music – but that’s not what qualifies me as an Audiophile – although most Audiophiles are looking for the same thing.

I read the following, which describes this so well: "I have met many an Audiophile who are completely delighted with their system and are looking for nothing more than to simply enjoy it every day. They are every bit as much an enthusiast as the person who never reaches a point of musical ecstasy and is never quite happy with the system.

I have no qualms with people striving for perfection – believe me – I support it and love the process. I just want us to remember there is no final plateau to reach – it is in fact the journey itself that is the goal and along the way we hit perfect time and again without even knowing it.

Perfection happens all the time in our lives – we just have to recognize when it occurs and bask in the moment – because it never stays in one place."

Quite so.