I love records. I love the sound of a vinyl record, even if it has some imperfections. There is such a warmth and realism in the sound of a record that I just don’t get from a CD. It helps that in addition to being a musician, I have done a lot of sound engineering, and even majored in sound technology for a year in college. (I have had three majors, I think). Anyway, I can hear a difference.
Unfortunately, although I’d like to consider myself an audiophile, I really am not. I can’t afford to be. Have you ever looked at the price of audiophile grade turntables? MusicDirect (yes, you might have heard the name in the American Express Plum Card commercial) has everything for the audiophile. Amps, turntables, records, speakers, everything. But there are turntables that are over $20,000! Who can afford that? I guess if you were a millionaire.
But I digress. The question is, do you have to have the greatest and most expensive equipment to be a true audiophile? According to Webster, an audiophile is “a person who is enthusiastic about high-fidelity sound reproduction.” Well, does that say anything about owning a $20,000 turntable? It says enthusiastic about high fidelity. I’m enthusiastic. I just can’t afford it. I personally think that an audiophile is someone who can appreciate good quality recordings, and strives to get a better sound, even when they can’t afford high end equipment.
For instance, I have a great sound system I bought when I was in the Corps a few years ago. It’s a Kenwood system. Matched set of surround speakers with the receiver. It has a great clear sound. Nothing really high end, but I feel it’s a great quality for it’s price range. I even had a friend who always was upgrading his stereo to the latest and greatest equipment, but when he came and heard mine, he said it had a much better, clearer and fuller sound than anything he had. Proper setup helps too. This is all using records through a cheaper Pioneer turntable I got for Christmas one year. It’s not bad, but it’s not great. Now I need a new needle, and do you think I can find one? I’d love to upgrade to a Grado cartridge, but even the cheaper ones start at about $60. Not a lot, but when you are married, buying a house, and the price of gas being what it is, $60 is a lot.
So what’s my point you may be asking yourself, and I don’t blame you, because I think I lost track as well, you don’t need top quality, high end equipment to enjoy vinyl records. You don’t need to pay 20,000 dollars to listen to your favorite album. You can listen and enjoy your lp’s on a turntable that you bought for 20 bucks on CraigsList.
Does that mean you’re not an audiophile?
And let me know what you come up with.
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