I can remember being in a friends car in my teens and him having a top in car clarion system that would have cost me about 8 weeks wages and thinking , wow. made me realise how a standard stereo can be improved on, from there it was buying another friends harmon pardon pre-power, then hearing his new naim , and thinking , wow !!
There is probably a million and one reasons for becoming an audiophile,
For me it is about the quality of the sound,unlike the majority on this thread who say "its about the music", but how many people have purchased an album for how good you think it will sound , rather than wether you like the music or not .
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First of all, it's "about the music" for me as well. Anyone that is willing to spend audiophile money on gear and doesn't have a passion for music is a bit odd. I don't however find anything wrong with being an equipment lover (which I am). Nor do I feel that one hobby diminishes the other in any way. To the contrary, they compliment each other wonderfully.
To respond to the OP, I became an audiophile just after high school in the mid 1980's. I had a friend in high school that worked in a stereo shop and he introduced me to the idea that some hifi gear sounded much better than others. Then it slowly blossomed into full blown audio fever within a couple of years. I'm very glad I discovered the hobby back then. I've had many years of great fun with this pursuit.
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When our band recorded and produced first album - first time I'd got into all the intricacies that go into making a final result. We mastered the album at the same place where Pulp did theirs, with big B&W 801s etc - it was then that I realised that better equipment makes things appear out of the music that you would not have heard before. So now I'm trying to hear what the recording artists heard when they decided "yes! that's what it should sound like. Right, off to the pub now?"
(Maybe that's also why I've gone the B&W route on the speakers too)
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I can't stand the term 'Audiophile' it conjures up a vision of old men, stroking there beards talking rubbish.
Personally it has nothing to do with reproducing the music as perfectly as when it was recorded its what sounds enjoyable to me, may that be a £100k system or £100 iPod dock. I agree with Paul Hobbs and can completely relate to the fact that spending more money does not always ensure a greater listening experience. IMO there are so many poor quality recordings that just sound horrible on an expensive setup. However after saying all that in answer to the question my interest in Hi-Fi started when my old man purchased a Pioneer stack back in the late 70's, I remember it was quite a step up from the PYE turntable amplifier thingy he had before that !!
i blame pp and mathewpiano
laptop...airport...marantz pm7001...dynaudio dm 2/7's...
and from what ive seen, for good reason!
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I cant recall exactly what set me off on the path of 'musical fidelity' (My interest is in well replayed music, not just music), but reading hifi magazines definitely had an affect on me
Listening to old singles and LPs on our Dansette Viva record player in the larte 1960s. Then a Ferguson radiogram in the 1970s, a Sanyo music centre, then onto our first separates in the early 1980s from Comet (who used to do a good selection of kit back then), which centred round Pioneer receiver, a Fisher turntable, Pioneer tape deck and Wharfedale Laser 60 speakers. Moved up to a NAD 3020A and it kind of took a lull for a few years till the mid-90s and I picked up the hobby again.
But the music has always come first - there hasn't been a system since that Dansette that gave me the same kick in first hearing the Beatles, Creedence Clearwater Revival and the rest back then. I was about five or six years old, but that was the big awakening and it's been with me ever since. Music's always been about the emotion and less about the gear and of course now, you can get "audiophile" standard (whatever that means in 2011) with a laptop, an iPod, iTunes (or whatever) some decent headphones and a £50 external hard drive to store the music on. Job done.
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AVI Laboratory Series CD Player
But the music has always come first
Probably have to agree that it all starts with music. I grew up listening to my dads rock albums. What I very first heard ive not a clue (Black Sabbath definitely in there somewhere though). But the 1st album I bought was AC/DCs flick of the switch (all reviews say its medicore, but I still say its the rawest record theyve ever done) which I played over and over and over on some ancient record deck my mum had that probably sounds awful compared to what I use these days. Anyways, that album is what really got me into music (I know AC/DC might not be the last word in 'music' , but I do love the power of rock music)
All started with my Dad's Goldring Lenco GL75, home-made amp (with no case) and Wharfedale Denton speakers. I can still remember the smell of the GL75 when it was unpacked.
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I would like to hear Clare Newsome's input on this thread as she must be one of the only women I know of who are interested in audio reproduction.
When I ask the misses to listen and tell me what she thinks of a new toy I have purchased all I get is 'yea it sounds like music'
I persuaded my parents to get a Rotel receiver, Garrard 86SB turntable and Rank Domus speakers and its still working! When I bought my first system Alba receiever and Garrard Zero 100 SB my lps sounded fantastic. My friends always wanted to buy my system. I stopped upgrading when I bought my Nytech 252 receiver, Rega Planar 3 and Mordaunt Short Pageant 2 speakers and spent my money going to concerts, the cinema and buying lps. You should have seen the look on Grahams when I turned up in Pentonville Road with long hair, motorcycle jacket and with a big rucksack asking to hear Rega turnatables and the Nytech!!
PS its still music, movies and concerts.
I grew up surrounded by music: my Mum used to sing in a choir and was (still is) always singing in the house; my Dad is a big music fan - anything from jazz to rock to classical was on the turntable, radio or TV. My parents now have an array of iPod docks around their house (decent ones, mind you), and listen to music much of the day.
So it was totally natural for music to be a key part of my life. i used to save up my pocket money to buy records and cassettes, even more so when i got my very own hi-fi system at age 12 (it was second-hand, but i didn't care). When gaggles of us teenaged girls used to travel to London shopping, i'd get bored of clothes shops very quickly and end up spending way more time/money in the music megastores.
Went to my first proper gig (without parents) at 13, and fell in love with live music, too. And it only got worse as a student; remember spending a summer's earnings on a new Technics CD player rather than something more worthy!
I'm totally movie-mad, too - when I moved into my first flat in London, I had a widescreen TV with Dolby surround sound before I owned a sofa...
So, in short, I love music and movies first - exploring ways to make them sound/look even better is a bonus.
Interestingly, my two best female friends are also real music-lovers, but since they had kids they've left the days of late-night listening behind, and their turntables/records are in the loft. A sad, sad situation (
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Former Group Editor of What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision and Whathifi.com
They could be teaching their kids how to use that gear. (If they are old enough.) History/technology/music and a bit of a boogie or a sing-along with mum!
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I had a Sony Hi-Fi system when I was a teenager. Believe it or not, it was actually a Bose system that made me realise there are much better systems out there.
Until 3 years ago, Bose represented the pinnacle of audio quality for me. But when I bought my house in early 2009, I started researching more on home cinema systems, which led me to a few forums including this one.
I then realised the importance of auditioning, & was surprised at how much better you can get with sound over a Bose. The audiophile market was totally unknown to me until then.
My main interest is in movies, more than music. I wanted a large screen TV. After countless comparisons of many TVs, I found Kuro to be astonishingly good, much better than anything else on the market. Previously, I used to stick to Philips & Sony TVs as they had a strong brand appeal.
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