At what price is one considered an Audiophile.

Audiophilia, what is is it?

Is it the love of music or the equipment that presents the music.

Or is it both? 

What is the cost of admission?

How much does one have to spend on equipment to be considered an Audiophile, if it is truly the later than the music.

What has membership to this perceived exclusive club cost you?




If you think money spent is a factor, you'll likely never be happy with what you have because there's almost always something more expensive and therefor "better" (but that's not the case despite more expensive stuff seemingly always sounding better in reviews. I wonder why?).

Cherry, said it very well. It is all about passion and personal investment, not money spent.

I'd like to compare my audiophile activities with my amateur astronomy activities. I think in both you can spend a small fortune yet miss out out on the pleasures that the person making due with what they can afford experiences every time they engage. In both pursuits a very humble system can provide much enjoyment when used by a passionate person. Equipment is not the measure, but rather passion. 

Sure, I have a telescope with a 20" mirror that I must climb a ladder to look through the eyepiece, but I have friends who have equipment costing less than 1% of my investment who are just as passionate and in some cases get more out of their system than I do of mine. Sure, they can't see that quasar 10 billion light years away. But do they want to?

In the audiophile space I self impose a tight, some would say impossible budget, but I get much joy from the sound I hear. All but my turntable and stylus were purchased used and all of my 300 vinyl records were purchased used. Yet I have a the passion to tend to this equipment and media so that I get great sound.

In my experience you that get 90% of the performance by spending 1% of the big spenders. As time progresses you may want more than your system provides so you need to spend more. But at every stage, measure your passion. If you love it go for it, when it becomes a burden rethink everything. 

I use my system a few hours each day while I work from home and take the time for some critical listening when time permits. Do I wish it sounded better? Sure, but I know my room is currently holding back better sound. There is no easy fix there. 

Similarly, in astronomy I can't enjoy my equipment much at or near home. I need to drive 8 hours to a truly dark location and my investment in high end equipment starts to reveal itself. Someday I will buy a new house and select one with a listening room that allows for better soundstage and imaging. Perhaps then I will upgrade my equipment. Until then I am happy.

My modest system audio :

  • Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum II (for fall, winter, and spring)
  • Harman/Kardon hk395i (for summer when my room gets too hot with tubes)
  • Cerwin Vega E312 
  • Denon Professional DN-300Z
  • Audio Technica AT-LP120USB
  • Audio Technica AT-VM95SH
  • Senheiser HD 238 (purchased for $0.25 at an estate sale)
  • SMSL SU-1
  • Laptop running real time Linux tuned for high priority audio processing (streamer) - Yes, I'm an IT geek who can build such a system.
  • APC Line-R 1200
  • Liebert UPS
  • DIY speaker cables
  • Audtek RCA cables

@mrskeptic I simply asked the question and the answers have been very telling. I am very happy.

@jasonbourne71 I guess I am out based on your post. Though AS did a nice review of the Freya + as did Stereophile. 

I don't think the amount of money one spends has much, if anything, to do with one being an "audiophile".

It is more about the passion that one has to experience music in its purest form. To bathe in its beauty and emotion whether you are listening to a $1K system or a $1M system.

Take a look at the contributors on this site and you'll find a very wide range of income levels, but they are all certified audiophiles.