Is high end audio to snooty for its own good?

I think it has become that way. Some people flaunt that they have high end systems and they listen to certain kinds of music and I think it puts the hobby in a negative light at times.
No, I don't agree that high end AUDIO owners have become snooty or worse, either from my hands-on experiences AND in the various AUDIO forums that I frequent .

(1) I learned from these people . Experience matters -full stop.
Most  of us all started out in a modest budget system and then progressively worked our way up. Some then stepped into the "high-end" strata, which I am interpreting from your post to mean high price / high performance.
(2) Similarly, they don't "flaunt" their kit, but rather informally invite others --  and maybe encourage -- to expand their respective experiences. We all salivate and ogle at say, 007's Aston Martin DB9 ride or an acquaintance's high-end luxury wheels... and then still smile and slowly sigh when real life limitations relegates our dreams to our more modest family car ownership. We enjoyed the tease , I don't see this as snooty nor flaunt.
(3) I never met any types with high-end systems that listens more to certain "types of music" more than anybody else. In fact, quite the opposite. And yes, I have friends with $100K systems that comparatively dwarf my own fine system, but never has any scintilla of uber-competition or arrogance ever surfaced in our common appreciation of this wacky hobby. After all, it's rewards are revealed via a journey and never ever was designed ir contemplated to be a destination 
They is what they is.  All kinds.   The usual stuff.  Just with nice hifis.
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IMHO most of the snooty attitudes that we experience come from salesmen who are pushing their own product and denigrating the product of others hoping to make folks insecure about their own stuff and buy something new from them.  Most of these salesmen have humble, if any, audio systems in their own hovels.

Any other snooty folks are IMHO sad individuals who have no way of evaluating their own worth that is not based on their own experience, probably because their personality keeps others at bay. We have spell checkers now, grammar checkers to come next, and god forbid pekka checkas by next year (yeh, I know, they already abound) :-).

Pick any hobby and you'll find those who enjoy it for the pleasure and those who feel the need for to take it to another level. It gives them a sense of purpose, I guess.

All the best,


I think it would be Interesting to bring you're rap CD's or records to a huge show like Newport Beach this June and see if they will play them in different rooms. I have been going to the Newport show since it started and I have never heard a room playing hip hop or rap. I have a feeling that most of the rooms would turn you down because they don't want to chase away their clientele. Which mostly consists of a male dominated crowd 50 and up. I would Imagine some of the rooms run by younger people would be more accepting of playing rap or hip hop. It would be an Interesting experiment If you were willing to try it.
I think manufactures or salespeople can become snooty.  The audiophiles that I know with systems way more expensive than mine just like music and sharing it.  Sometimes the technical talk goes over my head since a lot of them are advanced DIY types.
High end audio.  High end wine. High end sports cars.  High end fill in the blank.

In all cases, buying from the "high end" of the market will involve a fair bit of snob appeal.  Some people drive Ferraris because they track them, some because they're beautiful cars, some because they feel good behind the wheel, and some because they like to drive around in a rolling sign advertising their liquid net worth.  Without a shred of supporting data, I'd guess that the percentages are probably more similar than different across the categories I mentioned above.

Yeah, they're all probably a bit snootier than I'd prefer, but they're probably just snooty enough for their own good.  That is, snooty enough to maximize the dollars.  Remember, for every ten regular folks turned off by the air of superiority, all you need is one billionaire to go all-in.
I've noticed that occasionally someone unnecessarily works into a comment the name/brand of some piece of equipment they own and I've wondered about it.  I think it's more that they really love the piece than it is flaunting it.  I'm not sure it has to do with the value of the thing, but maybe it does.  I've been hanging around here more than ten years and haven't experienced a lot snootiness.
I listen to a lot of different styles of music and so do a lot of others here.  Some listen to one or just a few styles.  If that happens to be classical it might come off stuffy sounding but I think it may be more in the ear of the beholder rather than the attitude or intent of the person in question.  I have to say the pursuit of accurate reproduction of a particular style of music has made a difference in my quest for audio excellence.  When I was young I boosted the bass and treble a lot, with high volume, trying to reproduce the sound of a rock band.  Now I want a system that's good for acoustic combo jazz and chamber music, yet I find that same system is also good for rock, etc. as well.  It's been a long journey and I'm still learning, largely from the folks here.
Not filled w/ snooty people, but, it is laden w/ "flakes".
Keep me posted & Happy Listening!
I would come to Newport with my jazz and blues and they would play it.  I wouldn't bring my rap CDs.  They are for my enjoyment.  I don't seek the approval of others to enjoy what I enjoy.  It's for me.  Not to fit in.   I listen to opera, classical, jazz, hip hop, r&b, blues, rock and pop.  I enjoy the Tord gustaven project (If I'm spelling it right) as much as I enjoy miles and my old school hip hop.  I listen to a Spanish singer Buika even though I don't speak spanish because of the emotion of her voice and the talent of the musicians. I love Dave Holland and Pepe Habichuela "Hands" because I respect the musicians and how well they play.  I don't need the acceptance of a bunch of snooty folks to make me feel refined. Lol. I don't fit into your rap lover thug box I'm so sorry.  I really don't care to fit at all. You should try not fitting.   It's very liberating. 1977 I was a 5 year old kid riding in my grandfathers Cadillac listening to Lightnin Hopkins Blues songs.  Simple hard working factory man and his grandson listening to the blues.  I would never seek the approval of folks who don't matter much to me.  In rap if you have spit a excellent verse of poetry you drop the mike and walk away. Picture that right about NOW! 
I always found Jonathan Scull more than a little pretentious. Ol' Harry Pearson himself as well, at times.
I have ran it to great people in this hobby who loved the music and the sound.  A friend of mine and dealer David Baskin passed away a few months ago.  Amazing raidho d5 and all soulutions electronics.  $500,000 system great listening sessions I would tell him about jazz he hadn't heard.   We would go down for a listen every few months.  Great dealer and not snooty.  Lol.  Some people are about the hobby.  Some dealers and some hobbyist.  I've met some good down to earth folks in the hobby.  However, you run into the high brows every now and then.  Someone's car, audio system or cigars don't impress me. It's about the 5 or 6 hour listening sessions with your audio friends and enjoying whatever music you like to play.  If your circle is snooty and that's what you like them enjoy your company. If it's a classic common man group enjoy that too 

Sure, some of the larger-than-life celebrities of the Hi-Fi world can be eccentric, and yes, snooty.  But that's a personality trait, not a trait of the gear itself.  I don't begrudge those with the resources to invest big money into their stereo systems, and I rarely run into audiophiles, journalists or retailers who look down on me because I don't have such resources.  And when I do, I simply don't care.

I am very active in my local audio club.  Through my contacts with other regional clubs, I have noticed that the culture of each club differs dramatically.  Our club is as unpretentious as can be.  With a few exceptions, most of our members are dreamers, DIYers and/or music lovers.  Nobody is ever looked down upon because their system didn't cross the six-figure threshhold.  We hold our meetings in a variety of venues, but many meetings are held in members' homes with modest, but lovingly assembled systems.  I don't think any new visitor to one of our meetings would have described our club as "snooty".  On the contrary, we have a good time, joke around a lot, and generally treat each other with respect.  That doesn't mean we don't offer constructive criticism of the systems we hear, but it is never along the lines of "you can't get good sound unless you spend six figures".  I think we may have lost a member or two over the years because there aren't enough really high-dollar systems in the club.  I suppose for someone with one of these systems, listening to much more modest systems could be somewhat uninteresting.  But some of our members do have very expensive systems, and not one of them ever belittles the less expensive rigs in other members' homes.

As for the music, we make room for everything.  Would a rap CD clear the room and send people heading for the food  table?  Sure.  But I do the same when a drum or organ "spectacular" starts, or opera, for that matter.  So what?  Let someone who likes that stuff enjoy the sweet spot for a while.  Later, I'll wait my turn and put on a Porcupine Tree or Reverend Horton Heat CD, and the organ, drum solo, and opera afficianados can grab a bite to eat and have a chat in another room.  I might get some groans from some for my musical choices, but that's done in a spirit of friendship.  Heck, I've turned a few of the members on to PT and other artists.  Music is highly personal, and discovering new music through the club is one of the more rewarding aspects of belonging to it.  I barely listened to jazz or classical when I first joined.  Now, I have a growing collection of both.  All thanks to a group of very welcoming, non-judgemental, non-snooty audiophiles.

@bondmanp I agree with your assertions.  Great listening sessions with people who have different tastes.  We also take turns during our listening sessions playing CDs we like.  Each guy gets 30 min or an hour.  I've found out recently about some Christian artists from bethel music that I never heard but sound great.  I got a group of 5 guys that listen from time to time we have a guy with 300k system. A guy with a 20k system and couple of guys with 40k systems and we all can enjoy each other's systems.  Listening is fun and relaxing.  I don't do it to impress anyone.  If I did I would try to impress my real friends. Lol.  Not people I don't know.   Even in our group we got a couple of guys the dissect the music with a scalpel but we calm them down and get them back on their meds.  It's a joy in the hobby when you got your guys listening.  Enjoy your music. I started the thread because I went to a Lone Star Audio fest 5 years ago and I saw a snooty crowd and then I saw some diy guys and budget system guys. However I also saw some great audiophiles high end and non high end talk about the music and come together to enjoy both sides. Enjoy your music!  

Is it demeaning to call our audiophile pursuit a "hobby" or us as "hobbyists"?
A recent letter to Stereophile takes umbrage to the use of that word.
If by definition, a hobby is "a pursuit outside one's regular occupation engaged in for relaxation" (Webster's), then I find no issue with the use of that word to refer to the audiophile world. And the arrogance of attempting to intellectually elevate our HOBBY to some higher, superior activity, seems to me to define "snooty".
I believe it is in what you see the object of listening to music is.
If you listen to music as entertainment, and nothing wrong with that, its a hobby.
If you listen to it for the purpose Bach said its for, to enlighten and edify your soul, its something else . And the very essence of that is the opposite of "snooty" .
Of course we are all a work in progress .
To me audiophiles are nerdy old guys that are a little on the weird side.  At least 95% of the ones I have met. 
I had to do a double take when I saw the Bach response.   Lol.   Bach will refine me.  Makes great music but seriously.  Really!   I just realized the kind of people that I'm responding to.   That's why I asked the snooty question in the first place. Lol. Extreme gaming is not a sport and being an audiophile is a hobby.  Live with it.  
"I just realized the kind of people I am responding to"

And what is that supposed to mean?

calvini, nothing will refine someone who does not want to be refined.
What you are "dealing with " are Christian believers for the most part.

The greatest Christian thinker, Augustine, took the concept whole from the ancient
Greeks and passed it on to Aquinas, Luther and Bach among others
Also been the view of most Asians thinkers for thousands of years .

Without "snooty" hi-end audio folks, who would you sell all that audio snake-oil to?   Cable supports?!?!  Room resonators?  And let's not forget one of the all-time pieces of insanity, the Tice clock!
@souljasmooth I would +1 you but some of those nerd guys are my really good friends.  Lol.   Man I got the answer to my question by some of these responses. Christian believers are me. Once again there they go.  They are better patriots, Christians, audiophiles etc etc. The snootiness has nothing to do with OUR Christian faith. This is where you have proven me right. I'm wasting time by even responding to folks who would even use faith that way.  No wonder our great country is going this way.
As far as to or too.  I'm responding on my little iPhone and I'm typing rather fast.  @souljasmooth you see this stuff the reason why hip hop doesn't seek acceptance of these kind of folks because they front like a fake gangsta rapper. I'm versatile and will listen to anything.  Refined is not what I would call folks that wrap self worth in their audio systems or that somehow it ties in to the being more civilized. I had to adjust my Turnbull and Asser bow tie. Lol 
" ....... and we all can enjoy each other's systems.  Listening is fun and relaxing.  I don't do it to impress anyone."

+1, Calvinj.
@souljasmooth go listen to a group called Black Violin they have a song called "Brandenburg"it's to classically trained violinists that do hip hop.  They have a video to the song on YouTube. Check it out and tell me what you think.  

Calvinj, just looked it up.  I like it....I wish there was more of it with different artist.  I know a good handful of rappers can play instruments, and you can hear it in some of their songs.  Just wish they would use their talents more.
Yeah, they are great.   I love the video. It is the perfect fit for the thread.  Lol. Anyway I have some great friends in this hobby. Some with great cutting edge gear. I originally asked the question because I don't fit the typical audiophile box.  I have an high end system but I listen to hip hop, blues, jazz, Latin Jazz, classical, rock, Christian, etc.  I just noticed that some of the dealers and hobbyists are kind of uppity at times.  I was trying to buy some Dali epicon speakers from a place in Dallas and was ready to pull the trigger but the dealer was extremely snooty. So I had my current  speaker the gato fm6 shipped from Denmark.  I asked the question about being snooty because there are really some great folks in the hobby.  Then there are the extreme guys that can be on the obsessive nutty side. My group in Dallas is not like that.  They are good guys. Some of my closest buddies.  I love a variety of music. I respect the musicians, art and lyrics. There is some diva behavior in the hobby though that I could do without.

Well the reason why the question was asked because there seems to be the idea that lower end equipment and certain musical genres are somehow inferior. I don’t think the hobby should be that way. I have been fortunate enough to experience the growth of hip hop at the same time enjoy jazz, rock and blues. I have an appreciation for some classical music but i don’t listen to it most of the time. I think that it can be that way at times but I think at times it can be a little high brow. However there are people in it that are truly in it for the music and sound quality. There are others that are in it too say look what I got and because I have it I’m somehow better than a DIY guy. Lol. Interesting conversation
I'm new to high end audio. I got my first system only 3 weeks ago. But, I've been into other expensive hobbies... cars, astronomy, and photography. My experience over the years has been very consistent - I have encountered enthusiasts who appreciate the quality and value of their equipment, but are down-to-earth and help new-bies grow in the hobby; and I've come across snooty folks who love to show off their equipment, can only talk about how expensive it is, and will look down upon others using less expensive equipment.
@rsangole. Welcome.  I have been blessed to listen to some great systems.  With some great down to earth guys. I've listened to Raidho with soulutions gear. Very expensive.  However the guy who owned it was great and he enjoyed finding out about new music.  I met to other guys who let me demo great products at different price points.  They could enjoy vastly different musical genres. I guess ultimately you have to remember to get the best you can afford. Then properly match it and enjoy.  I have ran into snooty guys in the hobby but I have also met great folks who it's truly about music. Not the genre but the music. Please keep it that way on your audiophile journey.  

@jafant. Thanks.  I started this thread because I wanted to see how people felt. I don't fit the typical audiophile look. I therefore run into situations when this comes up. Nothing like being ready to buy and having to run into snoots. I remember going into stores and the assumptions costing the salesman the sale. 
I actually bought my speakers in Scotland and had them shipped here because of the bad service I was getting here in the states.  It's a shame that the U.S. Distributor was such a snoot.
Started this thread a year ago. Learned so much about people and why the hobby is slowly losing customers and hobbyists. In the end I enjoy my system and that's all that matters.  I have 5 or 6 true audio friends. The rest don't matter much to me.  Enjoy everyone
I'm back. Met some down to earth Audiophiles at the lone star audio fest in dallas! How is everyone!
Yes he his and the rest of his hip hop hating crew is. I'm open to and appreciate all music and down to earth folks.