Should people who can't solder, build or test their speakers be considered audiophiles?

  So, if you bought that Porsche but can only drive it and not fix it do you really understand and appreciate what it is? I say no. The guy who can get in there and make it better, faster or prettier with his own hands has a superior ability to understand the final result and can appreciate what he has from a knowledge base and not just a look at what I bought base. I mean sure you can appreciate that car when you drive it but if all you do is take it back to the dealership for maintenance and repairs you just like the shape with no real understanding of what makes it the mechanical marvel it is.
  I find that is true with the audio world too. There are those who spend a ton of money on things and then spend a lot of time seeking peer approval and assurance their purchase was the right one and that people are suitably impressed. Of course those who are most impressed are those who also do not design, build, test or experiment.

  I propose that an audiophile must have more than a superficial knowledge about what he listens to and must technically understand what he is listening to. He knows why things work and what his end goal is and often makes his own components to achieve this. He knows how to use design software to make speakers that you can't buy and analyze the room they are in and set up the amplification with digital crossovers and DSP. He can take a plain jane system and tweak it and balance it to best suit the room it is in. He can make it sound far better than the guy who constantly buys new components based on his superficial knowledge who does not understand why what he keeps buying in vain never quite gets there.

  A true audiophile can define his goal and with hands on ability achieve what a mere buyer of shiny parts never will. So out comes the Diana Krall music and the buyer says see how good my system is? The audiophile says I have taken a great voice and played it through a system where all was matched and tweaked or even purposely built and sits right down next to Diana as she sings. The buyer wants prestigious signature sound and the audiophile will work to achieve an end result that is faithful true to life audio as though you were in the room with Diana as she sings. The true audiophile wants true to life and not tonally pure according to someones artificial standard.

 So are you a buyer or an audiophile and what do you think should make a person an audiophile?
Only You......

Audiophile what does the WORD mean?

Audio, what is it?
sound, especially when recorded, transmitted, or reproduced.

Phile, what is it?
denoting fondness for a specified thing.

Now I know what a Audiophile(r) is. DO YOU?

A person who has a fondness for sound, especially, when recorded, transmitted, or reproduced.

It does NOT include or exclude, ANYTHING.

There is only one requirement, YOU, ME, Him or Her. One person!
No one can exclude you. No one can include you.

YOU, and only you, can say whether you are, or are not, an Audiofiler.

It’s very Simple...


Here ya go!
Definition of audiophile

: a person who is enthusiastic about high-fidelity sound reproduction
+1 oldhvymec.  Why are some people trying to make this a more exclusive club?  First suggesting you need a turntable or R to R deck to be part of the club, and now this.  Don't we have enough problems getting people interested in this hobby without being snotty about it?
Seems presumptuous to me to tell people what they're permitted to enjoy and under what conditions.
There are two kinds of people in the world, those who divide the world into two kinds of people and those who don't.
Guess the Kenjit Society is for real, he has at least one disciple ; though based upon a completely different thread it seems there may well be another
Lol, next it will be the difference between those who can read instructions from a kit and build a speaker or crossover, and those who can order the raw parts and design their own. This forum would be a very small world if we start discounting what I’m going to assume is the majority of the people who enjoy this hobby. Do nascar fans have to race at least at an amateur level to be considered a true fan. Maybe that’s the reason why we even have. BLM movement in 2020. We keep looking for ways to exclude people rather than include them. Wouldn’t this hobby be better if more people enjoyed it? There might be more technology and more resources able to be thrown at it if there were more money involved. Don’t look for ways to divide and exclude, look for ways to engage and include. 
I own a euro sportbike, can ride the wheels off it, but pay to have the valve clearances checked every 18k, does that mean I don't enjoy what i'm doing? maybe my skill isn't what I think it is or maybe I only think i'm having fun.
Audiophiles don't read/participate on internet forums.

They are busy soldering, building and testing their speakers. 

Perhaps then we should eliminate the Porsche owners that can’t actually drive them properly from the “Porschephile” group too then. Having been a professional Porsche tech for almost 40 years, I can assure You that group would be minuscule as compared to the number of owners that can write big checks..I suspect that formula would probably hold true for most hobbies... Relax and enjoy the ride and the music.. the world has more than enough judges already 
Been appreciating my second/permanent set of teeth since 1960, but never went to dental school.

It would seem that one should also learn how to build and play that Stradivarius.....

or write the code for that digital filter

or move to Japan to wind coils at the feet of the master

or intern at a chip foundry cracking out DAC

transit to heaven to hand wind output transformers with Frank, Saul, and Roger Modjeski....

man life is short, so much to learn, do and appreciate!!!!!!
The OP is of course open to ridicule, but only for the "I propose we define" part. The larger point he is trying to make is perfectly valid.

This comes up all the time here. Practically every day. Whole bunch of guys say something all authoritative as if they actually know something, when more often than not its just them repeating something they heard or read somewhere. But everyone says it so it must be true. Baloney!  

So I disagree, no one has to buy speaker design software and run it and build speakers to be an audiophile. That is just nuts. Especially since its hardly as if doing this is guaranteed to teach you anything other than how to run software, glue, and screw. But at least having done it you almost certainly will have a whole lot more appreciation for the tremendous amount of creativity, engineering, and effort that goes into it.

Mostly though what audiophiles should do is simply learn to listen a whole lot better. Its simply not necessary to solder anything. Oh sure even something as simple as swapping out a single cap or diode is gonna elevate your understanding and appreciation like you can’t believe. But you could also simply get your system nicely warmed up and stable, listen real close to a favorite recording, remove and briskly wriggle up a power cord, and listen again. Boom.

You may not go on from there to build your own. But believe me, but once you have seen there is no going back. You were an audiophile before. And now? A better one.

There are only a handful of brilliant, successful, and incredibly successful guitarists who consider themselves "gearheads" and do any real hands-on work with their instruments.  Does that mean they don't derive incredible joy from playing a guitar nor understand how to coax the best sound from their instrument?  God forbid they are musical geniuses and never took a lesson or understand music theory.  
Your post is pure bs...crawl back under your rock with the rest of the divisive make America great clowns
Looks like a classic internet troll post to me. Drives up, dumps off a load of fertilizer, drives off and disappears from the discussion, then watches from afar as people stomp around in the stink. ;-)
if i consider the 10 best listeners i know, which i view as meaning they seem to be able to listen, know music, and determine what is happening and be able to process what they hear for others to understand, 3 of those 10 are also technically savvy and can build things (2 are in the hifi and sell hifi). but 7 are as clueless technically as myself.

so technical chops or even desire has no relevance to being an audiophile in my experience.

there are different sphere's of this hobby, which can overlap. one such sphere is DIY both speakers and amplifiers, another is collecting media and gear, another is room tweaking. another is owning multiple turntables or cartridges. most of those sphere's also include serious focused listening to music.
A question that's cultivated some amusing responses. 

There are a number of people here I'd love to pull a cork with.  
The audio world is full of people who can design, build, test and repair but can't listen or hear, and they should be the arbiters of truth?
As our next president would say, "What a load of malarky."

All the best,
Macgyver has the ability to make audiophile level speakers with any surrounding natural materials in every  episode, before the commercial break.

Please don't include Macgyver in audiophoolery, he's above this nonsense.
Whole bunch of guys say something all authoritative as if they actually know something, when more often than not its just them repeating something they heard or read somewhere. But everyone says it so it must be true. Baloney!  

If someone's passionate opinion is "A sounds better than B" they don't need to understand the engineering nor have hands-on experience for their voice to be valid.  If they are misquoting Ohm's Law (eg) then yes, I agree.
The OP statement shows he/she has way too much time on their hands.   I have been an audiophile for 50+ years and I still can’t solder to save my life.  So what?  I can still appreciate music and know what to listen for.  No one has the right to say who and who is not an audiophile.  
Every once in a while I like to poke fun at pretentious "Audiophiles" that have very long noses they look down as they regard the unwashed that think mere money does not equate with discerning taste. I just love $60,000 dollar cables so much and they provide me with great entertainment. So take this thread for what it is worth, which is not much, but it can be fun to poke holes in puffed up people and watch the hot air leak out.
  I am quite serious though that the amount of money you spend does not indicate you are anywhere close to being an audiophile except maybe in your own mind. Some of the grandiose things I read here even get my wife's attention as she asks what am I laughing about now as she just did.
I don’t need to be a plumber to use the toilet.

But there are times when amateur plumbing skills sure come in handy.

On a more serious note, I'm not a fan of thought systems which increase division between people.  I'm in favor of drawing bigger and more inclusive circles, instead of smaller and more exclusive ones.  I think the world will be a better place when, instead of seeing "us" and "them", we see only "us". 

Even if we disagree among ourselves about the definition of "audiophile". 

" This comes up all the time here. Practically every day. Whole bunch of guys say something all authoritative as if they actually know something, when more often than not its just them repeating something they heard or read somewhere. But everyone says it so it must be true. Baloney!   "
  This is it precisely.
" A question that's cultivated some amusing responses.

There are a number of people here I'd love to pull a cork with.   "
  If you are ever in southern middle TN PM me and stop in. No champagne or wine corks but I do have coffee and a big pile of gear.

Another analogy: To be a great race car driver does not require one have the ability to build a race car.

I would say having a deep understanding of music is a more fitting requisite to be an audiophile. But why the "fitness" test? IMO, being a perceptive music listener is a more distinguished accomplishment than being an audiophile. The latter merely facilitates the former.

How many engineering credits and technician apprenticeship hours were required prerequisites to join this forum again?...I forget.
It may be fitting to note poster @mahlman's last paragraph above ends with a question: what do we think defines an audiophile? The man simply shared his opinion, to which he's entitled, and then went on to invite us into the same inquiry; kudos for doing just that - quite a few could learn from it instead of only telling others what to do and how to think. 

And besides: audiophilia arguably needs a shakeup. Maybe it's time for the sense of entitlement as an audiophile to give way to what's more purely an exploration, whatever the hell we call ourselves on this journey. Let's be audio anarchists rather than catering to the industry and what's neat and tidy, and oftentimes very expensive. I'm provoked rather than offended..
The OP seems to think that only those who can afford to waste money on audio gear are the same as those who can’t build or appreciate the music. Is that another way of saying that save for the ability of being able to build some piece of gear, one cannot appreciate the results?

Or is it another way of saying I couldn’t afford to buy something nice so I went and made it and it’s better than what one can buy, since I built it?

I, for one, would never spend $60K on a pair of cables and yet cannot build a thing and yet, appreciate fine gear that makes fine music that doesn’t cost a fortune. Why is it that when subjects like this come up, it’s mostly about the extreme costs of some gear being conflated with anything that costs more than something you could buy at Radio Shack?

I come from the days when everyone worked on their own cars and only a few thought they knew it all because they got something to run for a week or two. Big deal.

All the best,
A trolling, a trolling, a trolling I will go, hi ho the dairy o, a trolling I will go. 🕺🏻

I am shocked not by your post, but how the intended sarcasm went over so many heads :-)

" I am shocked not by your post, but how the intended sarcasm went over so many heads :-)"
It IS pretty shocking is it not? My wife wants to know what I am laughing about again.
And yet, we did get it. Sarcasm based on actual feelings are still actual feelings. Big deal. It's been done to death here.

All the best,
I know that this thread is intended only to be sarcasm....The OP is intelligent....But I will answer like I dont know it was mainly sarcasm....

Electronic components engineering is most of the times secondary, even speakers design is most of the times secondary factor, the most important factors if you have a relatively "good" audio system already in your hand is not upgrading for a so called better design most of the times but how to embed mechanically, electrically, and foremost acoustically the audio system, never mind his design....

That is my audiophile only discovery..... :)

If you want an Hi-fi experience you need not an electronic engineer but an acoustician mainly...

For example the design of missiles is not so different from Von Braun days , if you want very good missiles nowadays you need more an A.I. specialist than Von Braun himself....

The amplifier is like a missile in my metaphor....The science of acoustics like A.I.

As an engineer both MSME MSEE and CME your post is stupid.
Is it stupid to insist on the importance of the acoustics?
An amplifier of 1978 or of 2020 can be very good and even on par in spite of the difference in design....The design science of amplifier is already good for the last 50 years...There is exception for sure, my Sansui amplifier design will be trespass by a Berning ZOTL for example....I dont negate improvement in engineering....

My point is acoustic is totally underestimated in the experience of most people.... This is my experience with audio....

More than 80 % of all threads in audio forums are about electronics....And the most important for Hi-Fi experience is the embeddings and first and foremost the acoustical embeddings....The electrical and mechanical one are important but comes after in superlative audible effects....The difference between 2 electronic components design is way less spectacular most of the times in my experience than a rightfully workings on the 3 embeddings mainly in the acoustical dimension....

If you dont know that I doubt that this is my post that is stupid, sorry..... :)

I cannot exhibit any letters after my title:  lover of music and creative audiophile with homemade materials and low cost one....  :)

“A true audiophile...”
Give me a break. The post is the saddest mix of envy and snobbery I have yet seen on this forum.  Congratulations, as that bar has never been higher.