The difference between an Audiophile and a Stereophile?

While this question may just be Phylostrabation, I think it does raise a question that many are ambigous about.  

I think an Audiophile is about the sound, the mastering of the recording, the frequency seperation of instriments and clearity of the sound.  The SN ratio, the EQ of the room, the type of music is not the topic of discussion.  A given brand may be admired, and drooled over, but only because the means justifies the end, the sound.

On the other ear, a Stereophile, is likely stimulated by the sound, but possibly more by the jewelry of the equipment.  The philostrabation for a Stereophile is the discussion about the toys, the gear, the looks of the system, possible brand names, the absolute beauty of the rack!  Both types enjoy a good looking rack! but how much will they pay for a given toy, or visual thrill? Can one justify the expense? Does anyone even need to justfy the expense, maybe to their spouse, but otherwise? 

One way we can adress this question is to ask does the blue light of a McIntosh excite you? How about the unity of the components being stacked in a manner that is visually amazing?  The size of a floor speaker? The fame of a name? Don't get me wrong, I will bragg, and enjoy names, I talked to Bob Carver on the phone once. He fixed up his original CD player I sent him for me with new chips so it would track better. That is like an audience with The Pope to some.  As well, I have met and discussed a few things with Doug Dale at Coda and such. 

I first fell in love with Hi Fi in late 70's because of the feel of a smooth volume knob turning up "Hey 19",  But I digress.

To me the sound of Miles Davis doing Bitches Brew song "Miles runs the Vodo" with John Mcglaughin Herbie Hancock, and others is more than amazing, it is life it's self.  Providing the song is flying out of my Legacy Focus 20/20 speakers powered by the Coda 11.5  Class A amp, or better.  While  I'm not lost on the Dark Side of the Moon, but will suggest Steely Dan is quite undeniable.  I will end with, "Kashmir" and just ask, what the hell is better than sound itself?   

As Ravi Shankar said," Nada Brahma".  


Thanks for mentioning Nada Brahma - I consider myself well read, but have never heard of that. I always like learning something new! So thank you.

To get back to your original question, the best sound I ever heard was the first "High Quality" system I ever heard....a Marantz 2035, original Advent Speakers and a Pioneer turntable with a Shure cartridge, connected with zip cord and Radio Shack RCA's, playing a well-worn Doobie Brother's album, Stampede.

It wasn't the system, it was the music. Started my love of music. I now have a system probably 20 times "better" now and yet I can't replicate the sound of that magic day. There's more to music then equipment.


Ultimately, whatever we call ourselves, both stereo and audio-philes need a medium to trip their respective dopamine drop. That's music. And no, its not,  with all due respect, just "sound". That's just not enough.  Like, no way the great gear I own will make a "sound" recording of say,  my gardener thrashing my front yard anywhere near  listenable compared to any decent produced track of even the worst musical recording.  Yes, its sound, but sound that has been altered into something you'll listen to, and, played, forgive me, from almost any kind of gadget on up to the mighty heights of our blessed bank-owned contraptions.  We chase our tails trying to capture lightning in a bottle. For what, I ask?  For the music, I answer.   I know, I'm spoiled on the gear too, but look how many of us here can agree on which setup  does it all. Yep, not many.  Those intrepid non-audiophiles who do dare to visit me and are not too intimidated to venture into the listening zone rarely ask about the gear, (yes, they are aghast, and numb before the wanton exhibition of it all and embarrassed for my poor (literally), spouse), but even they know what its really all about. They just ask to hear their favorite music. I'm happy to oblige.