un-becoming an audiophile

Yes, the title is what is sounds like.

I remember long ago, as a boy, I used to be able to enjoy music without picking apart a track. is the bass tight? is the midrange clear and life-like? is the treble resolution spot on? What about imaging/sound stage?

Most people have this very same superpower - not being an audiophile. They can play a song from the worst earbuds, laptop speakers, or even computer speakers - and enjoy the music; even sing along. They aren’t thinking about "how it sounds" or scrutinizing the audio quality. Actually, they couldn’t care less. They can spend their time on other life pursuits and don’t feel a need to invest big money (or much money at all) in the hi-fi hobby.

Any psychologists or scientists in the building? (please no Amir @amir_asr ) since you are neither! ...despite the word "science" being in your domain name - audio science review.

Please, I beg you. Help me get away from this hobby.

Imagine - being able to enjoy all of your favourite music - while still achieving that dopamine rush, along with serotonin, and even oxytocin - the bonding hormone, which can be released while listening to songs with deep emotional messages, or love songs.

We’re very much like food critics or chefs in a sense. We want the best of something (in this case, audio) I’m sure michelin star chefs face the same thing in their own right...can’t enoy or even eat the food unless it’s up to a certain standard.

When we audiophiles want to listen to music, we often play it on a resolving system, so as to partake in a a "high-end" listening experience. We often pick apart music and fault the audio components in our system, cables etc. All of this takes away from the experience of enjoying music as a form of art/entertainment. It has been said that some famous artists don’t even own a high-end audio system.

I gained a great deal of wisdom of from the documentary - Greek Audiophile. In it, we have audiophiles from all walks of life. Their families think they’re crazy for spending all this money on audio. They say it sounds "nice" or "real" but still can’t justify it.

I think it’s all in the brain. If we can reset our brains (or me at least) I can still enjoy music without needing a great system for it.

- Jack



It may help to get into musical theory and history.  You'll appreciate music differently.

An good read with my morning coffee.  I've always found the use of the word Audiophile to be interesting.  To me it means someone who has great knowledge on the technical side of hi-fi equipment.  And there are plenty of "Audiophiles" on this site.  I don't think you need to have much technical expertise in order to be a great lover of music and to be able to fully appreciate a great system.  I don't understand half of what is said in many posts, but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy the sound to the same degree as the member who can build their own equipment.  I can derive great enjoyment just by looking at my system, simply as room art when not playing, and I don't care who thinks that's wrong.  I think you really just need to move past the label of Audiophile and get back to enjoying your system and the music it provides.  If others want to get lost in the magic of a power cable, that's all right too.  Everyone gets to enjoy this hobby in their own way. 😁     

I totally understand Jack's post. I get it--I believe there are audiophiles who CAN listen to music over any system and not be super analytical about every little nuance. I, myself, am one of those. I have a modest system at home but enjoy listening to music in my car, radio, computer and just enjoy it as is. I listen to many types of music so finding speakers, amps that just sound good for X genre is difficult for me. What gets under my skin are the audiophiles who are overly critical of other's systems or they think they know everything. Once I see drama in a thread, I skip on to something else. And I can't explain why there are bullies in this hobby either. I hope you stay around Jack. 

1...Sell what you now own...Find and purchase a vintage system that you loved from your youth.

2...Set it up in such a way as to never sit in any type of a sweet spot that would lead to feed your audio neurosis...

3...Totally quit reading and thinking about and pursuing this audiophile sickness... and the angst therein that results from thinking that such a thing  as audio nirvana even exists.

4...Learn to enjoy the music once again without the equipment of choice being the driving force behind the music... instead of the music itself!

Good Luck!



I am likely not an audiophile, I can enjoy music, if it sounds moving from a wide range of cheap equipment.

I am not anal about hiss and pops and I don’t start moving cables if it doesn’t [insert contrived audiophile verbiage here].

I am always amused when I read how obsessed people are with this hobby and how they don’t think you can achieve quality sound under 10*x*1000 dollars.

Do I spend too much time reading reviews? Sure. Would I spend more money on it if I had more money? Of course.

At the end I am happy with my system and I enjoy the same music in my car listening to its no name, lousy speakers just as much.

I think what the OP writes about concern the people who are so much in denial, they have all the absurd justification ready anyway, they won’t "hear" or have any of it


Great post! You have a balanced way of looking at this hobby from above...you've got a fantastic audio system, yet don't try to push others towards what you want/have.

If others want to get lost in the magic of a power cable, that's all right too.  Everyone gets to enjoy this hobby in their own way. 😁     


You could learn a thing or two from @bigtwin Everyone gets to enjoy this hobby in their own way. 😁     - instead of constantly catapulting your beliefs "of science" and "measurements" always neeidng to be be right. Sometimes, it's better to act like an adult, even if you are having too much fun on audiogon already....



history; music history etc. is just boring to be. I appreciate your take on this...


So true. I recently started listening to my car streo more. It's a bose system. Tuned down the bass quite a bit; increased the treble. Just enough for better voice intelligibility and "hearing" some details. Obviously not high-end, but anyone who sits in the car with me tells me it sounds great with this tuning. 

I try my best to refrain from altering it even more...or buying a DAP.. etc. I'm listening over bluetooth. Less variables to nit-pick. Sometimes I even sing in the car while I'm driivng! I think that slowly, but surely, I am gaining back this non-audiophile superpower. 


Currently I've got a pair of headphones that I really enjoy on my phone. I sold the gear I had along time ago. I don't even have a speaker system right now. Even so, nit picking with headphones can be quite a strong impulse as well. 

Back then, I had I set of vintage JBL horn speakers with a nakamichi amplifier and denon CD player. All vintage, sounded wonderful. I sold it because I hardly have time for it...you know with the family and all...

I'm going to try high-end computer speakers. or just really small speakers that I can play files from  my computer on. Nothing fancy. And I bet with time....I will eventually become used to the sound...my brain will adapt.

Thanks to all...hope for more discussion for new members or anyone...expect Amir. Sorry Amir.

When I was a teenager, I loved listening to music, even though it was often on a hand-held transistor radio. Today I have a 5-figure sound system in both 2-channel and headphone. I could still enjoy a great song on a transistor radio today and it would make my toes tap - songs do that for me, not systems -  but my ears, brain, and heart are sure glad I've progressed to what I've got now.... 

I would consider changing your moniker to…. ?

it is actually a very good thread….. audiophile know thyself..music lover too….

i could fish in a mud puddle in the Walmart parking lot, if so constrained….

Seek goosebumps and joy…. street music, small ensembles, cheezy organs, Queen played over ancient PA horns, move, dance, luxuriate over a simple song, tune into the Compline choir …… listen to the Shrek soundtrack….

best to all


@bigtwin, stupendous comment.

I can derive great enjoyment just by looking at my system, simply as room art when not playing, and I don't care who thinks that's wrong.

Me too. And whatever ones budget may allow ... bling, bling! 

Now, where did I last place my Turtle Wax ... Wax on, Wax off ;-)

We all have a unique level we need to reach in order to let the music sweep us away.  Sometimes its as simple as a car radio, others need a wonderful system tailored to their tastes...whatever that may be.  

A good beer or two can help if it's not a great recording... 😄


Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is about this tension. It transcends audio, and if you figure out how to cope with it, you'll be glad you still have nice gear.


I think I can help. Let me know what gear you have now and I might be able to help you get rid of them. I just got my hands on a little inheritance from an aunt. Maybe you could tackle some valuable projects for your family, like a bathroom renovation.  I will be happy to help. 

@yyzsantabarbara: "I never considered listening to music a hobby." Hallefreakinlujah! I can understand and don’t object to the audiophile pursuit being considered a hobby, but music? If that’s all music is to a person, well, I don’t know what to say. I’d rather be dead than deaf.

As for me, I feel a little differently. Do recording engineers consider auditioning and evaluating studio monitor loudspeakers a hobby? Of course not, those monitors are a tool required to perform their work. The search for playback equipment (the hi-fi system) that allows one to better appreciate and "become one with the music" is not a hobby in the sense that, say, building model cars was when we were kids (a thing I loved!). Hopefully I can say the following without sounding sacreligious: pursuing the assembly of a hi-fi to reproduce music is no more a hobby than is the study of the Bible (or any other sacred text).

It imo becomes a problem when one puts the hi-fi system above or before the music itself. The hi-fi’s job is merely to serve the music, by reproducing it as well as possible (given practical constraints). But I can still become enthralled when I hear great music coming out of the speakers in a restaurant or bar, or the speaker(s) in a car.

It’s all about the music!

Do you like what's coming out of the thing?  Does it make you want to put on another piece of music after you've finished listening to what you've just listened to? Do you feel a stab of pleasure and anticipation when you first switch the thing on? If so, sit back and enjoy yourself. Enjoy reading the audio press and hanging out on Audiogon. No need to suffer neurosis.

By the same token, though, if you're caught up in the hunt to perhaps derive still more pleasure out of the thing, keep your wallet primed and open. Indulge in the neurosis.  Just try not to go broke.

I have two listening modes. Critical listening and evaluation while working on system synergy. Then I switch that off and go into music listen mode. Practice often and you will be happier. 

@ditusa @yyzsantabarbara @bdp24 

The word Hobby as defined by the English Dictionary 

"an activity pursued in spare time for pleasure or relaxation"

As defined in the American  Dictionary 

"something that one likes to do or study in one's spare time; favorite pastime or avocation"

Unless you're getting paid to listen to music, I think you have a hobby.  Just saying..... 🤣

I am an audiophile.

I have been one for over fifty years. I am attracted and drawn to great sound and music… the combination. I derive great pleasure from this pursuit. Each improvement that allows me to better enjoy music. Everything about this pursuit is positive to me. There are no negatives.

Now retired, I listen to music about three hours a day. I have to drag myself away as I must do something else. Every day, turning my system off and doing something else is disappointing. My system is the culmination of fifty years of effort, learning and the sound perfectly represents what I appreciate in music. I listen to the music… not my system.

@ghdprentice: Amen, brother!

@bigtwin: "an activity pursued in spare time". Music is to me "prime time", everything else done in the "spare time" that remains available. How anyone else cares to define "hobby" is immaterial to me.

".....for pleasure or relaxation." Music is to me far, far more than that. Of course I can speak only for myself.

Hi-fi a hobby? Sure, okay. Music? Not anymore than is breathing or eating. Does one get paid for doing that? No, but it is what keeps one physically alive. As the sign in the window of Music Millennium (a great record store in Portland Oregon) reads: "No music, no life." ;-)

Great post.

Personally, I don't belong in the music lover or audiophile category. I truly feel I enjoy a little bit of both. It's a matter of balance between the two. Pretty much like anything in life, nothing is black or white. However  I can respect the pure music lovers and their free wheeling behavior a lot more than the pure audiophiles obcessed with tunnel vision. But to each his own, whatever floats your boat.

like many things in life, it is incumbent on us (ourselves, individually) to not ’lose the plot’, ’miss the forest from the trees’ or whatever idiom you care to use

a great hifi is expressly for listening to music, for our enjoying music very much, casually or intensely, when we want, in our respective living spaces - that is why we delve into this hobby to assemble a system that produces recorded music with high fidelity

many good things in life can be misused, or bought for the wrong reason ... hifis and music included

It’s an addiction, buying new stereo gear.  Would I have been content with my Focal 1027 Electras, MacIntosh MA6900, Oppo universal disc player and Kimber 8TC speaker cables and Hero interconnects, all purchased in 2007?  They all sounded pretty damn good to me.  I enjoyed the music and didn’t think anymore about the equipment.  But as I kept getting Stereophile and the Absolute Sound, I did get hooked by the pretty pictures and reviews. Could the music sound even better? So, as an addicted consumer, I splurged in 2022 on speakers, cable, interconnects, integrated amps, CD players, DAC,  power conditioners and cords, Furutech outlets connected to dedicated 20 amp circuits – everything - and continuing into 2023 to achieve more “high fidelity” on the theory that I would better enjoy music enriched by this equipment.  Did I notice any improvement – sure. Worth the money? Well, debatable but you only go around once. But it’s about time to stop, be content with the equipment and enjoy the music.   However, if I ever hit the lottery jackpot, I will buy a bigger house in order to fit the Estolon top of the line  speakers in a living room driven by uber expensive gear and Siltech cables (I’m hopless).

there is a solid list of responders to this thread…that you might, MIGHT pay more attention to…. invite over… share some ancient tempo, capo, cord structure with…. that makes you weep….


Unfortunately, many in this pursuit tend to fall in love with the equipment, me included. The music tends to take a back seat. I get the post...but to make it stop, refrain from reading here, and also look away from any new reviews. Without discipline, it becomes a runaway train....with a one way ticket to the poor house.

it bears saying that playing with equipment is also fun

have said it many times here in various threads, there are numerous ways to enjoy any hobby, including this one

key is to be honest with yourself, be self aware, realize whether, how, how much you enjoy doing something (or if it has in fact become unenjoyable and/or a burden), then change course, alter behavior as needed to restore happiness as needed

we are the only stewards of our own happiness

I watched the movie "The Menu" and thought it could just as easily have been a room full of audiophiles.

Good post. You're right. But it won't stop me!


Post removed 

Here is a good example as to the kind of "audiophile/music lover" I am. For vinyl, I use two rigs:

1) VPI Classic TT with Lyra Kleos cart and PS Audio stellar phono preamp. This is for listening to about 20% of my over two thousand records which are of well above average to outstanding sound quality.

2) Pioneer PXL 1000 TT with Sumiko Starling cart and Puffin phono preamp. This is for the other 80%, records of average quality sound or worse. The Puffin simply allows me to make all the necessary sound adjustments to render these records into a much more pleasurable listening experience. And I know, for pure audiophiles, using a Puffin with all its digital "equalizing" features is a big no-no. But I could care less.

And that's why I consider myself an audiophile/music lover.


As I am getting old , there are fewer things that are going positive for me.
At last , I can allow myself to own a very good system. . That’s positive.

And by the way, I enjoyed in my youth, to sleep outside , on the ground , in a sleeping bag.
Not anymore ! A good mattress please…..

buy a pair of klipsch. heresy or cornwall and you'll forget about nitpicking and will enjoy music again!

Got mt first stereo at age 13. An 8 track player & radio. I hung the speakers on the wall of my bed room. While playing Three Dog Night one evening I found  The sweet spot.  That was it. I was hooked. That was in 1967.  Why ever quit..

Sure it’s our brains. Because once you have heard “it” you want more.

As Nietzsche wrote, "Without music, life would be a mistake."

@speedthrills interesting suggestion!  my Heresy do help me quit obsessing because the music presented is just so damned engaging.  It's like a user review of the Forte IV, also, that I read on Crutchfield: "At this stage in my life I wanted "shut up and play your guitar" sound and the Klipsch deliver."

Or something like the Polk R700 also come to mind... a "done" speaker at $2000, easy to place, sounds great with anything, and as Andrew Robinson points out, a speaker that sounds so good that it poses a "philosophical question" (like you, the OP, is asking) about any desire to go any "higher."  Time to just enjoy.. 

And, I'll also plug Andrew Robinson for his thoughtful youtube and print posts about "overcoming the audiophile addiction"... he even bills himself as a "recovering audiophile," and although you can still see his enthusiasm for gear in his reviews, he does actively promote the idea that once you have something good then relax and enjoy the music it delivers rather than obsessing on the neverending and always-diminishing-returns chase for an elusive perfection that doesn't even exist.


Or just put it away. If it doesn’t bring you peace, walk away. This may be you realizing you’re pursuing something that doesn’t fulfill you. 

Best wishes sorting it out- I’ve been there myself. Sometimes these periods cause us to reevaluate and refocus. It may very well be a blessing instead of a curse.


Look at it this way. Our systems sound so good that we’re inclined to listen to music we may not even like that much, provided that it’s well-recorded and has interesting sound effects. We would never listen to this same music in the car. The tradeoff is that some of our favorite music is not enhanced by a great sound system.

I’m certainly drawn into the audiophile word more from the equipment side than the music side. I’m not particularly musical which may be why my repertoire of music is relatively small and I don’t actively seek out new music very often. I tend to stumble across it. 

Having said this, I can get lost in some music in a way that it’s almost as if I’ve stopped lost all together. The music stops and I realize that it’s now quiet. 

For the OP, do you have some music that sucks you in?  If so, what’s different about it?  Maybe try reading a book or playing games on your phone while listening to distract from being hyper-focused on the SQ.  

Been listening to music for almost 60 years and the wide eyed boy in me has always loved new toys, I’ve been a fan of just about every new amp, new speaker, turn table or tweek that’s come along. So yeah, for me it’s a fun pastime.

I believe the best way to listen to music is with no stereo at all.  Go out and listen to live music.  You lose all ability to change or "upgrade" the SQ; you gain the immediacy of having the musicians right in front of you, and the community of sharing the experience with the rest of the audience.You'll find it easy to appreciate fine performances, whether through an overtaxed PA system or the most perfect system - just air and unamplified acoustic instruments.

It will also improve your experience at home.  You may often find yourself immersed in memories far stronger than anything any sound system can inspire in you.  You'll have a much better feel for the range of ways that music can sound, be heard & be appreciated.

For me, I would have absolutely no problem walking away from this hobby. I can sell everything off and not blink.  However, I'm forever an audiophile. If I sit in front of tunes, I am keenly aware of soundstage, Imaging, tonal balance etc. 

Isn’t it Audiophile in this site is define , someone who really spend good amount of money on their system? But barely have time to enjoy music but enjoy analyzing the system instead? I agree if you can’t afford it , you can still put up a good system  to enjoy music. My ELac B6 pair with my Norh leamp mono they sound good and musical.But those who have money likes to have the best, so they spend a lot on audio.

This is a really good discussion. Very interesting takes from many folks. Especially like the thought of the system as room art @bigtwin.

However, based on the two posts by the OP, and putting them together it seems like their primary intention was to insult Amir as in Amir’s behavior is unbecoming an audiophile.   Anyone else see this or am I totally off base?  FYI - I’m not an ASR fan or follower. 

@all ....*S* We all seem to love music, regardless of what form(s) we consider that to be. Not so uncommon ground.

How and what we choose to enjoy it Best?
Whatever works to do so, iyho. *G* Or not so humble, but it’s understood. ;)

That’s the part that gets classified ’hobby’.

We just put the word in all CAPS, and have at it. ;))

Have fun out there...

i'm reminded of alan parsons' definition of an audiophile as somebody who uses your music to listen to their audio equipment. 

@petaluman yeah... good point.  Live music can also help one appreciate what one has at home... like when I was at a symphony and suddenly realized: Hey, this sounds just like my Heresy IV ...!  Gave me even more respect for the Heresy experience.

Also, I was watching I think it might have been a Audiophiliac video where he visited a gathering of "audiophiles" in some NYC apartment and asked the question "What is snake oil?" and one of the most telling responses was "It's all snake oil.  I don't spend money on gear any more.  None of it is real.  What's real is hearing live music, so that's what I spend my money on."