Gizmodo - Why We Need Audiophiles - Audiophiles This is a great read for anyone that is interested in great sound. I've said it a few times, I'm not into expensive audio gear because I like gadgets (although that part is fun too). I'm into expensive gear because I flat-out love music, and I want to hear it like the artist meant it to be heard. I will tolerate MP3's on my phone, but not when I want to hear some really choice music played like it was meant to. Sadly, between my kids and my schedule, I do not get near enough time for pure listening.
This is Michael Fremer. He's listening to "Avalon" by Roxy Music on his $350,000 stereo system. It sounds excellent. He's a bit crazy, but if you love music, you need him.
BTW, "Avalon" is one of those pieces of music that screams for high quality. My system isn't quite in the league of $350k, but it does pretty well.
I think the following quote sums up my thoughts exactly:
Because the thing is, Fremer loves music first and foremost. The audiophile I had feared was one who cares far more about the overpriced gadgetry than the actual music. This is not who I ended up meeting. This man listens to music and makes sure it was recorded with the best fidelity, that the intents of the artist have been preserved. And thank God he does, because we certainly don't.
If you ever get a chance to listen to a favorite, well-recorded piece of music on a choice system, take it. You may be surprised at the subtleties and feeling you are missing. Be careful though. Many recent recordings are mixed for MP3 players and will sound pretty bad on a great system. The really scary part is that some recent "Remastered" versions of classic albums were mastered for MP3 players as well. Many times, it is better to stick with the original.
In a future post, I will describe what I built/coded to control my entire media system from one remote. Note, since I have small children, all my equipment is in a locked closet.