Audiophiles: Not What You Think
Audio as a Hobby
You just came home from work, you’re tired and stressed, how do you deal with it? Some people come home and put their feet up, some people watch tv all night long; others, like me, bottle it up until bedtime and then cry themselves to sleep (we’re trying to work on that). Then there’s audiophiles who choose to relax with their favorite hobby: listening to and recording music.
Audiophile (noun): a person who is very interested in and enthusiastic about equipment for playing recorded sound and its quality. This definition is taken from the Cambridge Dictionary, but look around audiophile communities online and you’ll find not just definitions of what an audiophile is, but a group of people who are active in sharing their love of audio equipment with the world. While the word is a little comical (and has slightly unfortunate associations), after researching and delving into this community, I can safely say that their intentions are pure and their interests are valid. In fact, this experience led to my own appreciation for audio equipment.
What do audiophiles do exactly? This is a question I had when first looking into this community. Unlike conventional hobbies, audio equipment seems more stationary and less accomplishment based. I mean, what can you do exactly with audio equipment other than, well, play audio? Cars as a hobby makes sense; you can build and modify cars to your heart and bank account’s content. Art makes sense; it’s just you and whatever medium you choose to create with until you’ve made what you want. That is, until a 13-year-old online says it looks dumb and you give up art forever. Heck, even bird watching makes some sense because it gets you outside and I guess there’s a weird thrill to the proverbial hunt (not actual hunting, hunting is cool until you actually have to use the gun you brought). Side note, another question, are bird watchers called birdophiles (maybe that’s a question I should look up on Incognito Mode)?. But I’m getting off track much like a model train enthusiast which, again, makes sense to have as a hobby. Unlike these, and most hobbies, the joy of being an audiophile varies from person to person.
In a survey conducted on the audiophile subreddit, about 1/5 people admitted that they have spent between $2,000 - $5,000 total on their audio equipment. Now, I’m not sure if that’s a lot of money or not to them, but If I had $5,000 less in my bank account and a couple of new headphones in my room, I would question some life choices. With that being said, 25 out of the almost 600 people surveyed admitted to spending over $60,000 total on the hobby.
Where the really interesting information lies is in the comments section below the survey. Instead of people trying to one up each other or put each down (like what usually happens online), you can see the comradery and passion of these enthusiasts. You see people admitting to how much they spent and what they spent it on. You see people sharing the good deals on equipment they found and regretting some of the unfortunate purchases they have made.
All in this one post, you can see the love audiophiles have for their hobby and their openness to share with one another. Browsing the rest of the subreddit, you can see similar themes of sharing recommendations to help people, asking questions to make the best decision, and showing off audio set-ups in pride. This hobby, like most hobbies, fills a space in people’s lives that can distract them from the daily grind and fulfill them in a way that other things can’t, and isn’t that what a good hobby should be?
What’s in a Hobby?
Everyone needs a hobby. Something that makes them happy when nothing else can. Something they find joy and accomplishment in. A community that they feel like they belong to. A community that understands them in a way that is different from other social relationships. There is something kind of gratifying about a group of people going “Hey, you like this thing? Me too!” then proceeding to bond over their shared love of that thing, whatever it is. Relationships through hobbies transcend the physical boundaries and constructs that we live in.
Someone can look completely different than you, have different beliefs than you, even speak a different language than you, but if you both like the same thing, there is a connection there that goes beyond the rest. You don’t even have to know what someone looks like to enjoy the same thing as them. Human beings are complicated, multi-dimensional creatures and most of the time I, like most people, struggle to make sense of myself (let alone how other people get through the day). But as people on this great big planet we call Earth, we do not just have one aspect about us that defines our lives. Hobbies can help to give the extra dimensions that we crave.
For people who enjoy audio equipment, their hobby is full of things they find interesting and fun. From vintage finds to new tech innovations, audiophiles have a unique hobby that is all their own. The thing about hobbies is that everyone practices them differently. While there is a readily available community of audiophiles waiting to talk about speakers or something, not everyone shares their love the same way. Some people fashion themselves as collectors: people who enjoy owning vintage, rare, or top of the line audio equipment.
For these people, it’s not necessarily about what sounds good or not, it’s about being able to say they have something while looking at their collection with pride. Others are rare hunters who enjoy the thrill of looking through old collections and garage sales for pieces of audiophile history and more still consider themselves to be scientists who study the soundwaves and quality of audio devices to find out which ones truly are the best out there. Finally, there are people like me who have grown to enjoy watching other people’s videos talking about audio devices and think headphones and speakers are neat.
Something I’ve learned with my short time in this hobby is that there is truly no right way to be an audiophile, and that’s okay. What matters is how you feel about the time, effort, and money spent. If it makes you happy, that’s what it’s all about! Not to get too personal, but for various reasons I used to feel the need to justify purchases that I make when I’m not getting something completely necessary for my survival.
That was until one day not too long ago when my mom was telling my father about a nice new sweatshirt I had bought on impulse. I was already somewhat regretting the purchase until my father asked me a simple question; “Do you like it?” I said yes and he replied, “Good, life’s short, you should get things that make you happy.” That’s how I feel about the audiophile community. While I get it now after looking into them, in truth, I don’t have to understand it. In fact, no one has to get it but themselves.
Because at the end of the day, life is short and we should all do and have things that make us happy, even if those things are headphones and speakers. Or even if you’re a proclaimed birdophile.
Audio for Everyone
One of the most common forms of audio equipment that audiophiles discuss amongst one another are speakers. The Tiktaalik Alu is a Bluetooth speaker that doubles as a wireless charger. The sound quality is excellent, but the real interesting point is that you can charge your phone while you listen to music. Now, you will never have to face the pain of your phone dying in the middle of a banger again. For audiophiles, the Tiktaalik Alu is great addition to their collection because while most speakers may be too big to take out of the home, this speaker is great for travel due to its pocket-sized shape and its ability to fit in the palm of your hand. As such, it is useful enough to use in any home or office setting because it can fit on any cluttered desk or shelf.
Tiktaalik Alu’s slanted, rotational design allows the listener to adjust the direction the sound projects. This makes it especially desirable for the audiophile because they can shift the way the speaker faces depending on where they want the sound to be focused. Additionally, its aluminum base, non-slip silicone pad, and long battery life means it is an ideal speaker for any type of party. It can withstand being potentially knocked over and can play music long into the night for an extra rowdy occasion.
For more products that audiophiles may enjoy, don’t forget to check out the Stand-It for those who like to use their phone speaker. It provides a sturdy, metal stand that holds your phone or tablet upright, so they don’t have to lay their device on a table or counter to play music. If they’re looking for a different type of speaker, the MoonSpeaker is another recent favorite that combines form and function. The MoonSpeaker uses down-firing woofers to play low tones to the bottom and has LED lights that provide mood lighting to the music. Audiophiles can enjoy this speaker in the comfort of their own home while they relax after a long day or add a cool ambiance to a party atmosphere. Get yours now at Inbebo.com.
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