Audiophile 2.0: The next generation?

Audiophiles are an endangered species, and if there's any hope for the future we need a whole new generation of audiophiles. I found one guy, it's a start.

David with his Teac recorder.

Most audiophiles are 40+.

True, there's a small sprinkling of twentysomethings and thirtysomethings who love gear, but are there any teenage audiophiles? They're pretty rare, so when I heard about a 17-year-old with 1,500 LPs and a huge collection of analog tapes I had to talk to him.

David M has it bad.

When he was five, his father had Bose speakers. Maybe they were too big, so his dad tossed them out and little David threw a fit! By the time he was eight or nine he started putting together his own hi-fi.

Like a lot of audiophiles David doesn't think he's one. He said, "I've always loved music, and as I've bought better equipment I found I liked the music more. It cycled from there." He's read audiophile magazines like Stereophile since he was in the eighth grade. David sounds like an audiophile to me.

He's totally into it, "I'm all audio, all the time...I thought I was done when I had a Sansui receiver and JBL 4311 speakers, but I'm still on the upgrade path." He now regularly records concerts at his high school and of his friends' bands. I've listened to some of David's recordings and he's good. But David has yet to turn any of his friends into audiophiles; even most of his musician buddies aren't into sound quality. He said, "They don't care. Some of them have already lost some of their hearing ." Yikes!

He has one friend with a decent turntable and a collection of records handed down from his parents, but that guy's no audiophile. David set up his ex-girlfriend with a nice hi-fi, and she's getting into vinyl and tape.

He's not turned on by much new music, or anything that's played on commercial radio stations. He likes folk music and obscure '70s pop, a bit of classical, some jazz. David says he's open to trying anything.

Like those of most audiophiles, David's system is always changing. Right now he has a Pro-Ject turntable, Akai and Pioneer cassette decks, Teac A3340F reel-to-reel tape recorder (pictured), Hafler DH-200 power amplifier, and New Large Advent speakers, but that's far from the complete list. There was some hope of getting a vacuum tube Dynaco preamplifier, but that's not happening right now. He's about to get a very cool, seriously retro Rek-O-Kut turntable.

What about CDs? David has an old Magnavox CD player he found at Goodwill and he has maybe 50 CDs. Oh, and he said something about an old Scott tuner, with one channel out...

Are there any under-30 audiophiles out there? Let's hear from you guys!

About the author

Ex-movie theater projectionist Steve Guttenberg has also worked as a high-end audio salesman, and as a record producer. Steve currently reviews audio products for CNET and works as a freelance writer for Home Theater, Inner Fidelity, Tone Audio, and Stereophile.

 

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