CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

HBO Max SpaceX astronaut launch Amazon Prime Day Mortal Kombat 11 Aftermath DLC launch trailer Justice League Snyder Cut release confirmed Best VPN service

Do you love or loathe high-end audio?

The Audiophiliac ponders why high-end audio polarizes people.

1-7guitar.jpg
A Magnepan 1.7i flat panel speaker Magnepan

High-end cars, watches, vacations, boats, wines, clothes, etc. are generally seen in a positive light by the public, but for some reason high-end audio is viewed as an outrageous extravagance for only the wealthiest of audiophiles. Talk about a double standard!

Yet the working class guy who collects vintage Ford pickup trucks or Corvettes, or drops thousands of dollars for a pair of tickets to the World Series, that's money well spent. We all have our indulgences.

High-end audio is all about the pursuit of perfect sound reproduction at home. Note, I said pursuit --we still have a long way to go before home audio sound even begins to approach the real thing, but for the audiophile who buys a new speaker, amplifier or turntable that brings that elusive goal even a little closer, it's worth it.

If James Brown, Radiohead, or the New York Philharmonic are more fully realized over a great hi-fi and give the owner years of musical satisfaction, what's wrong with that?

Like car, watch, or camera collectors, there's a certain amount of gear love involved. High-end audio engineers and designers devoted to advancing the state of the art are heralded by audiophiles, who see the best of their creations as objects of great functional beauty. I certainly do.

I sometimes wonder if the high-end audio haters ever heard a great audio system. These folks make a lot of assumptions about exactly what constitutes a high-end system, and what sort of price range are we talking about? How high is high?

There's no strict definition about price, but I'd say a decent high-end system, with a turntable (or digital converter), amplifier and a pair of speakers starts around $5,000, £3,227 or AU$6,809. That would buy a pair of Magnepan 1.7i flat panel speakers, a Rogue Audio Sphinx stereo integrated amplifier, and a Rega RP3 turntable, or the MyTek Stereo 192/DSD digital converter.

So while the cost of entry to high-end audio isn't cheap, it's still within the reach of a lot more people than exotic cars, boats, or premium watches. Lovers and haters of high-end audio can voice their opinions in the Comments section below.