We know you guys are out there, it's time to speak up and be heard!
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 Stereophile.
It's true, most audiophiles are older, 40-plus-year-old people, but that's not to say there aren't a lot of young audiophiles.
A couple of years ago I met a 10-year-old audiophile at a hi-fi show when he walked right up to me and declared himself a loyal Audiophiliac reader. He peppered me with questions for a few minutes before his father joined the conversation -- he was also a 'phile, but nowhere as intense as his kid. The boy had already assembled a nice system, with a Creek amplifier, but I can't remember the speakers. I don't know if he believed me when I told him I was thrilled to meet him, but he made my day! He was the youngest audiophile I ever met.
Last summer I overheard a conversation in a record store between two teenage girls, no older than 15. One had just bought a new Audio Technica cartridge for her turntable, but the other one was adamant that Grado cartridges were better. They were up on their turntables too -- the Grado fan was using a Technics; the Audio Technica girl had a Rega turntable. They were into the music, but they were also into how their music sounded -- they were audiophiles!
It's one thing to listen to music squeezing out of a pint-size wireless speaker or a set of cheesy earbuds, quite another to dig deep into the sound with a pair of decent speakers and immerse yourself in the details the band fussed over for weeks or months in the studio. That's an audiophile thing; getting as close as you can to not just the music, but the essence of it.
I get plenty of emails from folks who are just getting started, and lucky for them the quality of entry-level audiophile speakers and headphones has never been better. The Pioneer SP-BS22-LR bookshelf speakers, and Pioneer SP-FS52 towers are both highly recommended, and the Klipsch RP-150M, Elac Debut B5 and B6 bookshelf speakers are incredible values. If those are out of reach, no worries: seek out the Dayton B652 Air bookshelf speakers.