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My Audio Journey / The Casual "Audiophile"
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Interesting post. That line, "...I don't consider myself an audiophile..." resonates with me (it also pops up everywhere people discuss audio). By the late '80's I build a large audio system (almost all used) that for the time was very much mid-to-high-level audiophile w/large tube amps, subs, bi-amp'ed speakers, high-end turntable, etc. Yet early on, I realized my "ear," which is tuned to live music (it really IS all about love of music) completely rejected the treble-centric audio equipment so many audiophiles adored. The gear that hit my sweet spot was euphonic, non-fatiguing, w/rich midrange & upper bass, just like real music. Flash forward 30 years & the same thing is playing out in my desktop & headphone system, where I can't tolerate "accurate" (read "over-emphasized treble") sound: the resulting system is a mix of stuff that headphone wonks rave about, and some they don't regard very highly. The lessons I get from all this are: 1st, let live music be your guide, always; and 2nd, find the sound you love, then build your equipment around that, no matter what others say.