Are You An Audiophile?

First there’s the audio equipment snob. I love my iPhone. I hate my iPhone earbuds. I’m talking about the original iPhone earbuds, the kind that millions of people still use. I don’t understand them – they don’t fit my ears and even if they did, the audio fidelity doesn’t match most of the in-ear headphones I’ve tried. The new iPhone earbuds: a step up, but still don’t fit my ears. So close!

Then there’s the production quality audiophile. While my ear training skills never developed well in the music theory sense of the term, I’ve always been interested in music production. A great mix with the perfectly selected reverb and separation between tracks means the difference between a good track and an amazing track. Can I tell the difference between 128 kbps and 256 kbps when you ask me the difference in quality between music files? Probably not.

That brings us to the file format audiophile. Neil Young unveiled his Pono music player to the mainstream with his Kickstarter project for audiophiles: a music device that will let you listen to high resolution music based off of FLAC, a lossless audio file format. For a few hundred dollars you can combine portability with quality.

But what kind of audiophile are you? Is the type of headphones you use going to determine your experience or is it the file format? Or is it how well-produced the music is? Or do you need all three? There are certainly many levels of audiophile: which one are you? Or is music just music and, “Who cares?”