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"Am I actually an audiophile?"

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

I'm thoroughly enjoying my Westone 4 that I just received but I'm not sure that they are worth $450 to me.  Not because of the set, I think they are outstanding & the price is fully justifiable, but because I'm not sure I'm quite that audiophiliac.

 

Where does the diminishing return drop off the cliff?

 

I know that $100 will essentially get you 2x the earphones that $50 will get.

It seems that $150-175 will get you about 2x the earphones that $100 will get, if you find a deal, $200-225 if not.

Above the $225-250 mark it seems to drop off, but I'm having a hard time telling how deep due to my lack of experience with different IEM.

 

Is it purely sound preference above the $250ish mark or are there still substantial differences in quality.  I understand that different components & engineering will drive up a price, but if I'm in it for purely enjoying music & not for perfection seeking, is there a general consensus on a budget ceiling?

 

I guess I'm having an identity crisis trying to figure out if I'm truly the audiophile personality or if I just have an above average ear that has a specific sound signature it prefers. 

 

There has to be someone else who has gone through this.

 

EDIT TO ADD:  Nevermind... it just hit, when I about teared up listening to Springstein live in Dublin "Growin' up".  The detail was worth every penny for the 5 seconds it honestly seemed like the boss was in my house singing.


Edited by jamesta - 3/23/11 at 6:34pm
post #2 of 15

I think you are right about it coming down to preference beyond a certain point. I love my $160 re262's, would be very interested in seeing how the mid champs in higher price ranges compare.

post #3 of 15

I think it is down to personal preference at $200+. Honestly, I believe that the most important aspect of being an audiophile is enjoying all of the aspects that a certain headphone has. Some people will prefer the TF10's sound signature beyond all other headphones period, and yet they, at one point, only cost $90.

 

Another thing too, I think only an audiophile will tear up during a song because of the nuances and detail :)

post #4 of 15

I think ~$150 is where the changes get minute. I think it's strange how hypocritical people can be. When my dad asks how much I spent on my earphones, he thinks I'm absolutely insane. Then he goes off and spends $500 on one gold club. 

post #5 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hydrocharged View Post

I think it is down to personal preference at $200+. Honestly, I believe that the most important aspect of being an audiophile is enjoying all of the aspects that a certain headphone has. Some people will prefer the TF10's sound signature beyond all other headphones period, and yet they, at one point, only cost $90.

 

Another thing too, I think only an audiophile will tear up during a song because of the nuances and detail :)

i have been known to chuckle with a big grin on my face when i hear stuff like that.....
 

 

post #6 of 15
Don't worry about being an audiophile.

The term gets something of a negative rep, but it's nothing to be ashamed of.

Buy what sounds good. You shouldn't care about what people think.
post #7 of 15

Im not there yet, but I am definitely discovering audio to be my passion.

post #8 of 15

i'm slowly getting sucked into this spiral, too. at the moment i'm still feeling like most this stuff is just too impractical for me, but obviously there's this other voice (mainly coming from reading too much head-fi) that tells you to buy&upgrade ;)

especially after ordering the jh13s - that's when the internal dialogue started rolling again. fantastic portable headphones, but what about home setup, portable amps, amp at home, dacs, etc etc?

post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristopherP View Post

especially after ordering the jh13s - that's when the internal dialogue started rolling again. fantastic portable headphones, but what about home setup, portable amps, amp at home, dacs, etc etc?


Funny you should say that. When I eventually make the move to customs, I'm going to sell off my full-sized headphones, maybe even my desktop amp.

 

post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric_C View Post




Funny you should say that. When I eventually make the move to customs, I'm going to sell off my full-sized headphones, maybe even my desktop amp.

 


that's one of the paths of ideas, obviously. i'll have to wait and give the iems a good long testing before i know how to continue. currently my setup would only include an iphone3gs and the rsa tomahawk amp. feels kinda low-class ;) ...although it might be enough actually. but that's the thing, right? when is "enough" really enough!? :)


Edited by ChristopherP - 3/24/11 at 1:39am
post #11 of 15

"Never", that's when.

 

Nah but seriously, it'll be enough once you become sure of how you want to use your earphones. For e.g.: I tried portable amps for a little while, but then just found it impractical. It was too finicky, with extra cables and devices and they were picking up interference...so I've since stopped auditioning earphones with amps. I also no longer worry about my desktop setup as much--my Beyers do fine out of a bargain bin DJ mixer I got for $45 (that's in S$, mind you).

post #12 of 15

I really do hate the term "audiophile." It seems so pompous. 

post #13 of 15

I think some years back there was a huge difference.  There was low end and high end, and the difference was quite apparent.  These days there is a sea of very good mid level products that really do excel about as well as the high end stuff.  Once you hit the $150 mark, it starts to become less a matter of getting better and more a matter of preference.  It sort of stops becoming a matter of this $300 earphone doing everything better than this $200 earphone.  It may do this or that better, but really you stop caring and just look at the overall package.  Holistically what does the $200 offer you and what does the $300 earphone offer you, and which one of the two fits your preferences better.  The $300 may still win, but the $200 could too.

 

I don't consider myself an audiophile.  It has a bad vibe to it, like spending $20,000 on a set of speakers and a $10,000 on a turn table just to play some old LPs.  I tend to call myself an enthusiast.  I will pay for better, but I won't buy into hype, hearsay, marketing, or snake oil.  I won't go as far as buying vintage speakers that were used to mix X song just to listen to X song the way the artist mastered it.    I think that craziness is required in order to officially become an audiophile. :p

post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by jleewach View Post

I really do hate the term "audiophile." It seems so pompous. 



x 2!!

post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by jleewach View Post

I really do hate the term "audiophile." It seems so pompous. 


I agree. Especially the tin ears that "think" they can tell the difference between $400 and $500 / foot speaker cables. All the flowery language they use cracks me up.

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by thornygravy View Post

I think ~$150 is where the changes get minute. I think it's strange how hypocritical people can be. When my dad asks how much I spent on my earphones, he thinks I'm absolutely insane. Then he goes off and spends $500 on one gold club. 


I assume you meant GOLF club. And if so, unless he is a scratch golfer, the $500 would be better spent on lessons.

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