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Redefining the Audiophile

by Sachin Balagopalan on May 24, 2008 · 1 comment

One of my favorite movies growing up was Ferris Bueller’s Day Off circa 1986. Besides wanting to go out with Ferris’s (Matthew Broderick) girl friend in the movie Sloane Peterson (Mia Sara) ;) I was even more enamored by Ferris’s stereo system. I mean he had the ultimate high fidelity gear and I’m talking about the one and only Carver! His Carver stack comprised of a M-500T amp, DTL-100 CD player, and I’m not sure what model his receiver was but it definitely was Carver. In addition to the Carver gear he also had an AudioSource equalizer and if you look real hard you can also see his Bose speakers in the background at one point in the movie. Yep if you were in your late teens at the time you know what I’m talking about. Next to girls and cars (yes in that order ;) ) you wanted that ultimate combination of stereo components - be it Carver, Marantz, Nakamichi, Bose, Technics or Kenwood - so you could reproduce the closest possible sound to the original recordings of Rush, AC/DC, Led Zepplin, Black Sabbath or whatever else you listened to.

CNET has a post today that talks about the “demise” of the true audiophile and I couldn’t agree more. These days buying high fidelity equipment involves going to your local or online Apple store and purchasing an iPod and perhaps a pair of Shure’s or Bose headphones/buds - oh yeah and the speaker dock as well. As the CNET piece articulates - it’s not because people don’t listen to music anymore rather like everything else in our “to go please!” lives music and video have become portable as well.

However I think the true “culprit” responsible for the decline of the audiophile is none other than technology itself. The quality of the recordings and the format in which music is distributed today mitigates the need for a complex audio system. When CD’s first came out we were all oohing and aahing at the quality of the recordings. But you still needed a good set of speakers and a preamp along with a receiver to really capture the sound because most of the original recordings were analog and were digitized for CD - remember the AAD and ADD tags on the packaging :) ? Fast forward to today and the mp3 format and all its derivatives have totally revolutionalized the quality of sound. Besides your mp3 player all you really need is a decent pair of speakers or headphones, nothing fancy and you can listen to the artist as if they were playing in front of you.

Yep - for better or for worse the true audiophile is a dying breed.

Check out the VU meters on the Carver power amp above!

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

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