Audiophile Choices

Musical Waves

The audio enthusiast is the lover of the good sound. Therefore, among the five senses, the hearing is the most important for him. Through experience, he has developed a higher degree of refinement if compared to the human average. The fact is, that the remaining senses do exist and the luckiest of us can use all five at the same time. This is a real trouble, tough. Especially for the audiophiles.


TASTE I definitely cannot imagine an audiophile, or a small group of ravenous audiophiles, going to a hi-fi dealer to taste the ultimate Audio Research preamplifier: bitten tubes, transistors and mosfets skilfully separated with two fingers and gently put into mouth as delicious titbits, capacitors opened and sucked as juicy lobster pincers, finely anodized aluminium panels licked up to consumption. As regards the fast food, there are the record shops: how to deny a pair of good LPs, maybe double, stuffed with five or six CDs, better if SACD? No! Maybe, the sense of taste is not suitable for the audiophile.


OLFACTION In some cases the sense of smell might come in handy for the audiophile. I remember with great pleasure the perfumes and essences of new devices just removed from their packaging. I also remember the nice smell of the Infinity K8 I bought at the end of the 80's: a scent of wood and glue both delicate and intense. Same sensation, similar but different, with the Tannoy Westminster.

Also the amplifications are up to emanate fragrances made of plastics and metals and enticing aromas of soldering pastes. I know enthusiasts fallen in the whirl of vice and addiction. Sometimes I spot them in the dark corners of the backstreets with their head slipped into the packaging of the CD players. Those at the “end-stage” rummaging in the waste of the megastores basements looking for used machines.


TOUCH Another sense not to discard as for the audiophile. Each of us has surely felt a certain pleasure in running the fingers over the aluminium front panel of an amp, maybe feeling the slight vibration produced by the transformer or the toroidal transformer. Surely, each of us has manually tested the Wow & Flutter or the Rumble of turntables with the fingertips on the chassis while the engine was operant. And what to say about the children who cannot avoid to put their finger into the dome of the tweeter? Children are the audiophiles‘ worst enemies. Finally yet importantly, the sense of touch is useful to weighing up. I remember an acquaintance who once told me that the quality of a device is directly proportional to its weight. I caught his trusted dealer while putting some bricks inside a power amp.


SIGHT Here are the troubles. Indeed, because it has been proven that many audiophiles usually select the components of their system with their eyes and not with their ears. We must admit it and yield before the facts. Cast the first stone who has not fallen in love with the object regardless of its sound! Actually, as enthusiasts we are very sensitive to beauty and, as enthusiasts, we are enthralled by the aesthetics. Many manufacturers and designers are aware of that and spend many resources to make fine apparatus, alas often to the detriment of the quality. Who becomes very fond, can also fall in love and who falls in love is a man with still lively desires. This is a good thing.


HEARING Good hearing is not required.



Photogallery: Pantoja, Five Senses

by Roberto
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