Can you imagine someone buying a Porsche 911 just to leave it in the garage and admire the way it looks?
I suppose someone somewhere must do that, but it’s hard to picture in general, because those who’ve invested in the top-flight driving machine are more often than not huge fans of, well, driving.
Colorado Porsche owners especially love driving on a good twisty, mountain road (sans pot-holes and fallen rocks) because it lets them appreciate all of the brilliant design choices that went into their car. The right road will show off why the suspension was balanced just so, and the right speed will show just how the thing sticks to the ground when it’s gunning.
Being an audiophile is the same sort of game — you’re setting up a system that lets the best music (best road) show off all that the system can accomplish.
I’ve been talking about dynamics and modern pop production because the way it squashes the volume of tracks may be good for background music, but it’s not the best road to drive on.
And the thing is, driving a Porsche is fun whether you’re creeping through a drive-thru line or speeding up a canyon. I’ll never make the argument here that listening to pop music is against being an audiophile.
In fact, it’s the opposite, and that’s a point I’m trying to make. Folks who go through the steps to make a really musical and accurate playback system are more often than not huge fans of music.
A good system will make well-recorded, dynamic music leap from the speakers and transport you to another place. A highly processed, compromised playback system like a Bluetooth speaker will make everything sound the same.
Driving is such a great parallel for audio. Think about the difference in road feel of a Porsche versus a Chevy Suburban. The Porsche is low to the ground with sporty suspension, so you can really feel the difference between a gravel road and a newly rolled one.
In the Chevy, the vibrations are much more processed before they reach your feet. If you couldn’t hear it, you might not know you went from paved to gravel right away while driving.
And in the Porsche, when you hit that fresh new pavement and crank a high speed turn on it … my, my. That’s the good stuff. You might feel like you’re flying.
Being an audiophile means those variations of feel matter to you. It means you’re setting yourself up to fully appreciate the really well-recorded music.
Great wine lovers don’t only down $300 bottles. There’s nothing wrong with listening to Taylor Swift on an audiophile system.
But follow that up on the same rig with the title track of Jacob Collier’s 2016 masterpiece “In My Room” and the experience goes from fun to eye-popping wonderment. That’s what it’s all about.
Here are two more audiophile albums to check out for fans of acoustic, ‘grass and folk: “See You Around” by dream team I’m With Her (“Ryland” will give you goosebumps), and “Accomplice One” by Tommy Emmanuel. Both were released this year and both have a lot to give on a well-built music system.