WARNING rant ahead…
Mine… I’ll admit, I’ve been sucked into this whole audiophile thing. I consider it a hobby/addiction. I am not a casual listener. I have amassed a large number of headphones, IEMs, dacs, amps and all sorts of HiFi sources.
I’ve gotten sucked into wanting to hear what “better” and “better” gear sounds like and I’ve invested lots of my own money into the hobby. Because I have experience with lots of products, I enjoy sharing my opinions of the gear with others interested in what I have to say.
I’m coming to the conclusion that a lot of this “stuff” really doesn’t matter all that much. I’m talking about soundstage, imaging, detail retrieval, dynamic slam, even tuning.
Just yesterday, someone was discussing the Blon BL03 and how much they appreciated it after hearing an IEM many consider “better”. There really is no such thing as “better” in this hobby, there is only different. Money will not always get you “better”, but it might. It all depends on your personal preferences.
Trying to help individuals with gear recommendations is difficult because we all value different things. We all have different ideas of how the “ideal” gear will make music sound in our head. Self confession - us audiophiles get way too far into the details.
The point I’m trying to make is that as long as the music is getting to your ears through some decent means (which might even be as inexpensive as ear buds that come with your phone), you’re going to be able to hear and enjoy music.
Here’s the best advise I can give anyone concerning IEMs. If you’re on-the-go, if you’re jogging or exercising, You do not need anything more than a 26 dollar Blon BL03 in your ears. Better yet, the convenience of going wireless for-on-the-go far outweighs sound quality when running around. Apple Ear pods would be a fantastic choice.
Anyone wanting to spend more money to get something “more” out of their listening experience should be using IEMs while not on-the-go. It blows my mind to be discussing an expensive IEM rec comparing soundstage and imaging to someone who is wearing foam tips while running around! Anyone wanting to get more from their IEMs should be in a critical listening situation where music is your focus.
Probably my biggest slap to the face/wake up call through this whole audiophile experience has been spending a lot of money on a product, only to compare it to something much less expensive I already own and realize, there isn’t that much of a difference between them. This hobby has serious diminishing returns when it comes to the cost of some gear. It can also be real painful to buy an item in hope you’re going to fall in love with it, only to find out you prefer the sound of your old beat up cheapo IEM.
This is where we get into the territory of things not actually being “better” or “worse” than others but different. That difference that I am trying to describe is also 100% subjective to the individual. This makes making recommendations almost impossible. Add in the fact that honestly, most people really don’t even know what their preferences are and are chasing a dream. A dream that is very well completely different from everyone else out there and ultimately unattainable through any one piece of gear. Don’t even get me started when discussing an IEM around $1000,00 and the individual doesn’t understand what a good tip seal should sound and feel like. ARGH!
In your audiophile chase, you should be trying to define your personal expectations/find what YOU prefer. Understand the difference between what makes bass sound good to you… Do you just want bass to be elevated or do you want it to be detailed, fast and textured? I know many of you don’t understand the difference but think you do. I also get that everyone just wants “the best” but “the best” is subjective for everyone.
Your journey is just that. YOUR journey. We can’t help you if you don’t really know what you even want. Don’t feel bad though. We’re all on that journey too and have made mistakes, but have hopefully learned from them and have become “better” audiophiles for it.
What is the biggest thing you’ve learned during your audiophile journey?
Feel free to disagree with me and voice your opinions about anything I’ve siad. I’d love to have a debate about any of this.