Most of the people I talk to enjoy music and listen often. They have the tunes on while driving, when they are cooking or while reading on the porch. The thing is, the music always seems to be accompanying something else. Bach as a side dish to macaroni and cheese. So few seem to make listening the primary goal. This is what separates the music fan from the audiophile. Audiophiles drop into the chair, turn on the music and revel in it.
But do they? Many audiophiles get lost in the performance of their gear to the point of missing the music. They hear a sound and wonder if that is the way that the recording is supposed to be, or is it a nuance that their amplifier is adding? Inflection becomes obsession.
All audio gear puts its own signature on the performance. The argument forever debated is whether that inflection adds or subtracts from the music. Art Dudley got me thinking about this when he posted his list of loves and hates.
The audiophile disease is perpetuated in a Holy Grail like search for the perfect sound, but that sound is different for each of us. One theory is that we audiophiles fall in love with one type of nuance early on and spend the rest of our time trying to recapture it. I think that the perfect sound is a moving target for each of us. At one point detail is king, at another the warm bloom of tube gear is the Gospel.
With so many different viewpoints, who is right? Who cares? It is not about right or wrong, it is about the music.