The Shoestring Audiophile - Welcome!
Oh, even this term- “audiophile,” how we argue it back-and-forth. What does it really mean anymore? Is it simply the enjoyment of the hi-fi experience, or does it really require six-figure price tags and ridiculous accoutrements? Can I truly enjoy my loudspeakers without cable elevators? You know, those little wooden things that make sure my wires never touch that harmful floor? Do I need to spend more on my cables than I did on my house? Or can I just put together a really good system on a modest budget, and begin enjoying it?
Well, I’m here to argue that we can. I’m writing this for the “Regular Person”, who may not have the income, but certainly has the passion. We are a fading, but not necessarily dying, breed of folk. We are all walks of life, all genders, all ages, and have wide musical tastes.
Now, someone is invariably going to look down say- then this isn’t audiophile, this is just pleasant mid-fi. Opinions will always be strong, varied, and tied directly to the wallet of the listener. I will then begin my usual argument regarding the point of diminishing returns. This is the case of having to spend exponentially more to get something incrementally better, and so on, and so forth. While I do love a spirited debate, what we are ultimately talking about is the enjoyment of music, and the art of presenting it in our homes.
I have had the privilege of listening to some of the finest gear made. I’ve auditioned $125,000 speaker systems. Yes, they moved my soul. I recently heard Vienna Acoustics “The Music” loudspeakers ($35,000/pair). It was hard to tear myself away from them. The imaging, the sound staging, the depth of these speakers are just superb… but… still… I really love my system at home. I do. I really do.
I am fortunate to have lots of great gear around to begin reviewing, but will always try to revolve things and keep this as fresh as possible. Much of my focus will be on used gear that can be purchased for a song (which is precisely how I get it), and I will do my best to amuse you with my stories of acquisition. I will also review new gear, cables, and accessories, as I am able to come across it all in my daily needs. I suppose though, that my true love here will be some of the retro gear that I am lucky enough to own, and I will try to detail it as best I can, and let you loose to hunt some of it down yourself.
My goal here will not be to outline all the specifications of the gear, or to amaze you with my use of flowery descriptives of sound, but to hopefully entertain you with my stories of how I acquired some of my treasures, how I do my hunting, and to help you to do your own.
The bottom line of my site goes right back to the title. I build my systems on a meager budget, and get immense enjoyment from them. If you do the same, or would like to but aren’t sure how, I welcome you to join me on this sonic journey.