Reading an article by Art Dudley on Stereophile made me think again about audio quality and affordability, plus he does enjoy writing the word “bullshit” as much as I do! 🙂
Affordability is a funny thing, what I is affordable to me might not be to
you. Its as simple as that. I often see audiophile reviewers on the internet writing about 20K gear like it’s affordable to all people and that stuff makes me smile and think about my own income.
Reviewers tend to fall in a rabbits hole when they try to assemble affordable audiophile setups, stuff like “oh! I have this Lepai amp connected to 2 amazing but cheap Pioneer loudspeakers and its all connected by van den hul cables…” Van den Hul interconnects on a affordable system?! Something isn’t quite right.
If the review is for an affordable system one needs to think carefully about all the extras, so cables on a so called poor man’s Hi-Fi should be plain vanilla and nothing more.
Reviewers also fall in another hole, the “little upgrade” one…so what started simple and affordable will derail in to something else. “I had this cheap DAC around and the system now is more musical, bla bla bla”…Yea and the DAC just doubles the price of that now not so affordable setup.
For me the best way to make setups is to divide them by price range and extras, forget the so called “affordable” concept.
Also one should be careful with so called upgrades, because you’ll spend more money in the long run if you go by that road, one I know all too well.
One shouldn’t forget that not so long ago having a piece of audio gear was a sign of status for very rich people.
Most reviewers do write with their heart in the right place but they are in too deep in the rabbits hole to notice that for some people an affordable/cheap/Mid-Fi system it’s all they’ll have during their lifetime, it’s not just a desktop or kitchen setup it’s their main system and sadly most of them will never have money to buy better.
My system was very affordable to me, most of gear was around the 300€ price tag, is it cheap? It depends, if you are comparing it with 20K per component, it’s beyond cheap, comparing it with what most Portuguese families have at home that’s another story.
So you can imagine how I feel when I read in magazines about 20K components like they are reachable to most pockets.