Dear friends: I questioned my self several times about with no sure answer in this " easy " question.

A priori almost all of us think we are and through the Agon threads ( and in other forums. ) we try to show " we are ". We try to share our experiences and " best " learning and at the same time through those thread  discussion we try to learn. Well not all, many of us posted/post to be the winner: the one with the right  and only explanations.

Through my audio life I learned that exist no single audiophile ( included proffesionals reviewers/"gurus". ) whom write the right audio " bible ", many of us have higher knowledge level on some audio topics and " almost "  all ignorants with other topics it does not matters what that " guru " can think.

IMHO the high-end audio experience is a day by day endless learning and we can learn not only from those " gurus " but from the " rookies " too.

Now, the main subject in the thread is to find out with certainty what means: T E A   level  and to start somewhere first I would like ,  along all of you,  try to find out the definition of an Audiophile.

So, the thread is totally open for all of us come to help on this T  E  A   quest.

So, for you: what's and AUDIOPHILE ?  main characteristics for ?

W E L C O M E D  !!!  your effort is appreciated. Btw, the thread is NOT and evaluation of each one of us but looking for answers and a learning exercise for all.

Regards and enjoy the music,

Ag insider logo xs@2xrauliruegas
To me an audiophile is someone who loves listening to music and always wants to hear it better if he/she can. The vast majority of us have limited financial means and so cannot afford the stratospheric prices of many things sold here on Audiomart.

The best piece of gear for you is the best match that works within the parameters of how the rest of your system is put together, what kind of music you listen to, the room it is in, WAF and your budget.   Never feel like you have to apologize to anyone for what your gear is because it's the best you can do at the moment and that's always good enough.

True audiophiles get great pleasure listening to music on the gear they have and are always looking for ways to improve it within their means. They listen carefully to their own gear and learn by listening to the gear others have, in audio showrooms and at audio shows they have the chance to attend.

The audiophiles who get the most enjoyment from their systems are the DIY guys because they’re so much more hands-on with their gear. And because they’re DIY, they get to use their creativity to tweak and improve things, not to mention that DIY makes hi-end truly affordable for the common man.
Thomas Edison already answered your question. "We don't know a millionth of one percent about anything."
^^ Agreed. As soon as you think you have all the answers is when Bad Things happen :)
To me, a "true expert audiophile" would be the rare bird that has a wealth of experience connecting different makes and models of gear to arrive at a certain sound for a certain requirement and a certain environment. This person has a vast knowledge of what to put together to make magic happen for the person it is intended for. The true expert audiophile, to me, is a sound chef.

I myself am so far away from that, that all I can do is try to cook up an enjoyable meal for myself and hope my wife doesn't hate it : )
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Context is everything.  The only people that think I am an expert audiophile also think I am nuts.

It really all depends on whom is proclaiming to be an audiophile and how one goes about spreading the gospel of hifi.

In my business there are more "experts" than you can swing a dead cat at,  most of whom pontificate rather than educate,  delve into virtually every aspect of minutia attempting to impress rather than enlighten,  and think they know more about the product than the person who actually makes them.  Borrrrrrrrrrrrrring!

Frankly speaking,  I don't know a mosfet from a misfit,  but I can HEAR the difference between equipment - god knows I've bought enough stuff over the years to validate that statement!

To paraphrase a line in the movie Do The Right Thing,  "...those who know don't tell,  this who tell don't know..."
I believe that most of us here on the gon are audiophiles.
I also believe that anyone who actually thinks of themselves as a TEA has an ego the size of Kansas.
There are some of us that have & truly enjoy their $1K systems as much or more than others who have mega buck$ systems.
In all honesty - I think the only TEA's are people that you believe are the experts. ie: Someone who can walk into a listening room & detect imperfections in a system (like a tweeter off axis/plane, too much boom in bass, an anemic amp etc.).
I have only met one such person in my 50 years in this hobby & am lucky enough to have him as a friend who has helped me develop great sound over the past 20 years - THANKS TED!
I would argue that if you can make a good living on being an audiophile, then you qualify for the T-E-A.  That would mainly be designers, manufacturers, retailers, but also a few reviewers.  But just because they are experts, doesn't mean they will always be right.
First, I'd say that one can be an "audiophile" without having attained the status of a TEA.  Second, I would define the term "audiophile" as "a music lover who got side-tracked by a parallel obsession with the reproduction of music by electronic means".  And finally, I would not dare to define myself as a TEA, but I would probably be willing to concede that someone else may be a TEA.  However, no one is ever free of his personal biases, which gets in the way of being a TEA for all others audiophiles.  For example, your bias against tubes, Raul.

Dear russbutton:  """  To me an audiophile is someone who loves listening to music and always wants to hear it better if he/she can. """

I ask for the audiophile definition to start our " research " and I'm totally in agreenment with your statement and only coul add: 

""" through his/her home audio system "".

You are right too on all the other " characteristics " you mentioned. Thank's

Regards and enjoy the music,
Dear cleeds: I would like that you can post a contribution that can help to our T E A  quest.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Dear atmasphere: With all respect to you I think and know for sure that you are way better than your statement in what you posted.

Anyway: thank's

Regards and enjoy the music,
Dear vesollozo: """  a "true expert audiophile" would be the rare bird that has a wealth of experience connecting different makes and models of gear to arrive at a certain sound for a certain requirement and a certain environment. This person has a vast knowledge of what to put together to make magic happen for the person it is intended for.  """

I like your post that has some audiophile's characteristics. That's your overall view of a  T E A  and trhough the thread we will see if there are other characteristics inside the whole T E A  subject.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Dear wultke: """  The only people that think I am an expert audiophile also think I am nuts. """

Take in count that in this  T E A  quest we are trying to find out the  T E A  characteristics and not talking of a specific person/gentleman.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Dear oblgny: """  those who know don't tell,  this who tell don't know..."""

Well what we want it is to find out ( not the person but what defines it. ) if exist those """ who know at T E A  level  """

Regards and enjoy the music,
Dear paladin:  """  I think the only TEA's are people that you believe are the experts """

I agree. Now, what define a T E A   ? and this is our quest a quest where almost all can agree with.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Dear onhwy61:  """  That would mainly be designers, manufacturers, retailers, but also a few reviewers. """

Yes, every one can qualify for T E A  after we define, step by step , that qualification.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Definition of an expert: someone who used to be a drip under pressure.

Another definition of an expert: someone in a suit fifty miles from home.

So, for you: what’s and AUDIOPHILE ? main characteristics for ?

Audiophilia starts when you can’t explain your girlfriend/wife why do you need another cartridge/tonearm or additional set of cables etc if you already have everything. And of course you can’t tell her what you really paid for it (to sell it later with 30% discount here).

When erybody are very impressed except you (who knows it can be even better with next upgrade). If so - you’re audiophile.

Dear Raul,

If you break the word Audiophile into its components and consider the “audio” component. If this were a word association game what would the word “audio” suggest to you? The strict definition is that audio is “recorded or reproduced sound…”

Originally the word “audio” would have invited exactly that reaction from me but now after decades of marketing bombardment I’m just as likely to think of the word “equipment” in response to the word “audio”.


So it then begs the question, “Is a T.E.A. an expert in sound/recorded music or an expert in equipment and its application?” (Apart from the fact that equipment expertise could be irrelevant because one need not necessarily be an equipment expert in order to be “a devotee of recorded or reproduced sound”, although it would be helpful !!! )

Or is the “audiophile” an expert in both?

Audiophile is a name that (most) people these days do their utmost to distance themselves from.  Why, I don’t know. Perhaps they fear the name might be misheard and they end up being classed as p**dophiles by mistake! (Or some other –phile but in truth I can’t think of anything worse than that example).

Unfortunately, the reality is that no listener satisfies both qualifications perfectly and therefore it is sensible to assume that a T.E.A cannot really exist.

Sorry to leave you as puzzled as when I started.

Best regards,

Enter your text ...
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Dear lewm: """  I would define the term "audiophile" as "a music lover who got side-tracked by a parallel obsession with the reproduction of music by electronic means" """

you introduce/coincide with russbutton definition and I agree with both in that definition: " a music lover ", we can think that all of us are music lovers but I'm not to sure if in reality we all are or only like to listen it at home. Latter I will try to return to this subject.

Btw, I'm not against tubes, as a fact I used for years. I don't want to open another " window " here but to stay in focus with the thread's targets.

regards and enjoy the music,
In the field of medicine, the tongue in cheek definition of an "Expert" or "Specialist" is "someone who knows more and more about less and less, until he knows everything about nothing".

Raul, I definitely have no doubts about defining myself as a "music lover", but of course I have already disqualified myself as a TEA.  On the other hand, I aspire to be my own TEA so that I won't have to seek out the opinions of a TEA, who after all will have different biases from my own.  Among people I know, only one of whom is in any way an "audiophile", I am certainly regarded as a TEA; they bug me all the time about buying decisions.  The one guy who IS an audiophile lives up the street and depends upon me to solve his electronics problems and for an opinion on what he should buy next.  But I do think that loving music should be incorporated into the definition of a TEA.  Otherwise, we have a mechanic.

A true expert is how the world views you, not how you view yourself.  When you earn the respect of the audiophile community through your demonstrated knowledge and abilities, to the point that everyone admires your achievement and seeks your advice, you're there.  You don't have to know everything.  There are experts in the sub $1000 system world too.  Context.  Better, Raul?
DEAR FRIENDS: I think is a must to tell all of you that the " hide " target in this thread is not only to find out what we all think are the  T E A characteristics that as lewm, me and many of you want to arrive through the time but how and what to do to " buy "/ acquire those characteristics. 

Paladin posted:

"""   Someone who can walk into a listening room & detect imperfections in a system (like a tweeter off axis/plane, too much boom in bass, an anemic amp etc.).
I have only met one such person in my 50 years in this hobby & am lucky enough to have him as a friend who has helped me develop great sound over the past 20 years - THANKS TED! """

We want to know how/which kind of experiences and training had Ted over his audio life to arrive to T E A  status.

Target here is to learn how we can to achieve T E A   status in the shortest time we can. To know where to start the T E A   process, learn the fine points to do it and to self training to be educated as a T E A  .

That learning/training T E A process will gives us huge rewards as never we can imagine we can have.
Those rewards will put our audio listening day by day experiences as higher as any one can want it.


So, we need that every one shares his detailed audio system experiences with the rewards they aquired.

I know many people in this forum and other forums that have higher knowledge level in audio subjects than many of us. Even I was ( USA ) and meet some of them at their places and their contributions will be appreciated by each one of us.

Please feel free to post and don't be shy remember that here we are not evaluating to any one or any one audio system but trying to LEARN from every one experiences. This is a team work.

It's clear that all of us know a lot less that what we think we know. That's why exist so many audio forums throught the net and that's why so many audio thread with different kind of discussions where normally each one of us have a diferent opinion, many times just opinions with out real foundations.

Designers, profesional reviewers, audio distributors are welcomed, it's an open an UNBIASED  thread.

Seems to me that we already have the audiophile definition and moonglum posted :

“Is a T.E.A. an expert in sound/recorded music or an expert in equipment and its application?” 

so, we can assume that there are different kind/type of audiophiles. Could be important try to diferenciate in between and from here go on in the T E A quest.

Can we go on or you have a better " road " to?

Regards and enjoy the music,

The true expert or genius is aware of his own capabilities even when the world doesn’t recognize or acknowledge them or is very late to the party. Examples include, Einstein, PT Barnum, Edgar Allen Poe, Higgs the guy who discovered the Higgs Boson, Tesla, Oppenheimer, Heisenberg, Sheldrake and Schroedinger.
There is truth to be found in all of the answers.  Ultimately there is a talent involved that cannot be learned or taught.  That is genius.  Thinking that this thread can somehow make us all a genius is a flawed premise.  Good luck Raul.

Dear wlutke: """  Thinking that this thread can somehow make us all a genius is a flawed premise. """

That's not the premise. The premise is how all can grow up faster in the right path to the quest of " audio heaven ". Tha's all.

No one can arrives there alone and working as a team we can do better learning from the " ones " that know how to do it. Don't you think?

Regards and enjoy the music,
Please excuse the stoopid-long post, but here goes... When I was a kid I was already vaguely interested in audio due to the family Gerrard stereo we had. But, it wasn’t until 1972 when I was 12 that I picked up my first copy of Stereo Review and saw that there was a glossary in back that explained the jargon they were using. Had built my first Kenwood/Pioneer system by age 16, but more importantly I had accepted the discipline of reading on the subject - general articles of all descriptions - how to listen and what to listen for, Gordon Holt’s audio vocabulary, how certain sound departments can be influenced by things like: wiring, speaker placement, room effects, etc., how our ears/brain perceive sound, concepts like subjectivism and objectivism, and on and on over the years. So I started mapping out and cataloging info in my head. But, I remember trying to absorb, retain and visualize as much as possible. There were all sorts of audio ’rules’ to consider, but as I would discover, many of them would not remain true under all circumstances. And I eventually embraced the idea that any such audio rule is perhaps not really properly understood until you can map out all the conditions under which it is either not true or is seldom true...and that, sometimes at least, the exception can even be more important to know than the rule. But, even then I was the most determined to uncover audio truths of anyone I knew. All that was before the internet, but it shape me in that I learned early on to look to myself to advance my audiophile cause.

I was never a self-confessed box swapper, however. I never had that kind of money to work with. So I did what I felt was the next best thing. If I liked a product, but there was an unknown element to it, I would buy it because I believed that experience very often trumped everything. If the product fulfilled my expectations then it was likely my instincts that had led me to the purchase were correct enough. But, if it didn’t work out then, by Gum, I wanted to know was wholly insufficient for me to up and return the product and to forgo any opportunity to learn from my mistake. These days I play strictly for keeps. It would have to be a spectacular failure indeed for me to contemplate sending anything back during the return period, but some prior experience has helped me to hone my instincts to some kind of suitable level. In my own case, these days I look for moderately priced gear (or less), that at least has the "bare bones" of what I believe I’m after. When browsing, if it isn’t Exactly what I want, then can I make do with it...can I modify it (literally) to fit my needs, either by pro mods or DIY.

Somewhere along the way I had come to ’cross that line’ that separates consumers from manufacturers. I had made a concerted effort to peek behind the curtain. I had no real intention of becoming a maker myself, but very often wondered what it was they were clearly not telling us. Brand loyalty, brand-name ’mystique’, status, etc. were merely the things I was entirely ready and willing to trade for the sake of gaining just one additional insight into the honest truth about how components are both actually designed and made, let alone marketed...and often you don’t really come face to face with that until you’ve lived with a component long enough to see how it fares with a number of other components...(and even then something else may remain hidden). But, those experiences, good and bad, can, if you go through the paces with them, clue you in on all sorts of things. The truth about how things are made - exactly what kinds of problems I repeatedly saw that manufacturers tend to solve and what kinds they tend to walk away from solving - led me even further into modding and DIY.

But, I also came to realize one more fundamentally important thing. It is and always was "caveat emptor"...(but, I’m a capitalist, so I like it that way). But, what that has made me realize is that no one on God’s green earth is responsible for making me happy...certainly not a manufacturer of anything. In the end, only *I* can make myself happy. A maker can only say "This is what I have. Do you want it at this price??" And I can only ask myself: "Is this what I want?? Or if it isn’t, can I make do with it on my own, or do I need to buy something else...or buy nothing at all??" Very simple stuff, but something that I suspect that too often gets lost on many audiophiles, particularly those just starting out, who may feel that their happiness in this hobby may hopelessly and ultimately lie in the hands of someone else...whether that is a perceived TAE or a manufacturer or whatever. Of course, we may all rely on those entities temporarily to increase our awareness at any time along the way, no question. But my point is that, sooner or later, I find it becomes important to take ownership of making *ourselves* happy. Apart from an abiding passion for the hobby, it’s one of the things I think that has made me all the more bulletproof in the long run. Whenever I’d made mistakes (make them all the time, lol), it has made me less prone to implode or to become discouraged or to let go of my passion. Was always able to stay more focused and on track that way in the long run. Longevity there can be a key to success.

All that was about as close as I ever came to "TAE", and even that was only meant primarily for my own benefit...and, yes, I’d think it all makes me wacko to a lot of people out there, but I don’t really mind too much. But, no approach, including mine, is perfect. Even with my method it took me 26 years just to build my current system. But, I would prefer to disagree with anyone who would say that the hobby is entirely a journey and not a destination. Well, may seem that way if you’re still young enough. But, now that I’m closer in life to end than the beginning, I find the idea of trading in my audiophile badge at the end of the day for a music lover’s membership card is actually more tempting than it ever has been. Especially now that my system is all I ever wanted and more. TAE?? No, not me...but, I managed to navigate my way through the hobby to a stopping point that even satisfied me.

10 rules:

1) Start early, the sooner in life the better.
2) Read everything, not just equipment reviews (but read them too), but anything that will increase your understanding of audio and the hobby. These things should not be thought of as secondary to gear reviews.
3) Read, read and read some more...yes, even when you are not actively looking to buy anything.
4) Learn to trust your own instincts.
5) Be open minded...that’s the other side of the coin to skepticism.
6) Use the most basic and elemental experiments you can devise to answer your nagging questions about audio concepts (room treatments, solid core vs stranded wiring, or whatever).
7) After giving the technical aspects your best shot, take that into account and be prepared to take a gamble on your own instincts else you gonna know if your instincts are any good??
8) Always be prepared to be wrong, Lol!
10) Enjoy the ride!
Sorry, had it in my head as "True Audiophile Expert", lol
(you know you can't be one when you can't even remember what it's called)
Well, OK, I guess for the sake of the OP, my long post can be ignored since I'm just evaluating myself in it I pretty much....but my 10 rules stand. That may be about the best guide/definition of an "audiophile" I can give anyone. Sorry for all the verbiage.

I would suggest that anyone who regularly visits this Forum or similar is, by definition, an audiophile, however offensive that may seem.

Now all we have to do is find out which ones are experts. ;^)

Perhaps a quiz or an exam? ;^)

(If the questions were biased towards MM carts Raul would win hands down. :)

I am only kidding of course...... ;^)

       I met Ted about 25 years ago & over time I considered him like an older brother.
He is one of those (one of a kind) people that everyone seeks to like & respect.
Together we have entertained many of my most affluent clients, have eaten in the very best of restaurants, enjoyed some of the best cigars,
sampled some great wines & cognacs & have gone to some really great concerts.
Ted does not own a great audio system, but he just seems to know a ton more than anyone I have ever met about audio.
He's very well educated, works for doctors & sets up cc surveylance systems.
In the past Ted has re-wound the coil of a very expensive cartridge, re-worked my Tandberg reel to reel deck, repaired a power amp & replaced a tweeter on a speaker that blew - Just to name a few things.
He just has a great ear & is more than willing to help as long as it does not require heavy lifting.
Very few people are blessed with his talent - I was blessed with knowing him.
I think that he is way too humble to consider himself a TAE, but I most certainly do!
For you guys who like snake oil - I hope to open a TAE school soon here in NY.
There will be 25 credits over 25 months @ $2K per credit & as soon as I can clone Ted - We Will Go NATIONAL!
I don't think of myself as an expert, but I know what I like and don't like. The only thing I may be an expert in, when it comes to audio, is finding ways to spend money! 

Seriously, this hobby of ours is interesting- I'm always learning and discovering new things, nuances, and getting a kick out of it in the process. I also get a kick out of things that are hailed by some as marvels, and are, to my ears, utter BS. Tice clock anyone? 

Its all  in the service of the music, which is why I cling to FM- free music, and am quite content to listen to radio stations world wide via tune in radio, on my phone, which is then connected to my preamp. 

Can I set up a turntable and install a cartridge? Sure. Can I fiddle with speakers placement for a while until the speakers disappear? Yes, but none of this makes me an expert. Just someone with some experience. Going back to the 70's
T.E.A is someone "gifted" to create "magical" setups with whatever choices available. It doesnt come just by great knowledge or golden ears. He must be gifted by almighty to hit that "magic" sound almost every time he attempts.
Would only profess to truly be a heart felt vinylphile, I am but a student, and perhaps a somewhat reluctant audiophile... How is that defined? Hell, I do’know.
Nope, just your average audiofool.
But with 40 + years doing it I'm in demand as a system dial-upper .
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At one time years ago I might have called myself an audiophile, but I think music junkie better describes me these days.  I no longer listen to the gear, I listen to the music.

lol so true. Schubert, you got a somewhat punky attitude ;)

Seriously, I´m too still searching for the answer... after all these decades.

On the other hand, I´m very happy with my current set-up and I really don´t long for a better analog sound, it´s the finest I ever have had and can´t imagine a better really. So am I just a fool trying to catch the gold in rainbow´s end...

" Some say that I’m a wise man, some think that I’m a fool
It doesn’t matter either way: I’ll be a wise man’s fool " - Keith Reid

Quote from "In Held ´Twas in I", music by Procol Harum, 1968

bare bones definition: "one who seeks perfection in the reproduction of recorded music."
Dear Raul, I do organize the first Japan Triode Meeting in may 2017 in Fukuoka and I would love to have your participation, so please contact me at : Facebook page Lenco Heaven Meeting.
Best regards,

@rauliruegas I'm sure this has been said in one way or another, but I think "an audiophile uses their equipment/setup to listen to music, whereas a T.E.A. uses their music to listen to their equipment/setup."

That said, I am in full agreement with @russbutton  and @pani on this discussion. For me, a True Expert Audiophile is a systems thinker who is fully capable of hearing the current state of an audio system, have the knowledge to understand why the current synergy of the setup mixed with the environmental constraints is resulting in the output, and what kinds of improvements can be made in order to get the best synergy across all pieces of the system in that specific environment.

Honestly, I think it is foolish to have an expectation of how a system should sound without having full control of the dynamics of the environment (and a light amount of room treatment can only get us so far). So really, perhaps it is about making the absolute best out of what is there and what you have to work with. It's all systems thinking with the requirements of being fully aware of every variable in the system and also having an awareness of how other variables (components you can add or modify) will change the equation.

With that, I think a T.E.A. should be able to design or consult on a number of different types of systems based on different types of rooms, or based off of different sound signatures defined by core components such as speakers or amplifiers or source material that the T.E.A. wishes to use as a foundation for the sound.

So to summarize, a T.E.A. must:
1. be a holistic systems thinker that is fully aware of every variable in a system
2. have done the research and has the hands-on expertise on the variables or tools available to them (components, parts, etc)
3. know how to work within constraints to get the best possible results (based on environment or foundational components that the system owner wishes to keep in place).

There are those who believe that there are no ''stupid questions''

but well ''stupid answers''. I think that both exist and deserve

each other.