Audiophile, High end or Hi-fi?

Where do you stand in High-End?

Where is the distinction between those two. It seems, that with current flow of the prices everything is getting crazy. High-End is moving towards luxury market and that might not be the best interest of music lovers and audiophiles. Is Hi-Fi becoming new down to earth High-End?

Times when Sony and few other giants invested vast founds into building true break through products for reasonable amount of your hard earned audio money are just a far cry. There are still few of companies with great resources, but it seems they're all playing safe.

At present many small manufacturers are (as they often say) pressured into high prices with all the individualize time spent, founds invested and know how used. Does this really make an excuse for quite often stiff prices charged? It sure depends. On founds, on your perception of value etc.

At the end of the day all comes down to the personal bank credibility and logics, that guide of perception of High-End audio, or for that matter high quality music reproduction.

I still would't mind (and I still do) investing in companies like Kondo Audio Note Japan, Robert Koda, Burmester etc. You might agree or not, but I strongly believe those and few other audio companies still holds their reputation for quality, knowledge and value. It's High-End gear and even if I cannot afford it, I'll admire and respect it. Would surely like to drive a Morgan, but probably not in this life time. Call me old school chap, romantic, nostalgic, whatever; there is something about tradition, hand made and passion for music, that transform very nicely into my perception of High-End.

To return on the subject of Hi-Fi. There is a vast amount of audio manufactures and gear coming from every continent. Perhaps this might be the best time for anyone to dive into to the realms of audiophillia. With all the knowledge, access to the great used gear and some amazing products from new and established companies, you might get in audio bliss even in the absence of High-End luck. It's just a matter of time and efforts to construct a great sounding system.

Anyhow, good luck and great hunt. I'm doing my part of the quest here on Mono & Stereo for both entry level and ultra High-End. Stay tuned where ever you are.

Matej Isak
Mono & Stereo, June 2011
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