The definition of high-end audio

October 6, 2022
 by Paul McGowan

6 comments on “The definition of high-end audio”

  1. Great reply as usual Paul. However, after what I’ve learnt from you and other knowledgable people in the broader PS Audio ‘family’, IMHO, I’d just replace your words ‘reproduce the live performance in your home’ with ‘reproduce as faithfully and transparently as possible the original intent of the recording production team’.

    I only reword what you say in view of your recent comments that ‘stereo is an illusion’, a manufactured ‘life-like’ experience of the original performance done in front of the microphones.

    My thinking is that if a music reporduction system can metaphorically transport you to another time and place of the performance, whether ‘real’ or ‘manufactured’, then it deserves the label ‘high-end audio’.

  2. I’m guessing that ‘the definition’ is going to be as subjective as home-audio is itself, ie. it’s not static.
    Every upgrade to a home-audio system that brings a more pleasing sound to the listener is probably
    going to sound like their entry into ‘high-end’ until said listener requires a further improvement in SQ
    (a bigger bang)…rinse & repeat.

  3. Built better with the best parts doesn’t mean it’s going to sound better than the lower priced electronics and speakers, it may or may, in some cases the lower priced stuff sounds as good or better, not but if have the money go for it. Your system can be more expensive than mine but not necessarily sound better. I’m content with my abilities to put together the system that gives me the most bang for the buck and to me that’s satisfying and high end.

  4. High-end audio is a marketing term created by Harry Pearson of Absolute Sound (see Wikipedia). It reinforces the idea that you have to spend a lot of money to get a certain level of sound quality. There is nothing more to it than that.

    My audio dealer advertises the business as high-end, because it pays to do so, but at the end of the day they are true audio consultants – my dealer comes to my house, knows my listening tastes and knows what will or will not work – and then instals it. He gets a satisfied repeat customer without having to use marketing labels. Do I have a high-end system? I have no idea and I don’t care.

  5. The artist takes me by his hand and tells me: Look that’s my world. Come with me.
    I go with him and see and feel the beauty of his world.
    And when a system can do this for me that’s HighEnd.
    Independently from price, brand, digital, analog etc.
    But there are some poor recordings out there that no system in the world can give you any emotion.

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