Investing In Premium Audio Gear
In recent years, it has become fine for people to embrace their inner nerd in almost every hobby or interest. Except audio. In audio, it's still unacceptable in some circles for someone to spend money on good audio without being pillaried for being at once a credulous sap and obsessed by 'bling'. And I'm not sure why we are the exception.
Here's what I mean. British actor Henry Cavill (best known for playing Superman and his roles in The Witcher and Mission Impossible - Fallout) is known as an avid gamer and unashamed fan of Warhammer 40,000. He has spoken about this extensively in chat shows recently. Only a few years ago, his fanaticism over painting plastic spacemen would have been met with scorn and ridicule, but now it's met with genuine interest, even among non-fans.
Similarly, Rod Stewart has been a life-long model railway enthusiast, with a 23' × 124' layout he calls the Three Rivers City, based on New York Central and Pennsylvania railroads and a second layout based on the East Coast Main Line railway in the UK. His layouts have been featured several times in Railway Modeller and Model Railroader magazines, but it's only recently that the mainstream media was drawn to his passion in a sympathetic manner.
Thanks to both The Big Bang Theory and Stranger Things, Dungeons and Dragons has seen both a reemergence and a mainstream legitimacy it lacked a generation ago.
Even cosplay – so often the focus of derision by trolls worldwide – has become more publicly accepted. Attending a Comicon used to be dismissed as a kind of holding pen for nerds and while it still has some negative connotations among the mainstream, it's treated with far greater neutrality today.
Sadly, the same acceptance has not made it to audio in quite the same manner. Yes, thanks to the lockdowns, the interest has returned, and we've seen a younger generation attending audio shows across Europe in the last year. This is great. But proudly displaying your new high-end cable on the Internet can still hurt.
Although the trolls will claim their ire is about protecting people from spending money unnecessarily, that doesn't ring true. All these other hobbies can prove punishingly expensive, too.
I think it's time to set aside our personal dislikes in the hobby and be more welcoming to a new generation of music loving audio enthusiast. That doesn't mean 'mansplaining' but it does mean it's time to stop being audio's gate-keeper.
Errata: hi-fi+ published a review of the excellent Karan Acoustics Master Collection PHONOb in Issue 217. However, in some parts of the review, we inadvertently called this the 'Master Reference' instead of 'Master Collection'. Our apologies for the confusion this may have caused.