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An individual who is very interested and enthusiastic about the sound quality of a stereo or home theater system. Also called a "stereophile." Quality audio components are designed to reproduce the audio without adding any distortion or coloration. For more on high-quality digital music, see high-resolution audio.

Quite often, audiophiles are as passionate about the equipment they use as the music they listen to. An entry-level, audiophile-class stereo system typically begins around USD $10,000 and includes a CD player and/or turntable, AM/FM tuner, preamplifier, amplifier and two speakers. A very high-quality system with similar components can cost upwards of $100,000 (see image below). Contrast with videophile. See imaging, Laser Turntable, Burwen Bobcat and home theater.

Home Theater Sound
Starting in the late 1980s, the sale of high-end audio equipment was given a boost by the home theater market. The more realistic the sound, the more realistic the video experience, especially for action movies. The audio equipment in many home theaters is often more expensive than the video.

Sound Is Not Easily Remembered
Humans cannot easily remember sound quality if any time has passed in between. The only way to test audio fidelity is to switch back and forth between two systems playing the same music. It is almost impossible to accurately compare the quality of two stereo systems by listening to one and going to a different store to hear another. It is a rare individual who has that auditory capability. In addition, what sounds good in the showroom may sound entirely different in the home.

High-End Amplifiers
Many audiophiles swear that only tubes can faithfully reproduce music. These Model One amplifiers were designed by renowned audio engineer Mark Levinson and weigh more than 100 pounds each. See vacuum tube.

CES 2010
The High-Performance Audio expo is hosted at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas and showcases some of the most exotic audio equipment in the world. Since "listening" is the entire purpose, vendors demonstrate their wares in separate hotel suites. Held in the Venetian Hotel in 2010, numerous vendors exhibited USD $100,000+ stereo systems. In fact, there were three $500,000 systems, an LP record turntable for $96,000 (not including tonearm and cartridge) and cables for $1,000 per foot.
References in periodicals archive ?
With extraordinary features that will please every audiophile, this advanced earphone is available now in Amazon.
Since 1996, Revel has served its audiophile customer base with premium home audio equipment.
The British loudspeaker maker KEF, a name well known to audiophiles, has broken out both the high-tech and marketing razzle-dazzle for its desktop X300A speakers.
There is no doubt that FIM, First Impression Music, is first and foremost an audiophile label.
Vinyl is a small business but a crucial one because audiophiles have $8,000 turntables sunk on a concrete slab in the middle of their living rooms and they want to play LPs,'' Hoffman said during an interview at Future Disc Systems, a Hollywood studio where he was remastering Mitchell's ``Blue'' for vinyl.
Cypher Labs AlgoRhythm Solo portable DAC for iDevices ($579): With sound more akin to a desktop DAC than a portable one, it's the perfect gift for on-the-go audiophiles with an iPhone, iPad or iPod.
Always entrenched in the music community, Altec Lansing continues to be a first choice for musicians and audiophiles alike.
This isn't audiophile vinyl or an audiophile recording, but it is still very well done and very enjoyable because of all the work that obviously went into this project.
The Company is admired by audiophiles across multiple generations and supports leading professional entertainers and the venues where they perform.
ES50: This earphone is the distinguished leader in the field for on-stage musicians and serious audiophiles, the result of Westone's dedication to developing superb custom in-ear monitors since 1996.
Of course there is a difference between those with the aptitude to create the music opposed to "merely" appreciating it (though there are countless who do both), but there is no doubt that audiophiles benefit from being able to be conscious of music on a level that is beyond the ordinary.
True audiophiles should do some research: There are several audio companies that make speakers especially for computers that sound as good as a fine stereo system.