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An audiophile is a person who loves listening to high-quality sound from a stereo or home theater. Audiophile-grade recordings and equipment are designed to reproduce music without distortion or coloration. When hi-fi took off in the 1950s, the first audiophiles were also "stereophiles." See high-resolution audio, DSD, stereophile and phonophile.

Quite often, audiophiles are as passionate about the equipment they use as the music they listen to, and the gear can be very costly. An entry-level system typically costs around USD $10,000, while top-end systems are reach the stratosphere (see images below). Contrast with videophile. See imaging, preamp, Laser Turntable, Burwen Bobcat and audiophile DAC.

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 home theaters is often many times the cost of the TV. See home theater.

Sound Is Not Easily Remembered
Only people with exceptional auditory capability can listen to sound systems in different stores and compare sound quality. The only way for most people to test audio fidelity is to switch back and forth between two systems in the same store playing the same music. Also, what sounds good in the showroom will sound different at home.

High-End Amplifiers
Many audiophiles swear that only tubes 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.

High-Performance Audio Expo
Hosted at CES in Las Vegas, vendors showcase the most exotic audio equipment in separate hotel suites. Held in the Venetian Hotel in 2010, there were numerous USD $100,000+ stereos. In fact, there were three $500,000 systems, a turntable for $96,000 (not including tonearm and cartridge) and cables for $1,000 per foot. See CES.
References in periodicals archive ?
At their most extreme, audiophiles can fall prey to 'equipment-itis,' focusing on gear to the detriment of the music.
While developing the FiiO Music App, FiiO wanted to cater to the needs of the most serious audiophiles.
Since 1996, Revel has served its audiophile customer base with premium home audio equipment.
The DA-F61 Portable Bluetooth Speaker is for the audiophile on the go.
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.
While we don't claim to be hardcore audiophiles, we do appreciate quality sound reproduction and we're able to recognize many product shortcomings.
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.
The patent-pending dual-diaphragm 50mm driver is a refined version of the award-winning Crossfade M-100 that was crowd sourced by hundreds of headphone audiophiles and won 17 editors' choice awards.
You also have to love the fact that there are audiophiles such as your truly willing to buy their products.
Audiophiles will appreciate the best Mark Levinson sound system in any Lexus thus far--if not in any car, period.