go spend an afternoon in a high end audio store and all you have to do is bring in your favorite CDs and tell the sales people you are just doing some research and you aren't ready to buy anything, but ask them if its OK to do some listening so it can help train your ears. If the store is worth a $hit, they'll be happy to let you do that. I was able to do that at a local store and I used to spend Saturdays for about 4 hours almost every weekend and got to know them quite well and it got to the point where they'd let me take things home for a week to try out, since they know it sometimes takes listening to products in the home. But I rarely bought anything from them, but when i did, it wasn't a $100 speaker system. They even got used equipment in mint condition all of the time and I would buy that stuff as well. But, they helped me with training my ears, as I would sit down and listen to different products and sometimes I could hear a difference and sometimes I couldn't. It's interesting to go to their shows that are put on where you see the mfg showing off new products. Some of the high end systems are just REALLY nice to listen to. But if you don't immerse yourself in that, then you'll just be stuck not knowing and not experiencing what is out there.
It doesn't cost a penny to listen to high end audio at a local store. Nothing worse than spending money on something because you didn't do your homework and the product sucks.
Bottom line, don't walk around in life being ignorant about everything. It doesn't cost much money to gather information and to become informed about something that you actually might use daily. If you don't listen to music on a regular basis, then I can see, but I think a LOT of people actually do listen to music much more frequent and wouldn't it be nice to listen to music on a system that sounded great? You actually might listen to music more often. Is that such a bad thing?
If you appreciate a well engineered product, then it's almost like going to heaven, if you will. Have you ever looked at a pair of MBL's $125K speakers. They are a freaking work of art. Listening to them is whole other experience. I may not have the money to buy them, but if you looked at the engineering, the meticulous machining, they are freaking gorgeous pieces of equipment and they sound even better. You don't have to buy them, but just to be able to sit and look at them is a unique experience. Or how about a $350K Goldmund turntable? I've seen one up close, another work of art. I can't afford one, but they are a thing of beauty and and they sell every one that they make and they only make 25 a year. Insane stuff.
But again, if you happy looking at and listening to some POS Bose system, go right ahead.
Most of these audiophiles have a serious engineering background, so by osmosis, you learn something.
But please, don't be stupid and bring in rap or metal music, that's just not normally considered high quality music. Be nice and respectful to these people and they'll treat you the same.
Word of advice, listen to the low end systems first and gradually go up the food chain to their high end system. Then go back and listen to the low end system and see if you hear a difference. If you can't tell the difference between a low end system and a high end system, then you are deaf. The first time I heard a $400K audio system, it was just a different experience. It's like someone that likes to drive cars gets behind the wheel of a top end Ferrari. Worlds apart from a Honda Accord.
Here's a YouTube video on the MBL speakers. It's short but even though its a YouTube video, you get an idea of what these speakers are all about. In person,they are just works of art and even better to listen to.
Edited by drblank - 9/1/13 at 10:34am