Why HiFi?

By: Gary Alan Barker
February 26th, 2020

Welcome to HiFiAudio.Guru! Those familiar with our sister publication Headphone.Guru are probably asking themselves, “Why HiFi?”. Why HiFi? indeed or Hi-Fi if you prefer, though to get down to brass tacks it’s High-Fidelity. High-Fidelity in this context refers to the attempt to reproduce via loudspeakers the original performance of the musicians as accurately as possible.

For myself, Hi-Fi is my first love, going back to the late nineteen-fifties listening to Phil Harris, the Lemon Sisters, Betty Johnson, the Glen Hurlburt Trio, Tennessee Ernie Ford, etc. I remember the first experiments with stereo, a simulcast using a television and a radio to reproduce a train crossing the room. The first stereo system I heard was two mono Hi-Fi units wired together with a stereo cartridge fitted to the turntable. I remember listening to the Moody Blues“Days of Future Past” and being completely blown away by the three-dimensionality of stereo. So in essence, this magazine is a fulfillment of a life-long dream.

I developed my ear as a musician. The piano is one of the hardest sounds to reproduce accurately, with 224 strings vibrating sympathetically added to the resonance of the soundboard and chassis, a single note produces harmonic overtones in excess of a megahertz. And as my old Virgil Fox direct-to-disc albums used to boast, the lower registers of a pipe organ can produce 18Hz notes. And then there is the dynamic range of acoustical instruments, in excess of 110 dB radiated in 360 degrees (as opposed to a loudspeaker which usually has 30 to 60 degrees of dispersion). That, added to years of research listening to every speaker and piece of electronics I was able to, and not to mention a little mentoring from other audiophiles, solidified me as not only a music lover but as an audio purist and audiophile myself.


So, what’s it all about, just another audio mag? Well, we’re taking a slightly different approach than our brethren audiophile press. We see Hi-Fi as the next step for the Personal Audio Enthusiast. Personal Audio, by its very nature, is well personal, and Hi-Fi, whether it be Home Theater or a dedicated music system, is more of a shared experience, shared with friends and family, as well as other enthusiasts. A Hi-Fi system is more than a collection of components, the true secret to an audiophile experience is system matching, finding components that have synergy and work well together. So rather than doing individual component reviews, we will be focusing on complete systems, speakers, amplifiers, preamplifiers, turntables, DACs, and cables, as a whole. Not only that, we will be focusing on affordable systems, tested in real-world situations, rather than rarified air dream systems in anechoic chambers that most audiophiles can only wish for and only experience at Hi-Fi Shows in semi-ideal conditions. And to further this, we will separate these systems into different price categories: Under $2,500, Under $5,000, Under $7,500 and 10,000+.

I have been a budget audiophile my whole life, and I know it is possible to have good sound without having to invest in unobtainium, and I want to share that insight with you. To that goal, I have set up a listening room, using simple room treatment that is accessible to all (my favorite room treatment is books and records, hardback books are best with their curved spines, but the irregularity of shape and the damping of cardboard and bound paper act to break up standing waves better than many expensive room treatment materials), and hope to share simple tips also.

Again, Welcome to HiFiAudio.Guru, I hope you find many hours of enjoyment learning about new products, opening the way for you to join in on the audiophile experience making your music-loving lifestyle all that more pleasurable.

A work in progress

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