Audiophile Lingo - Is This Green?

A discussion about audiophile terminology and whether this is consistent with eco-friendly thinking.


"Muddy Bass"
"Cooking the cables"
"Baffle Bounce"

Ahem.. yes.

I've been asked by several people if my site will be using "all that audiophile jargon." It would be easy to just respond with an automatic "of course not" but that would not be honest. After all, many of the terms uniquely describe audio properties that frankly, cannot be described so easily with non-audiophile terms. On the other hand, for many people the terminology is a bit off-putting, exclussive, and may come off as arrogant.

I have to admit that this is very much against what our cause is about - we want this to be an inclussive and enjoyable project - any suggestions that we only cater to a niche is decidedly not green. To put it another way, being green is about what is good for the majority, not for a self-selected minority. On a more personal note, we also need our visitors to support us and we're not going to do that by excluding anyone. Our efforts are still seen with some trepidation in some circles because the idea that anything green can sound good is still a theory to be tested - hence this site.

Let me disclose a little secret about audiophiles:

As a select group, audiophiles don't exist.

Yes, you heard it here first, so let me explain. Anyone who cares just a smidgen about how her/his sound reproduction system and/or music sounds can be an audiophile. The minute someone asks themselves: "Hmmm. If I just move my speakers a little farther appart does it sound better?" they have crossed into the vaulted realm of audiophiles. Everything from that point forward is just a progression along a wide spectrum of audiophilia. Welcome to the club, you are now free to use any lingo you like. Do a little online research, find some terms to describe what you're hearing, and bandy them about like there's no tomorrow!

Let me disclose another little secret about audiophiles:

Audiophiles regularly misuse and mispronounce their own terms.

This actually happened to me this past weekend. For years, I had pronounced one of the better known speaker brands, Thiel, with a standard "th" sound. Low and behold when I was corrected and told that the "h" is not pronounced. In how many discussions, seminars, and presentations have I used the name of the legendary speaker designer Jim Thiel, incorrectly. Heck, I may have influenced others to do the same. Of course, I've heard others misuse terms left & right too: speaker manufacturers misusing "infinite baffle" sales reps forgetting what "PRaT" means, and owners not being able to explain what they mean by that phenominal soundstage they spent so much time and money on to achieve. Fact is, we all do it and we must all learn from our mistakes.

In the end, the jargon is a lot more hype than reality. From my perspective, and from the standpoint of being green, it does more harm than good. I will use the terms sparingly if at all on this website. The last thing I want to do is drive people away. I fully realize that sometimes audiophile terms help to uniquely capture the essence of a sound quality that other words simply cannot capture, but for the most part, you can expect me to use familiar words and phrases as often as possible. If ever I get off track, please let me know by leaving a comment below.