Traditionally the term 'high-end' when attributed to audio has been associated with super-expensive, heavy and home-intrusive hi-fi. Picture in your mind amplifiers the size and weight of military tanks and loudspeakers the size of coffins, resulting in a system that has all the aesthetic charm of an oil rig, and you'll start to get the idea!
However, there has been a gradual but consistent change over the past few years as increasingly more audiophiles turn to headphones for their main listening. But what are the reasons for this? Below are some thoughts on why headphones are rapidly becoming the audiophile norm. . .
Firstly, using a headphone-based audio system is significantly much smaller than a traditional separates audio system! You can get all the excitement and involvement (sometimes even more - see last point below!) from a pair of headphones and a good quality recording that you can get from a huge hi-fi with attached loudspeakers that takes up half of your apartment.
Or Wife Acceptance Factor as it's known! Intrinsically linked to the above point, this results in not only a harmonious listening experience but a harmonious domestic existence. Your music isn't annoying anyone else in your household and it isn't an eyesore when the neighbours are round for a gin and tonic. Which leads us to the next point. . .
We are all not fortunate enough to live in a 7-bedroom farmhouse in the middle of nowhere! And some wouldn't choose to live like that either. The result is that when we are getting into our music and the volume is climbing (as it always does when you're enjoying it!) our neighbours are not always as much into it as we are! Traditional hi-fi has always been the source of many a un-neighbourly despite and argument, often leading to serious consequences. Using a headphones-based system completely eradicates this problem immediately. No more neighbours banging on the walls due to 'noise pollution'. And if they do bang on the wall for nay reason, with your headphones on you won't hear them anyway!
And, last but not least. . . .
Gone are the days when headphones were merely a tool for avoiding arguments. With affordable high-resolution players, high quality headphone amplifiers and multiple driver headphones (such as 1MORE's designs) you can now capture - and often better - the performance of a dedicated separates-and-speakers top end audio system. Also, audiophiles are notably swapping loudspeakers for headphones to use with their existing CD and vinyl based systems!
The music performance and detail can be exceptional. Through headphones, your favourite music is delivered immediately and personally and you are both involved and submersed in your own musical world. Total escapism and relaxation is guaranteed and you hear everything that the artist intended, in a full frequency, highly detailed and wide soundstage experience. Which is, after all, the true essence of high-end audio.