Many times it is a struggle to explain to those not interested in high-end audio what drives the audiophile to sacrifice time, money, aesthetics, and domestic tranquility to achieve their goal of sonic bliss. Trying to describe any emotional experience to another individual is always difficult but the euphoria that is brought on by experiencing a phenomenal musical reproduction in one's own home of a favorite artist, many times long since dead is particularly difficult.
For the most part when trying to explain the quest to those who are interested in understanding I've repeated the same anecdote. When I was in college most of my friends were training as classical musicians which gave me the chance to hear live orchestral and string quartet music on a very regular basis. Though I 'm no expert. One night we were all sitting around and shooting the breeze while my stereo was playing a piece by Debussy in the background and one of my good friends asked, "Isn't this all a bit excessive?" while motioning to my system of the time. He was a huge Johnny Cash fan so I asked him, "When you pop in a CD of early Johnny Cash recordings into your boom box what is your goal?" He smugly replied, "I want to listen to a Johnny Cash CD of course" thinking that he had won the argument. My response was to say, "Then a boom box is an acceptable tool to reach your goal. My goal is different. I want to be transported back in time and space to 1955 Memphis, Tennessee at Sun Studios with Mr. Cash and his band 10 feet in front of me and Sam Philips a couple of feet behind me in the control room. To me a really great audio system is almost a time and space machine which should create a virtual reality experience." Instantly everyone in the room sort of got what all of the madness was about and from that day forward they respected what I was trying to accomplish.
Of course if this 20 minute documentary involving the Audiophile Club of Athens by Ken Barns had existed then I would have shown them this as well. It's a great peak into the passion, humor, and diversity that is the hobby. It's also wonderful viewing for audiophiles that have somehow lost their way and forgotten that it really is all about the music. Even though these gentlemen and I have had very different life experiences there is no doubt that the passion that we share for music and audio would be enough common ground to enjoy each others company for an afternoon.