What is the difference between HiFi and High End Audio?
Stepping into an audio shop in Taiwan, most of times you enter a world of pricy luxury. Not seldom it gives you an uncomfortable feeling, as if you don’t belong there, or even worse, are not wished there. In some cases you will feel really uneasy, like when you enter some exclusive art gallery and the atmosphere is clearly at a level way way above your comprehension, and financial situation no doubt.
Often, when explaining to people what we of VDP Audio are doing, they draw the rash conclusion that our products will be out of reach for them; handmade quality HiFi, oh my.. And it is not always easy to let them believe that we are actually quite affordable.
It must have to do with the concepts which the traditional audio industry in Taiwan is propagating. First of all HiFi seems to be the same as High End audio, and it is all meant to cost a lot, otherwise it will just not be good. Indeed, after some quick searching it does look like either you have to spend half a fortune on a serious audio set up of approvable quality by some audiophile friend or according to the audio magazines. Or you buy cheap stuff in 3C shops or online, with the expectation that it will not sound that great, but this is what you could afford, and you will excuse yourself with reasoning that you can’t hear the differences in sound anyway.
The latter is not true. You will actually be amazed by how much details you are able to hear, after a little training and guidance. But let me explain what HiFi actually means. High Fidelity is a term from the 1950’s and refers to a true sound quality, near to the real thing; live music. Needless to say that there has been an enormous technological progress since then, and that the standard of what was HiFi back then is easily reached now, but in fact also has raised significantly. Yet, since consumer technologies also have become very affordable for practically everyone, we can say that HiFi is available for practically everyone.
HiFi sound quality is reproduced by every decent equipment and speakers as long as they are not in the following categories: old fashioned pocket radio’s / the tiny speakers in your laptop or mobile phone, cheap plastic desktop speakers for your computer, bottom priced headphones, earplugs or speakers otherwise, and a lot of portable Bluetooth speakers. The conclusion is that music reproduction in HiFi sound quality is not dirt cheap, but certainly very affordable. And the sound quality standard is satisfying to probably 99% of the consumers. To give it a figure, we can say that US$250 for a complete setup of music source (cd-player), amplifier and speakers can already bring the music to you with HiFi sound.
The remaining 1% are the audio hobbyists or professionals, who seek for higher standards, and then we reach the topic of High End audio
What High End Audio distinguishes from standard HiFi has to do with more than the sound quality. Obviously that should be on a higher level, as this is the primary goal of course. This is achieved by more advanced and updated technologies and higher quality of electrical and mechanical components. But here also a number of luxury items come along, like the use of more expensive materials and applications of them. And the overall design -the look and feel- will often be more extravagant.
Well but, contrary to what the luxury high end audio industry wants you to believe, high level sound quality as in offered in High End is not necessarily expensive either. Nowadays there are plenty of brands that offer well build and really good sounding equipment and speakers that are also quite affordable for a lot of people. Well of course, it is always about priorities, when spending money. Just meaning to say that you don’t need to break the bank for getting some great sound at home, enabling you to enjoy your music so much more than before.
There is no certain minimum amount of money to spend that guarantees you to get high end audio sound quality. Too many sound adepts are still thinking of figures of ten to twenty thousand (US) dollars to make it possible to step into the high-end realm. Well, I can tell you that that is widely overstated. Cleverly chosen, nowadays it is possible to get high-end sound quality for something between one to two thousand dollars. That is only 10% of what is just mentioned above.
Just check it out here:
Frankly, there are many more options than that Steve Guttenberg gives, but unfortunately not so easily available in Taiwan. And here is what we of VDP Audio aim for; to provide a wide range of affordable good quality and good sounding HiFi products, which will make 99% of the music lovers happy for many years to come. People who don’t have the desire to keep changing and upgrading their audio set up, but are happy with a well chosen set that will keep satisfying for a long time
so, what do you feel about HiFi and Hi End audio, leave us message and tell us what do you think!